Wednesday, June 26, 2013

let's talk about sex: 14 weeks, 5 days

To my mother and my aunt and, in an exercise of caution, to some mysterious, yet to be named, third relative who might be reading, lurking anonymously, and discovering my inner most secrets and, well, let’s just be honest, to anyone else who is over 40 and knows us in real life – please, I implore you. Skip this post. And, instead, here is an adorable video of a baby chimp, tiger cub and wolf puppy on a play date.   

<Okay, is everyone gone? Is it safe to start?>

Sex. All the cool kids are talking about it. It’s at the periphery of all discussions of conception and infertility – when you’re having it, how often, on what schedule. Or, sometimes, in the case of IUI or IVF, it’s about what you’re doing in lieu of sex – feet in stirrups, knees up, a totally vulnerable position of exposure that somehow no longer phases you, fluorescent lighting, threesome with the fertility clinic nurse.

We often talk about it, but not explicitly – substituting elementary school names (baby dance) and insufferable acronyms (BD), alongside the more inventive and aspirational (jungle time/trapeze style swings/etc).

During the months of Clomid and IUI it was foremost in our minds – timing was, literally, everything. When C had to work nights in the ICU, when we were away for the weekend in tight quarters with friends, when we were just too tired – we still had to have sex. A schedule, a timeframe, a veritable biological clock. In some ways it brought us closer – although there was timing, there was also, somehow, an increased sense of spontaneity. Until the dictates of my cycle required it, and after more than a decade together, we didn’t always try to fit in quickies in all manner of times and locations.

So (deep insight here) infertility shaped our sex lives – at least temporarily. And ironically, it was ultimately IUI, and not straight up sex that yielded a (seemingly *fingers crossed*) viable pregnancy.

But infertility sex did nothing to prepare me for pregnancy sex. Or, more honestly, first trimester pregnancy sex. It’s almost inexplicable now, looking back *whistful sigh as she recalls the distant, long ago first trimester, less than two weeks past*.

*Deep breath* let’s cut to the chase because it has now taken me nearly six paragraphs to get here: I wanted nothing to do with sex, romance or intimacy in the first trimester. It was, in a word, in my words, catastrophic. Any interest I had was obliterated; I, albeit temporarily – though I did not know that at the time – became wholly, and completely, uninterested in sex. I was *cringe* a completely a-sexual being – robotic, unfeeling, uninterested. Did we have sex? Of course – the first trimester is 12 (and, by the math of the clinically insane, THIRTEEN) godforsaken weeks. But it wasn’t… the same.

I realize I am running the risk of hyperbole and have long since passed the threshold of over-sharing – (YOU’RE WELCOME). But I want to be honest about this because as I was going through it, I felt, well, OUT-OF-MY-MIND-CRAZY. I felt like I would never be myself again. I felt like I would never look at C the same way. I felt exhausted, nauseated, bloated and hormonal. I felt selfish. I expended what little energy I had on buoying myself through a long day and by six o’clock, I had very little left to give. My primary interests were long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners maintaining some minimal level of effectiveness at work, eating as many bland carbohydrates as possible, keeping a firm hold on my SeaBands, and trying in vain, with what little energy remained, to exercise. And that was it. The sweet overtures of my (usually) patient husband were – gosh I sound like a total wench – secondary.

Thankfully, it was fleeting. Slowly, as week 12 approached, and then receded into my distant memory, I began to feel more like myself. I’m still exhausted, I still have intermittently strong food aversions (garlic, lime, seltzer water, chocolate[1]), I still have exciting new pregnancy stuff going on – like, Where is all this snot coming from? and Owww, that’s my uterus! – but I feel more whole. And of course, the sex is much, much better.

(I know what you’re thinking: well, shucks, that was a big transition from funny baby capitalism post about Guantanamo baby hoods and all-things-Sophie-the-giraffe to profound! explicit sex talk. But you know, I’m a woman of mystery, etc. Anyway, tonight is my first pre-natal yoga class so… I’m anticipating plenty of funny to report. In the meantime, tell me that a swaddle-sleep-sack doesn’t inevitably, and instantly, turn your cooing infant into a fundamentalist cult member?)

[1] If that isn’t a totally bizarre assortment, I don’t know what is. Seltzer is not even a food.


