Friday, March 8, 2013

a questionable milestone, cycle 3, day 22

I did it. I made it past day 19. And here we are. The illusive day 22. Just 6 grueling days until the doctor-sanctioned blood work that will confirm that I am once and for all barren whether or not I’m with child.

My long time readers (har, har) may recall that it was on day 19, two cycles ago, that I squatted, dumbstruck, shouting expletives in a rest stop bathroom started a’bleedin’. It was early. Real early. Mathematically bonkers early. But it was all I needed to know: I wasn’t pregnant.

So here we are, nice and smug on day 22, still period-free and pretending like it means something when I know full well that it doesn’t. As anticipated, my eerie calm of last weekend has quickly evaporated, supplanted by a trembling, porous anxiety just beneath the surface: at any moment you could find out you’re not pregnant, which is why if you just avoid going to the bathroom, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.[1]

I guess it goes back to this – I still barely know how my body works and what I do know, I don’t trust. I didn’t ovulate for nine months and now I’m supposed to rely on one medically induced cycle in December to provide clues about this cycle’s possible success?[2] Thanksbutnothanks.

In any case, I met with the reproductive endocrinologist this afternoon and put the plan in place for the next round[3] – Clomid, Ovidrel, intrauterine insemination (IUI). Though I’m sure that my 8 regular readers in Qatar are old pros at IUI by now, for the uninitiated, here’s the deal: prevailing medical wisdom is that after three rounds of Clomid, your cervical mucus begins to become some kind of sperm-hostile-double-agent, making it more difficult to conceive. There isn’t good hard data but because it’s a plausible, if not scientifically demonstrable, theory and because my insurance won’t let me graduate to IVF without first stopping the train at the IUI station, we’re going to give it a go. Which means that in cycle four, instead of several days of post-Ovidrel romance, we’ll have one very early morning threesome (that’s me, C and one lucky infertility clinic tech. *regrettable mental image*.). On that morning, within 90 minutes of, ahem, C producing a sample, we’ll speed recklessly to the infertility clinic, wait an hour for magic science to do its thing[4] after which I get to lay back, relax, and have a mystery nurse shoot a syringe full of sperm (hopefully C’s) into my cervix.

I guess this kind of conception is a bummer for some – it’s not “natural”, it’s not romantic. But at this point, pretty much nothing we’ve done has been the former and if I’m honest, there have been moments where the latter is also left wanting. The point is, I don’t really care one way or the other. At this stage of the game, my only complaint besides the eighty seven bajillion insipid gripes that I lodge regularly on this blog is that every time I go to the infertility clinic, I literally have to walk right by my (future?) obstetrician’s office[5]. *Avert your eyes! Avert your eyes!*

Alas. Please excuse me while I prop myself up on a few vagina pillows and binge eat cookies until Thursday.

[1] This logic was infallible. Until I started noticing the early stages of some kind of bladder infection.
[2] What’s that? I could use the (fleeting) success of my last cycle as a window into my disarmingly complex reproductive system? That would be too easy. Plus, you may recall that I spent most of last cycle rhyming about the possibility of twins (like a rap, but better) and deconstructing elementary school reasoning instead of waxing on about useful things, like, you know, my ovaries are feeling ____ or I just spent ____ number of hours gazing longingly at the rockers on Land of Nod.
[3] I know, I should be hopeful, etc. Whatever. I’m over it.
[4] “Separating the seminal fluid from the most motile sperm”. Or so I’m told.
[5] Funny story: when we first decided, over a year ago, that we wanted to conceive, I was referred to an obstetrician to do some preliminary testing to make sure I wasn’t carrying a genetic disease, etc. (shalom, I’m Jewish). Thankfully I wasn’t, but more than anything, I left our two meetings realizing that I was kind of obsessed with this doctor. She was kind, but also no-nonsense, and she drew great pictures. She’s also a triathlete and mother of two and was totally game to let me keep exercising and even running races well into my pregnancy (which at that point I wholeheartedly believed was merely seconds away. <hysterical laughter from the crowd>.). She’s a so-called “high-risk” obstetrician – because I have Crohn’s disease, this was the protocol, and I was worried she’d be all high-risky. The absolutely hilarious part of all of this of course is that the only thing that’s been “high-risk” has been my path to conception, the risk being that I won’t conceive at all, or that if I do, it will be at best fleeting.


  1. I with you. I'm calm right around ovulation. Somehow, for those few brief days, I think it might actually happen. And then reality hits. As I get closer to the end of the cycle, I panic. Avoid the toilet. Avoid the bag of pregnancy tests. Dread the thermometer. And I, too, could care less how this future maybe baby is made. I'm waayy past the point of hoping for romance. I'll take a clinic tech with a catheter any day. Whatevs.

  2. My husband has Crohns, and so there was some worry that it would be a factor on the male side of things when we decided to try for a baby. Ironically, *his* profile has proven to be A-OK...
    I hope you never end up needing that lab tech to make up your menage, and that you'll instead be needing that OB in the very near future! Oh, I hope.