Age. It is something we focus on our entire lives. Our first birthday, an “oh so important” birthday with our hands stuffed into cake and a bazillion photos. Our sweet 16, we can finally drive and are likely in love for the first time. Twenty-one celebrated in a pit of shots and throw up, to then move on to celebrating 30 like it is the beginning of the end.
One thing I do know is that unlike our parents, my generation felt as though they had time. We have time to find the right career path, the right human to share our lives with, and time to start a family (especially with today’s science). Time is on our side… so I thought.
During my engagement and early years of marriage I began hearing stories of acquaintances that were having issues conceiving, which turned into friends having troubles, and then family joined “the club.” This was a group of people that kept growing and growing before my eyes, but I never thought that I would one day make myself the self-appointed President of this club.
In 2014, we began trying, and each month resulted in nothing but good old Aunt Flo. After about three months, my sister-in-law sent me her super fancy ovulation detector contraption. After hours trying to figure out how to use it and a few more months of peeing all over the place, still nothing. Each month I would think every fart or yawn was a sign of a microscopic perfect baby in my belly — until it wasn’t.
After months of trying to make a baby, we met with a fertility doctor, discussed our history, plan, and moved forward with our next big step in making a baby with an IUI (intrauterine insemination). This is what we refer to as the “old turkey baster method” where the doctor inseminates you after stimulating your body to make a bazillion eggs, mixing science and the old-fashioned way of doing things.
The husband had to arrive a couple hours before I did so he could spend some QT in the room of grodiness and provide us with a sample. From there, they do some fancy stuff to his stuff to make it super stuff. Sorry kids, trying to keep this PG.
Well, what no one prepared me for with infertility is how to navigate all the appointments and keep a normal day job. Part of me wished I was back to my bartending or RN days, with a flexible schedule and night shifts, but that isn’t reality. I had a blossoming career and the last thing I want to do was be labeled unreliable or flaky. I thought to myself, plenty of successful women have done this and you’re not any different. At the time, I worked as a consultant for a Big Four firm, so I travelled Monday through Thursday 48-50 weeks a year.
The day of my IUI was no exception, with a client dinner scheduled later that evening all the way in Nashville, Tennessee. This required me to change my typically Monday flight out of NYC to a Tuesday (IUI and client dinner day), and fly out later in the afternoon to make a dinner in Tennessee. The timing was tight, like so tight I stared at my watch the entire time I was in the waiting room, just wanting them to get the thanksgiving celebration going (turkey baster, get it?). Time felt like it was closing in on me, each minute stressed me out.
The doctor comes in to the room, worked his magic and three minutes later he was ready to walk out of the room before turning to say, “Now we want you to lay with your legs elevated for 30 minutes.” WHAT, how did no one tell me this was part of the procedure? My flight was in a little over an hour, I was in midtown Manhattan, and it was going to take me at least 30 minutes to get through traffic. In short, I didn’t have 30 minutes.
They put on some nice music, dimmed the lights, and I assume I was supposed to lay there and dream about my little embryo in the making. That’s not what happened. As soon as the door shut, I contemplated my options, seven seconds later I gently hopped up, put on my pants, and ordered an Uber. When I walked out of the procedure room, I politely told the nurses that I had a flight to catch and that I would do the respectable thing — lay down in the back of my Uber and make this baby.
A few side eyes later, I was laying in the back of a gross old Uber van with my legs hanging over the seat backs while rushing through midtown traffic. That’s when it really hit me, I actually could be making a baby. This was like the video I watched in Mr. Benko’s class my sophomore year of high school or the opening scene of the movie Look Who’s Talking with the sperm chatting and racing toward the light.
In my moment of nostalgia, I decided to snap a picture, as this could be a moment that would change my life forever.
Unfortunately, the IUI was not successful, and this was just the beginning of balancing my career while trying to grow my family.
More than two years later, I have gone through three rounds of IVF, hundreds of injections, thousands of dollars, and what feels like a million tears. Like many women, one in eight actually, I continue to fighting for something that so many take for granted. Until we are graced with a child, biological or not, I plan to continue traveling the world, binging on reality television, building my career, and educating as many people as possible about the trials and tribulations that come along with infertility.