You can read part 1 of this series by my guest blogger, Sarah (named changed for privacy) here: Baby Not On Board
After my period arrived for the second time since starting fertility treatments, I felt an internal anger switch go off which quickly led to guilt. Even though I had countless things in my life to be grateful for I dwelled on the fact that I wasn’t getting pregnant which only made me feel guilty for not being thankful for the good things. I’ll admit I’d only done a marginal amount of research on fertility treatments, but I clearly missed the section that talked about the emotional side of this process. James noticed the changes in my mood and tried to get me to talk to him, but my anger seemed to be manifesting itself in silence. Rather than talking about my feelings in a healthy manner, I began to shut him out. Even worse, I began to unconsciously start to blame him for me not getting pregnant. Crazy, right? It was as if I had somehow convinced myself he was spending his days sitting in hot tubs, smoking pot, and sleeping with his lap top in his groin region all to kill as many sperm as he could. Again, crazy, I know.
When we went in for our next appointment with Dr. A we knew something had to change. We decided to try insemination that month because it just wasn’t happening the good old-fashioned way. Back I went on the Clomid and the routine of labs and ultrasounds started again. James was still unbelievably supportive and loving, but I could tell this was starting to take a toll on him also. Dr. A ordered a semen analysis on James so we had an idea about the quality and quantity of his swimmers. The results came back on a Monday which ended up being the same week we did our first insemination. In the three categories they test he came back good in only one of them (the morphology, or shape of the sperm). The other two were on the lower end of normal, but Dr. A assured us they weren’t terrible numbers. My ultrasound looked good and Dr. A felt very comfortable about proceeding with the procedure. I had to go back in two days later to have my follicles measured and then again on Friday for the actual procedure. James and I were told to refrain from sex for 24 hours, but no more than 48 hours. He had to go in two hours prior to insemination to give another specimen sample so they could wash his sperm before the procedure. Washing the sperm kills any bacteria that could’ve potentially given my cervix an infection in the process. For my portion I had to come in with a full bladder to help align my cervix and uterus. Again, like an over achiever, I drank so much water I nearly peed myself just waiting for the doctor to come in. When the doctor came in I was a little surprised to see an older, grumpy man walk in. Dr. A was tied up in another procedure and not able to do my insemination. James’ counts from his morning sample had improved from just a few days prior and he was now well into the “normal” range. Things were looking up! Dr. W pulled out the catheter containing the magical sperm from James and began to very clinically explain the process. Before I could even ask a question he told me he was all done and complimented my full bladder. Saying thank you seemed weird so all I said was, “okay”, and he left the room so I could stay laying down for a few minutes. Now, for the sake of full disclosure I must admit the very first thought that came to my mind was laying on the floor and propping my legs high up on the wall so gravity would move the sperm upwards. C’mon ladies, you know what I’m talking about! Fortunately, James was busy rubbing my stomach and praying. I got up five minutes later and the nurse told me to take a home pregnancy test in 12 days and call with the results. I took the rest of that day off work and took it easy. My goal for the next 12 days was to chill out, not stress, and take care of my body. That was the goal, anyway. In reality I spent the next 12 days working like crazy and stressing out about stupid things. James kept reminding me to slow down and relax, but every time I tried to do so I literally starting fidgeting like a crack head jones’ing for their next fix.
At the 5 day mark I began to get symptoms that are 99% of the time indicative that my period is on the way. By that I mean I turned into a crazy, hormonal monster! What’s more embarrassing is what caused me to lose my mind. While cooking Rice-A-Roni one night for a casserole James happened to make a comment about how he thought I wasn’t cooking the rice correctly. I told him I was doing it exactly how the instructions said to. He said, “are you sure? I think you needed to brown it a little more before putting the water in.” What happened next makes me cringe to think about to this day. I said – actually yelled – “I know how to f*ing make Rice-A-Roni so any time you want to shut the f**k up and get out of the kitchen would be great.” I immediately felt awful, but I also immediately knew what that outburst was signaling. I apologized to James and told him I felt like my period was going to be arriving. He hugged me and told me to keep the faith and keep praying. Sadly, prayers had become almost impossible for me to finish. I woke up every day, thanked God and asked him to keep my family, loved ones and I safe and healthy, but that’s as far as I could get. It was terribly frustrating.
Day 4 came and went without my period arriving. Then day 3. Maybe James was right. Maybe there was still a chance the insemination was successful. Day 2 arrived and halfway through the day so did my period and this time I sobbed. I began to convince myself that God was punishing me for past indiscretions from my 20’s which was utterly ridiculous, but I was desperate for an answer or a place to lay blame. Well, what better person than James to place the blame on. When he got home from work I told him my period had arrived and he was sad and tried to console me, but I pushed him away and withdrew. I could visibly see the hurt as I sat there and told him that God clearly doesn’t want us to have children and how something must be wrong with us because even the drugged out losers on Intervention were able to have multiple kids. What I was forgetting in the midst of my selfishness and breakdown, and what I’d forgotten since even starting fertility treatments, was that it wasn’t just me going through this journey. There was another person who had fears and feelings of his own, but because I was so wrapped up in my emotions I’d been blind to what this was also doing to James. Talk about adding more guilty feelings to an already hefty pile of guilt…