Cruel Trick of Nature

This journey is so taxing on us emotionally. It’s a series of bumps and turns. Emotional roller coaster does not even begin to explain my feelings throughout the month… or even throughout a single day. There’s a country song that I really like right now by Morgan Wallen called Up Down. It’s supposed to be a fun and happy summer song. It talks about it being Friday night, you’re off work, and you “haven’t been there long but the bobber’s in the pond going up down, up down, up down.” I laugh when I hear that line, cuz that’s me! I haven’t been on this journey as long as many of you have. With only a year of heart ache, I still very much consider myself a newbie to this super “cool” group that I NEVER wanted to join. And honestly, my emotions vary so much in a matter of minutes that I can barely keep up. I’m jut going up down up down up down ALL DAY!

Sometimes it’s a big thing…like the dreaded Facebook pregnancy announcement. I could be in the best mood. Just relaxing and browsing the posts and WAM. Somebody I never expected to announce says their due in January. Cue the momentary bad mood, until I can rally and shake it off. Other times it’s nothing at all. Just a thought that creeps into my head. I’m playing with my son and were having a conversation about nothing in particular. And he overwhelms me with how smart and pensive he is. I revel in the experience of being able to have a real conversation with your toddler and how excited I am to watch him grow into a small person, only to be flooded with rage that he’s growing up so fast and all alone. I want time to stand still while I go through this infertility crap. I don’t want my children to be years apart (I don’t even allow myself to think of the possibility that there won’t be anymore children. I will never risk speaking that into existence!) I just want my boy to hold off on growing up until I can give him the brother or sister that he deserves to grow with and have adventures together. Growing up 10 years older than my next sibling makes me ache even more for this unfair turn of events. I purposely wanted my children close together to avoid the age gaps I grew up with that were my parents choice. But it seems I don’t have a choice in anything and the decision will be made without my consent to insert whatever age gap the powers that be decide.

This weekend was rough. I had a hard time with my failed IUI’s. I’ll admit to that. However, I never get hit too hard with sadness right before my period. I’ve usually come to terms with my fate and I embrace the start of my cycle with open arms because it truly is a new beginning and chance to try again. This month I was not so gracious and understanding of nature’s cruel workings.

My husband and I took our little man camping for the 4th. I knew my period was due the day we were leaving so I loaded up on tampons and pads. I didn’t think much about it until Friday night when I was reaching in my bag and saw the stash of supplies in there. I ¬†was late! I’m never late. Could this be? I knew better than to get my hopes up. I continued on and kept this revelation to myself. I felt a moment of guilt and panic when my husband brought me a glass of wine by the campfire. I didn’t have any tests on me and I didn’t want to refuse and get his hopes up. I also didn’t want to allow myself to think that this could be it and then wind up disappointed. So I drank the glass and rationalized that plenty of women drink before they know they are pregnant and it is all good. Heck! I didn’t get a positive test with our first for 7 days after my missed period and I had more tequila and wine then I can count.

Anyhow, two more days passed and no period symptoms. No bad mood, no cramps, no general icky feeling. I felt happy and healthy and strong. I could feel the hope creeping in. I knew better than to do it, but I googled what my due date would be. I was so thrilled to see that it would be March 14th if I were pregnant. My sibling are both due in March and with that date I would be able to pick my scheduled C-section for March 11th, so both my babies are born on the 11th of their birth months. YUP! I had dove head first into this fantasy and there was no reeling me in. I already starting planning how I’d tell my mom.

That day my husband suggested we take a drive out to a local vineyard. I knew I’d have to tell him at this point. I was now 5 days late and I could not risk alcohol causing any problems with my child no matter how early on I was. He instantly got excited. I told him it was probably negative, but I just needed to be sure. He couldn’t stop smiling. My heart breaks just thinking of his happiness. Fast forward a few hours to us pulling into the local Walmart. The boy had fallen asleep so I ran in to grab a test and pee on it alone. There I was standing in the bathroom, praying fervently that this was it. Maybe we were one of those couples that tries a couple rounds of treatments and then conceives naturally in our month off. As the 3 minutes counted down on the Clearblue Easy, I laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation. I text my husband and said I felt like a college girl going out for date night and peeing on a stick at the store to make sure she was good before downing some cheap beer or Cherry Burnett’s and Diet Coke.

