Tag Archives: infertility

About Our Infertility

I originally published this on MySpace in January of 2007.

Thanks for taking the time

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I realize the post is quite lengthy, but it is important to us that you have an idea of what we are going through. These are mostly not my words – I found this in an alt.infertility.primary post, but everything here applies to us. I have added emphasis where I thought appropriate. –Dean

About Our Infertility

Adrienne knows that you love her and want her to be happy, to be her “old self” again. Maybe lately, she seems isolated, depressed or obsessed with the idea of having a baby.

You probably have difficulty understanding why getting pregnant has colored virtually every aspect of her daily life. Adie hopes that by reading this , written by psychologists with both personal and professional experience with infertility, you will better understand the pain she is feeling. This letter also will tell you how you can help her.


It may surprise you to know that one out of six women who wants to have a baby cannot conceive. There are many possible reasons for this dismal statistic: blocked fallopian tubes, ovarian failure, hormonal imbalances, toxic exposure, husband’s low sperm count, to name just a few. Moreover, after a woman turns 35, it becomes difficult to have a baby primarily because many of the eggs she has left are defective.

All these barriers to pregnancy are physical or physiological, not psychological. Tubes don’t become blocked because a woman is “trying too hard” to get pregnant. Antibodies that kill sperm will not disappear if a woman simply relaxes. And a man cannot make his sperm swim faster by developing a more optimistic outlook.


When someone we care about has a problem, it is natural to try to help. If there’s nothing specific that we can do, we try to give helpful advice. Often, we draw on our personal experiences or on anecdotes involving other people we know. Perhaps you recall a friend who had trouble getting pregnant until she and her husband went to a tropical island. So you suggest that she and I take a vacation, too.

We appreciate your advice, but cannot use it because of the physical nature of our problems. Not only can we not use your advice, the sound of it upsets Adie greatly. Indeed, she is inundated with this sort of advice at every turn. Imagine how frustrating it must be for her to hear about other couples who “magically” become pregnant during a vacation simply by making love. To us, undergoing infertility treatment, making love and conceiving a child have very little to do with one another, now. You can’t imagine how hard we have been trying to have this baby and how crushed Adie and I feel every month we learn that we failed again. Your well-meaning advice is an attempt to transform an extremely complicated predicament into a simplistic little problem. By simplifying our problems in this manner, you’ve diminished the validity of our emotions, making us feel psychologically undervalued. Naturally, both of us will feel angry and upset with you under these circumstances.

The truth is: There’s practically nothing concrete you can do to help Adrienne. The best help you can provide is to be understanding and supportive. It’s easier to be supportive if you can appreciate how being unable to have a baby can be such a devastating blow.


Women are reared with the expectation that they will have a baby someday. They’ve thought about themselves in a motherhood role ever since they played with dolls. A woman may not even consider herself part of the adult world unless she is a parent. When Adrienne thinks she cannot have a baby, she feels “broken.”

Worse, we are not even certain that we will never have a baby. One of the cruellest things you can do to a person is give them hope and then not come through. Modern medicine has created this double-edged sword. It offers hope where there previously was none — but at the price of slim odds.


In the past decade, reproductive medicine has made major breakthroughs that enable women, who in the past were unable to have children, to now conceive. The use of drugs such as Pergonal can increase the number and size of eggs that a woman produces thereby increasing her chances of fertilization. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques extract a woman’s eggs and mix them with sperm in a “test tube” and allow them to fertilize in a laboratory. The embryo can then be transferred back to the woman’s uterus. There are many other options, as well.

Despite the hope these technologies offer, they are a hard row to hoe. Adrienne has endured repeated doctor’s visits, taken daily injections, shuffled work, school and social schedules to accommodate various procedures, and laid out considerable sums of money — money that may or may not be reimbursed by insurance. All of this is preceded by a battery of diagnostic tests that can be both embarrassing and extremely painful.

Infertility is a highly personal medical condition, one that we may feel uncomfortable discussing with our employers. So, Adie is faced with coming up with excuses whenever her treatment interferes with her job. Meanwhile, we are devoting considerable time and energy to managing a mountain of claims forms and other paperwork required by insurers.

After every medical attempt at making her pregnant, she and I must play a waiting game that is peppered with spurts of optimism and pessimism. It is an emotional roller coaster. She doesn’t know if her swollen breasts are a sign of pregnancy or a side effect of the fertility drugs. If she sees a spot of blood on her underwear, she doesn’t know if an embryo is trying to implant or her period is about to begin. If she is not pregnant after a procedure, we may feel as though our baby died. How can a person grieve for a life that existed only in our mind?

While trying to cope with this emotional turmoil, she gets invited to a baby shower or Christening, learns that a friend or colleague is pregnant, or she reads about a one-day-old infant found abandoned in a Dumpster. Can you try to imagine her envy, her rage over the inequities in life? Given that infertility permeates practically every facet of our existence, is it any wonder why she is obsessed with her quest?

Every month, we wonder whether this will finally be our month. If is is not, we wonder if we can muster the energy to try again. Will we be able to afford another procedure?

So when you speak with Adirenne, try to empathize with the burdens on her mind and in her heart. She knows you care about her, and she may need to talk with you about her ordeal. But she knows that there is nothing you can say or do to make her pregnant, and she fears that you will offer a suggestion that will trigger even more despair.


