Insights After Ten Years of Struggling with Infertility
What does it feel like to look back on struggling to grow your family for ten years?
Well… It’s a lot.
In this episode, Jesse and Doug are telling their unique infertility story and giving their insights into what it is like to struggle through TTC, IUI, IVF, Adoption, and Foster Care. If you have ever wanted insight into what it’s like to come to the end of your family growing season this episode is for you. ❤️
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Uniquely Knitted is a Non-Profit Organization serving all who are emotionally affected by infertility. We are on a mission to bring healing to the traumas of infertility and end the isolation that comes with struggling to grow your family.
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Learn more about our unique process groups at uniquelyknitted.org
Jesse Brown 0:06
Welcome back to the infertility feelings podcast your place to process cry about infertility. We are so happy to have you here and we really hope you enjoyed today’s conversation
Douglas Brown 0:26
Welcome everyone to the infertility feelings podcast. We are coming to you live from our office. And there’s a street fair being set up downstairs. I thought we’d start today by asking Jesse, what are your opinions on street fairs?
Jesse Brown 0:40
I don’t love street fairs because street fairs equate it with summer. And summer is hot. And it always seems to land on like the hottest day of the year. Because this weekend in California when this street fair is happening. It’s 101 degrees.
Douglas Brown 0:54
yeah, every year without fail.
Jesse Brown 0:56
I mean this like I’m like scared someone’s gonna die. There is so much booze at this tree fair. If they don’t hydrate. It’s gonna be not gonna be good for them. It’s gonna be bad.
Douglas Brown 1:07
There is always like a million grills going on. So that makes it even harder and hotter.
Jesse Brown 1:11
And like people seem like just really hot. There’s no shade. No zero shade. I’m looking at it. There’s no shade
Douglas Brown 1:17
On paper, I’m a big street fair guy. Like there’s everything I would like. Then you get there. And it is quite literally 90 degrees in the shade. Yes, humidity is not just humidity anymore. It’s braut worst humidity. So there’s like meat… you’re breathing in meat? Right? It’s just like, I don’t know. It makes you dizzy just even thinking about it.
Jesse Brown 1:43
gosh, I like stay 100 miles away now. Like I hope they bring sunscreen like people need to like
Douglas Brown 1:49
oh no your officially old, you hope that the street fair people bring sun screen.
Jesse Brown 1:53
I hope, and that girl that just thinks that like five beers at noon is a good idea. Like no, just drink some water first. Okay, you can do it. Hydrate
Douglas Brown 2:03
Well, in the midst of the street fair in the midst of this 90 degree heat. We are back baby.
Jesse Brown 2:09
We are back we’ve been off for a while not off like me and you being off?
Douglas Brown 2:14
Well, you know, I’d be okay if we were off. But we are back we have amazing episodes lined up for the entire Fall.
Jesse Brown 2:21
We got we got them stacked Yes.
Douglas Brown 2:23
And we have a brand new Infertility Fealings website you should check out yeah, my episode is loaded up on that website. It’s really cool. You can check it out. There is information for each episode. And there’s a transcript of every episode, in case you wanted to copy and paste all of our thoughts into your phone and read them every day. That would be acceptable.
Jesse Brown 2:45
Or like print off our like funniest moments or like deepest moment and frame them. Put them in your wall, yep, put them on your wall. That makes sense. And then our next two podcasts, I’m like, I can’t even express to you how excited I am about this next one exciting this one too. But our next one is infertility and the Enneagram. And I, I don’t even care if me, if I’m the only one listens to it. I will be speaking it and listening to it. I just love the Enneagram. And I feel like it’s really helpful. And I feel like with infertility and things that come up and hard things that come up, it can definitely give us a little bit of peace, you know, knowing Oh, this is like hitting me differently than someone else. And in a partnership. I feel like it’s really helpful. So I am obsessed, and I’m basically making deck do it.
Douglas Brown 3:31
You’re gonna have to explain to us next time a little bit about what do you what is the Enneagram? We need to know,
Jesse Brown 3:37
I know. Oh, don’t worry. We’re bringing in Enneagram expert. Her name is Lisa. And we are going to talk to her all about it. So when I just go like jab, jab off, she can be like, actually…
Douglas Brown 3:48
She can correct all of our wrong thoughts on the Enneagram.
Jesse Brown 3:51
And then after that, we have Dr. Andrea going all coming back and we’re doing infertility and depression. Yes. Which I’ve been wanting to do that episode. And so with Anny it was actually Anny’s idea. After air one time we recorded a recorded a podcast with her. She said I think infertility and depression would be a really good idea. Yes. So we’re going to that!
Douglas Brown 4:08
Today though we have something very exciting to tell you before we even get to today’s episode. I know one more thing is that we have four new groups open, right? Yes for the fall. If you’re listening to this way in the future right now. It’s like it’s almost September, September 1. Today, right now it’s September 1 2022. And we have in October four process groups that are open, the spots are getting full. If you’ve ever wanted to be part of one of these groups now would be the time to do it. If you feel like I could use some more resilience. I could use a community of people to get this stuff off my chest and just feel a little bit better throughout this whole thing. Sign up for a group check it out on our website. We’ll explain all about it. We really think it is the number one thing that you can do to feel better throughout This infertility journey is joining a group of people talk about how you’re feeling, learn these skills that help us feel more resilient. It’s, it’s great. It’s everyone who’s in one of these groups talks about how much it has helped them feel better throughout this process. So if you’re, if you’re thinking about it at all, if you’ve heard us talk about it, check it out. And even more exciting, the group that you would join has all brand new content that we just filmed and recorded, turn the volume up, actually the same, it’s the same four things that we always cover, but we cover them in a really creative way.
