Well, actually, it began quite a while ago. Let’s see, two states, one failed marriage, one MLS degree, and several jobs ago.
What began, you ask?
Simple. The realization that I want to have a baby. Unlike my situation two states, one failed marriage, one MLS degree & several jobs ago, I now have a partner who also wants a baby – or at least who is willing to indulge me in my desire to mother one. We did everything right, were very careful to not have an oops baby while we were making sure that we both really felt committed to each other & to this decision. Oh, we were so careful. Stop, stop, I’m killing myself here. We really thought the coitus interruptus was working.
And then we started, um, not interrupting. And trying rather more actively. Taking my basal body temperature to track ovulation more accurately. Cancelling weekend trips if traveling would interfere with planned baby-making activities. No caffeine. No alcohol. No undue stress. Prescribed ice cream(!) And each month, I learned that I’m more prone to PMS depression than I’d ever thought – though maybe it was just the depression of failure I was feeling. Because we were failing at this most basic, simple activity, month after month.
Birds do it. Bees do it. Why the hell can’t he & me do it?
Which, I think, I’d feared all along might be the case. Mostly because I am a pessimist at heart, when it comes to things I truly long for, but also because I have compulsively read the statistics on pregnancy rates for women my age and for men his age. Although I’m not quite as old as, say, Halle Berry, and he’s not as old as, say, Charlie Chaplin, we’re not spring chickens either. So we went to a nice reproductive endocrinologist (RE) who scheduled us both (but mostly me) for a shitload of tests over the last month to see if he could shed any light on our difficulties.
Blood work til I’m dizzy and bruised all over. An interesting video xray (called an HSG test) of my fallopian tubes to check they’re not blocked, filled with endo or fibroids. Balloons expanding in my cervix, catheters the size of drinking straws inserting dye. Fun. I have souvenir pictures to prove it.
All of which came to fuck-all, in the end. I mean, we now know I’m not syphillitic. I’m immune to Rubella, though I’ve never been exposed to Hepatitis (and, living in NYC, my RE recommended that I get immunized, stat.) I’m not at risk for passing on Fragile X syndrome, I don’t have Lupus, I’m in good shape and, according to my RE, I have a “beautiful cervix”. My tubes are not blocked. My uterus shows no signs of any growths or abnormalities. My partner’s sperm are numerous but not particularly good swimmers. And too many of them are shaped funny. I’m ovulating regularly – like a goddamn German clock, actually – but the RE is not entirely convinced that every egg is making it down my tubes, since the ends are more constricted than he’d like to see. So while we could undergo some rather invasive procedures to attempt to open up my tubes, and try to figure out what’s deforming so many of his sperm, & correct it – probably surgically. It really comes down to the fact that I’m 38. My partner is 54. We are pretty much over the top of the roller-coaster ride, heading into the long quick decline of infertility. We don’t have the year or so to spare.
So we’re going to go through at least a few rounds of IVF. Special IVF where we don’t just put the girl-goods and boy-bits in a petri dish & let them get to know each other, but the more forceful kind, where they’re going to inject each and every egg (and please let there be lots to play with!) with a single sperm using a teeny-tiny needle. Not just a test-tube baby, but a complete medical miracle. Being the SF geek that I am, if this works, I’ll be calling it my little cylon sprog until it’s at least 14 years old.
Hah. Who am I kidding? If it works, I’ll be so giddy with delight and terror that I won’t be able to form coherent words for weeks.
So I’m delighted – because it might work. Terrified, because, well, it might not. It really might not, and this is it – this is the proverbially almost-completely-shot wad. After this, there’s very little hope that it’ll be ok. And, too, I’m grieving a bit. Although I’ve been fearing (and therefore preparing myself for) this outcome for months if not years, in the course of one day, I went from being someone who was having a little trouble conceiving, to being someone who is medically categorized as infertile.
Think Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona, moaning in the doctor’s office after she hears the diagnosis, “I’m barren!” Pathos and patheticness. That’s me, though I’m not so cute in a cop’s uniform.
I’m about to start using an estrogen patch. Birth control, basically. Yep – I’m dying here from the irony. Already taking prenatal vitamins, which taste like dead fish smothered in grape syrup. Yerk, anyone?
And I’m praying. And wishing my parents could be bothered to reply to my emails. I’m feeling bitter about their lack of interest in my long-distance life right now – which is probably why I’m feeling compelled to post here. I know that reading other folks’ blogs about their “journey through infertility” helped one hell of a lot, and it seems it might have been fairly therapeutic for them too. Always one to jump on a bandwagon, here I am, playing the kazoo.