You can give us support, and don’t criticize Adie or I for any steps we may be taking — such as not attending a nephew’s birthday — to protect ourselves from emotional trauma. You can say something like this:

I care about you. After reading this letter, I have a better idea about how hard this must be for you. I wish I could help. I’m here to listen to you and cry with you, if you feel like crying. I’m here to cheer you on when you feel as though there is no hope. You can talk to me. I care.

The most important thing to remember is that Adie and I are distraught and worried. Listen to what we have to say, but do not judge. Do not belittle her feelings. Don’t try to pretend that everything will be OK. Don’t sell her on fatalism with statements like, “What will be will be.” If that were truly the case, what’s the point of using medical technology to try to accomplish what nature cannot?

Your willingness to listen can be of great help. Infertile women feel cut off from other people. Your ability to listen and support her will help her handle the stress she’s experiencing. Our infertility is one of the most difficult situations we will ever have to deal with.


Just as an ordinary room can be an obstacle course to a blind person, so can the everyday world be full of hazards for an infertile woman — hazards which do not exist for women with children.

She goes to her cousin’s house for Christmas. Her cousin is breast-feeding. The men are watching the football game while the women talk about the problems with their kids. She feels left out, to say the least. Christmas is an example of the many holidays that are particularly difficult for her. They mark the passage of time. She remembers what came to mind last Christmas — that the next year, she would have a new son or daughter to show off to her family.

Mundane activities like a walk down the street or going to the shopping mall are packed with land mines. Seeing women pushing baby carriages and strollers strikes a raw nerve. While watching TV, Adirenne is bombarded by commercials for diapers, baby food, and early pregnancy tests.

At a party, someone asks how long she’s been married and whether she has any kids. She feels like running out of the room, but she can’t. If she talks about being infertile, she’s likely to get well-intentioned advice — just the thing she doesn’t need: “Just relax. Don’t worry. It will happen soon,” or “You’re lucky. I’ve had it with my kids. I wish I had your freedom.” These are the kinds of comments that make her want to crawl under the nearest sofa and die.

Escape into work and career can be impossible. Watching our dream shatter on a monthly basis, we can have difficulty investing energy in advancing our careers. All around, her co-workers are getting pregnant. Going to a baby shower is painful — but so is distancing herself from social occasions celebrated by her colleagues.


Because we are infertile, life is extremely stressful for us. We are doing our best to cope. Please be understanding. Sometimes she will be depressed. Often times she will be angry. Sometimes she will be physically and emotionally exhausted. She’s not going to be “the same old sweetie” she used to be. She might not want to do many of the things she used to do.

We have no idea when, or if, our problem will be solved. We are engaged in an emotionally and financially taxing venture with a low probability of success. Overall, only about 11 percent of those people using special fertility treatments succeed in having a baby. The odds are even lower for women over 40. The longer we persevere, however, the greater her chances of pregnancy become.

Maybe someday we will be successful. Maybe someday we will give up and turn to adoption, or come to terms with living a childfree life. At present, though, we have no idea what will happen. It’s all we can do to keep going from one day to the next. We do not know why this is our lot. Nobody does. All we know is the horrible anguish that we live with every day.

Please care about her. Please be sensitive to her situation. Give her your support, she needs it and wants it.

No, I’m not going to effen relax!

For those of you who don’t know, we’re trying to get pregnant. (See EVERY other blog I’ve written for more details). Now, after reading all that background blogging, you should know we’ve had a bit of a hard and painful time accomplishing this goal. I’m not complaining…well, I am complaining, loudly and at length, it’s just a saying…and for the most part people have been truly supportive. But, from the bottom of my heart, and for the sake of every woman in my situation, I have one request: PLEASE, DON’T TELL ME TO EFFEN RELAX!

Ok, here’s where I’m coming from. When you start infertility treatments, it’s not something you do on a whim. Oh no. They won’t even *look* at you if you haven’t been actively trying to get pregnant for a year (and by active I mean charting your cycles and using ovulation tests and all that). If you haven’t, they tell you you, you guessed, start charting your cycles and use ovulation tests. Then they do some basic tests–sperm count, hormone levels, mucus viscosity, that sort of thing. It’s not until several cycles later that they actually begin the pills and ultrasounds. What I’m saying is this: it’s not like you can walk into a doctor, say “I think I’m infertile” and they’ll send you home with a packet of needles and book on test tube babies. No, it’s a long and involved process that weeds out anyone who just hasn’t gotten lucky (well, they’re assuming you’ve gotten lucky a little bit–otherwise you’d need a whole different lecture).

