We got our start date for IVF this month… on our three year wedding anniversary. I guess it’s good news. I was excited when the call came in, what with Covid-19 potentially delaying the whole thing indefinitely. If all goes as planned, I’ll undergo the final testing at the end of June and start my shots on July 18th. “If all goes as planned,” is a substantial caveat, however, when discussing a $30,000 procedure during a global pandemic.
Fortunately, Jake and I have been working, being paid in full, and still earning leave and benefits through lockdown. Unfortunately, that work adds up to about $80k pre-tax, so our IVF financing plans were contingent on accepting help from family. I asked my dad for money, and although he most definitely has a couple of thousand to spare, I’ve yet to hear back and no longer expect a response. Jake asked his parents for money, as well, but there seems to have been some kind of communication breakdown… unsurprisingly, since the Grangers are terrible communicators and my husband is by no means exempt from that generalization. While we’d like to be able to plan on financing through a private company that works with our clinic, word will remain out on that until the last moment. So, here we float in infertility limbo, good candidates for IVF, but not entirely sure if we can make it happen, while the people who are supposed to be providing love and support are somehow managing to make a wretched situation so much worse.
I’m too exhausted to even try to unravel the Granger family social dynamics, but the short version is that, although Jake has shared every detail as we’ve received it, his parents feel “out of the loop,” now that we have a start date. There were supposed to be more tests or options, I suppose, even though the original semenalisis made it clear that there would be no more tests, because there were no more options. We were supposed to check out more funding sources, I guess, even though it’s clear my family won’t even offer emotional support, let alone financial support, and we’ve shared as much. Finally, Covid-19, fate’s ultimate fuck you, has devastated the country, with no exemption for the cattle market, so I’m not sure if Jake’s parents even have the money, at this point, regardless of whether or not they’re interested in giving it.
Memorial Day weekend was one for the books. We traveled to Jake’s sister’s house for lunch and to give our nieces the birthday gifts we’ve had sitting on a table since the start of lockdown. A decent day with family, however, spiraled into a heated conversation with Jake’s sister, about the lack of communication with his parents. “As a mother” she understands what my mother-in-law is going through. “As a mother” she can’t imagine watching her son struggle with infertility. “As a mother” she can’t imagine not having kids. Well, I must say that “as a mother,” she also doesn’t realize how it feels to hear people make our infertility about their feelings. I like Jake’s sister. She’s a hard worker and a devoted wife and mother. She’s a good, if sometimes preachy, big sister, which I understand comes with the territory. Neither she, nor my mother-in-law, are trying to be cruel, but exactly one person seems to understand that this is something happening to Jake and me, and that’s my grandmother.
I understand that my in-laws feel they have a stake in our future family, but we are the ones facing potential financial ruin to have something that comes free to most people. I am the one with a best case scenario future of daily injections and a worst case scenario future of no babies. We are the ones potentially facing multiple disappointments and miscarriages, for the chance of having a healthy child. I am the one who may have to weather the horrible experience of my body tearing apart my child, again. Ten years ago, I bled my unwanted baby out onto a Spiderman beach towel, all alone, and I’m petrified of reliving that experience with the raised financial and emotional stakes of having prayed for said child. So, while I get that other people are entitled to their own feelings, I simply cannot bring myself to care.
I have to concede that Jake’s family deserves some credit, however, for having any feelings on the matter. No one in my family even calls to check on my well-being, aside from my grandmother. Oh, they all know about our circumstances and plans. I’m sure they’ll want to partake in baby showers and newborn snuggles, too… you know, the fun stuff that’s not listening to me cry my eyes out during the entirety of an hour and half car ride home from a holiday weekend, because I don’t think I have the emotional fortitude to do this, whether or not the finances come through.
It’s not enough that I have to lick my new wounds, y’all. I also have to tend to the old ones, the ones left over from having never been anyone’s priority in my entire life. My phone sits silent without even a text of concern from my own family, regarding a situation that’s legitimately the worst thing to ever happen to some people. That’s not even true for me, though. Infertility is unquestionably not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, but I guess none of my family were there for those things, either… except for my Gramma. She was my literal shelter from my abusive mother growing up, taking me to spend the night with her more than once during her daughter’s rages. She comforted me through the miscarriage, the dead baby, and the divorce. She cosigned on tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, floated me to payday as needed, walked my dog when I couldn’t get home between jobs, and brought medicine to my apartment when I was sick. Now, here she is, talking about taking out a loan to help Jake and I financially, reassuring me that God is not trying to intervene in my becoming a mother like my own. I feel like she and Jake are all I have… and that’s more than I’ve had in the past, because Jake.
Despite the poor communication skills, Jake has been wonderful, as he’s let me sit on his lap and cry, because I really thought my father would come through with some financial help. He’s held me as I’ve insisted I’m not going through with IVF at all, that we should cancel everything. He’s shared in my excitement on my good days and brought me coffee, when I’ve refused to get out of bed on my worst ones. He takes my moods as they come and he never makes me feel bad for them. He doesn’t need me to be strong, nor does he need me to make him feel like the hero by being weak. I’m so lucky to have him and I worry that this process, if it doesn’t end in healthy children, will make me resent him, take him for granted. Still, I’d rather go through this with him than skip it without him. He’s my best friend and I wish I were better at handling this, that he didn’t have to always be the one with his shit together… but I’m not. I can barely go to work some days, because I can’t imagine a life where I don’t get to give Jake children… where I don’t get to fix what my parents broke for the next generation. Everyone but my Gramma and Jake sucks, but I still don’t feel worthy of the blessings I have in them. This is awful and confusing and I wish I could fast forward time by two years, because somehow, everyone else in my life has managed to make this miserable experience even worse.