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?


On the IVF train…

I guess we’re on the path of IVF. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. I went in for a consultation after my 2nd failed IUI. I barely sat my butt in the seat when my RE announced we would be starting the IVF process. I instantly became alarmed because of the financial burden of this. Lucky for me (if you can consider dealing with secondary infertility lucky), my state just passed a bill to have insurance cover infertility. Obviously, we don’t know what exactly that is going to look like yet. But its a glimmer of hope at least.

We’re looking to begin the process in the early fall. That means I get to spend the summer enjoying my time with my lil man and not stressing about anything right? Does anyone actually know how to turn their brains off for a moment and stop thinking about pregnancy? Id love to know the secret to this. Even with this set plan I still keep googling possible resolutions for male factor infertility and hoping.

I met with a bariatric medicine doctor. I am very nervous about the IVF drugs and weight gain when I am already so overweight. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a physician guide me on a low carb, high protein diet. I am at my all time highest weight of 262.4lbs. I am going to start the program on Monday. So today I went to the bagel shop…twice. And got the biggest ice cream cone from the local creamery. I wonder if this is how an alcoholic feels taking his last drink before entering rehab…

Of course in my attempt to focus on me and get to a healthier weight, I still think about the possibility of a spontaneous pregnancy. Like what if I lose some weight and inadvertently improve my husbands sperm count with my low carb cooking and BOOM I end up pregnant?!?! I am so taken with this idea that I rejected the doctors prescription for a medication to protect my gallbladder during weight loss because I was concerned what would happen if I got pregnant and didn’t know. The constant, all consuming thoughts are relentless.

Commitment Issues

thYup. I said it. I have commitment issues. I absolutely cannot commit to anything that I’ve been told to do that might help me get pregnant. I know it sounds absurd. Of course I would do anything and everything to increase my chances of providing a sibling for my beautiful boy, but I honestly just call bullshit on the whole thing. I cannot convince myself that anything will work and so I can’t stick with any plan that I’ve laid down for myself.


“A low carb, low calorie, high protein diet is the best diet for trying to conceive. It will definitely increase your chances of getting pregnant.” That’s what the NP at my reproductive office said as she filled out my referral form for the office nutritionist. I wholeheartedly believed her in that moment. I’ve seen the success stories resulting from a diet change and subsequent weight loss. I was an avid follower of the keto diet and saw hundreds of testimonies of women that tried for a baby for so long and were finally blessed with a “keto-baby” less than 6 months after starting the diet. I, too, wanted to be one of those success stories. So I went to the store and spent $200 on meat and veggies and low carb snacks. I was ready to commit. Two days later, my husband came home to me laying in bed chowing down on my son’s chocolate chip mini muffins and washing it down with a big ole glass of chocolate milk.

Why? Why did I give in to temptation? It’s because I can’t sustain this belief beyond a few days. There are just too many other facts rolling around in my head making me question the validity of the statement. Yes. I know that being at a healthy weight will make for an easier and safer pregnancy. But low carb, high protein being the key to pregnancy success… What about teenagers? They get pregnant one night in the back of a car when the condom breaks or on the one night stand where they forgot to use protection. There are no OPK’s and ovulation tracking apps being used. It’s just by chance that it happens. Do you remember what your diet looked like as a teenager? I know my diet of chicken fingers, mac n cheese, and pizza would never be viewed as ideal pregnancy intake. And then there’s my best friend. She just delivered another beautiful baby girl 1 month ago. She basically gets pregnant just looking at her husband. Her diet consists of bagels, pizza, and mashed potatoes. This is not an exaggeration. This was the food they served at her wedding because it’s basically all she eats.

This is why I can’t commit.


“Be careful of certain medications that can limit fertility.” We’ve all been told this before. I tapered off of my anxiety medication way back in August to see if that was having an effect on my ability to get pregnant. I refused Versed for a surgery I had a few months back because I wasn’t sure what kind of effects it might have on my chance of getting pregnant that month. When I have a headache, I refuse to take ibuprofen just in case it causes my uterine lining to bleed and affect implantation of the embryo. Seriously…IBUPROFEN? What about Heroin? Any concerns there? Because I have taken care of plenty of heroin addicted babies and children born to methadone using moms. These women are on their 4th, 5th, or 8th pregnancy in a 2 year span! Obviously, these medications are not affecting fertility at all. They aren’t even taking pre-natal vitamins (which I’ve been on for 10 years to make sure I was covered if a pregnancy occurred spontaneously) or getting pre-natal care. Yet they carry babies to term and deliver (although drug addicted) relatively healthy babies. It really makes no sense to me!

This is why I can’t commit.