Now, during this year or so of unsuccessful, at home fertilization, you have a lot of sex. I mean, A LOT. As anyone who’s trying for a baby–they’ll tell you it’s been mere hours since the last attempt. They’ll also probably tell you the position they tried and how long she stayed with her legs in the air to ensure proper spermatozoon flow…parents-to-be are a strange breed. Anyhow, lots and lots of sex. During all this sex, you are most likely going to have an orgasm. Well, I’m assuming. If not, sad for you! Let’s just say from experience, you’re going to have an orgasm. Maybe not all the time, but definitely more often than if you weren’t doin’ it several times a day. Do you know what orgasms do? They release endorphins in your brain. You know what endorphins do? They relax you. Completely and totally. Here’s a quick science lesson about endorphins:

Endorphins are released by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus of the vertebral brain. They act on receptors in the brain that, when bound up, cause the body not to feel pain and bring about a general sense of well being. These same receptors respond to opiates and morphine. However, anything injected into the blood stream has a very small chance of getting to the brain because of the blood-brain barrier (the brain is very selective as to what it lets in, so there’s a barrier between blood and the brain. Only certain substances make it in, and only a tiny amount of those substances at that). Endorphins are produced in the brain, so a little bit goes a long, long way. Acupuncture for pain management induces the brain to produce excess endorphins, thereby eliminating any pain in the body. Small amounts of endorphins cause muscles to relax, blood pressure to drop, heart rate to slow, adrenaline levels to lower, and breathing to become deep and regular. They basically put you into an extremely relaxed state–hence the desire to fall asleep after sex. Well, after good sex. Sometimes sex elicits the desire to sneak out without waking the partner and throw up in an alley on the way home, but I digress.

What I’m saying is simply if you have a bunch of orgasms, you’re going to be extremely relaxed most of the time. Even if you get into a stressful situation, residual endorphins will make it seem much less stressful than normal, and allow you to relax much more quickly once the situation has passed. What does this have to do with my bitch-fest above? Read on and all will become clear.

Once you’ve gone through this year or so of bliss and have decided to embark upon the rocky road of infertility treatments (rather than just buy the damn motorcycles and start doing illicit drugs already–a decision many women going through these treatments regret every few months…) then you will begin to notice a strange phenomenon: everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to know how to get you pregnant. You’ll be talking with a friend, say, and telling her about your latest adventure in the doctor’s office. This friend has been on birth control for 12 years, hasn’t had sex for 6 of those, and has no desire to become a mother. Suddenly, she is an expert in fertility, and is happy to share her knowledge with you. Well, fine. I realize that many people show their support by trying to help you out. I actually appreciate it. I listen, take mental notes, look up info I don’t quite understand, and print out resources to add to my notebook. However, after talking with EVERYBODY about this subject, I have noticed one thing in common: they all end their lectures with “You just need to relax. You’ll never get pregnant by being all tense like this. Once you calm down and relax, everything will work out fine.”

This is the point where every infertile woman has her head explode. JUST RELAX?!? Are you kidding me?!? I just spent over a year of my life awash in sperm and endorphins–more relaxed than a pot head on a semester-long bender, barely able to stand upright because my muscles simply refused to tense up, and dealing with situations that make most people bleed out their eyes in frustration by saying “Really? Bummer. I’m gonna go take a nap. Wanna get a slurpee?” and you’re telling me all I need to do is relax?!? Did it every occur to you that maybe, just maybe, there is actually something wrong? That the doctor didn’t cut me open and poke at my uterus for shits and giggles, but because he was taking something out? That I don’t have Dean inject me with painful chemicals because I like that burning sensation, but because I don’t produce them on my own? Did it? I mean, lord, do you honestly think that I’d be putting myself through hell via daily doctors visits if all I really needed was a weekly massage?!? Dear god, shut up! I do not need to relax! We tried that, it didn’t work. Now we have to try something much less fun and much more invasive. I’d appreciate it if you would understand that then either 1) nod sympathetically, give me a hug and buy me presents to make me feel better, then look away when I burst into tears, or 2) find an article on alternative treatments, cutting edge surgery techniques, specialists in the area, or witch doctors who may help, cut it out and hand it to me. Either way, you’re giving me what I need–actual support and friendship during a very, very rough patch in my otherwise extremely happy life. By telling me to relax, you’re basically saying “Any tool can get pregnant…I can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet! Well, since no one else has let you in on the secret, here you go.” I feel broken enough already! I don’t need you telling me that the answer to my problem is so simple an idiot could do it. You know how that makes me feel? Destroyed. Every time someone gives me this simple, one word answer to my extremely complex situation, it reminds me that I can’t do the one thing my body was designed to do. I can not pull off the single act every other organism on the plant can accomplish. I’m broken. Completely and utterly broken.

So, on behalf of infertile women everywhere–please don’t tell us to relax. We’ve tried that. We’ve tried that for years and it hasn’t worked. Yes, going through these treatments is stressful. Yes, hormones released in stressful situations can inhibit pregnancy. Why do you think the orgasm evolved?!? To relax us when it counts the most! But the one thing that causes my blood pressure to skyrocket more than anything else I’ve been through these past few years is someone telling me “Just relax. Once you stop trying, it’ll happen on its own.” Fuck you. Fuck you all.

Same bat time, same bat channel–a day by day bitch session about infertility

So it begins again. This time I think I’ll give you a day-by-day account of this cycle’s treatment. If you’re interested, keep reading! And check back often! If not, wait a while and I’ll eventually write about something else. My next blog will be about books. Carry on.

