I’ve been feeling a little depressed lately about how much of this whole infertility struggle is on me.
Don’t get me wrong: my husband is supportive and as involved as he can be. Plus, you know, there’s the whole having to masturbate outside the privacy of his own home thing, which I imagine most men are carefully taught not to do, starting at a very young age.
But still, all of the medical risk and most of the aggravation are on my side. I realized that right at the start, of course, because I’d been trying to get pregnant for years, which naturally involves a lot of thinking that one might be pregnant, and scanning the ol’ body for signs of same. (And the signs are all gross: swelling, nausea, nipple changes, etc.)
But it really struck me how unfair all this is when we sat down with our reproductive endocrinologist to make a plan.
“There are basically three levels of treatment, depending on how aggressive you want to be,” he said. “The least aggressive is Clomid, by mouth, to stimulate egg production, followed by Ovidrel, an injection to trigger ovulation, followed by intrauterine insemination. The next level is Clomid via injection, but then everything else the same. The third level is IVF.”
And then he explained IVF again, and I tried not to turn green and make barfing sounds or pass out.
“We will not be doing IVF,” I said. “We’d like to start out with the least aggressive treatment first.”
“OK,” he said. “Now, just … let me just ask, what are your specific objections to IVF? Just to see if there’s any way we could mitigate them somehow by changing this or that in the process.”
“It’s not, like, a religious objection,” I said. “It’s just pretty much everything else about it that a person could object to. For starters, I do not ever want anything harvested, including eggs. I don’t want anything inserted into me, in terms of an embryo. I don’t want the small added risk of birth defects. And then there’s the expense. Pretty much, it’s the whole thing.”
“OK, ” he said. “I’m just checking, because I’d hate to see you run out of your benefits if you decide later you want to go down the IVF road.”
“We really want a kid,” I told him. “But I’d 1,000 times rather never have a child than do IVF.”
And that was that. Except that, of course, it wasn’t that, because even Clomid + Ovidrel + insemination makes me want to barf. I got my Clomid in the mail the other day, and my first thought, looking at the jar of five pills in their little blister packs, like antihistamines or cold medicine, was, “Nope.”
Mr. Face has repeatedly said I don’t have to go through with this, but since we’ve been trying for a year and a half, and no dice, and I’ll be 40 in about half an hour, it’s kind of now-or-never time. But can I tell you, I’m so, so mad that I have to put my body through this shit. Shulamith Firestone was right. We need artificial wombs and we need them yesterday.
Image via seriykotik1970 at Flickr