Infertility and Assisted Reproduction
Personal Stories of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss
Sitting on the couch, staring at each other, swilling back the wine like a couple of maniacs, we were completely and utterly frozen. Was I really going to stop taking the pill? Tonight would I really go to bed pill-less? The next time we had sex - the very next time - could he really knock me up?
And on it went like that, for hours, and hours, and hours. It was probably the longest Sunday night of our adult lives. How could we possibly be ready for this? What would we do if it happened right away? Were we even sure that after very very long lives of never ever wanting children, that now, really now, we together, were actually ready for this?
Apparently, yea, we thought we were. Whether it was the wine or our hearts, off we went. Pill-less, sleepless, and nervous as hell - but off we went on our merry little way, heading down that perfect little yellow brick road that would lead us to being a family. Or so we thought.
For the first couple months, it wasn't the dangerous or exciting thing a lot of couples talk about. It was the terrifying thing, the scary thing, the weird thing that just hung out there in our house. Would it, or wouldn't it, happen?
For the next couple months, it was this sort of fascinating thing, this learning thing, this thing we had to pay a little attention to because apparently we weren't that good at it.
And then, in month 7, that's when it all went to hell. Month 7 is when the crying started, the temping started, and all the copious copious amounts of reading and researching started. He had a headache? Who cares! It's time to do me! I had the flu? Whatever! It's time to be done! And so we went - on, and on, and on - really finally tackling what it was that we weren't so sure we were ready to do 7 months ago, but we'd started to do anyway.
In month 11, we had our first doctor-patient chat. The kind where we confess that we're trying to have kids, and it's not really working, but you know, we're not that worried about it. Although we'd like you to do something about it anyway. And from that chat, came my hysterosalpingogram (HSG). While the HSG showed there was nothing to worry about, and there was no reason this shouldn't be happening for us, it did take me to a new level of crazy. Because when the nurse told me that 70% (or some ridiculous number like that) of their patients end up pregnant within three months of having an HSG (possibly thanks to a clearing of the tubes), I hung onto that statistic. I lived by that statistic. I believed WE would be that statistic.
And then in month 12, when we weren’t that statistic, my doctor sent us off for some blood tests - you know, to "keep us moving forward, even though there was nothing to worry about." And in month 13, when we again weren't that statistic, my shiny new reproductive endocrinologist (RE) sent me in for a laparoscopy, because again, we should at least "keep moving forward, even though there was nothing to worry about."
And in month 15, when we yet again, weren't that statistic, the still shiny and new RE offered us what infertiles can probably liken to crack - she offered me Clomid.
With Clomid came all sorts of new possibilities, and fights, because for me, I wanted to be on Clomid immediately. Forsaking all sense of cycles and timing, I would've started taking it the MINUTE we left the office if I'd been allowed. The husband though, he wasn't as interested, as desperate, as crazy. For the husband, we still had opportunities on our own, we hadn't really been trying that long. For me, it was never going to happen on our own, we had been trying that long, and I just wanted a bloody answer - the kind that comes in the form of a stick with two pink lines on it.
Four months, a ton of migraines, and many screaming matches later (all as a result of my evil Clomid twin), we were no further along than we'd been when I started the Clomid. And not just because I hadn't gotten pregnant, but because we'd learned, through a lot more of my researching, that the dose my RE had given me could be likened to her performing a clinical trial where I was the lucky candidate being given the sugar pill.
So off we went, again, in search of a new RE, one who would listen to us, one who would breathe some confidence back into us, and one we could trust. We found one easily, and just as easily, off we went again with the Clomid, but this time on a more-than-doubled dose, and this time, partnered up with some fancy new infertility crack - four months of intra-uterine insemination (IUIs)!
And the IUIs? God they were exciting! Leave your job in the middle of the day to spank it into a cup? Okay, whatever you say! Stay home sick in the afternoon to let my newly sperminated belly rest up? Sure! Because for us, this was going to be it, this was going to be what we needed, this was going to be the thing that knocked me up.
But for us, it wasn’t it, it wasn’t what we needed, and it wasn’t the thing that knocked me up. Neither was the devastation we call IVF#1, where we had only a single low-quality embryo to use, so it had to be transferred in the not-so-well-known Day 2 Transfer.
IVF#2, while slightly more exciting with a whopping four embryos, had similarly predictable results - but with a great deal more disappointment. Because while we'd gone into IVF#1 fairly well prepared that the first one often doesn't take (yet not prepared for the blowout results of a single embryo), we'd gone into IVF#2 believing there was no way in hell we'd be that couple - the couple who had spent more than $20,000 for two IVFs, and had little more to show for it than a nice tax return and two frozen embryos.
Yet we were that couple.
We are that couple.
We are the ones nobody - including us - ever wants to believe will really be you. WE are the ones who can't get pregnant. WE are the ones who for sooooo long, were always on the same side of this, yet now, are arguing over whether adoption or IVF#3 is the next step. Because we are the ones who may have never ever wanted kids before we were together, but together, can't imagine a life without kids.
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