By Emily Dawson
Published in Resolve for the journey and beyond, Winter 2011
Right now I have unexplained infertility. However, I am not particularly fond of that term. I prefer to think of it as “not having met my infertility yet.” Because I cannot honestly say that I have tried or tested everything, that I have done every diet and exercise regime, or that I have met with several REs on my path to my infertility discovery. I would love to try everything, meet everyone and get this situation solved for good – get me a baby already! But I also suffer from a particular sect of unexplained infertility – and that would be financial infertility.
My husband and I have suffered pay cuts, job loss, other health costs and car problems over the past four years. Our story is not unique; it’s not special. But for some reason, it’s a quiet story. You don’t hear a lot about lobbyists waging political warfare on behalf of people with infertility. Apparently wanting and having a child is a luxury, like plastic surgery. And that’s aggravating.
I live in a pretty conservative town, with conservative employers who offer conservative insurance. I can’t complain about having a job with insurance. Still, when we are trying to discover the reason behind our infertility, with the costs of tests and procedures being so constricting, I am lucky to get two tests done per year. Even if the procedure is covered by insurance, deductibles are so ridiculously high lately that we don’t go to the doctor unless it is practically life threatening. There are grants available for medical procedures. However, since my husband and I have medical insurance and have just climbed out of a pretty low financial status, we do not qualify for additional assistance. Instead we try to save up for our tests, which is one slow process if you are trying to have children on an age-restricted deadline. Plus, the longer you wait to save, the more expensive your result is most likely to be.
The by-product of this is a lot of anxiety, impatience and loneliness – even within the infertility community. I witness online so many others constantly getting results and procedures, making progress, (not to mention those succeeding in becoming pregnant), that I often feel left in the dust. Or worse, I feel like I am not trying as hard as I should. But I have to remember that I’m doing what I can and more importantly, that I am not alone. This is my journey, even if it’s at a stand-still; no one else can wait it out for me. So here I sit, taking my temperature, eating my vitamins and perpetually peeing on sticks of all kinds; waiting to meet my infertility; hoping to meet my child.
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Emily Dawson is a 30-something who lives in a rural town in Wisconsin with Joe, her husband of six years, and their cantankerous cat Montgomery. Dealing with unexplained infertility for the past four years, the most frustrating advice they’ve received is “just relax, it’ll happen.”