Day 1 (Monday, March 13)

So I started today. Well, technically, I started yesterday, but yesterday was Sunday (March 12) and the doctor’s office wasn’t open. I woke up early this morning to call Dr. Z. It went something like this:
Me: -grumble- stupid morning -grumble-
Dr. Z’s office: “Ring”
Me: -grumble-
Dr. Z’s office: (way too chipper…) “Dr Zikiria’s office…how may I help you?”
Me: “Hi…I’m supposed to come in during the first or second day of my period to start fertility treaments….”
Dr. Z’s office: “Adrienne? Good to hear from you! How are you feeling? How’s 2 o’clock?”
Me: Sigh. “Yep. 2 sounds fine.”
Dr. Z’s office: “Good! Your tv show starts at two…we’ll have the tv on for you.”
Me: Bigger sigh “K. see you then.” Click

It’s never a good sign when the recognize your voice. So I show up at 2…Dean had the day off and got to come with me. Sure enough, Gilmore Girls was on the big plasma, and I paid my $20 to get probed. It’s freezing in the office! So I get called in and Dean gets to follow–I’ve lost two pounds this past month. Amazing how easy it is to lose weight when you’re not mainlining sugar. Then I sit pantsless and get my blood pressure taken. 120/80, by the way. Then Dr. Z comes in, weilding that damn ultrasound dildo. Then he goes over our options. He tells us that each treatment comes with a 35-40 hance of working, and each failure has no bearing on the next treatment’s chances. I don’t know what to do with that information, so I just smile and nod. Then he gets down to buisness with taking pictures of my uterus and overies. I wince, and he says “Hmmm, you’re a bit tender this month.” Well, duh! You’d be tender too if someone was poking at your cervix with a dully sharpened probe. My ovaries have shrunk to normal size, which is good. He hands me a perscription for some pills and tells me to come back on Friday. Same bat time, same bat channel.
So now I’m on a super low carb diet (about 30 grams a day) so I don’t have to take the pukey pills. That’s good. I can’t have candy or real coke, though. That’s bad. I love candy. I now have to take two hormone pills a day; one in the morning and one in the evening. Sure enough, 2 hours after the first pill my migraine starts. This is going to be a long cycle.

Day 2 (Tuesday, March 14)

Well, I was ok this morning…a bit of a major migraine, but otherwise ok. I get bacon for breakfast and chicken for lunch, all washed down with a nice diet Dr. Pepper. I’m pretty testy with my students and TA’s–that’s gonna be something I’ll have a hard time controlling. Maybe it’ll be fun to throw a screaming fit at a particularly annoying student. It might be cathartic in a big screamy way. Anyhow, things were going ok for a while. I made it though office hours, my lecture was half finished, and I wrote the quiz. Not bad. Then suddenly I got super, super sick. I got all hot, and my migraine got worse, I had a huge bout of nausea, and I got kinda dizzy. I couldn’t even stay in my office, I felt so bad. I had to call for a ride home, then I got back here and got all sick all over the place. Good times for me. Dean comes home and finds me curled up with a trashcan near my head eating candied ginger. So much for my low carb diet. Maybe I went TOO low carb, and that caused some problems. But I took one of my Imitrex and my migraine is mostly gone. Dean got to watch me cry some more (he’s gotten rather good at that) and now I’m awfully tired. I’m not sure I can handle 13 more days of this. Stupid ovaries.

Day 3 (Wednesday, March 15)
Not a bad day, today, overall. I have a minor headache, but that’s offset by the happy-woozy-glowy feeling that imitrex gives. However, the hormones have kicked in. My class this evening decided to talk a bit during my lecture. My lecture! Now, I don’t put up with that on a normal day, let alone on Day 3. So they got a much louder, much angrier lecture that happened to involve the state of my ovaries. Now, of course, my students know WAAAAAAYYYYY too much about my personal life. Huh. They were monk-quiet the rest of the class, though. That was nice. Then I blew the crap up at Dean…he made a simple comment that I apparently didn’t like the tone of, and therefore had a HUGELY bad response to. Discussion ensued. Sorry Dean. Stupid uterus.

Day 9

Went to the doctor today. I started injections on Saturday (75 iui). You know what feels weird? The injections. I make Dean inject me–he has to be a part of this somehow, damnit! The injection site always bleeds just a little, so I have countless pairs of pants with the tiniest spot of blood on the waist band. Then the area gets weirdly warm, and it slowly feels like I’m blushing from my abdomen up my neck. Then I get the desire to clean. Really. It’s weird, but good, I suppose. Then I get a headache and take Imitrex. Anyhow, went to the doctor, and I’ve made 8 tiny, tiny little eggs. He’s upset because I’m making too many and none are as big as they should be. He told me to ramp up my injections (125 ul) and come back for more probing on Wednesday. Our house is gonna be totally clean.