If you’ve been in one of our groups before, don’t worry, you’re getting the content to It’s fine. Don’t even cry about it. I am so proud of this new content. I like, I cannot believe some of the things that we did in this we did in one take, like, I’m still like blown away, like how well and I just feel like it’s so like, I can tell that this is so weird. Like I can tell that like we are so passionate about this, and so passionate about helping the infertility committees that we just say about yourself to watch yourself. Like I can tell that she cares. But it’s true. And it’s really great. And what’s also special about these groups, is it’s our last groups of the year 2022. So if you’ve been saying to yourself every single time you see these groups pop up, I’m going to do it this year, but I’m not ready yet. It’s also okay, if you’re not ready. But if you’re like I’m gonna do it. And I’m a little scared. But if 2022 was your year to do it, now’s the time.
Yeah. Because if you know the holidays are coming up rapidly approaching if you feel like you would benefit from a community of people throughout that time, yeah. And kind of be able to process some of what you’ve been through and feel a lot better. Yeah, I think you should do it the next time, you’ll be able to sign up as January. So I wouldn’t do it. Now. If you’re thinking about it. We’ll start at 10am. We also have some more more times. So Tuesday and Wednesday, all throughout those days, check it out. But today, we are going to look back at our journey Jesse. Finally, finally we get to talk about ourselves. Joking we always talk about ourselves. When you think about our story. We have been in the infertility world, we have been growing our family for almost like a decade, 10 years. Can you think about that? It’s crazy
Jesse Brown 7:18
I know. It is crazy. 10 years.
Douglas Brown 7:20
What we’re wanting to do is tell you our thoughts about all of this.
Jesse Brown 7:25
On the other side, it’s like totally like, being on the other side. Basically having a toe not everything, but basically have a toe and a lot of what this world is, from treatment to trying to foster care to I know there’s a million other things. Like we pretty much have had a toe and all of it a lot of things. And it’s like when we step back, and now, you know, our our time and growing our family ended, you know, January 27th 2022. When we adopted our last child, that’s when it ended for me.
Douglas Brown 8:00
It was at that moment the gavel hit, over!
Jesse Brown 8:02
It literally was it was like it’s done. I never wanted to scan. And it’s like, we’ve been processing a lot. Yeah, last year we’ve been processing. What was that? Like for us? What is our takeaways? Yeah, what is when when people say like, infertility never leaves you like, what does that mean? Like? And how does that play out in our lives?
Douglas Brown 8:20
I think we don’t really get to hear a lot of stories from that perspective. A lot of times, when someone shares what they’re going through infertility, it’s to, it’s to advocate. Yeah, it’s yes. Yeah, that’s insane.
Jesse Brown 8:33
Sorry to interrupt you. You’re gonna say advocate yes, I’ll just say it for you!
Douglas Brown 8:37
It’s to advocate and to raise awareness about what they’re going through. So they tell the story that they are in.
Jesse Brown 8:43
Which is magical and amazing, and everyone needs to do it.
Douglas Brown 8:45
Everyone needs to listen to those stories, because it does advocate it does give us insight. But rarely do we hear someone’s story who’s 10 years out, you know, and has a lot of the things kind of resolved in there. They’re moving maybe on to whatever that chapter is next. We don’t normally get to hear a lot from those people. It’s important because the opinions about all of it change as you go through it. Yes. And some of the insights even that we have, I think are interesting. And it’s important to listen to people who have really have time after they’ve experienced infertility, because it’s we always talked about how infertility affects you can affect you for a long time. Right? Well, it’s we need to hear those stories about people who have gone through infertility almost a long time ago and what their experience is like, right? So that’s what we’re going to do today. There you go. In an effort to do that, we need to go back we got to go back we got to go way back.
Jesse Brown 9:44
I was born in Orange, California, April 12th.
Douglas Brown 9:48
Woah, too far, but we went too far.
So to do this, I’m going Gotta go through our infertility story facts only Jesse’s least favorite thing it’s gonna take a couple minutes.
Jesse Brown 10:07
I hope that if you’re listening to this podcast, you go back or have listened to all of our feelings when it comes to all these events. I hope that you know that Doug is just sharing the details. We have lots of feelings about this. And they are covered all throughout our entire podcast.
Douglas Brown 10:26
Right, but the specific feelings we’re trying to capture today on the infertility feelings podcast, It’s about where we sit now looking back on these, younger versions of ourselves entering into this world. Those are the feelings that we’re trying to capture, right? We kicked off our fertility journey in the romantic, relaxing, easy going….
Jesse Brown 10:57
Margaritas. Pools, beach, relaxing,
Douglas Brown 11:02
A little city we like to call New York City,
Jesse Brown 11:05
New York City, literally. Probably one of the least. Like, places you could go to try to start to have children because you’re literally exhausted every single day, the last day of the trip. I didn’t go out because I was so tired.
Douglas Brown 11:25
You missed it. That was a great day.
Jesse Brown 11:26
I know it was you told me all the time.
