I have found, over the past two weeks, that it is easier to ignore all the details and feelings about our infertility issues than it is to deal with them. It’s a pretty standard coping mechanism for me, and I’m aware it’s likely to bite me on the ass. The thing is, I’m trying very hard to be ok. Ok for my Husband, ok for my friends, ok to finish school, ok for my patients…
And i’m having trouble with it. Every time I peek into the mental space surrounding my disappointment that IUI didn’t work, I get choked up and if it starts i’m not sure i’ll be able to stop it. Certainly not in a timely manner, and I don’t have time to sit in a puddle of my own tears.
And I don’t especially want to MAKE time either. I know eventually I am going to have to deal with this, but I think I keep hoping that i’ll just get pregnant and never have to actually experience any of this pain, if I can just put it off for long enough. Delayed dissatisfaction, if you will.
Even as I sit here trying to evaluate where i’m at, i’m avoiding thinking about it to any depth. A friend of mine asked how that stuff was going yesterday and I started to talk about it, managed to make a few flippant comments and give the bare info to update, and then I felt my throat start to close, and I changed the subject. I just don’t want to evaluate how I feel about this.
I think I keep glancing over at the issue, thinking that maybe just leaning into the sorrow would be cathartic. But i’m not ready. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready.
There are lots of posts crossing my facebook feed today about mothers day, and many of them acknowledge that mothers day is hard for some people – whether because they have lost their own mother, because they are a mother who has lost a child, or they are like me, and desperately want to be a mother and are endlessly frustrated that it hasn’t happened.
The thing is, mothers day is hard. It’s one of those weird hallmark holidays (literally, it started as one woman’s desire to honour her dead mother, and was quickly overrun by crass commercialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day, much to the founders chagrin) But it is everywhere, and not acknowledging it is somehow churlish. I emailed and called my Mum. But I get tired of the gushing on social media, so other than a cursory check, I try to avoid it for a few days either side. I know that no one is intentionally rubbing it in anyone elses face, but in the same way that I personally don’t enjoy constant effusive statements of love for ones partner all over social media (I unfollow those people), I don’t love seeing all the mothers day posts.
I choose to insulate myself from it by logging off for a few days, which seems like the responsible thing to do. I have no expectation of anyone else changing their behaviours to suit me. By Wednesday the majority will be done, and my facebook page will be back to the standard irreverent memes and adorable pet videos I have carefully curated through the FB algorithm. But today, today I choose to absent myself, because it is no one else’s responsibility to protect me, but it is my responsibility to protect myself, and the barrage of images of new mums, happy births, and friends etc. with their children is more than I can take today.
All my love to anyone else who has the same experience.
IUI round 1 didn’t work. On the plus side, knowing that we had two viable eggs, the sperm in the right place, and the timing perfect meant I realize, finally, that this is not my fault. For five years each month our failure to conceive has felt like all my fault – like my body failed, and couldn’t make it happen. This month we gave it everything we had, and every opportunity we could, and still nothing happened.
According to all the fun google has to offer(including google scholar), 3xIUI is the max, then you need to move on, so we still have two more. But we need a month off. We need to have a month where sex is for fun, and my joints don’t ache due to a fertility drug that started as a cancer chemo treatment.
This month will be devoted to self support: exercise, diet, school, and not timing every physical interaction.
On the other hand: Life is not fair. Fertility isn’t fair. Being angry about it is a useless waste of time
Doesn’t stop me from being angry.
Seven days ago we did IUI. The ultrasound showed two follicles ready to go, and my Husband’s sperm count was apparently great. Basically, we know that all of the necessary components were in the right place at the right time. We will know if I am pregnant next week.
I am so completely and utterly all in: I catch myself talking to my abdomen when i’m alone in the car, and my Husband has (thankfully rarely) been referring to me as his “maybe baby mama”. I don’t even want to voice the “if” factor out loud, I just want to believe that this is it, after five years and so much frustration and sorrow this is it.
I’m not even going to say the if thoughts here, I just want for this baby to join us in nine months.
