Unhappy Birthday

Somewhere between last week and today I turned 29. Tweeeenty Niiiiine. The near-end of my twenties – over the hill and all that jazz. There are few things in life that I despise more than my own birthday: The pressure. The expectations. The aging. Yeah thanks guys, it’ll be real fun to go out and celebrate the slow deterioration of my body as I head towards my inevitable death (I really know how to keep things light at a party). If you’re also not a big birthday fan, don’t worry: it gets worse! “Age is just a number” becomes irrelevant when your eggs go by dog years and are celebrating their 70th birthday before you even turn thirty. It’s not just a number, it matters. And let’s be real, 21 is the last good “big birthday” (sorry 25 – no one cares that they can finally rent a car). After that, you’re left realizing that you’re stuck on a rollercoaster that has no intention of stopping – that is, until it makes the big stop. Suddenly, you’re developing new aches and ailments on a daily basis and oh did we mention that at 35 you’ll be the most infertile you’ve ever been? Apparently the Three-Five marks the end of the safe zone before your fertility plummets and you’re left overdrawing your checking account to pay for IVF and egg freezing. Doctor’s will begin using words like: donors and unlikely and high risk, so that your preconceived notions of ‘young 35’ are shattered and you feel as if you’re aging like a corked wine.

My Husband: What do you want to do for your birthday?

Me: Worry about my fertility.

Six years away from D-Day seems doable, but then you factor in the time it takes to conceive and incubate and birth and recover and oh my god I should’ve had a baby three years ago if I wanted any hope of doing this more than once! My last birthday, I didn’t know that an ectopic was around the corner, or that I would most definitely not be conceiving at 28. How adorably ignorant, my dream was once to have baby #1 at 28 and #2 at 30 and now I’m all, “Am I going to get one in before my expiration date?” The ticking has turned into a foghorn blaring through my ears – warning me that I don’t have as much time as everyone else. Apparently, my ovaries thought that we were already done with this trying to conceive business. I’m toeing the line between ‘young’ and ‘for your age’, and I’m not prepared to still be meeting with an RE when I cross over to the other side.Read More »

(Sorta) Living My Best Life

You know how sometimes you get these random bursts of happiness and you’re all ‘whoa, I don’t even know who that girl is’? That was me as soon as I got a whiff of summer. I vowed to take my own advice and not let my appointments and ‘could I be pregnant?’-ness get in my way of sunshine and mules: YES I’ll go to the baseball game, and your birthday party, and that dinner you scheduled during the work week! I was feeling good. Not “hey I might finally get pregnant” good, but “fuck this I’m doing it my way” good. Turns out I wasn’t infertile and depressed – I was just cold. So in the spirit of “fuck it!” I made a few life adjustments: Signed another lease for our teeny one bedroom apartment (who needs more space?! NOT ME). Took up weekday drinking again – because I’m reckless and wild and I just don’t believe a spritzer will be the death of my eggs. Ripped the tags off of too-skinny jeans, and bought dresses that will burst before they make room for a bump. There was no more “but I could be pregnant soon”, cause let’s be real…

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It was here, in this good place, that I demanded a vacation. I wanted to gather all my polyps (oh yes, there are more) and pills to enjoy some forced relaxation. We discovered a sliver of paradise in a sea of Zika: the Bahamas have been cleared for months (thanks for the heads up, guys), so I took those Infertile Points and off we went. But wait! As I stuffed my bag full of a month’s worth of underwear and bikinis (what more does a girl need?), I realized: this might actually suck. That’s the beauty of trying to conceive – you’re always being thrown a new batch of shit and ISN’T THAT SO FUN?! Going on vacation during the TWW is great because then you get the opportunity to develop new infertile vacation worries that you never even thought about, like:

Preparing for Take-Off. As if sitting in a hotbox or germs for hours on end isn’t bad enough, you’ll start to question the impact that a tumultuous take-off can have on your possible embryo. I once scoffed at a woman who asked if her bumpy car ride to work would make implantation impossible (oh honey, no), but an aggressive plane landing? Shit, maybe. Read More »

Category X

I’ve never met a pill I didn’t like. They help me sleep, calm me down, make the outdoors bearable, and they’re supposed to make me more fertile too. These new pills though – little blue ovals of estrogen – these suppositories (you know, the fun kind) are different. My too-little too-late estrogen party was started on trigger day when a nurse mentioned (after I asked, mind you) that my lining was “a little thin”, which according to everything else I’ve read is actually a lotta thin. I should’ve swatted away the trigger shot at that declaration and exclaimed, “Whattaya mean thin?! How are we just now discussing this?!” but I’m shooting for normalcy at this office so I stayed silent. I was given very little instruction for what are affectionately dubbed the ‘smurf cooch pills’, beyond being told “if it feels weird, you’re doing it right” (if I had a dollar for every time….) and as far as I’m concerned, I’m the first of my kind. Estrogen for a full two weeks – no progesterone, no monitoring, a plethora of uncertainty. Why did I feel like I was patient zero for the TWW estrogen test? How come I’ve never heard of this being used on it’s own? It’s like a riddle ever trying to get direct information from a doctor’s office though, and I’m still left with my mind running mad – If you have to medicate me, then you must answer these questions three:Read More »

The Infertiles

At my consultation with my new RE (I feel so officially infertile now!) she told me to not feel intimidated on my cycle day 3 appointment when I walk in and find fifty other women sitting in the waiting room at 7AM. It seemed funny and a little obnoxious, until I walked in on Day 3 and holy shit she meant fifty women.  