Finally my 3 minutes were up. I said one last prayer and then I looked…


Yup. Let’s go drink.



Infertility is painful. It’s isolating. It’s unfair.

The only person you can depend on to be there for you and understand you completely is your significant other because they are living this nightmare with you. Right?

Not me. Not here. Not in my relationship.

We have secondary infertility. We conceived our son naturally (although we knew his semen analysis was abnormal and just happened to get lucky the month I had my HSG) and have been trying for almost a year for #2.

We have male factor infertility. All of my tests come back normal. I don’t have endo or PCOS or any of the things that plague women. It’s all on him. Sometimes I wish we had female infertility. It is so much easier for me to handle things when I am in control. But this is not something I can control. It’s all on him. He needs to cut sugar and caffeine and alcohol. It’s his sperm! There’s nothing I can do except nag him every night about making better choices and have his vitamins waiting for him at his bedside when he tries to go to sleep without taking them. And of course, all of this nagging and mothering really puts him in the mood for sex… every 3 days…during my fertile period… you know because he takes FOREVER to regenerate any kind of count! It’s all so very romantic… {insert eye roll here}

The other night I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Trials Bring Joy. I love that the writer does these guest writing blogs called “What It’s Like.” Each post is something different. What It’s Like to Be a Stay at Home Mom. What It’s Like to Lose a Parent. What It’s Like to Go Through The Adoption Process. And one of my favorites… What It’s Like to Have Male Factor Infertility. You should really check these blogs out!

Anyway, I am reading this post and I suddenly laugh out loud. My husband who is sitting next to me asks me what is so funny. I shared with him an excerpt from the blog where the woman talks about her husband’s take on MFI and he compares his sperm to a tennis team. He explains the comparison by saying it’s because there are not that many of them and most of them are weird as hell. The image that my mind conjured was PERFECTION! I still smile just thinking about it.

My husband however didn’t see the humor. He just looked at me like I was crazy and said what else did he say. I read him the entire paragraph about this man’s feelings on his MFI diagnosis. My husband listens and says to me, “Do you wanna know how I feel about all of this?” I responded with a YES! He looks me dead in the eyes and says, “I don’t feel anything about it. I don’t really care.”

Silent pause for me to process…

You see my husband doesn’t talk about any of this. I assumed that it was because he was embarrassed or ashamed. He’s not much to talk about his feelings or emotions, so I let it be. He doesn’t come to any appointments unless his sperm is needed. I assumed it was because he takes his job very seriously and didn’t want to miss days unnecessarily. Also I work at the hospital where my appointments are so I just run down for tests and blood work on my breaks. No big deal. He never asks me how anything is going or how I am feeling. I assumed it was because he didn’t want to upset me by constantly talking about it and asking me questions.

I didn’t think it was because he didn’t care.

Now let me be fair and say that my husband can be a child sometimes. He often says things without thinking and then later analyzes what he said and apologizes for it not being what he meant. Of course he did that this time too. But a part of me is not buying that. I think on some level he said exactly what he feels. He is perfectly content just having our son. He is more of the “if it’s meant to happen it will” type. He also operates on the “it happened before when they said it wouldn’t, so they are probably wrong this time too” idea. He has no clue how hurtful is when I want siblings for our son and he acts like he could go either way. He doesn’t dwell on this like I do. He tells me about pregnancy announcements over dinner in his nonchalant way and doesn’t realize my heart is breaking. When I am in public I am hyperaware of all the pregnant people around me and the women wearing newborn babies in their beautiful wraps. He never notices.