Douglas Brown 11:29
But I think our infertility story is marked like many people’s infertility story. Yeah, by seasons of ignorance, seasons of exhaustion, and confusion. It really in the beginning started with just ignorance. We didn’t know we were doing we’re not we’d go to New York City and get pregnant. Right
Jesse Brown 11:49
laughing now sit thinking back like was that even in our fertile window? Yeah, we have no, we had no idea what we were doing. Exactly.
Douglas Brown 11:57
So really, the first half a year was all about not knowing what we were doing and trying and trying to figure stuff out. I would say the second half of that first year that we were trying started to enter us into a season of frustration and confusion and a little bit of anger and sadness, where we now knew what we were doing. We were tracking things. We were doing things right. We were hitting the right time and all backers and failures, we started to get a lot of bit of failure into our life where we felt like every month was failure every month. We didn’t it didn’t work. It didn’t work at work, which led us to reaching out to fertility doctors. Once we reached out to fertility doctors, it was an interesting season because it’s like many people’s talk about it’s depressing, because like holy crap, how are we here? How is this what we’re doing? Also kind of exciting because it’s like, okay, great. We’ve brought in ourselves to the people who can fix us.
Jesse Brown 12:58
They are Lords, they are God. Right? Not really. But yes, it’s like, they’re the answer. And it’s so funny. Now looking back towards that part, specifically, is now hearing so many fertility stories. We really had like, that was kind of like a bleak time. Like, yeah, you had a diagnosis of low motility, low mobility, and low sperm count and low sperm count. I got low ovarian got, like I caught it, I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, which back then was called Low ovarian reserve. And it’s like, the doctor, we didn’t get a lot of like, Yeah, we’re gonna get you pregnant, or this is gonna work for you guys, which is not right to even say Anyway, anyway. But hearing so many stories, that was not our experience, our experience was like, this is you could give this a try. I literally felt like the doctor said in Doctor words, like, you could do an IUI. That’s cute.
Douglas Brown 13:58
Honestly, even IVF was like that. Very low percentages, right. And it was always wrapped in this language of you could definitely do this. I don’t know how well it’s going to work. And then you know, even when, when both of them didn’t work, and we came back to the doctor, they weren’t like, you know what, we learned a lot. We’re going to calculate this and we’re going to tweak things and next time we’re going to have different results. They were like, that was pretty much as good as it’s gonna get.
Jesse Brown 14:31
He said you can expect the same or less results like not as good results.
Douglas Brown 14:37
That was right. So it hit really hard. Yeah. So the, if the beginning of our fertility journey is about almost ignorance and figuring out at all figuring it all out. I would say the middle part where we’re in treatment, and we’re really going through these really very expensive treatments was was overwhelmingly bleak. I would say that.
Jesse Brown 15:00
It’s a blur. It’s the most part of our I think it’s the part of our story that I am the most blurry on. Yeah, because a lot of it was going really fast. Yep. Really, really, really fast. So I don’t, I don’t have a lot of memories. I have a couple of like traumatic memories of like, you know, thinking that we had five embryos and then the morning I get there, we only have one that made it through, not even realizing that that was an option to be right to happen. I have a memory of a doctor telling me that I need the most drugs out of everybody. Like I need a lot of drugs, drugs, drugs, like all that. He said all the drugs. So it’s just like, Yeah, I feel very It feels blurry to me that season.
Douglas Brown 15:40
Yeah slightly overwhelming. Maybe.
Jesse Brown 15:45
Also, I was a mess. So emotional mess. So that could be a part of me. I was on drugs, too. So it’s like, I just I that is it is of every single part of our story. That is the most blurry.
Douglas Brown 15:57
Yeah. Well, if in the beginning, it was overwhelming and felt confusing. And then the middle, when we’re doing treatment, it felt blurry and fast and bleak. We thought you know what, we’re gonna figure this out, we’re gonna go to the Easy breezy, I’m gonna go where I have more control, more control world of adoption and foster care. We, again, oh, you know what it’s like a, it’s like a cycle we were ignorant and didn’t know we’re doing and then kind of got to this place of like, wow, this is really difficult. Right, switching over into adoption and foster care. It’s not like an extension of the fertility world. You know, it’s like the, the adoption center is a part of the fertility clinic. Right. Right. So oh, well, this didn’t work. But you know, there’s a bunch of children in the adoption will like center, right, pick up one of those. That’s not how it works. They’re different worlds. Right. So entering into the adoption and foster world. We then were plummeted back into that season of ignorance and confusion of what is this? How does this work? What’s going on?
Jesse Brown 17:03
I thought I had no control in the infertility world, I at least could decide what side of my body I want to do a shot on. Yeah, you know, like, there was a little bit of control, even though most of it I fell out of control. But it’s like with adoption, I just feel like it is and foster care. It’s just very, very, very minimal, to none. Control.
Douglas Brown 17:23
Right. And that’s why I think we talk a lot about adoption and foster care when we do talk about it. When we say fundamentally, it’s not about you. It’s about a person who’s been adopted. It’s really their story. You’re a part of it.
Jesse Brown 17:38
That sounds a little strong. Like I like hate adoption, or like, what, like, watch out for the bus that you’re about to walk in front of. I’m just saying, if you go into it, thinking that it will be more of a control, or it will be something that you can control.
