The first time I tried to get pregnant was in August of 2009. I felt like I was walking in a dream.
I had a vague memory that sometimes it takes a while to get pregnant, but I knew I was going to get pregnant immediately. I just knew it.
I had my ovulation kit and was peeing on the sticks every day. I had bought the super expensive fertility tests; the electric kind that gives you a smiley face when you are ovulating. I knew about when to expect a smiley face, but had to start testing a few days before as the box said. There was a possibility that I would get a positive result on the weekend and I had worked it out with my OB that I could email her and she’d come in; a huge benefit of having been on the high school gymnastics team with your OB.
Oh my God, it was happening. I knew I was going to be pregnant and have a baby in 9 months! May! A May birthday. I started imagining birthday parties; spring, parks… Perfect!
I was shaky as I drove to The Fancy Clinic that morning. It was a clear beautiful day and the air seemed to buzz. I had never been so alive. I was scared and excited and it felt like every day in my past was crashing in to this one. I wanted to look nice, again. I still wanted the random people at the clinic not to feel sorry for me for being single and think I could have a partner if I wanted, because I was so pretty but I was choosing to go alone. If I looked pretty, that’s what they would think.
I wasn’t really feeling strong and confidant, emotionally. I mean, I was definite about my choice to have a baby, but I wasn’t ready for any critical comments or unsupportive advice; so I told no one about what was about to happen. Except for Dan, who, of course was in full support and promised to respect my feelings by not telling anyone else.
I parked in the big public lot and walked down the stairs to the street. A woman sat in a beach chair on the sidewalk talking on a cell phone and holding out her cup asking for money. I turned the corner thinking about my expenses; it would cost me about $200 to get the sperm out of the lab and then another $250 for the insemination and another $200 for the freezing. $650. Another guy asked me for money; he held out an old fashioned soup can with no label. Change rattled as he shook the can at me. He wore sunglasses and read the newspaper. I walked by him too and around the corner to the big building.
Fertility clinics have to be open 7 days a week, because you ovulate 7 days a week. No days off for the body. In some ways it was nice that this was happening on a Saturday. The streets were pretty empty. I went up the elevator and stepped into The Fancy Clinic.
A beautiful young woman was at the front desk. “May I help you?” she asked. As I was about to speak, a five year old girl appeared from behind her. She peered around her young mom, who had to work on this Saturday. The five year old smiled shyly. I welled up. I just did, OK. Was I going to have a beautiful daughter?
“I’m here to pick up something from the lab,” I didn’t have to say frozen sperm to the receptionist, did I? She pointed to a door. I walked down the hall way, looking for the room Dan first went into. I saw it and laughed. What a terrible place to expect men to have a private experience.
When I got to the end of the hall, I recognized Rolf right away from Dan’s description.
“Hi, I’m picking up my deposit.” I told him my name. I had called ahead and it was almost ready.
Rolf nodded and barely looked at me.
“Thank you,” I said loudly with a big smile. He smiled back, reluctantly. I wondered if he remembered Dan and realized I was picking up the deposit from the guy who wanted the gay porn. It didn’t matter. I just hoped he did a good job prepping my sample. That’s another thing they like to call the sperm; a sample.
Rolf handed me the finished, frozen product. I took the small brown paper bag. “Hold it like this.” Rolf pinched the bag with his thumb and finger.
After paying more than I expected, I left, terrified that I’d run into someone I knew who’d recognize the brown bag with the white plastic semen injector sticking out of the top. But I made it to my car unrecognized.
When I got to my OB’s office, she was there waiting for me, having just made hospital rounds. “You ready?” she asked, cheery for 9am and having been up for hours.
“Yes,” I said welling up.
She saw my tears and asked, “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I answered, “It’s just so… emotional.” This was a huge moment. I had made a choice and I had followed through and I was doing it. I was scared, but really proud of myself.
My OB took me into an exam room and began the insemination. This was it. It was happening. And it hurt like a motherf***er! Holy crap! The pain!
When it was over, I lay on the table for 10 minutes while the sperm swam up stream. All of a sudden, many of the fears melted away. I had done this. I had taken a HUGE step towards enriching my life. I still felt like I was dreaming but I felt pure excitement.
I went home. I would find out what happened in 2 weeks. I was pretty sure I’d be pregnant. No one knew. Not my family or closest friends. Only Dan. And my therapist. And my OB. And Rolf, I guess. I needed this to be as private as possible.
I went to a party with my friends that night. I didn’t drink any of the Prosecco, even though I really wanted to celebrate my bravery.
For 2 weeks, I felt special and scared. When I got my period I cried. I was surprised and sad, but not discouraged. I just wanted my baby even more.
A few weeks later, it was time to try again. Dan had been back to the lab to make another deposit and encountered an angry Rolf again. Rolf yelled at Dan and told him to come back in an hour, as Dan stood holding a cup filled with his deposit (which had an almost expired shelf life.)
When the smiley face showed up on my ovulation stick, I went back to the lab and saw Rolf. He didn’t flinch when I mentioned Dan’s name to claim my deposit. He handed me the paper bag and instructed me again on how to hold it and to get to the doctor within the hour. He was, not cranky or yelly, not mad at me for coming in on a Sunday; which made me feel like maybe it was personal with Dan.
My OB performed the second insemination and it hurt like hell again.
In about 10 days, I started feeling something. I felt … things. Like pregnancy things? I got a hemorrhoid! Isn’t that supposed to happen when you are pregnant? And I started craving stuff – like root beer. Oh my God! It was happening!
I called Dan. “I think I’m pregnant,” I said. I was so happy and emotional.
“Really?” Dan was amazed. “It happened already?”
“I think so! I have symptoms!”
When my period was a day late, I emailed my OB the good news.
“Great!” my OB wrote back, “Let’s have you take a home test or come in for a blood test.”
Take a test? But I didn’t get my period, I had the cravings and got the hemorrhoid. I was pregnant! OK. Fine, I’d take a test. I went to the store and bought a pregnancy test. It came with 3 tests in it. I’d give the other 2 sticks to someone else. I peed on the stick the next morning. I was shocked to see NOT pregnant. What? But my period was 2 days late and I was never late. Never! I don’t get it! I am pregnant! I am! Maybe the test was wrong. Maybe it just wasn’t showing up yet.
But I wasn’t pregnant.
The next month, my OB prescribed something called Clomid. It was a pill that was supposed to produce an extra egg. It didn’t work. I did another insemination anyway. That one didn’t take.
Again, I cried, disappointed but not discouraged.
My OB prescribed a higher dose of Clomid. Not only didn’t it work, but it produced cysts. I didn’t know what that meant, in terms of my fertility but it freaked me out.
This is when my OB suggested that I see a specialist. I set up a meeting with Dr. X at The Fancy Clinic.
I also decided to try acupuncture.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/julochka/6322336500/”>julochka</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> < a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gloveboxphotography/2352277593/”>Glovebox Photography</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> < a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/teagrrl/80037092/”>ms.Tea</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> < a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>