Bloating, bad sex, and the glamour of fertility treatments

We had yet another IUI yesterday – and for anyone keeping track, that’s the 3rd IUI since we stopped doing multiple cycles of IVF…which was only after doing multiple cycles of IUI. I’m Benjamin Buttoning my fertility treatments apparently. Soon I’ll just be tracking my temperature and charting cervical mucus like an innocent 26-year-old. Anyway, the IUI, as always, left me bloated, and tender, and unable to walk without feeling stabbing gas-like pains in my abdomen. And what I truly, truly love about the IUI process is that they then tell you to go home and have sex that night or the following morning. Riiiiiiight. Because that’s exactly what you want to do when your body feels like a medical experiment gone wrong.

And of course, despite doing this fertility song and dance a million times, this time we just flat out forgot to have sex. My husband went out to watch basketball last night, and I fell asleep before he got home, and this morning right as I was about to get in the shower I thought, shit, that’s right.

“We forgot to have sex,” I told him, standing in the bedroom doorway wearing nothing but a towel and thick layer of bitterness mixed with general apathy while he still lay in bed.

“We should do it now,” he replied.

“No fucking way,” I laughed, given that our son was eating breakfast at the dining room table, and we live in a NYC apartment, which means the dining room table is a stone’s throw from everything, and I was already short on time.

“We have to!” he insisted.

“Its not like its even going to MATTER,” I replied irritably.

“We have to give it everything we’ve got and keep the hope alive!” he replied, springing out of bed.

“And where exactly do you even think this is even going to happen?” I asked.

“The bathroom! We’ll lock the door.”

Long story short, after bickering about the stupidity of this suggestion, I finally said, “Fuck it, whatever,” and we locked ourselves in our tiny bathroom. Kneeling on the cold, hard, tile floor with towels underneath our knees, we had quite possibly the least romantic, most perfunctory, definitely most uncomfortable, and fastest sex possible while our son sat innocently eating his greek yogurt and granola mere feet away.

That, my friends, is the glamour and glory of infertility.

Afterwards—and by afterwards I mean, like, two minutes later, if that—I sat naked on the toilet with my legs up on the wall and just cried. Because what the fuck am I doing anymore? And when will this stupidity end? And is this really the life I want? Having bad sex in locked bathrooms post-painful-ovulation for what will undoubtedly be absolutely no reason?

Also, my good luck wishbone necklace broke this weekend, and I am pissed. I bought it 9 months into this current journey (which was a million years ago at this point) to replace the one I had worn when trying to conceive my son, which I had started wearing again to hopefully conceive a second child. The first one was gold plated brass, and ended up looking rather worn, and had also broken, and so I bought a real 14k gold one this time, because the fertility treatments were clearly going to take us longer the second time around, and I felt like I needed something solid that could withstand the endless fertility march of time.

And now it’s fucking broken?!? Are you kidding me? What does that even mean, Universe? Must you rob me of even my delusional good luck charms???

Seeking one good egg

It’s always nice to get your post-IUI period on the same day that your neighbor asks you to watch their baby, so that you and your husband and your soon-to-be-four-year old (who incidentally has invented 3 imaginary babies for himself, as well as an imaginary brother and sister, and who sweetly and innocently asks you from time to time “when are we going to have a baby, Mommy?”) briefly experience what your life could be if your eggs weren’t such shit.

When we got the baby up, my son was so doting – hugging and kissing him, wanting me to hold both of them, and then wrapping his arms around all of us with such unbridled joy. He wanted to feed the baby, carefully and diligently holding the little veggie fruit pouch and pushing the food into the baby’s mouth. He wanted to hug him, and do things for him, and show him toys. And then we all sat around the table together, the four of us, eating dinner, watching the baby eat, laughing as he made a mess in his high chair. My husband turned to me, sad eyed, and said “This is one for your blog.”

It’s heartbreaking to not have control over leading the life you most desperately want to lead. I constantly remind myself of how lucky we are. I don’t take having the one child that we do have for granted because I know how hard we struggled for him. And yet…my heart wants what it wants. Sometimes I feel greedy to want more when I know people who are struggling for their first child. Sometimes I think my life would be so much easier if I would give up on my goals (having another child, publishing a book). I could just go to work, and come home, and live life, and chill.

Except that’s just not who I am. I could chill for, like, a day. And then I’d need a project and something to strive for.

Needless to say, we are on our second post-IVF IUI cycle (did that make any sense?). In fact I am sitting in the doctor’s office (as an aside, no AC up in this place? Not even a window unit? In NYC?? What the…?) waiting for blood work as I type this. Likely it will happen this weekend. Am I just throwing cash down the toilet at this point? I don’t know. Maybe. We’re just listening to our doctor’s advice. It’s all we can do.

I just need one good egg, that’s what my doctor says, that’s what I keep telling myself. Is it in there? My doctor thinks so. Will I find it? I pray that I do, I don’t know if I will.

In the mean time I’m doing the Whole 30 elimination diet this month (currently day 9!) to clean out my system and have control over something. No sugar, alcohol, dairy, peanut butter, or grains while in the midst of fertility treatments? Am I insane?? Actually, I’m hoping it helps, though that’s not even the point to be honest. I have finally reached a place where I want to do good things for me and not just my fertility. That feels like growth.

