Alex and I talked often of our future and children, as young couples tend to do. We both wanted little ones someday, a lot of them, so we decided to pursue our dream of having children. I stopped my birth control thinking this would be easy. He said it would be fun with all the racy and wild sex we would have. It was good. The sex, I mean. Alex was game for most anything I wanted to try. But months turned into one year, then two years, and still no child. It took convincing, but he agreed to go with me to see Dr. Kim, the fertility doctor.
We had to decide how far we could go in the fertility treatment process to realize our dream. I wanted to do whatever it would take. Alex was a bit more hesitant. There are so many choices, my first impulse was to go straight to in vitro fertilization(IVF) thinking I would get pregnant faster. But according to Dr. Kim, cheaper therapies, such as fertility drugs or surgery, were often very effective. I learned that about 90 percent of couples with fertility problems who have children were treated with drugs or surgery only. We agreed on medication trials for now.
They needed a sample from Alex. I laughed until I cried at his embarrassed indignance to fill a cup. They offered magazines or movies, but he said that all he had to do was think of me. I was touched and proud. Later, we learned the results that his swimmers were valiant and plentiful (much to his relief). I endured the multitude of tests and painful ultrasounds. Alex held my hand during the internal ultrasound where they lit me up with blue dye. I never knew a simple, straw-sized tube could be so painful as it traipsed around inside my uterus. He wiped my tears as I grimaced and whimpered. The verdict was a tilted pelvis. No reason for not being pregnant, but it explained the occasional painful banging during some of our rowdier nights. I secretly suspected it was still my fault I wasn’t pregnant yet. There was something wrong with me. But nothing seemed conclusive, until Dr. Kim discovered I rarely ovulate. Well, that could be a problem since you need to ovulate to get pregnant. Biology 101. We agreed to the Clomid, a fertility drug that was supposed to help. I’ll spare you the scientific details.
We began to live in month-to-month cycles of hope and disappointment that revolved around ovulation calendars and menstruation. As we navigated a tight schedule of tests and treatments, our lives were placed on hold — postponing vacations, putting off my education, and short-circuiting our careers. What the doctors don’t tell you is how the anger, frustration, depression, and sorrow that go along with fertility treatments can invade and affect every aspect of your life, strain friendships, and erode self-confidence.