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It’s a strange feeling to be sitting in a room full of fellow Infertiles when nobody wants to talk about it – like meeting someone who looks like your identical twin and no one says a damn word. Sure, let’s NOT address the fact that for all intensive  purposes, we’re the same person. Like, hellooooo – where’s the table of bagels being swarmed by hormone-fueled women and the rotating list of who’s on mimosa duty?! We could all sit and sip as a group while hold-my-beer-ing each other, one upping on the “shit that’s wrong with me” scale. Instead, we wait in silence while our struggles stare back at us from tens of different faces. Couples quietly bowing their heads as they whisper about upcoming procedures, lone women knotting their fingers, all while I’m itching to turn to the Infertile next to me and say, “So, what are you in for?” We’re all prisoners of our own bodies here, might as well share with people who are equally frustrated with their reproductive organs.

Not including a sign-up sheet for cycle buddies at the RE seems like a real missed opportunity. You know that the women you’re sitting with are local, you know that you’re on the same schedule, and you know that they’re just as over this BS as you are. Why aren’t we swapping numbers and planning weekly brunches? They say that people are more likely to bond over something they hate, so: infertility is my nemesis – and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Let’s get together to build friendships based on medications that play with our emotions and the dream to one day not be violated by an ultrasound machine. We should make t-shirts and have a secret handshake and a bitchin’ code name (even though I’m partial to The Infertiles, regardless of its lack of subtly).  

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The Trio of What Not to Say

So, your friend/coworker/relative is trying to conceive and you’re mucking it up as her number one support system. It’s okay, it happens. What I want you to understand more than anything is that unless you’re a member of The Trio, we’re not looking for anything more than someone who will listen. We don’t expect you to fix our broken uteri, and we especially don’t want to hear your forced positivity because it sounds utterly ridiculous at the moment. I’ve experienced the entire trio of trying to conceive: the struggle, the loss, and, my newest addition, the infertility. Here’s the number one thing I hated hearing during each saga, and alternative (might I even say, BETTER) options that’ll prevent you from earning a face full of moscato.  Read More »

The Infertility Markup

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As a general rule of thumb, I won’t buy anything unless it involves free shipping and a severely discounted product.  No Ann Taylor, I’m not going to buy your $60 peasant top.  So having to accept the cost of my (in)fertility treatments was a hard pill to swallow – like fish oil, except bigger and smellier.  There are so few states that want to play a part in saving the human race by offering coverage for infertility treatments, but in this one regard: I lucked out.  My treatments are “covered”, and I’m using typed out air quotes because “covered” still doesn’t mean free.  And free is my favorite.  Now, don’t be the brat who has to go and say, “well having kids is expensive!”.  I know that they’re expensive, but I was hoping to be on more of a pay-as-you-go plan rather than feeling like I’m being conned by a woman in a white lab coat with a crystal ball.  And you’re sure I’ll get pregnant after all this…?  I hope that our future children don’t mind when we tell them they don’t have any college funds because we couldn’t figure our shit out and had to involve an entire medical team in order to conceive them.  

When I initially met with Doctor Kate to discuss how we’re going to need a little help from science if we want to have a baby before my eggs shrivel up, I was provided with a list of prices that should’ve also come with a shot of vodka on the side.  This is going to cost me how much?!  Was I supposed to pick and choose what I wanted done like the world’s most expensive a la carte menu?  “Yes, I would like the IUI with a side of bloodwork and ultrasounds please. And can I get the bloodwork without the Rubella test?  Thanks!” They generously offer to reduce your costs by 50% if you don’t have any insurance coverage, which means that if you have three rounds of ultrasounds and bloodwork with your IUI, instead of costing $4,635 you’ll get it for the low price of $2,317.50!  For one IUI.  Fingers crossed that we all morph into first-IUIers and don’t need more than one!  Read More »

HysterosalpingoGETMEOUTTAHERE

Welp. There is no eloquent way to put this: two men stared deep into my cervix earlier this week, and neither one of them was my husband. “They’re doctors, they focus on science, this isn’t weird.” Stop it, yes it is weird! It was just one procedure – fine, I’ll allow it. But I’m not about to go searching for Mr. Right to perform all my future pap smears. I mean, why would a man want to pick a career where he stares into vaginas all day?? Never mind, I know why…but why on a not-pervy level? I guess I should quit my bitching and just be happy that there are so many men AND women who are willing to spend their days staring up cootchies, because otherwise I would be having an even more difficult time with this whole getting-pregnant thing. “Sorry that you’re having trouble conceiving, but looking up your skirt makes us squirm!” Having a male doctor was just another new experience, and I love new experiences! Just kidding, I have anxiety and anything out of my normal routine makes me frantic and overheated.

I will admit, I appreciated it when main Doctor Dude was explaining to Sideline Male Doctor that he thought one thing was less painful than the other and he stated, “Well, I don’t have a cervix, but it’s what I hear.” Damn straight you don’t! I didn’t need him for anything more than a dye injection, but I can’t imagine talking about cycles or discharge with a stranger man. There’s just something relatable about a female doctor (you know, because we got the same bits), but maybe I’m the only weirdo who feels that way.

Regardless of the gender of my doctor, I found out that my tubes are (still) open. Now, can we all agree that I never have to do this again?! I didn’t want to have to experience both of these procedures, but now that I have, I might as well help guide you a little if you’re torn between the two (even though, like me, you’ll probably be assigned a procedure and not given an option).Read More »