Douglas Brown 17:54
Jesse Brown 17:55
It’s minimal control. That was a surprise to me. That’s what that’s what I’m saying. So I love adoption. I love foster care. Like, I love it. But it’s just I think I went into it. Honestly, one of the reasons was, Oh, good. I’ll have more control. And I just had less control.
Douglas Brown 18:10
Yeah, exactly. And we very quickly learned that right. We did one private adoption, and we’ve done one adoption through foster care. Yes, they’re totally different.
Jesse Brown 18:20
1,000%. Even their personalities are 1000% different people
Douglas Brown 18:23
They are different. The procedures are different. And the whole worlds are different. Right? It almost feels like foster care is not even the same thing as adoption. Yeah, they’re they’re almost different world, right. But all throughout those years, really, really, we became our family group. I’ll say that. Yeah. And we now have a daughter and a son through that adopted.
Jesse Brown 18:47
But in between, in between, do not forget the details. We also had to disrupted adoptions. And we had a foster plan placement of a baby for three days. So that is trickled in there to have our story, which was honestly probably one of the hardest, most devastating things to experience, probably for me in this whole entire journey was that.
Douglas Brown 19:12
Yeah. So when you look back on all of that, you think about what we’ve been through. We’ve been through just trying. We’ve been through months of just the darkness of what’s going on. We’ve gone through our UIs one IUI one IVF cycle. We’ve gone through the disappointment, the excitement, we’ve gone through adoption, private adoption, we’ve gone through long drawn out law court procedure, you know, adoption stuff,
Jesse Brown 19:40
Both of our children from when we met them to move adopted them took two and a half years.
Douglas Brown 19:45
Yeah, we’ve gone through failed foster placements.
Jesse Brown 19:51
A million foster phone calls about what to do. I do not miss that at all. Yeah, you come to my work and like.. ugh. Its hard
Douglas Brown 20:00
So now I guess this is this is where we get to the feelings part of it is, now that we sit here and we look back on that really the start of this whole thing was about 10 years ago, when you look back on it, here’s my question to you, Jesse. What’s your biggest impossible question? But I think I know actually, what’s your biggest takeaway when you when you look back at all that? What’s your biggest takeaway?
Jesse Brown 20:25
You know, when you’re in high school? Remember that season?
Douglas Brown 20:29
Barely? ha, yes, of course.
Jesse Brown 20:32
High school, you have this weird mindset. It’s probably because you’re only thinking about the hour that you’re in. But you have this weird mindset that this is your life. You’re not thinking about you at 30, you’re not thinking about you at 50. You’re just in high school and you think, Oh, my gosh, everything is such a, like, it’s just all consuming. And for me, I didn’t think about past that. Like I thought this was my life season was high school. And I think my biggest insight, or takeaway takeaway, it’s good better than advice is. Infertility is a season, your fertility journey of growing your family, and through whatever adoption foster care, it is a season, and for me multiple times I did the same thing I would do in high school, is I thought this is never going to end.
Douglas Brown 21:22
That’s, that’s crazy. Just stop on that for a second. Because it’s so true.
Jesse Brown 21:27
Even think, if you’re growing your family first, let’s say let’s be dramatic. 25 years. Yeah, let’s say you’re in this world for 25 years.
Douglas Brown 21:35
I hope no one’s in this. Right. Good. God.
Jesse Brown 21:37
Like run to therapy run. Yeah, I mean, but it’s like, it is a long time. It’s like, yeah, you can be in it for a very, very, very long time. It’s still a season. Yeah. 25 years is still a season. If you live till you’re 90. It’s 25 years of your life. Yeah. So for me, when I was in it, I just never saw the other side. I never saw like thought past this season of my life. Yeah, it was just all consuming even with adoptions. And I remember right after our first adoption fell through, I thought, I’m never, this is never going to happen. Like, this is going to go on for ever. I’m never going to get what I want. And it’s true. You may not get what you want. I wanted a lot of kids, I have to I love them. And that’s our capacity that we can handle. And it’s great. But it’s like, right, there is some things that you might not get what you want, and you might end up being childless or whatever. But it’s like it is the season.
Douglas Brown 22:33
So my question to you then is when you’re sitting here, really, at the end of that season, yeah. What does it feel like to realize that it is just a season,
Jesse Brown 22:43
So for me, now sitting on this other side, or whatever you want to call it? You got to find a better word for that. That feels like above people, I don’t want to sound like I’m above anyone or something. Yeah, it’s like now just being on like, closing the chapter to growing your family. Yeah, that’s, that’s a good way to put it is I look back on times and seasons, and I really lost myself. I was not taking care of my mental health. I was not taking care of my health. I was consumed. I was just almost dedicated myself to figuring it out. And dedicated myself to be like, let’s just make the pain go away. Let’s just grow our family. And I just feel likeThese last 10 years. I feel like I’ve been a little bit of like, just neglecting myself just being and yes, it can be very overwhelming. But I think this is my biggest heart of now where I sit, looking back and then if someone’s in it is don’t lose yourself. Yeah, this is a season in 20 years you will be here won’t be with a baby. I don’t know. But you will be here. So for me I was like I’m even getting emotional because I feel like I’m even talking to myself of like, I lost myself. It that sounds really dramatic. I was a full functioning human. I had a job I had you know, one child like I had friends I had family but it just because this world is so tricky, because it can just consume you. And you just constantly put yourself on the backburner constantly, like don’t take breaks or don’t check in with yourself or grieve like you can grieve and also continue to do things and also continue to do treatment and also continue do these things. And so now sitting on this side of the room, I’m just like, that’s my biggest takeaway. Yeah. Is Don’t forget about yourself. It is a season even if it lasts for 25 years, right? It is a season and you will still be here. Yeah. Damn it. Like I’m literally like talking to myself like I’m almost getting like fired up about myself. And that’s why, literally where the cleaning process group I was birthed out of sound a little passionate. I feel like I’m in my study harsh. No, it’s good. It’s passion. And it’s love. And it’s like, our groups were made out of that idea. Yeah, in myself out of that passion out of that passion for me of like, wow, I really wish I would have had something to help me grieve when I’m in the middle of it. Remember that I’m still here. Remember that I have hobbies, yeah, cheese, or things that I like, or things that I like to do. And so don’t lose that run to that, if that’s therapy, or whatever it is. Or just remembering that you like Marvel movies or whatever it’s like, run to that kind of stuff just as much as running to wanting to grow your family.
