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), 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?)