infertility, pt 1

I used to work full-time as a classroom teacher and then I worked in international education where I developed curriculum and teacher training for a program that brought American K-12 education to China. I traveled extensively for this position, both to our private partner schools stateside and to various cities and communities across China. I loved the work I did and really thrived in this position.

Then, we decided we were going to try to get pregnant and it didn’t happen quite as planned. After a year with no luck, my doctor put me on Clomid, which basically turned me into a raging psychopath. (My husband can vouch for this.) I had such an out of body experience with this drug, that after the first round, I asked to never use it again. I was persuaded to give it another try the following month and when that didn’t work, I promptly made an appointment with a local reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

Both my testing and my husband’s came back with glowing review — we were perfect and primed to easily get pregnant, except for that part where we’d been trying for 18 months and not a single positive pregnancy test in sight. I had apps, we tried trips to relax — nothing worked. After months of working with our new RE, we had a long conversation about IUI and IVF.

IUI was given an 11% chance of working and IVF for us was given significantly higher numbers (38%), so we went that route. My husband watched videos on how to give shots and I made early morning appointments with my clinic for all kinds of invasive testing. I also joined a support group with a local therapist; there, I met A who was on the same cycle as me at the same clinic. We’d see each other at each early morning appointment, which was equal parts comforting and uncomfortable.

After many shots, it was time for retrieval — all of my emotions came to a head there. The anesthesiologist hooked the IV to me and I went ballistic. My husband had already been taken downstairs to leave a sample, and this poor woman whom I’d just met, was faced  with a hysterical woman. Every single emotion from the shots, the Clomid, the failed attempts came pouring out of me and there was simply no stopping it.

Eventually, I passed out and they extracted six healthy eggs; all six fertilized; we implanted one; and froze four. Two weeks later, we found out that our IVF didn’t take and I’d have the pleasure of fully miscarrying on our family vacation to Disney World.

Once we returned, we did a round of Whole30 and then waited another month to discuss next steps with our RE who suggested that I should take a step back from so much work travel, so I quit my job and focused on working part-time doing some consulting and teaching at a local community college.

We took a trip to celebrate my newfound freedom but it was hardly worth celebrating. We did a frozen round of IVF and ended with the same fate as our first cycle. It was devastating: During this round, I’d visited my best friend who also had the pleasure of giving me shots, just further humiliating me and my poorly-functioning body. (She was great, as was my husband through it all but it just was something I’d wanted to keep so private which is tough to do when you’re too chicken to give yourself shots.)

After another Whole30 blitz and the healing of my bruise belly and backside, I’d mentioned to my husband that I didn’t think I could go through another cycle. It had broken me more than I’d ever realized possible: I felt like I was in a constant haze and was one comment or look from exploding.

I’ve never seen such a look of relief on someone’s face when I uttered those words to him that night. So, we decided that we’d take a break from it all and then figure out what we’d do after talking to our RE at the next round of follow-up appointments and tests…

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