Douglas Brown 25:43
I almost get this picture of, it’s kind of like an analogy, right? It’s like a spaceship, right? That launches off on you’re trying to get to the destination planet. Right, right. And as the spaceship is going, you’re burning fuel. And you’re taking up all your resources, you’re eating the food in the spaceship, you’re using the oxygen? And at some level, you could say, are we going to burn up all of the fuel? Just getting there that once we get there? You know, there’ll be nothing left? You know, fuel level will be no oxygen left? No, really, it’s like, you have to make that calculation that, well. There will be a time when we’re not on this journey, there will be time when like we officially like get to whatever is next. I’m going to have to live wherever is next. Right? So I have to think about the space that I’m in now. And make healthy steps so that when I actually get there, there’s like fuel, food oxygen, like I’m I have to be able to live wherever we’re going. And I think about that as a couple. Yes, we as a couple have to live. And if you make it about infertility, I think there were times where we weren’t thinking about that we weren’t even thinking about what’s next. So it was like, beyond this. Yeah, this is done right now. And that’s the only thing that we’re thinking about. And I get it right, it is stressful and overwhelming does take all of you. But we’re telling you from where we’re sitting right now you get to a point where you’re where you have gotten to where you’re going, even children, no idea where that is, it’s going to be different for every single person, but you will one day get to where you’re going. And then we’re telling you from because we’re there right now, as an individual or as a couple, you’re going to have to live there. And I think there’s things that we can do now, while we’re in it to help prepare for when we get there.
Jesse Brown 27:42
Absolutely. And I think why infertility is hard to do this is because of time. Age time, all that stuff is your racing because you don’t want to get older. Or you don’t want time too much time to go back to for you. You never wanted to be an old dad. Like it’s like, I think that was a big motivation of why you just didn’t stop. Yeah. But that’s why I love our program so much is it’s two hours a week for six weeks, like, yes, there’s videos that you watch and workbooks that you watch. But I hope that it would it could be not something that is such a time commitment, like just to stop in the middle of your week. And to think about this and to grieve and tell your story and share it.
Douglas Brown 28:21
Because it helps. It does help it helps you get the fuel you need.
Jesse Brown 28:25
Proven to help. Yeah, so but I feel like that’s that’s a tricky thing with time is it feels like, and for me, I felt I think I felt like oh, I’ll deal with that at the end. I’ll deal with it at the end. Right? So Doug, and all your wisdom of your life. What is your biggest insight to someone now where you stand, sit, stand wherever you’re doing? What’s your biggest insight?
Douglas Brown 28:47
I think my biggest insight, looking back my takeaway from all of this, which is weird to say like take away from all of this. Like we’re done with it. It almost feels weird to say that we’re done with it.
Jesse Brown 28:58
Oh, my gosh, it’s so funny does not weird. feel weird for me at all. I’m a much more happy
Douglas Brown 29:02
a much slower processor than you. Yeah, you are. But to say that yeah, looking.
Jesse Brown 29:06
Doug we’re stopping. We’re stopping this welcome.
Douglas Brown 29:08
Like, I’m just realizing that right now. On Air. haha.
Jesse Brown 29:12
Yeah. No, it makes me happy. I get like peace.
Douglas Brown 29:14
Yeah, no, I think I feel peace to Yeah, I think just looking back, my biggest takeaway is that I had a certain vision for what my life was going to look like. And this is so wildly different than what my vision was. And that’s okay. That’s okay. And it taken me 10 years to go, oh, divisions that we create for ourselves when we’re younger, rarely come to fruition. They rare, it rarely happens that way that we get all these things that we think we were going to get or that events unfold the way that we think that they’re going to unfold. It’s such a wild card. It is a river that you’ve never got On down before, and I was fighting for so many years, to fulfill the vision that I had created the path that I thought that we were going to be taking. I fought for that for so long. Now sitting here 10 years out, I go, why did I ever fight for any, you know, vision that I had. It’s just, it’s wild life is wild in that it is not pre, you know, pre pre walked Platt path that you’re just kind of following maybe in some ways it is. But if you’re experiencing infertility, you’re off the path, like you’re now charting your own territory. Yeah, instead of fighting to get back to the path. I think my takeaway is, I wish I would have had more confidence to keep going whatever direction that is, because we’ve ended up in this space that is really wonderful and beautiful, and totally different than what I thought it was going to be. But I realized much of my pain, and much of my heartache of the last 10 years, was when I tried to re correct to get back into this pathway that I thought we were going to be in.