If infertility were a sport, every husband and wife would be on the same team. But I can’t help but wonder how successful our team would be if we aren’t both committed to achieving the same goal. Are there really any teams where infertility is concerned or are we all just individuals running our own race?


IUI #2…Major FAIL? Probably…

I felt so good this month. Everything seemed to really be coming together nicely. I had ZERO side effects from the Clomid. Like I actually felt fabulous while taking it and even after. I maybe had 1 mild headache, but I can’t absolutely attribute that to Clomid as its been very rainy here and I usually get headaches when the weather is bad. When I went in for my post Clomid scan, I mentioned to the doctor that I had no side effects this month. He looks at me sadly and says, ” Let’s hope you haven’t gotten used to the dose and it wasn’t effective.” I had a moment of panic. I had not even thought about that being the reason for the lack of side effects. I thought it was a good thing.

But rest assured, my panic was quickly eliminated when my scan revealed 2 follicles at maturity and another one close behind. 3 FOLLICLES! So many targets now. This has got to be my month. I was so positive and relaxed in the days leading up to the IUI. My husband has been on the vitamins for 90 days now, he’s improved his diet, and he has limited his alcohol to almost nothing for 3 months! I was scheduled for my IUI on Friday (of last week) and I was even more excited because it would be the first time my husband could come to the appointment with me. I had him there at my side. I was calm and happy. When they injected the sample I visualized the sperm meeting the egg. I thought excitedly “what if two eggs get fertilized and we are blessed with twins!” Nothing but positivity radiating from me.

And then the doctor announced that we need to remain hopeful and that he put the sample as high and close as he could, but the count was very very low. Um excuse me? What? The count shouldn’t be low. He doesn’t have a low sperm count. He has motility and morphology issues. WHAT IS GOING ON? HOW LOW? The doctor just said low and walked out. Well I could not leave without the exact number. I kept telling myself low could just be 10 million. It’s low, but it’s proven effective in IUI’s with greater than 10 million. The nurse came in to schedule my next appointments. I again asked, “What was the exact count?” She looked sadly at me and said 1.2 million! 1.2 MILLION! I kindly thanked her, got dressed in a daze, and walked out sadly with my husband at my side. It wasn’t until we were in the lobby that he finally spoke and said, ” Well, I kinda wish we hadn’t found that out.” Cue the water works…

I pulled myself together 15 minutes later, but all positivity had been wrenched from my soul. 1.2 million? It just couldn’t be? How could it be so low when we were doing everything we were told to do? Why is fertility so unfair? My body did everything that it was supposed to! My labs looked amazing, my body ovulated perfectly, I responded beautifully to the Clomid. WHY?!

The rest of my weekend following the IUI was a blur. I was in a horrible mood. Didn’t really want to deal with people. But guess what? It was memorial day weekend and we were camping… in a pop up… with 6 people and a huge dog. So alone time was scarce. I had a glass of wine with dinner one of the nights. I started feeling guilty at first and then I replayed the 1.2 million in my head and ordered another. I went for a bike ride the next morning to try to get away from the thoughts in my head of my son growing up an only child. I know I was supposed to take it easy all weekend, but seriously… 1.2 million!

I was pretty much resigned to the fact that CD1 would be coming this month.

It was so funny because I did have one glimmer of hope. It was really stupid actually. I know that progesterone levels are not indicative of pregnancy at all. However, I have low progesterone that requires suppositories every month. On Wednesday I went in to confirm ovulation and check my levels and my progesterone came back at 26! 26 is my all time high for progesterone. I didn’t even need to supplement this month. I had a fleeting thought of what if? What if it actually worked? Crazier things have happened! I mean why else would my progesterone suddenly be 26 when its normally 3-9. I remained hopeful for the rest of the day.

And then I started thinking logically. Progesterone is released from the follicles once you ovulate. This was my first cycle with multiple follicles. My scientific brain told me that this shouldn’t give me hope at all. And suddenly I was filled with bitterness again that my body was doing what it is supposed to do and still our chances were less than 2%!