I became a bitchy, irrational, depressed crybaby who could no longer be around any expectant mothers or children for more than 30 minutes. I felt full-on panicked. I no longer believed I would ever get pregnant.
Julia Childless: Fertically challenged. Is that even a word? Well, I think that's what I am. I am trying not to say "infertile," and I refuse to hit up the TTC (Trying to Conceive) boards to research what acronyms they're using these days. The last time I visited one of those sites was almost a year ago, when I became so confused and overwhelmed I closed the window without commenting, leaving a trail of "baby dust" behind me.
When I first started trying to get pregnant, everyone told me to just relax and not to worry. I'm in my early 30s, and come from a long line of super-reproductive folk (my parents are both one of 10 siblings). My gynecologist did the requisite blood work at my annual, neglecting to inform me that my free "well woman exam" was now being billed as "pre-conception counseling." When that hefty invoice arrived, I discovered my health insurance didn't cover infertility treatment. The pressure to conceive cheaply -- the old-fashioned way -- was on.
The first six months I took charge of my fertility (with the help of Toni Weschler's requisite book). I upped my yoga classes and meditation tapes. I quit caffeine and alcohol and artificial sweeteners. My husband altered his diet as well, in solidarity -- he also stopped biking and started sporting boxers -- even though his sperm count was well above normal. And, of course, we had lots and lots of sex followed by the recommended postcoital 30-minute position -- going against everything I had learned about preventing bladder infections. I was starting to get concerned.
In the meantime, everyone around me was getting knocked up. Friends, family members, strangers whose blogs I read. I made no secret about my baby-making attempts -- I assumed it would happen for me, just like it did for everyone around me. In fact, many people began asking if I WAS pregnant, but that's an issue for a whole other blog entry.
We stopped dining out regularly and went to the movies less, using the money to do some more out-of-pocket testing. It had been less than a year, so I was still assuming that pregnancy was just a matter of time. I continued doing more affordable remedies, like over-the-counter progesterone cream and acupuncture; I didn't want to go whole-hog on the medical treatments, unless they were absolutely necessary. Then I became confused by what my gynecologist thought was necessary and wound up switching doctors. Twice. Finally, I found someone I could understand and communicate with, and she recommended Clomid.
My cycles had already been puzzling. Charting my temperatures and checking my cervical mucus for 365 days straight showed me one thing -- none of it made sense. There was always something "wrong" -- no thermal shift or too many of them, abnormal luteal phase lengths, cycles that were too short, and ones that went on and on ... the months on Clomid were even more frustrating. I was showing zero signs of ovulation, which nobody could explain beyond, "Well that's weird." Plus, I became a bitchy, irrational, depressed crybaby who could no longer be around any expectant mothers or children for more than 30 minutes. I felt full-on panicked. I no longer believed I would ever get pregnant.
Before the holidays, we made the decision to see a reproductive endocrinologist, using the money we had put aside for the down payment on a house.
We went to see our specialist right after the New Year, and I really like her. She has a few theories as to why I may not be getting pregnant -- two of them requiring minor surgery, which fully freaks me out -- but further testing has to be done. Every time she opens her mouth, I hear the sound of the cash register ringing simultaneously, and I know that's something I have to let go of. As my mother-in-law says, you don't go shopping at Barney's and ask what's on sale.
Even though I've been "fertically challenged" for a while now, I feel like this journey is just beginning -- I hope you'll come along for the ride with me.
|Julia Childless is a working actress living in Los Angeles without fertility insurance who has been trying to produce a bun in the oven for over a year.|