Day 12 (Thrusday, March 23)

Went to the doctor yesterday. I’m only making 3 eggs this month–that’s good. But they’re not big enough, so the doctor upped my hormones again. To 175 ui. 175!! That’s bunches. The highest it was last month was 125, and then only for 2 days. This is gonna suck. Then, since Walgreens doesn’t carry hormone sticks in the size I need, I had to buy it from the doctor for $300. Elvis Christo!! I don’t think we can aford this. Oh, and my TA’s acted up yesterday. Here’s the thing, when I’m going through hormone treatment, I get pissy. That’s common sense, isn’t it? Why would someone think that this is a good time pull attitude with me? You think they’d be smarter than that… so here’s what happened: I’m sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday, attached to an annoyingly think needle giving blood for more tests. My phone rings–it’s one of my TA’s saying that she arranged with another TA to take over her morning shift, but the other TA hasn’t shown up. Sigh. I’m hooked up to a needle, damnit! So I go racing down to school, and my TA is super sick–all puking and stuff. Since throwing up on the floor is exactly condusive to a good learning environment, I send her home and tell her I’ll find the girl who was supposed to take over. Now, I’m pissed, because I just had to give blood and my viens are all bruised. And I haven’t eaten breakfast. And I have a migraine. And I had to get up early (which, as anyone who has ever gone to Tracy’s cabin with me, knows sends me right over the edge) and my hormones are super high. And my ovaries are swollen. Not a good day to give me attitude. Anyhow, I email the TA who was suppposed to be there and tell her to call me immediatly. She does, and insists that she wasn’t going to take today’s shift, she was going to take next week’s. Which doesn’t make sense, because next week is spring break. Sigh. I tell her to get down there. She takes 45 minutes (what was she thinking?!? why would you let your pissed boss wait for 45 minutes before you show up? she only lives in the dorms…not so bright, this one) So I get to stew and work the lab. The students who were there got off easy–I didn’t want to be mad at them so I told them that if they showed me their lab, finished or not, I’d sign them off. Lucky students! So the TA gets there and I stomp out. It was an interesting drive home…did you know if you roll down the window and scream at cars infront of you, they actually get out of your way? And if you look at the drivers as you pass, they look all frightened and stuff. Wimps. Anyhow, as soon as I get home, the TA in the lab calls and tells me that since she is working the lab, I have to find a replacement for her shift the next day. Ok, here’s the thing–how many times have you called your boss and told her she MUST do something? And how many times have you done so 5 minutes after she stormed out of your office and slammed the door? Yep, never. So naturally, I got even more pissed, especially because the contract these TA’s signed at the beginning of the semester stated that they were responsible for finding replacements, and I was not to be bothered about it. Dumb TA! After 5 minutes of yelling and cursing, I tell her she had better find a replacement and reread her contract before she calls again. Ben was listening in and magically dissappeared after my first “Son-of-a-bitch!!!” Probably a wise move. Then I eat. Cluck U is good. That makes me feel a lot better, and I’m starting to calm down, until a third TA emails me to complain about one of her collegues who is breaking every rule in the book. Now I’m pissed again, and it’s not even noon! So I decide that this unlucky TA is gonna get the full brunt of my pissyness, and I race back to school to have a very stern, very serious meeting. It was sweet. You know what’s kinda fun? Making girls cry. Especially if they’ve been causing problems with staff and students. So all my anger and venom get unleashed on the worst TA I’ve ever had the misfortune to work with. I felt much, much better afterwards, as did the other TA’s. Hopefully, things stay this way. Maybe I should start wearing warning signs….

Day 17 (Tuesday, March 28)

So I went to the doctor yesterday and found out I’ve made two, very good sized eggs–one in each ovary. Yay! That’s fantastic news. Last month I had like 12 good sized eggs, and my ovaries were so swollen that I could hardly stand. This month, my ovaries aren’t over stimulated so I can actually walk. What a concept! The nurse practitioner was confused as to why I made so many last time and the perfect amount this time, so I explained it was because I refused to take the Glucophage (i.e. pukey pills) and I didn’t bother with a low carb diet. It’s almost as if my PCOS isn’t caused by insulin resistance, and therefore I don’t need to do anything to manage my insulin for things to work correctly. Who knew? Well, me, of course, but that’s beside the point. Anyhow, I spent 10 minutes trying to explain this to the nurse who just blinked at me then shook her head and said “Well, I don’t understand why…” I almost hit her. But you should be proud…I kept my twitching fist under control. So my eggs were ready and they injected me with the ass-numbing stuff that makes me ovulate. I spent the next 8 hours walking strangely (I’m pretty sure they used a needle the size of my fist) and managing annoying oviduct twinges. Then I got to convince Dean to stay home from work the next day and enjoy the sterile cup again. Which he did, with very little complaint.

We had to drop off the sample at 9:45, then they washed the sperm and gave the boys a locker room pep talk, and Dean and I wandered around the block looking for breakfast. We had McDonalds. By the way…who in their right mind goes to McDonalds to buy pancakes? Do you realize you can make pancakes at home? For like .03 cents? It’s not like pancakes are hard, nor is there some special recipe to get them to taste just right. They’re just flower, water and butter fried in fat and covered with syrup. Why in the world would you buy that at a fast food resturant? Fast food resturants are for greasy, meaty, cheesy goodeness washed down with soda. That’s not something you can make at home in 30 seconds. Stupid people.

Back to what I was saying. So we go back to the office, I undress from the waist down (brr!!) get my blood pressure taken, and sit shivering on paper covered counter. Dean has me put my slippers back on (yay! much warmer) and we read quietly while we wait for the the injection of gooeyness. The nurse practitioner comes in and babbles something about Dean’s sperm count and antibiotics. She’s really into perscribing antibiotics. I’m really into not taking them. We’re at an impass. Then she injects me, which causes me to cramp, mumbles about how she hoped it didn’t hurt (did she not see me writhing in pain and crying?) I, of course, say it didn’t one bit and wish I could do this every day. Then I get to lie there, with my knees up, for a long, long time. It wasn’t that boring, but I’m not gonna tell you why. You’ll just have to guess. Then we got to get up and leave. Good times. I have to take antibiotics because they stuck a big long tube into a sterile area, and I get to start putting in vaginal suppositories again. They’re gooey. Everyone cross your fingers.

