Thursday, April 1, 2010

Do You Know Why You're Infertile?

Sometimes I get asked by people in my life if I know what caused my infertility. I always tell them yes. When I say yes, I don't just mean that I have moderate endometriosis or that I have PCOS, but that I know what caused it.

My parents were two very fertile people. My dad managed to get my mother pregnant on their honeymoon. Yep, the classic "Honeymoon Baby." Of course everyone who liked a bit of juicy gossip waited to see when my mother delivered my brother so they could speculate and spread rumors that she was pregnant before my parents were married. My brother was two weeks early. No, my mother was not pregnant on her wedding day. No, my parents did not have premarital relations. My mother is what my dad likes to call "a fertile turtle."

So how could two very fertile folks create not only infertile offspring, but one who had an extensive case of endometriosis by the time she was 27? I'll tell you how, and it happened before I was even thought of by my parents. Before they even met. Back when they were just kids themselves.

I remember in elementary school reading about how the aftermath of the ato.m bomb dropped on Hiros.hima back in WWII had not only affected those who were alive when it was dropped, but their offspring were as well. I remember reading that the offspring of those who were alive ended up with cancer and had infertility problems. Even back then it broke my heart and made me angry as I read the story of a girl who died in a hospital in Hiros.hima at my age because she had gotten cancer from that bomb, even though she was conceived years afterward. I was so angry that Americans had done something that affected the health and fertility of the generations that came after the day En.ola G.ay dropped "Lit.tle Boy." But most of all, the fact that it affected their fertility outraged me. For months I fumed to anyone who would listen.

Shortly after I was diagnosed with endo, I found out that four of my female cousins born by my father's siblings were also having issues. One had undergone IVF, and one was just starting on Ch.lomid. I subsequently found out that one of them had been positively diagnosed with endo and had already had two laparoscopies to clean it out. In addition to them, I already knew conception was no easy feat for my sister.

One day my dad called me and told me he knew why all of us girls were infertile. When he was a boy, the government was doing a.tom bomb testing near where he grew up. He had read a study that reported the offspring of children, who are also known as "Downwinders," had a very high incidence of endometriosis. Come to find out, my mother was also a Downwinder, she just wasn't exposed at as high of a rate as my dad was.

I find it ironic that I felt such rage reading about Lit.tle B.oy making people in Japan infertile. I always knew in my heart I would have a hard time having children, but perhaps on the day I read that, I knew deep down the exact same thing was going to be my prevention too.

What I find most sad of all is that if we do go on to conceive, we pass on the code for what caused our infertility. On top of that, there are so many man-made chemicals these days that are putting children into puberty long before they should. I absolutely worry about what I passed on to my daughter. But I do find comfort in the fact that I can be proactive about ensuring I don't introduce unnecessary toxins into her by feeding her organic foods.

This isn't meant to be a Green post by any means. It is more of a post about how I am angry my fertility was taken from me before I even existed, YEARS before I existed. I am angry about the fact that I grew up knowing I would have a hard time getting pregnant. In fact, I remember the day I got my period. I was sooo excited, but that excitement was quickly smashed by the thought, "This doesn't mean you can get pregnant or have kids. You're still going to have a hard time." That day is still very vivid in my memory. I had no reason to think that either. I just knew.

I just pray that I am able to be proactive about saving my daughter from the same heartache I went through to bring her into this world. It is too bad I know why I'm infertile and can't do a dang thing about it.


S.I.F. said...

So insane to me! I never even think of these things (because I just don't think that far back), but there is so much here that makes me angry FOR you! I often wonder what I may have done to cause this and I know it just kills me to think about...

Heather said...

That is interesting...a new perspective...and WOW!

I worry about my daughter too...I am sort of obsessive about worrying that she's going to get a normal period and have no pain, etc...and I sure don't want her to go through the pain and heartache.

You're an awesome momma...and I am glad to get to know you and your heart.

Big hugs.

Jill said...

Your post is very timely as I have just been thinking about this. What am I passing on to my daughter? What if she has trouble having children? What if she hates me for it? I pray that she inherits that kind of thing from her father's family. My mother also had trouble getting pregnant. It took her 7 years to get pregnant with me. I fear I am just perpetuating the cycle.

Anonymous said...

Wow that is very interesting. And so sad that it affected so many people years before they were ever even born. :(

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

It must be devastating to know the cause and know it's non-preventable. Your compassion for others who experienced the same plight proves what a kind and empathic person you are. I guess at the same time knowing a little of the scientific 'why' side of things gives you closure, but you know you'll never know God's side of things in life. In previous posts you have always seemed really accepting of this which can only be a good thing.
Thinking of you and sorry to hear this news.

Potters said...

I think the crap from the testing is still in the soil or something. My parents still live there and though neither did when they did the testing we have had some major problems with tumors and cancer in my family and in my parents church there are many who are suffering the same type of problems. I'm sad that we can't stop some things from happening no matter how much we would love to.