Jesse Brown 31:20
I feel like I have a picture of what you actually mean, to me, not that you didn’t need to do a brilliant job. But it was like, I think I know what you mean, like when you’re pivoting and going to a new path. You’re trying to push that path back to their original path, right? It’s like a compass. Like you’re trying to get it to face north. Yeah. And it’s not that I don’t think like, like, I hear you saying that you ignore that path. You can grieve and there’s grieving. And you think about it and move on. Yeah, but I think you’re right. In the, in the having to move in into having to do there’s a there’s a discomfort, almost. Yeah. And it’s like, and there’s not a lot of embracing that. It’s like, like, for me, I was like, how unfair is that? We have to do IVF it was very unfair. Yeah. But it’s like, right, with a different mindset. It could be like, this is the path that we have to give it a chance.
Douglas Brown 32:06
Jesse Brown 32:07
I know what you mean.
Douglas Brown 32:08
I get this picture of, you know, honestly, like being out in the desert or something like that, and losing the path. And all of my anxiety and stress was coming from Well, where’s the path? How do we get back to the path? How can we take this little excursion and make a right turn and get back to the path? Because then, because that’s what I thought it was going to be what we’re going to do this? Where are we going to have this many kids wasn’t going to have this kind of job? What are we going to live this certain way? You know, let’s solve this and get back. And then it really it took years, this many years to go, oh, I don’t think we’re ever gonna go back to that path. Yeah, this is the path that we’re on. And I’ve learned to now celebrate it and embrace it. And we’re just charging ahead. Right. And I think that’s the unique challenge for everyone who struggles with infertility is, we all end up in really interesting places, a lot of people end up with getting pregnant through treatments, or whatever it is, but they’re gonna have to reconcile this season and this season will forever change them and make things different and make things interesting. Some people will heal you. There’s a million different ways you could go. But I think that’s my biggest takeaway is that is, wow, I really fought to get back to what I thought was gonna happen when I think I kind of wish I would have just charged ahead and said, it’s gonna be okay, because this is where I’m going.
Okay, Jesse, final question, as we’re looking back on a decade really struggling to grow our family. I guess we always talk about this in I want to bring the question to us. We always say infertility impacts us for a long time. Yeah. You know, it’s not, it is just a season of our life. And we’re here at the end of the season, right. But the emotional, the emotional impacts, and the, you know, impact on who we are as a person lasts for very long, right. So even though it is a season, yes, that season has impacts all throughout our life. So my question for you is after 10 years, Jesse, how does infertility still affect you?
Jesse Brown 34:29
I have two answers.
Douglas Brown 34:31
Ooh, classic Jesse,
Jesse Brown 34:33
Classic. Jesse. I always have more to say. I’ll never forget one time we did the podcast and you afterwards, when you turned it off, you went, you have a lot of points. I was like, I got points. I got points. You’re like sometimes you want to do like one point. That’s not my style. Number one. And I would say this comes up less often than number two, but number one is, I have felt out of control with my process. So growing my family a lot, yeah, from fertility to adoption with foster care. And I would say actually wouldn’t know this delay. This is a bad thing. It can be. But like, when I have control, it’s a big deal to me. So like birthday parties or getting our child’s social security cards. Yeah, that was like a big deal to me, because I feel like I was like, winning the control back or something like, I. So I feel like that is like not necessarily a bad thing. Even though one child that we had, we had problems with school social security card, it was just the guy was misinformed. And I was in the parking lot on the phone with you bawling my eyes out. And I’m like, why am I bawling my eyes out. And it’s like, because this is a big deal. To me. It’s a big deal. To me, getting our children’s passports is a big deal to me. Like, it’s just, and I think that just comes from years and years and years of no control. Yeah, feeling like, yeah, or birthday parties or graduate. Like, it’s just all like, I feel like I finally have the control back, you know, a little bit. And they’re just big deals to me. So that’s number one.
Douglas Brown 36:06
And you feel like that’s a direct cause from infertility?
Jesse Brown 36:09
Yeah, I knew it when we were getting our social security card for one child. And the guy was misinformed. And he made me feel stupid for something. And I had a huge emotional reaction.
Douglas Brown 36:20
I do remember that when you call me. It felt like, this feels really big. Bigger than an annoying, right logistical problem.
Jesse Brown 36:29
He just told me my paperwork was wrong. And I was like, my paperwork is not wrong. Yeah, you were like this last drawer. I was like this not wrong. And then I had to go and call our lawyer. And I was like, running around the city. And it just became this huge thing. And I do, I was even surprised, and myself. And I think that’s because triggering Yes, it felt triggering. And I think that’s because I’ve never had any control. So just give me my control. My paperwork can’t be wrong, because this is my win. Right? This is when I get this. And it’s like, Oh, don’t take that. Don’t take that away from me. Yeah. So it’s huge. Yeah. And then number two, which is probably the more emotional one, which sounds very bizarre, but I am still affecting me till to this day. Is I hate Plan B’s.
Douglas Brown 37:17
What do you mean by that?
