Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thoughts on thoughts about TTC over 40

A while back, a totally well-intentioned soul directed me to a noninteractive blog touting the joys of TTC over 40. (I don't wish to link to it.) Said sweet soul thought perhaps I'd given up TTC too soon.

The blog-in-question's author sells a treatise on how she overcame infertility in her 40s. She maintains that "almost everyone" over 40 can succeed. Humph. A couple of quick clicks around the site reminded me that I'd come across this blog author's stuff YEARS ago (the info used to be inclusive of the 30s AND 40s), at which time I'd deemed it incompatible with my own personal criteria for resources I needed and/or trusted.

As you might infer, I have not read the blog-in-question's author's advertised book (self-published, in case that matters to you). Of course I'd be surprised if it didn't contain solid information about sensible diet, sex, fitness, and mind-body-connection practices. And I see not one thing wrong with individuals (like the blogger) sharing personal success stories in any form, blog/book/whatever.

What bothers me is when a blog's sole purpose is promotional — and when the information it presents just isn't up to snuff. Maybe it's just me, but I am put off by things like a lighthearted (and we're talking downright bubbly here) post in which the author finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at 49 (!), assumes the pregnancy won't make it, holds this up as evidence that you can't go buying into any type of infertility at this age, and wraps up by saying a version of "Nope, it didn't stick, but I'm not that sad. It proves my body works — and you should buy my book!"

For a moment after getting the recommendation to visit that blog, I thought maybe I should immediately explain, at length, why I'm not presently TTC. But cripes, that would take lots of time — no thanks, too lazy! Why, I've not even explicitly detailed the big Why in this, my own blog. I also thought about quickly replying to mention how any credible RE or medical resource will flat-out tell you that "44" really is a different ballgame than "over 40." (A real thing, that.) But again — didn't feel like it then.

Now, before I continue, I want to stress that I appreciated the helpful, hopeful spirit in which that blog link was gifted to me. Seriously. Yet, because the information was presented to me as a "counter" to my opinion on fertility at age 44 (MY fertility, to be precise), I simply felt that I needed to respond to that in post form. At some point down the road. And now seems like an okay point in time to do so.

Also: As my regular blog readers know, TTC is off the table for me. Did, dad, dud. That phase of my life is over, and the decision to end it wasn't blithely made. So receiving advice to check out other resources before I make a decision I've actually already made with great care could have felt . . . a bit . . . slappy. But what I knew then and now is that the person reaching out to me needed hope for herself.

Let me clearly state that I do not knock — or mock — the presence of hope for anyone TTC at or around (and preferably younger than) my age. I don't. I held on to hope the whole damn time I was trying, as should anyone. And I of course know a STUNNING collection of wonderful women who've conceived and birthed at 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and maybe even at 44+. Success can/does happen, and I do not presume to know which plan of attack suits anyone else. But if I'm going to speak to "over 40" in the general fertility realm or just right here on my blog, I feel a responsibility to start by urging AMA women to pursue a credible and definitive medical diagnosis as EARLY as possible. My urging is to do this before you try, for example, a 6-month course of herbs that you've prescribed for yourself . . . or a 3-year wait-and-see-what sex-gets-you plan . . . or an approach that includes floating on the promise, by some blogger-for-profit, that you will succeed because "almost everyone" can.

To make safe, realistic choices, I believe you need to know what the medical experts think about your individual situation (remember: your partner's fertility profile is equally important). Only then can you make decisions about whether to go with medical assistance (if you can get/afford it; I know about the very real obstacles to this), your own self-directed plan, or a combination of both.

And if you're serious about this, you do need a plan that you will EXECUTE. What I'm saying is that you've got to murder that sucker. If you drive a stake through the vampire's heart — say, by following the SMEP or using C.lomid with timed intercourse to name 2 options — and that vampire gets back up again (translation: AF arrives), you need to drive that stake again, and again, until she ain't gettin' up no more.

I know it's tough to hear, but time is a-wastin' over 40. Hope is only enough for you if it turns out to be enough for you. And you will never get back ANY of the time you might spend coasting on hope alone.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Creme de la Creme of 2009

Today Mel, our mighty Stirrup Queen, unveiled the 2009 Creme de la Creme, aka the year's best blog posts from the Adoption/Loss/Infertility community. Each entry is self-selected by its author, by the way, so the list is a sort of all-inclusive celebration of each blogger's favorite post. I chose this entry because I felt that it told more of my current story than all my other fly-by-night after-thought-type writings from the past year put together.

Show Mel — and the whole lot of us — some love by clicking on over to peruse a bunch of beautiful bloggers' unique-yet-universal thoughts on the whole damn ALI experience. You won't regret it!

(I didn't submit till after Mel's deadline, so it might be several days before my entry pops up on her list.)