Day 23 (Monday, April 3, 2006)
It was a rough week last week. After the proceedure, I went home and was fine for the night. The nurse practioner gave Dean some antibiotics for some reason or another, which he has decided not to take…good man. I can’t stand doctors who don’t know what the problem is and then decide to give you antibiotics to possibly fix it. Grr. So if anyone has a bacterial infection, we’re there for ya. The next day, my cramps started. I hate this part!! It’s something the doctors never seem to tell you about…you’d think they’d have a manual or something for me to read telling me what kind of pain I’m gonna be experiencing for the next week or so, but no! They decide the patient should just experience it for herself. So I get these cramps. The good news is my ovaries aren’t nearly as swollen as they were last month, so I’m in much less pain as far as that goes. However, apparently that pain just masked other pain, which I then got to experience full force. I cramp. Lots. And lots. So much so that I can’t walk much, or lie still much, or curl up in a ball and cry much. I take a lot of baths and a lot of tylenol. That kinda helps. At least I don’t have to walk the dogs in this condition. Then my boobs start to hurt. And I mean HURT. We’re talking warm breezes cause me to cry, let alone anyone accidentally brushing against them. I can’t wear rough shirts or bras that are a bit too small. If I could walk around naked, I would, but we have a lot of windows and a lot of homeless around, so the naked bit just won’t work. Thank god for spring break–I can’t imagine having to write and give a lecture in this condition. I can hardly move. Things get a little better, although a hike through San Francisco on Friday causes me to cramp so badly that Dean wouldn’t let me move much the rest of the night. How early can I take a pregnancy test? I’m really hoping it worked this month. Dean thinks it has…but I don’t want to get my hopes up. Although I keep asking him to tell me I’m pregnant and not to worry. Sigh. 12 more days.

Seriously, They’re the Size of Grapefruit!

So when Dean and I got married we did that “so do you wanna have kids?” talk that most couples do. The answer for us was yes, just later. Well, suddenly later became now. I actually remember the moment–we were in Virginia visiting Dean’s family and talking about that “someday” we had mentioned 3 years earlier, and it hit us that we had planned for us to start trying when I turned 27. Can you guess what my next birthday was? So I buy literally 25 baby magazines and spend the rest of the vacation devouring what turn out to be the most inane articles ever written. Seriously, don’t buy those magazines. It’s like the editors think mothers-to-be will believe anything provided they put a cute baby picture next to it and publish it in a magazine titled “Expecting” or “Big ‘Ol Belly with Stretch Marks.” But I digress.

We started trying for a baby. I did all the things I was supposed to do–meeting with my doctor (and I quote “you’re very healthy Adrienne. There’s no reason you shouldn’t get pregnant right away.” Big fat liars.) I was in great shape, I had been changing my diet to something much more condusive to procreating, and I had a clean bill of health. It should have been easy. A year later (and 2 possible miscarriages) later, still no baby. So I visit the doctors again. This time I get subjected to all manner of probing and prodding, lots of blood tests and some very, very personal questions. All this leads to “well, we think you have PCOS. Here’s some pills–don’t worry, they should make you lose weight.” Yeah. They SHOULD.

For those of you who don’t know what PCOS is, here you go. PCOS stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s a syndrome where a woman doesn’t make eggs effectively–they turn into blood-filled cysts instead. No eggs=no babies. This is a very common disorder, and yeilds such symptoms as irregular periods, abnormal weight gain, excess facial/body hair, and inability to get pregnant. Despite it’s frequency, however, doctors have only started investgating the problem, and really don’t have a reason for the syndrome. Ok, now you’re all caught up. Please continue.

Alright, so apparently the doctors looks at my 5’6” 135 lb nearly hairless frame and thought “this is totally PCOS!” So they gave me some pills. They seemed to know of a connection between insulin resistance and PCOS. Women who are the road to type 2 diabeties tend to have this pain-in-the-ovaries syndrome. So they gave me some pills called glucophage. The reasoning was if PCOS is caused by insulin resistance, if they knock down my insulin then symptoms will go away. Glucophage works 3 ways: it keeps my liver from producing glucose, keeps my gut from absorbing glucose, and makes my insulin receptors more active thereby absorbing more insulin. The less glucose I have in my blood stream, the less insulin I produce to break it down. The less insulin produced, the less my ovaries are exposed to it, and, in theory at least, my overies are then able to make eggs. Sound reasoning, if I was insulin resistant. Which I’m not. Ah, the plot thickens.

I had 1 of the 3 major symptoms for insulin resistance. In fact, my fasting blood sugar was so low that I was a candidate for hypoglycemia, not insulin resistance. Can you guess where this is going? I start taking these pills that they prescribed, and I get sick. Really, really sick. My blood sugar is so low that I throw up all the time, I can hardly walk, I have a constant headache and I’m craving sweets. All the time. If I try and work out at all (including doing something as shocking as walking around the mall) I come close to fainting. I spend a lot of time puking. You know what sucks? That. It sucks big smelly donkeys. The only thing I can do to counter-act the excess nausea is eat all the time. Literally, all the time. The only time I actually felt good was when I was eating 8 full meals a day in New Orleans. Good food there, by the way. Try the bread pudding.

