Getting Pregnant Is a Part-Time Job (for Those Dealing With Fertility Issues)

Sometimes, my waiting room feels as menacing as this spikey sign. Credit: jeffk

When most people think about the process of “getting pregnant,” it doesn’t usually seem like something that takes a lot of effort or time. I mean, really, doing the horizontal tango doesn’t have to take that long (Hey, everyone loves a quickie!) or be that aerobic (although that can be fun and a total bonus!). But when you’re talking about having issues getting pregnant and undergoing infertility treatments like I am? Well, let’s just say that I am well acquainted with the waiting room.

In fact, this whole infertility thing is beginning to feel like a second job. Here’s a pretty typical cycle for me…

Infertility Treatments: Cycle Day by Cycle Day

Cycle Day 1: Get my period. Cry for at least an hour. Mope around. Eat chocolate.

Cycle Day 2: Call the doctor to schedule appointments and refill prescriptions. Eat more chocolate.

Cycle Days 3-7: Try to see the upside of getting said period and begin to focus positively on this new cycle. Go to pharmacy; begin fertility drugs. Try not to let the medication’s side effects make me bonkers.

Cycle Days 8-11: Try not to think about it. But think about it. A lot.

Cycle Days 12-18: Go to the doctor about every other day to have “relations” with the trans-vaginal ultrasound wand to see how the whole egg situation is going.

Cycle Day 19: Be excited that I finally have a big ol’ egg ready to drop. Pick up HCG shot at pharmacy. Drive back to doctor’s office to have HCG shot administered (Owww!) to ovulate. Go home and think good pregnant thoughts. Pray.

Cycle Day 20: Go with husband to the reproductive specialist to give “sample.” Make immature jokes. Get turkey basted (aka IUI). Pray some more.

Cycle Days 21-33: Wait to test for pregnancy. Try not to go insane with excitement/worry.

Repeat, repeat…I estimate that in a typical cycle I spend at least 12 hours in the doctor’s office and pharmacy (or driving to and fro), and gosh knows how long thinking about it all—or trying not to think about it, which is just about impossible.

I say all of this not for you to feel bad or sorry for me—this is the path I’ve chosen and the lot I’ve been given (and I’m trying really, really hard to accept  it with grace). I say it because, well damn, that’s a lot of time! I’m lucky enough to work from home and pretty much make my own schedule. However, I know there are lots of ladies who have done this with jobs that are not so flexible. And I wonder: I know this is hard for me, but how do you do it?! Between the waiting and the stress and the doctor appointments (and don’t even get me started on what happens when there’s a scheduling error and you have to come back a few hours later!), it takes a lot of physical and emotional energy. And some days, after an appointment where the doctor tells me that my endometrial lining is too thin or that the sperm count isn’t ideal, I can’t imagine doing anything else but going home and curling up in a ball for a few hours. And eating chocolate.

So, ladies who are going through this now or have in the past, how do you deal day after day as the emotional—and time—toll ticks by? And, seriously, you guys are my sheros! —Jenn


Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    My Husband and I have been TTC for the past year. I went off birth control in early Oct 2011 (had been on it for 18 years). I never got my period. Went to the gyno in December, given Provera to bring on a period and it worked. Got my period, had sex like rabbits and then nothing. Went on Provera again to make my period happen again in April, it worked, had sex like crazy, nothing. Had an HSG test May 2012 (very painful!!!) was told that my right fallopian tube is blocked, but don’t worry, you can still get pregnant with one tube. Had laparoscopic exploratory surgery in June 2012. Was told that my ovaries looked “BEEFY” nice, thanks, I needed that. Possible PCOS. Still not sure why tube blocked, wasn’t distended, couldn’t see blockage by ovary or by entrance to uterus. Then all of sudden I get my period all on my own this October FOR 18 DAYS STRAIGHT. Heavy Heavy Heavy bleeding. Couldn’t cough, sneeze, laugh or move for that matter without “knowing” what was going on….Had internal ultrasound and was told that my uterine lining was thick for bleeding so much. Had uterine biopsy last wednesday (HURT LIKE A MOFO) After the doc (who was 6months pregnant, I wanted to punch her in her face) told me that she would put me on Provera again to make it stop, but also make another one come in 2 weeks I kinda stopped bleeding. Still spotting. THIS IS THE MOST EMOTIONAL AND TAXING THING THAT I HAVE EVER HAD TO GO THROUGH IN MY LIFE. I never fully understood or felt the pain and angst that a woman can feel while going through fertility issues until now. I’m exhausted. The ups and downs, the worrying, the hoping, the praying, the defeat…it’s so much. December I’m going to a fertility specialist (gyno said she could help me if it was just one problem, but all coupled together was outside of her reach). I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I just turned 35 and feel like my time is just ticking away. I’m scared that it will go on forever, I’m scared that the Fertility doc will say “nope, sorry, can’t help, never seen this before” I didn’t really offer any advice, but it helped me to get my frustrations out. Sorry you are going through this my fellow Jenn…I can’t offer any words of wisdom. I don’t have anything special to say. I don’t know that there is anything that can be said. But know that we read your frustrations and relate to them. Wishing you all the luck in the world, gotta stop before the tears start to flow…..

  2. Jenn says

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Jennifer. Like you said, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I feel your frustration, too. Every emotion you expressed, I’ve felt. I wish you so much luck. Hang in there. We are not alone! :)

  3. Kim says

    I’m guessing you’re looking for an answer other than “cry”. I haven’t had the invasive treatment route, so my time commitment hasn’t been the major issue but the emotional toll has been huge. In the year and a half of health issues that were eventually termed infertility, I found myself shocked at the depth of not only my sadness but my anger. I can’t count how many angry runs I took in that time.

    When my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, that’s when I thought I’d lose my mind. I couldn’t fathom that anyone deserved that kind of agony. I avoided Facebook (aka baby central) and somehow fought off the urge to do physical harm to all the idiots who upon asking if I had kids and hearing my negative response would say “Oh, you’re so lucky. My kids are monsters!”. I had only a small cadre of sympathetic friends who I told (and who I felt tremendous guilt in overburdening with my grief). It was probably the most isolating and lonely time of my life.

    I’m now pregnant again (13.5 weeks) and every part of every day is a decision not to live in the fear and anxiety of more sadness and loss. I will say this: if I am lucky enough to bring this baby home, I know I’ll be a better parent for all my experiences. I’ve spent most of my adult life uncertain that I should be a mother, unsure that I wanted it badly enough. Those doubts are gone. I choose to believe that with a greater capacity for grief must come a greater capacity for appreciation. We may not love them more, but we will appreciate our children on a level that people who haven’t experienced this can’t understand.

  4. Jenn says

    Kim, thanks for your comment and sharing your experience. For as much as I’ve been through (and without ever have been pregnant before, it does feel like grieving many times), I can only imagine the devastation that comes with a miscarriage. A lot of what you said really resonated with me about the greater capacity to appreciate parenting — whenever it comes. Best of luck to you and stay brave!

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