We had our second appointment with the new (improved) fertility specialist earlier today. I feel like such a failure when I admit that we are not pregnant, that the first three rounds of letrozole were ineffective. Apparently letrozole alone has about an 8% rate of fertility, but if we add IUI we move up to 25%. That is different from the stats I understood from the research I read, but it is possible that they were based on the whole sample over 6 months – if 25% of them got pregnant over the full 6 months of treatment, that may make sense statistically. Stats have never been my strong point, and my time working in a research lab only made me understand how much they can be manipulated to avoid a null result. I tend to think most published research needs to be taken with a grain of salt/understanding of bias.
I know that things are no worse now than they were this morning, I know that we already had all this info, and I know we already knew the next step was IUI and that we would likely need to go there. I mean, technically, we could still get pregnant this round – I should be ovulating in the next week. The timing is not great, I have to be away this weekend, but I think we can make it work, cover the spread, so to speak.
Oh language, you’re funny and frequently dirty sounding.
Basically although nothing changed because of this appointment, I feel worse. I just want to melt away for a while, and not exist. Even though I know it’s not something I can control, I still feel like a failure on a very basic level.
We will probably do our first round of IUI in April.
I first tried ovulation prediction kits, or OPK, about three years ago. The ones I bought off of Amazon.ca were out of stock, so the company sent me a different version, which were more complicated to use (they required an eyedropper) and I suspect were defective, because it didn’t matter when I tested my pee, the test was always positive. Basically they were useless, so I stopped using them… and then stopped making a conscious effort to get pregnant for over a year, so they sat in the cabinet and were ignored. For the past two cycles (since starting letrozole), I’ve been relying of daily sex around the time I would likely be ovulating to cover the bases. Although initially enthusiastic, by day five or six neither my Husband nor I are over eager.
So this month I ordered another set of OPKs (from a different company), and they arrived in time to use. On day 14 I had the clearest positive result I could possibly imagine – like, textbook clearly a positive result, it could be the photo next to the ad for what the test should look like if it were positive. So I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we timed everything perfectly this month – and that my body probably did produce an egg.
I’m torn between thinking using the OPK was a good idea – it is good that we know our timing is spot on, and since we go back to the fertility doctor March 20th, if this cycle fails we have more valuable information for him. But in knowing that we have timed everything perfectly, the remainder of the month is gonna be torture waiting to find out if we have finally succeeded. April will mark a full five years since we started TTC. It would be sweet to know that we finally did by the time we hit that anniversary.
As I let my brain run away with me, the timing could not be more perfect for us: My masters should be done by July, our mortgage is locked in and doesn’t need to be renewed for another four years, we bought a place with a spare room, both my work and my Husbands are picking up and offer flexible hours, so we could likely manage childcare between the two of us without having to find and pay for daycare…
C’mon baby, it’s a great time, come and join us!
I cry in my car a lot. More than I do anywhere else combined. There is something about the feeling of being in an isolated space by myself, that despite the fact that my windows are untinted and I’m not actually invisible, I am alone with my thoughts.
I think part of it is i’ve noticed most people in traffic are hyper self-involved and not paying attention to what is going on around them. Even if they happened to glance over and notice my tears, they won’t cause any more than a passing curiosity, a minor blip on their radar.
I prefer not to let my Husband into my daily grief/pain/darkness. He already worries about me enough, I don’t really feel the need to give him more cause.
All that being said, I broke down and let him into everything last night. I feel bad, because he looks utterly helpless when confronted with my distress. I find the active trying to conceive, the knowledge that in theory we have improved our odds with the medication, harder than not trying. I will know whether this round has been effective in about ten days. We go back to see the doctor again in March – we should have three full rounds of letrozole under our belts by the time we see him again.
On top of the infertility and stress of the medication, i’m really frustrated with my weight. I know, without stepping on the scale, that it’s up. I’m finding it hard to have the motivation to be as active as I usually am, or, for that matter, to eat well. Being unhappy with my body does not help the rest of my mental state, but at least it’s something I can hold onto and actively work on. So I’m signing up for a 5km run, adding two rowing workouts to the 2-3 I was managing over the December/January period, and limit simple carbs. I need to get this back under control, because it feels like very little else is mine to do so with.
I don’t want to track calories, that tends to mean I feel entitled to eat more to compensate for my exercise calories. I just need to find some much needed balance.