Anyhow, eating. I was eating some insane amount of calories to fix the nausea, and it was working. However, I was also gaining weight. 25 pounds in 3 months. Healthy, no? And most of that weight was due to sugary foods. You haven’t lived until you find yourself fighting off low blood sugar at 3 in the morning by downing 6 brownies and a 2 liter of caffeine-free coke. You know what’s gross? Throwing up 6 brownies and a 2 liter of coke because you didn’t get the sugar in your system fast enough. Fuckin’ glucophage.
So it wasn’t working. Now here comes a great rant about doctors. Have you noticed they don’t seem to listen to what you’re saying? It’s like they assume you’re blowing your symptoms way out of proportion. I go in and say “the pills are making me sick and I’m gaining weight” and they say “just keep taking them.” I call them from an airport in Denver where I’m crying and dry heaving in a bathroom stall, and they say “just keep taking the pills.” I tell them the only reason I haven’t gained more weight is because I’m a forced bulimic, and they say “just keep taking the pills.” I’ve also been telling them that I have really, really bad cramps. We’re talking curling-up-in-a-ball, wretching-from-the-pain, crying-into-the-carpet cramps. They say “try taking 2 advil every four hours.” Over the counter medication?!? I would have never thought of that! Next time you go to the doctor, make sure you go with your symptoms in full force. Nothing convinces an MD you’re in pain like going in for your monthly ultra sound white as a sheet, throwing up in the nearest trash can, and unable to stand up straight. And I quote “This shouldn’t be happening! Your cramps shouldn’t be this bad! We think you’re miscarrying again…here’s some vicodin.” Well crap. Possible miscarriage ..3. I thought I wasn’t making eggs? Now I’m signed up for an operation because the doctor thinks I have endomitriosis.
I have the operation. An out patient proceedure that allowed me to lay on the couch for a full week watching tv and playing video games…well, I could play video games once I was off the heavy duty pain killers that made my vision all wonky. Then I embarked on 6 months of Lupron shots–a drug that forces a woman into menopause and destroys endomitirosis on a cellular level. Apparently I had a really bad case of this nasty stuff, hence the bad cramps. Ah, those 6 months were awsome. I had 1 period, and my cramps were cured by Midol. Midol! Regular strength! It was a miracle. I was also off the glucophage, I didn’t throw up once, and there was no more elevating after sex. Yay! We could do it on a whim again! Our anniversary was awsome.

Fast forward 6 months, and I get my first post-operation period. Ok, I’m thinking we’re just gonna go back to trying the old fashioned way. Yay! That was the fun way! But no…apparently I still have the PCOS, and the doctors are worried about me making healthy eggs. Of course, this is after telling me I’ve had 3, possibly 4 miscarriages. Um, what? Yeah, I know. Doesn’t make much sense to me either, but it’s been over 2 years since Dean and I started trying, and I’m tired. So I do what the doctor says. I go into the doctor’s during the first day of my period for an ultra sound. Have I told you what these ultrasounds involve yet? No? Well, let me enlighten you. You go into the office and get your weight and blood pressure taken (“hmmm…you’ve gained weight…you should watch what you eat…”) then you take off your pants and sit on the diaper-type pad they put down on the table for you because, remember, you’re bleeding badly. That’s fun to sit in, let me tell you. Then the doctor has an emergency, or a lunch, or a really good web site to read, so you sit on this table for 45 minutes with a thin paper sheet over your crotch to give you “privacy.” The the doctor, or his assistant, or a nurse, or a gaggle of med students, or just some guy off the street, comes in and tells you to put your feet in the stirrups and scoot your butt to the end of the table. Then he picks up this -huge- dildo-shaped device–I’m telling you, this thing must be a foot and a half long–and covers it with a gel-filled condom. Can you guess where this probe is going next? You’d be right. This probe takes an ultra sound picture of your uterus and ovaries. Of course, for this to work it has to be inserted into you and pressed against the organs that are being looked at. Hard. They press really, really hard. Damn! So they take a picture of your ovaries and whatnot, then just poke around for shits and giggles for a while, then prescribe you a variety of hormones to take. “One pill in the morning, and one in the evening. After 5 days come back and we’ll start injections.”

Hmmm….injections. The incidence of multiple births goes up exponentially as soon as injections start. With my luck, I’m gonna have a litter. But I digress. Again. I start taking the pills, which give me a massive, massive migraine. And hormones make me moody. Really, really moody. Oh, I’m also on glucophage again. So picture this: it’s 4 am, I have a low blood sugar attack, I’ve main-lined peanutbutter to fix it, so now I’m puking up said peanutty goodness while clutching my head in pain with every heave and alternatly yelling at Dean and crying for his forgiveness. Worst PMS Ever. Then, the day before injections start, Dean’s grandmother dies. It was horrible. We fly back east at a moment’s notice and we give up trying for this month. Ah, a reprieve. Worst reason ever, by the way, and thank you for your sympathy. Dean’s pretty upset. Now, to make matters worse, we find out his cousin is pregnant. She tells me at the wake. Oh, and I did I mention she’s a lesbian? She started trying a year or so after Dean and I did, and she doesn’t have ready access to sperm. Awesome.