Jesse Brown 37:19
I have a reaction. Very strong reaction to when plan A doesn’t happen. Yes. So let me give you a few examples. My birthday. I want to go to this restaurant. Super excited about this restaurant. It’s Mozza in Newport Beach. If you haven’t gone there, run your ass there. It is so good. You’ve worked Beach, California. And it was it. My birthday was on a Tuesday, you asked me what I wanted to do. I said, all I want to do is go to that restaurant. That’s all I want to do you call up? They randomly are closed on Tuesdays. They don’t open on Tuesdays. Right? And I had like a, I can’t do I don’t want to do Plan B. I don’t want to do it. And if we go to Mozza in like a week or we go to this restaurant in like a week. I don’t want to do it for my birthday. Yeah, like it’s like there’s something with like Plan B’s that just get me where it’s like, I want Plan A.
Douglas Brown 38:06
That’s wierd… was there ever a Plan A in your life that didn’t end up working out?
Jesse Brown 38:13
Well, you’re beating me to my point. And I think this is why 2020 was extremely difficult for me. Yeah, was because 2020 and 2021 was the biggest Plan B’s and still to this day, it’s not necessarily completely ideal plan a it’s like it’s it’s triggering. It’s triggering for me, it’s a bigger deal for me. And that those full two years but like a huge Plan B Yeah. And then I think we’re I literally became like dead inside to this was we got COVID on Christmas Day last year. Yeah, we tested positive for COVID we tested positive for COVID On Christmas day. So I love my family. I loved you and my friends. I love the holiday season and I don’t know if you remember I’m sure you do. Oh I do. Every single day. You looked at me and you were like tomorrow we’re gonna rally.
Douglas Brown 39:00
No, no. You looked at me. You said oh don’t worry tomorrow I am going to RALLY.
Jesse Brown 39:08
I was so upset that I was emotionless I wasn’t crying you were just I was dead inside flat. I was flat. I didn’t see the joy in it anymore. I was like which is so not me so sad. So not me but like I was flat. We are my family and our families were so sweet and wanted to like zoom and I was like didn’t want to do it now because I didn’t want to see them but I was like this is Plan B this is not plan A and every single night I would go to bed and be like dad tomorrow I’m going to rally like let’s bake all day or do those things that you do in quarantine that are like fun. And I never rallied Never, not once every morning I woke up and I was exactly the same like I and also we were sick but it was like I could not rally.
Douglas Brown 39:51
The only thing I remember from that season is that that Christmas is tomorrow I am going rally. No tomorrow I am going rally.
Jesse Brown 39:58
Let’s do puzzles all day. Let’s have a movie day, and every day, I’d be like, No, I knew I was in a low point when we played Monopoly. And then our child asked to play Monopoly again, after playing the whole entire game, and I just went, sure. Yeah, sure. And I was like, I think I went, Oh, my gosh, I’m dead inside.
Douglas Brown 40:16
Tell me though. So where do you attach that? Obviously, there’s some serious implications with infertility. But was there a moment where you felt like, wow, this really is because of infertility?
Jesse Brown 40:25
Yes. Was our anniversary this year? We’re all great, awesome. Whatever. Had this a great date planned. And someone in our home tested positive for COVID. Two days before. And I was like, so dead inside. Yeah. So did inside. And I think that is when it really started the curiosity. Why am I so dead inside? Because I remember you went, let’s go in a week. And I was like, no. So not only did I Plan B’s, I can’t rally for the plan B. Yeah. So I just felt like that was I think, that was like a big moment. For me. I’m like, what is happening? Right? Because I’m very optimistic. I can roll with the punches. I’m adaptable. I can be like, let’s do this. Do that. Yeah. So that was the moment I was here at the office. I’ll never forget it. I was eating my ramen, which I get every week. I was eating my ramen. And I went, why is this so hard for me? Why are Plan B’s so hard for me? And I just had an aha moment of like, because I’ve had the biggest Plan B. Happened to me, in my life. I thought I was gonna have biological children and I couldn’t. That’s it. It’s as simple as that. Like, the ultimate plan B, the ultimate plan B. And not only the ultimate plan B, probably almost every single woman. Worst Nightmare. Worst thing that could happen to them? Is
Douglas Brown 41:49
The plan B was a nightmare. I mean, like, every part of it. Yes. Figuring out what are we going to do after we figured out we couldn’t have kids was really difficult.
It’s all used up. I am an empty tank.
Yes! Your rally energy is really just used up. You don’t have anymore.
Jesse Brown 42:09
I had to do a lot of times where I rallied, right? Didn’t want to. Yeah, where it was like, I don’t want to rally. And this is not talking about the children that we had. It’s like the situation the situation around. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And like the conversations and all that kind of stuff. It’s like my rally juice is empty. I feel like it makes sense of where I sit in the room now. Yeah, that it will be be something that I think I need to still go back and continue to grieve. Yeah. So dug in your brilliance. I don’t even really know the answer of what you’re gonna say. How do you feel like this? How do you feel like, from where you sit now? Infertility still affects you?
