"No, Mom," I calmly paused to let the words be taken in and to allow myself to take a patient breath. "My body cannot naturally carry a child. I should be able to get pregnant, but my body does not produce enough of the right hormone to sustain a pregnancy."
And then my mom sobbed into the phone and the biting sadness of it finally felt real.
There have been times in my life when I wanted to cry, but it just would not come out. It could have been shock, denial or just plain stuck deep within me. But I know that pause within myself and know it is only a matter of time before it all comes tumbling out. And when it does, there is some relief in the release.
It was in May when it was seriously brought to my attention that there could be another reason why it was taking so long for my arm to heal from its injury in September. It seemed that I had frozen shoulder, which usually occurs in older women and my medical providers were confused because I am younger than the typical onset age for such slowed healing and that I am in good shape and exercise regularly. It was narrowed down to three possibilities--diabetes, early menopause or hypothyroidism. So, I did some follow-up with an endocrinologist and my Ob/Gyn in late May and early June.
Thankfully it is not diabetes or early menopause. However, I have borderline hypothyroidism. Right now I do not need medication to treat it as far as daily living goes. But, the endocrinologist's nurse practitioner warned that if I wanted to get pregnant, I should come in to start medication otherwise I greatly risk losing the baby. She was getting ready to gently, but firmly, lecture me on why it is important to take this medical advisement into consideration and that the risk is real. I kindly interrupted her and shared briefly about my past experiences with IF. While in the past it was related to my previous spouse's health and not mine, I was fully appreciative of the seriousness of the situation. She paused and backed off some and said usually people do not really get it and she is trying to protect them from getting hurt because they often come in for the medication once they find out they are pregnant, but by then it is often too late to sustain the pregnancy. She was doing her job. I'm just glad that she listened to me.
Even though this seems to be a medically manageable situation and there could be worse news, it still has its own heaviness and sadness. Some of the spontaneity of trying to have a baby feels lost. If or when that time comes, it will not be as easy as just kind of going for it. It will have to be planned, an appointment scheduled and then a follow-up before really trying. It is also another obstacle on top of my age. It's not turn my world upside down kind of news. It more like the deflating of a balloon.
And it is important for me to be able to recognize that feeling. Just give me a moment. I am also a little sad because things have been going well with T~ and me. As I have been allowing myself to daydream about a possible future together, part of that has included the possibility of a child. Just as I feel like I'm getting to a place in my life that the possibility of having my own family could maybe happen, this news shakes that up. A tremor, not an earthquake, but still unsettling in its own way. As the years tick by, I've almost been somewhat preparing myself to accept if I am not to have a child how to have happiness and fulfillment in my life as it is. Then as things have been unfolding with T~, the dreams of a child, a family awaken again. Straddling these two worlds is not easy. And this recent news with my health has a bit of a dampening effect.
However, on the flip side of this news, if I were to try to have a child, at least I can be proactive about it. Having this information will save some heartache had I been trying and not been successful. And of the diagnoses out there, this one seems to be a bit more manageable...maybe, I have not tried or done the research, but that is what I am hoping. Also, there are no antibodies, meaning that I had always had this condition or was predisposed to it. Sometimes you can not have it, but if a parent does, then your body will create antibodies, which will eventually turn and attack your thyroid and then you develop hypothyroidism. Long story short, for me I find some comfort knowing this has always been present and it is not like if I had tried getting pregnant when I was younger that would have changed things too much. I would have been angry if I learned that I could have become pregnant had I not been with my previous spouse for so long. He made a lot of hurtful claims at the end of our relationship that he was never serious about the marriage and really did not care about having children.
But most of all, I am thankful that I could talk to T~ about it. We have had conversations in the past about not taking either of our fertility for granted. He remains positive and said that he is open to adoption, as he has said in the past. I truly believe him and I think T~ is the kind of man who could love any child and call them one of his own. As T~ has said before and continues to say it, love is what makes a family.