Well, after 4 hours of crying and one fight with a step-mother-in-law later, my migraine is still raging and I get to look forward to a whole day of listening to the family get all happy and giddy about the new baby…the first great grandchild…the unbroken granddaughter. This is why I drink.

Twenty nine days later, I’m back in the doctor’s office. I’ve decided that I’ve had enough of this glucophage crap. If they really want my insulin down, I’ll do it by diet and exercise. Screw them. I’ve also decided to stop buying pregnancy tests and stop telling the doctor about late periods and super heavy bleeding. I don’t think I can take another white coated ponce saying I may have miscarried again. I’ll have to arrest my uterus for mass murder soon. I get another ultra sound…my 50th, I think, and I’m told things look pretty good. I start the 5 days of hormone pills. My migraine comes back within 12 hours. The next Monday I begin a week of hell. 9 am I have a blood test to check my hormone levels. They’re too low. At 2:00 I have another ultra sound. Ow. Then they give me a pouch with a syringe, 5 needles and a tube of concentrated hormone. Dean gets to inject me once a day, in the stomach, with 75 ui of hormone. He does. I bruise. Forty-eight hours later I go in for another blood test at 9 and an ultrasound at 2. My hormone levels are too low. I have to up the hormones to 125 ui. Now I have track marks in both arms and my belly’s all bruised up. I’d make the worst drug addict ever. Dean injects me. I bruise. My migraine gets worse. Forty eight hours later I go in for a blood test/ultra sound combo. You know what’s annoying? When you call the doctor’s office and they recognize your voice. That just shouldn’t happen! I’m pretty sure they have me on speed dial now.

Anyhow…things look good. I have one good sized egg in my left ovary. Yay! Then we get to my right, where there are….11 good sized eggs. Eleven! That’s 12 total. I don’t want 12 babies! I’m pretty sure I’m not built for that. Anyone want a baby for christmas? We may have PLENTY. Well, the doctor and his gaggle of med students all quietly panic in the corner. Like I can’t see them. The room’s only 10×20…there’s no room for whispered conferences. They cut my hormones to 50. I go in 48 hours later. For those of you keeping score, this is the Sunday of a three day weekend. One blood test/ultra sound combo, please! I also go in Monday. I should just camp in the damn parking lot. The last ultra sound is good news…I only have 4 good sized eggs left and they’re ripe for release. Yay yay yay! So they shoot my ass up with some new cocktail of drugs and tell me to come back at my usual time. (I have a usual time! This is retarded). On the way home my ass heats up beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve experienced a lot of crap. One hot ass cheek is weird. Then it goes numb. What the hell did they shoot me up with?!? Oh, and I’m on day 16 of my migraine.

Dean and I return the next day for some artificial insemination. Dean gets to get all happy into a cup, then they’re gonna inject me with it. It kinda takes all the fun out of this whole making-a-baby process. Once again, I undress waist down and scoot to the end of the table. Two minutes before the procedure (which they call IUI, by the way…they kind of frown on comparing it to animal husbandry) the doctor asks if I have cramps. Uh, yeah, did you read my chart? They’re not as bad, but they still happen. Apparently people with cramps tend to cramp during the procedure. They don’t know why. Wait a minute…this is gonna hurt?!? You never said this was gonna hurt!! Wait….and ow. Yep. Hurts a bunch. Stupid IUI. Now I’m crying and lying with my feet in stirrups seriously reconsidering my desire to have a baby. I heard adoption is a viable option now a days. Maybe a Chinese girl.

Then the doctor informs me that a side affect of all this medication they have me on is that my ovaries will probably swell to the size of grapefruit. That’s a rather large citrus fruit to have in my abdomen. My boobs aren’t even grapefruit sized. Damnit! My ovaries are gonna be bigger than my boobs! This just gets better and better. Sure enough, they swell. They swell so badly, that I can’t move because of the pain and pressure. They start pressing against other organs, and any quick movement causes so much pain that I bend over and wretch. Great. More nausea. I can’t eat a full meal because my ovaries are so large and painful that they’re pressing against my stomach and any extra filling causes gagging. Gah!

So here I am…sitting on the couch watching an Alias marathon, leaking the vaginal suppository that’s supposed to facilitate implantation, nursing the most painful ovaries (masquerading as citrus fruit) ever, unable to move because I’ll 1. lose all the progesterone I just shoved up my cooch, and 2. I can’t walk up the stairs without bursting into tears and crying for my mommy. So I’m sitting here, and I decided to tell you all what’s going on. Because someone needs to pet my head and tell me it’ll all be better. And then give me a baby.

It’s been a great (read:crappy) day. They couldn’t give me an idea of my chances this month, but I really really don’t want to go through this again. Dean doesn’t want me to, either, but I probably will. Maybe. Dean and I decided that if I couldn’t get pregnant we’d buy motorcycles and tour Europe. I don’t like beer, but I think Belgium is a great place to learn. Anyone wanna help us plan our trip?