That said, I still want that one goddamn good egg.

Google Searches of the Infertile and Desperate

How many rounds of IUI till it worked

How many rounds of IVF till it worked

How many rounds of IVF till it worked 38 years

How many rounds of IVF till it worked egg quality issues 38 years

Post IVF transfer tips

IVF success one embryo day 3

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Spotting IVF 10dp3dt implantation or period

Spotting IVF 11dp3dt implantation or period

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IVF success with coculture Cornell

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IUI success after failed IVF

 

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is a) incredibly re-watchable, b) entirely underrated, and c) definitely one of my favorite movies. I mean, fine, it’s no 8 1/2 by Fellini, but that doesn’t mean its not a damn good flick.

But I digress. My point here is that I’ve been thinking about that movie lately when it comes to infertility because my life has very much come to feel like Groundhog Day. Another day, another doctor’s visit, another round of meds, another astronomical bill paid on my credit card. And repeat. Again, and again, and again. I’ve felt stuck in this loop for so long that it’s hard to imagine that there’s actually an end in sight, or a way out that doesn’t involve just giving up.

There’s the general sense of defeat.

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There’s the stuffing your face with junk food, because who cares.

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There’s the fuck everything I’m just gonna drink alcohol/consume caffeine/abandon full-fat dairy/exercise all out (such a rebel in this infertility world!) because fuck them they can’t control me.

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And then there’s giving people the real answer when they ask how you’re doing.

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Yep. Pretty much my life at the moment.

Doctor, doctor, what should I do?

I feel like I have a codependent relationship with my reproductive endocrinologist. Every time we get the bad news that another cycle has failed, I immediately want to speak to her. Which I think is normal. But its like I feel like she’s my oracle, or my own personal crystal ball. Like she holds our future and the answers in her hand. When in fact she’s just a scientist trying her hardest.

I go to Cornell, considered one of the best places in the country, or so I’m told. And I really do like my doctor – and the other doctors there as well. And I feel like I need to trust their opinions, they’re the experts after all. If she told me I have no chance of getting pregnant with my own eggs, I’d grieve but accept the reality. And in some weird way I almost wish she would say this, because it would be a clear answer.

But that’s not what she’s telling me, even after this last 5th failed IVF cycle/transfer.

What she’s telling me is that she still believes we can have another child that is genetically both of ours. What she’s telling me is that she wants to go back to IUI, even though we did that 3 times before moving onto IVF, because maybe “I’m one of those women who only gets pregnant through IUI” (we got pregnant twice this way; the first time resulted in a miscarriage, the second in my son). What she’s telling me is that she also wants to go back to to the entire board in the mean time and present my case again and get their input, though she expects them to have similar opinions. What she’s telling me is that if 2 rounds of IUI don’t work maybe we should consider another cycle of IVF with co-culture and genetic testing.

I asked about donor eggs, which she has never brought up. She says this is a quick answer to a complicated scenario, and she wouldn’t stop us if we wanted to go that route, but it’s clearly not her recommendation, and she keeps saying she thinks we can still have a child using my eggs.

Which is obviously my preference. But if it’s between having a child and not, I’d choose having one and go to the next option on the list; donor eggs.

I don’t know what to do with all of this. I don’t think she’s someone who just tells you what you want to hear. She’s pragmatic, straight forward. And if I’m saying I want to trust my doctors, and let them guide the next course of action, what she’s saying is she thinks we should stay the course.

But of course its not her body, or her money, or her grief-stricken heart. She’s not the one who has to dig herself out of a hole of grief every time THE call comes. Who has to constantly reevaluate her own life and all the things she thought she wanted. And sometimes, which I’m feeling cynical, I wonder if I’m just a puzzle to solve, the hard case that she is goddamn well going to crack.

Has anyone else out there been in a similar situation?

I don’t mean that rhetorically – obviously people have – I mean that literally; has anyone out there reading this right now dealt with something similar? I’m at such a loss as to how to proceed, what to think, what to do. I keep praying “let go and let god” (and I’m not really religious) because I can’t think what else to do.

If you can relate, I’d love to hear from you.

 

5th strike and you’re out

The call came. It was negative.

I am in numbed shock. Part of me really did think this would be the time. It was our 5th and 6th egg retrievals combined, and our 5th transfer. We transferred 4 embryos. I didn’t have any spotting. And still nothing.

I’ve been praying to god over the past hour – and I’m not even really religious – because I just need help and guidance. I’m lost and don’t know what to do anymore. Where is the line between persistence and stupidity? Is this just not meant to be? Do I have the life I am already meant to have? Should I stop expecting/asking for more and be grateful for what I have? Or do I keep going? Do I do more treatments? Do I move on to donor eggs? My doctor has never mentioned it, telling us she really believes we can get pregnant, but it’s not happening. And not happening. And not happening. And not happening.

I stocked up on junk food this morning for the impending shit storm, and I don’t even want to eat it. And I don’t feel like getting drunk. Maybe I will later, but right now I just want an answer from god. Some kind of divine intervention to tell me what to do, whatever that is. If it’s give up, I’ll give up. If it’s keep going, I’ll keep going. I’m so tired of trying to control things on my own, I just want someone else to step in and tell me what to do. So god, if you’re out there, can you just give me a sign?