  1. Oh, I love talking about sex! I have debated posting about this since my father reads my blog... but for this very first part of the first trimester I'm wayyy too paranoid to have regular intercourse, so hubs and I have started having what we fondly refer to as "fex" (that's "faux sex"). I'll leave you to imagine what that might entail.

    So glad that you got your groove back. I hear sex can get downright mind-blowing in trimester three due to increased blood flow, so you have that to look forward to!

  2. I can't imagine being able to function without garlic?!

    As far as the sex goes, i am not much help; enjoy it while you can maybe lol.

    The sleep sacks, i've heard people swear by them, and heard people say they where the worst. In the end i think it comes down to what your bubba will be like. Can't hurt having one just in case.

  3. Who said anything about aspirational?! We definitely totally always incoporate swing play into our sex. Obviously.

    I'm all for more explicit sex talk, too much information and oversharing (as per my own blogging activities).

    Enjoy the yoga, and can't wait for the funny!

  4. First off, we had sex exactly ZERO times from 5w4d - 11w4d this pregnancy. I was puking all day every day, and you can bet your bottom dollar I was absolutely NOT interested in sex.

    Honestly, while pregnant with our first child, I was really not interested the entire time, though I did here and there for my husband's sake. Some ppl say they get sex crazed - some the opposite. I'm apparently the opposite. I still wasn't super interested while BFing - it wasn't until the last month or two pre-pregnancy #2 that I was back into the swing of WANTING IT (I used to be the randy one in the relationship, FWIW). Now I'm pregnant again, and ya...not so much. *sigh* I miss it, but not enough to WANT it, if that makes sense. :(

    Also, the 3rd tri started freaking my husband out b/c "What if it hits the baby's head?!" Um, no honey, not gonna happen. LOLOLOL.

  5. I was/am like the previous poster (Josey) during my pregnancy and now after: no sex drive or desire AT ALL! During the beginning of the pregnancy I was on progesterone suppositories and those did not work well with sex. It felt like sandpaper in my lady bits and I was as dry as could be, even if I did have junk leaking out of me. Once the suppositories were done with, I still had no desire for sex, although I did try a few times for DH's benefit. Honestly, once we got going, it wasn't bad, it was just the getting there. And then once our guy was born, in the beginning, no time and still no desire. I've heard breastfeeding can do that..Now that he is almost 10months old, not breastfeeding as much and AF is back, the desire and sex-hormones are coming back, slowly.
    I truly wanted to be one of those sex crazed ladies during pregnancy. Hahahahaha

  6. I also am really not big on the acronyms... and I also can't post some things on my blog because I know my fam reads it.

    From what I hear, sex gets better as the pregnancy progresses... I think it is natural to lose interest for a while. When I lived in Mozambique my friend was pregnant and she told me that in their culture pregnant women aren't supposed (or expected to) have sex with their husbands! lucky ladies...

  7. I think I barfed a little bit when I first encountered the term "baby dance"...

    Yeah, the sex thing is funny and SO different for each woman. I was like a horny maniac in my first trimester thanks to the surge of, like, every hormone there is apparently. Now that I'm in the second tri, however, I've had this weird maternal/nurturing wave come over me, which makes me more lovey than lusty. Hoping this third trimester blood flow craziness helps boost my drive again... but I swear, if the baby moves ONCE during sex, it is so game over. I do NOT want to be reminded that we're essentially having menage-a-trois now.

    1. Ha, I know, right? Things could get, uh, kinda weird in the third trimester... I mean, first I had a threesome with the fertility nurse (IUI), and that's about all I can take.

  8. We only had sex once in the first trimester, so I think you are doing better than us. I wasn't even puking, just tired and not interested.
    Second trimester things are improving (very slowly) although things feel totally different to me and there are lots of extra sensations in my uterus. I find that really weird because I can't forget that I'm pregnant while having sex. Like the poster above I find that pretty distracting.

  9. I can't think of any good euphemisms for sex on my blog. I kind of like the old fashioned "have relations." I'm terrified to have relations yet (six weeks today) since I've had two early miscarriages in the past. I know the doctors say it's not linked, but if I could get away with lying still with nothing touching my midsection for 12 weeks, I might do it. Sorry husband.
    I'm glad you're back to feeling a little more like yourself.

  10. Don't worry...not too much information at all. And I totally, totally understand where you're coming from. We had "some" sex in the first trimester, but only because I felt bad for my husband. Now, unfortunately, when my sex drive is back, we're not having sex due to other risk factors. Blah!