Raise your hand if you’re trying to get pregnant and having a hard time, but no one else seems to be talking about how hard it is to get pregnant. <<RAISES BOTH HANDS>>
Here’s the thing: I know I’m not alone in this and, yet, I feel very alone in this. There seems to be a lot of shame in discussing fertility, or lack of it. The only stories I currently hear are from the friends who have no issues getting pregnant. They sneezed and — whoops! — got knocked up.
I had a bit of a “this only happens in the movies” moment the other day, when I walked through the front door, saw my husband, and immediately collapsed into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably. If this were a romantic film, it would be because we hadn’t seen each other for 10 years, and my character was overwhelmed by the sensation of being in her love’s arms. This, however, happened to be my life, and I was hysterical because I saw a friend’s pregnancy announcement on Instagram. Her caption read, “This was a surprise to us, but we’re so happy for it!”
My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 7 months now. And, just to be clear, we’ve been through all the tests: my husband has above average swimmers, I have more than enough follicles, and my fertility bloodwork is sound. The real problem came after a second ultrasound, and an HSG (a not-fun-at-all procedure where they put iodine through your uterus to see if your fallopian tubes are open), where my doctor found two polyps, and a thicker than usual uterine lining. As a result, I just went through a hysteroscopy and a D&C (basically, I went under anesthesia while my doctor scraped my uterus clean. A uterine tune-up, if I may).
I’ve learned all of the fertility acronyms, not through talking to people I know, but through googling and online forums. Because apparently these anonymous spaces are the ones where these things get talked about. I know what BBT, TTC, and DPO all mean. I’ve tried different kinds of ovulation predictor kits, the one that gives you a smiley face and the one with the two pink lines. I take my temperature when one of my cat’s wakes me up in the middle of the night. I’ve listened to any potential sign my body is giving me that it might be close to ovulation time. I’ve studied my mucus and will never look at egg whites the same way again.
I cried while on a vacation in Japan because my period came. I cried to my husband after our third time trying hadn’t worked — when I’d felt nauseous in an uber and became convinced it was an early sign of morning sickness. I cried and told my husband “I can’t do this anymore!” after taking an ovulation test and it kept coming back with mixed results.
I’ve taken up acupuncture, because a friend told me that helped her friend conceive. And I’ve taken the herbs and tinctures that taste like hot garbage that the acupuncturist gave me because I’m filled with too much “heart fire” and maybe THIS is boiling my eggs. I’ve given up alcohol, red meat, processed foods, and scalding hot baths (I miss those the most) to try and help, and when they haven’t I’ve tacked them back on because fuck it, nothing seems to be working anyway so I might as well drink wine in my hot bath while eating a plate of sugar meat.
I’ve googled many, many things:
– Is a headache a sign of early pregnancy?
– Early pregnancy signs
– Ovulation signs
– How many times a day should you have sex if TTC?
– Best sex positions for TTC
– What color are ovulation spots
– Ovulation cramping vs period cramping
– How soon do implantation cramps start
– Can you be pregnant if you get spotting
– How soon does morning sickness start
– Average BBT chart
– Chances of getting pregnant at 34
– Kinds of fertility treatments
– Side effects of Clomid
I’ve had friends, apropos of nothing, tell me that their friend conceived after one try. Their mother also did, and they heard about someone who forgot a condom one time and — poof! — they were suddenly with child. It’s these stories that seem to be told the most often to people who are trying to conceive, because when it’s easy for you it’s not a problem to discuss that with anyone who cares to know. But I feel a deep shame — like my body is broken and I’m failing — in comparison. And while I know logically this is not true, I can’t help but feel this way because I’m the only person I know who seems to be experiencing it.
It’s not that there aren’t stories like mine out there. But after many months of being told it would happen for us immediately, because that’s how things work, it seems that it’s equally important to tell stories like mine. Of going into our seventh month of trying, and getting surgery that will hopefully allow us to conceive.
Maybe we’ll get pregnant afterward. Maybe not.
Maybe we’ll have to go on a fertility drug, or try insemination, or go straight to IVF.
I just turned 34, and I thought we’d be pregnant by now.
So that’s where we are. We’re doing as much as we possibly can.
Is anyone else out there feeling this way?