Douglas Brown 42:46
That’s a good question. I think infertility piqued my anxiety, which I still have. So you do. So it’s definitely true that like, I think it made my anxiety worse. I know for myself, that one area where I feel like infertility definitely still gets triggered. And I have a bigger reaction to things is when I’m in limbo, hate being in limbo? Yeah. Which, which I’m never you’re, you’ve never really been great at that. I’ve never really been great with that. But But when I’m in limbo, I think the worst possible things are gonna happen. Because your car is the main cause of infertility. Infertility really taught me to think like, well, what’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen? The worst, the worst is gonna happen. That’s what’s gonna happen. I’m waiting to figure out these test results. Will they be good? Will they be bad? They’ll be bad, there’ll be the worst they can be. I will our life change for the good. While all life changed for the bad, it will change the bad really, that is like the thing that got pounded into my head throughout that season. And then same thing true with with adoption was, you know, we’re waiting to figure out if this is going to be good. Is it going to be bad? Is this exciting? Is this not exciting? I mean, pretty much every time except the two times, it didn’t happen, right? It was bad.
Jesse Brown 44:08
And there were so many little things like so many little things.
Douglas Brown 44:13
So now when some when I get put into a position like that, it’s very easy for you call whatever you want my body my mind for me to snap back into those habits of thinking the worst is gonna happen. And you know, that’s people talk about that all the time. Infertility taught me that the worst thing that was gonna happen will happen. Yeah. And it’s like, it’s one thing when it’s an Instagram post, it’s another thing when you’re 10 years past, and you literally actually do always go to the worst possible thing that’s gonna happen. It’s no longer, like, catchy anymore. It’s just like, really? a bummer. Yeah, and you have to work to overcome that. I mean, little stupid things, right? We just bought a 1985 van again, VW Vanagon, right. It’s awesome. So cool. But the guy He needed to take it to go get smog because if pass smog in California which is very difficult and you know their cars right sometimes older cars don’t pass smog. So that’s a very important part of the buying process is okay you get it smog once it passes smog, then I’ll buy it from you. So he said, Great. I’m gonna go smog in the morning. I went to like the darkest moment. Well, it’s done. So not getting it. You know, just like this is I think I was anxious. I was like, it was edgy.
Jesse Brown 45:26
You were texting him constantly. He didn’t have any answer. I was like, This is not like your friend. “did you get a smogged” And it’s like, it’s 8:30 at night, honey. He didn’t get it small. He said he’s gonna get in the morning.
Douglas Brown 45:38
But totally from infertility. Just thinking yeah, I have we know it’s a car but I’m like, this car has to go pass this test for me to buy it Not gonna happen. Not gonna happen. When he said, Oh, yeah, it passed. I was like floored I am like what… Oh, my I was like, I was leaping for joy.
Jesse Brown 45:57
Do you feel like that a little bit robbed your joy. Like, even when you get it
Douglas Brown 46:01
just makes me more anxious. Which at which then robs my joy. Yeah. And it just bums me out. I think it bums me out that like, oh, my gosh, I’ve my body has so been trained to think these things especially when it comes to Limbo.
Jesse Brown 46:15
And, and more often than not in our journey. It did go bad. Yep, it did go. It did fall through. It did not work at all of that. More often than not, yeah. Stephanie, that this literally just happened like couple months ago. Like that just happened. Like a month ago, my big aha moment happened like a month ago. Like it’s still like, happening.
Douglas Brown 46:39
And I think that’s maybe what motivated us to make this episode. We’re sitting here at the end of our journey, we wanted to tell our story. It seems it’s crazy, long journey that we’ve been on. We also wanted to show people that What two things I guess we wanted to show that this season will end if you’re in the middle of this infertility season, it will come to an end you will you will arrive at what’s next. Yes, we have no idea what that is, we have no idea when that is, there’s no pressure to end it or to move to go to the next season. And there’s no right way to get to the next season. But you will most likely find yourself at this point of going. That season is over. So remember that you’re going to be there in that you will exist at the end of this whole thing. And then to that even years down the road. A decade down the road. It’s okay, if infertility still impacts you. Yeah, it’s not. It’s not the worst thing in the world. You can overcome that and work on those things. Yeah, you Yeah, you got to pay attention to them for sure. And have good rhythms for finding those things. Yeah. But yes, they’ll find you and fertility will still impact you. Right, you can overcome that you can overcome those things.
Jesse Brown 47:50
And only you can check in with your feelings. Only you only you can look about how you’re doing. Only you can take a break and pause only you can you know, make these decisions for yourself. Like I could say it till I am blue in the face. But really, it’s your it’s your it’s your choice only you can really tap into how you feel.
Douglas Brown 48:10
So thank you for caring about your feelings and listening to this entire episode. How many people do you think actually have made it this far into this episode?
Jesse Brown 48:17
Douglas Brown 48:18
Everyone? Okay. Not everyone.
Jesse Brown 48:21
I don’t know. I just want to say one last thing before we end is infertility sucks. Yep. It’s also okay. If your feelings are a lot. Yeah. It’s also okay to tread through and be where your feet are. And do breathing. Like deep breathing. Like, that’s all okay to. That’s all okay to like. This is just our insights, our thoughts being on this other side. But also it’s one thing to be in it. Yeah, be in it. But I think I say this in the softest way. Like sometimes there is times in the journey where you just need to be where your feet are. And you need to like, you know you’re in it and in it. Just don’t forget about you. Don’t forget about you.
Douglas Brown 49:09
Because you are important. Your feelings matter.
Jesse Brown 49:13
And we’re here for you. And we’re back. We’re back baby. See you next week for the Enneagram and infertility podcast.
Douglas Brown 49:23
It better not get cancelled.
Jesse Brown 49:27
If this is in three episodes someone got sick. Okay.
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