Lately I’ve been contemplating donor eggs. And by contemplating I mean that we’ve begun the donor egg process. We were on vacation in June and had just learned our 3rd IUI had failed – well, technically it was our 10th IUI since we did 7 IUIs before moving to IVF…and then back to IUI – and I decided it was time to start looking into next steps. And once we learned that the donor egg program had a 6+ month wait at Cornell, it made sense to begin the process of getting ourselves on the list.
So we did all the consultations, and my husband has given blood for genetic testing, and now we have to fill out our form and give photos of me as a child and me now. Needless to say I’m finding all of it emotional and overwhelming. Some days I’m numb and disconnected from myself, some days I’m unbelievably tired, other days I’m depressed and want to do nothing but eat junk food, watch Netflix, and sleep.
Today is day 1 of my cycle and we agreed to do one more IUI so that we could consciously say, okay, this is our last time. I don’t expect it to work, and part of me doesn’t really want to spend any more money on treatments that fail time after time. But I’m willing to try one last time.
Our doctor continues to say she thinks we have a chance getting pregnant with my eggs based on my age, AMH and FSH, and she wants to continue IUIs through the end of the year. But there’s only so much more I can take of this infertility hamster wheel – and only so much money we’re both willing to spend on treatments that keep failing. Nearly 3 years into things I’m feeling like failure after failure has the potential to erode something within me, and I want to preserve the person I am. Maybe there’s one good egg in there, but I’m not sure I’m willing to go on and on forever just to find it. We’ve already given this way more time than either of us wanted, and we aren’t getting any younger. Maybe it would be better to accept I can’t have any more kids with my own eggs, grieve that loss, and then get on with the process of having a baby.
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???
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.
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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.
There’s the stuffing your face with junk food, because who cares.
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.
And then there’s giving people the real answer when they ask how you’re doing.
Yep. Pretty much my life at the moment.