“Limit your exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals, especially those found in cleaning supplies in your house.” Ooooh! Maybe thats it? I can’t get pregnant because I use 409 to wipe down my counters after my husband cuts up raw chicken and spills blood everywhere. OK! I switched all of my cleaning supplies to organic. I am researching and purchasing essential oils so I can use them in place of  laundry detergent and medications. I want my home and surroundings to be as free of toxins as possible. Buttt then something happens that makes me again question the advice I am getting. This nurse that I work with was talking about how she adds bleach to the sink when she washes her dishes. Like actual bleach! BLEACH that is now on her dishes that she serves food on. Guess what? She’s pregnant with her 5th baby. She is one of 8 children. And her mom is one of 9 children. All of the women in her family clean with pure bleach. All of the women in her family are baby making machines!

I used to work in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at the hospital. That is the job I had when I conceived and carried my son. We conceived naturally and I had an extremely normal pregnancy. I’ve read countless articles about the questionable safety of being a PACU nurse. There has always been concern about the anesthetic gasses that are exhaled by the patients immediately post-op and therefore inhaled by the healthcare workers. Apparently my body (and those of all my PACU co-workers) thrives on the inhalation of gasses when attempting to conceive. Because now, I am safely tucked away in an office, 3 floors above the PACU, completely removed from all that harmful gas, but I am not pregnant am I?

This is why I can’t commit.


“You have to reduce your stress levels. High cortisol levels will decrease your chances of conceiving. Stop worrying so much and just relax. It will happen.” Ugh! The dreaded “it’ll happen when you’re not expecting it” advice coupled with the “just relax…” idea. Do you know how impossible it is to stop stressing about something that is as important to you as growing your family? You can’t. And honestly I don’t buy the whole low stress thing as a whole. I mean sure, as a nurse, I know what high cortisol can do to the body. I’ve read articles and blogs of women who switched careers or quit high stress jobs and got pregnant that very next month. But I just can’t support it 100%.

Problem 1… I have the lowest stress job ever! I am an assistant nurse manager. I am not at the bedside taking care of sick and dying patients. I am not the manager that has the stress of everything resting on their shoulders. I’m just the assistant. I make my own schedule. I’m salaried, so if I’m running late it’s all good. I can just stay late to make up the hours. I don’t work long overnight shifts or 10 shifts in a row. My situation is a dream. Especially compared to the demands of my PACU staff nurse position that I held when I conceived my son. Now that was stressful. Getting yelled at by surgeons every day. Having patients try to punch you in the face when they come out of anesthesia scared and confused. It was rough. Apparently my uterus preferred that job over my low stress career choice.

Problem 2… I have a friend who has 4 children and found out her husband was cheating on her and planned to leave her. She had to put her children in daycare and find a job ASAP. One night while attempting to “de-stress” by going out with some work friends, she made the decision to move on in the form of a one night stand. 6 weeks later… BFP! Really? Really? I’m using OPK’s, temping, and having timed intercourse here and can’t get pregnant. But an ill-timed tryst with a random guy… BOOM! Pregnant.

This is why I can’t commit.


“Limit alcohol intake when trying to conceive… it will help maintain a healthy environment for you and it will increase your husbands sperm count.” Uh huh. I tried. I really tried with this one. For 3 months my husband and I basically swore off alcohol. We didn’t even go to places where alcohol would be lest we smell it and get drunk by osmosis. Ok. We didn’t go that far. But seriously we did not have a single drink in 3 months. Do you know what we got for it? Absolutely nothing. Actually, I’m pretty sure my cortisol levels were higher than ever without my weekly ritual of a bubble bath, candles, and white wine while reading a good book. So that can’t be good.

But if you’re the type that needs scientific proof… I got that for you. We did IUI this month and last month. My husbands sperm count prior to starting fertility treatments was borderline low, but we were mostly concerned about his motility and morphology. Since starting the treatments…aka stopping alcohol consumption… he has had his lowest sperm count to date. It seems like the longer he goes without a beer the less his sperm feel like doing their job. Perhaps, they have banned together in a sperm union and decided they would no longer work if we don’t bring back happy hour at the end of a long day. I mean seriously people… his last count at my IUI 3 days ago…1.2 million! Thats it. 1.2 MILLION! The doctor said have faith… “it only takes one.” I barely heard the rest of the conversation because I was on  my phone mapping out which vineyard we were stopping at on the way home.

F*** alcohol reduction. If a college girl can get knocked up at a party on 4th of July weekend after a 4 day tequila binge than I think my husband and I having 1-2 drinks per week is going to be a-ok!

This is why I can’t commit.