Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When to Say Enough

I'm just barely down the road of this infertility journey. If I look back, I can still see the the cozy home I left only a short distance behind me. I was a newlywed, still on birth control, desperately trying NOT to get pregnant because we lived in a studio apartment and because we wanted a few years to enjoy being young and childfree.

It was August 2012. My birth control pills ran out earlier that spring, we ditched the condoms on our second wedding anniversary--August 14, 2012. In less than a month, we'll hit 1.5 years of trying to conceive. Of course, on and off during those 1.5 years, we'd use condoms again for a few months. I'd figure out that I didn't want to give birth during volleyball season--thinking I could still keep coaching if I wasn't "too" pregnant or had a small child.

I know that 1.5 years is a quick blink compared to the lengthy infertility journeys many bloggers are currently on. I know that I'm only 25 (for a few more weeks), and that my chances are significantly better than those a decade older than me. In some ways, that makes it worse. I'm in prime baby-making years, and yet my body is still failing me. I should be incredibly fertile right now, perfectly suited for carrying and delivering babies, but something is wrong. Things are not working as they should.

Every single month, starting my period or getting a negative pregnancy test is heartbreaking. If I really do the math, it's probably only been about 10-12 months. That doesn't seem like that many when I look at it, but every one of those months has been painful. Every month, I look in the mirror, at the sad eyes of girl who's belly and arms are still empty and ask how long will I keep doing this.

And every single month I wonder when I'll decide I've tortured myself long enough.

When do I give up, cry Uncle! and decide that I just can't keep going through this anymore?

I know that saying enough is an intensely personal choice. And it looks different for everyone. Sometimes, the choice to stop treatments on yourself is the choice to use a surrogate or the choice to become a foster parent or adopt. For some, it's the choice to focus on being the greatest aunt in the world while living childless.

But here's the thing. I'm not actually doing any infertility treatments. Heck, I'm not even competently charting my temperatures. I quite buying OPKs. The only thing I'm actively doing to combat infertility (other than marathon sexing with my super hot husband) is keeping a notebook of dates when my period has started over the last year and a half. And that's likely the way it will stay.

I know this makes me rare, but IVF is not for us. I thought I might come around on the idea the more I've read infertility bloggers' stories. But I haven't. Deep in my heart, and even in my mind, I know that it's not the right choice for us. It's totally my opinion, but I didn't come to it lightly. I'm so happy that science has something like IVF available to women. I think it's an amazing option for many couples, and the right choice for them. But it's not for me.

I know there are many options in between unprotected sex and IVF, and we would consider them. But we're not there yet. Right now, our "infertility treatment" is going to be continuing to have unprotected sex, an option we could legitimately sustain indefinitely. It's not breaking our bank (although Pre-Seed is pretty darn expensive for a tiny tube!), so we really could keep "trying" forever.

But it's not the "trying" that's the hard part. It's the failing. It's staring at blood in my underwear every single month and wondering what I'm doing wrong, what am I missing that's making this not work right. Why the heck was this cycle only 26 days when the last three have been over 35? It's the waiting. It's avoiding caffeine for two weeks every month, refusing Advil, and cutting out lunch meat. It's the hours I spend googling, reading, and crying in the shower, wondering why I can't just spontaneously get pregnant like everyone else.

When do I say "Enough!"? When do I go back on the pill and give myself a break from all of the heartache?

I know that 1.5 years isn't very long, but believe me, it's been long enough.


  1. I think any amount of time going through infertility cuts deep. Regardless if it is one year or ten years. It sounds like you have many options in front of you for this journey and that is awesome.

    Wishing you so much luck!

  2. I am officially caught up on your blog...and I hate to say that I "liked" it and that I am looking forward to following your story. I do not LIKE that you are going through this, and I hope your story gets a happy chapter soon! But, I do love the way you write and can appreciate the messy emotions and questions that IF causes. KinderCoaster

  3. I was in your shoes once. I was 23 when we started ttc. We couldn't have afforded treatments so it was never an option for us. I spent 13 years off the pill and hoping that we would get pregnant. We'd had conceded that we weren't going to have a family. But then I turned 38 and I couldn't live with myself if we didn't at least TRY everything we could. I didn't want to wake up an old lady someday and look back with regrets. If it didn't work, so be it. But if it did.... I totally get if you wanted to throw in the towel. We did. But the nice thing is you can always try again later if you choose to.