- First, there is a constant overwhelming fear that you will NEVER have a child of your own to hold. It's constantly in the back of your mind, whether you get good news or bad, you still can't shake the thought that it might not ever work. That fear is intermingled into every other part of the struggle.
- On top of that feeling, you deal with an all-consuming obsession with everything related to your fertility. If you're anything like me, you research the internet with any spare moment....can I eat something that will magically heal me? Is there a magic pill that I haven't tried yet? What about acupuncture or herbal treatments? You google every blood result and hope to find some woman somewhere in cyber space who has had a success with an IUI with three follicles and an estradiol level of 599....surely she's out there somewhere, right? Oh and what about the actual....uh....you know "act" of getting pregnant....maybe a different position will work? Maybe I should lay down with my legs elevated for an extra ten minutes? Maybe it's better in the morning, no the afternoon, no definitely right before bed... (Sorry, TMI, I know, but if you've been there, you know it's SO true!!)
- The first half of your cycle is spent dwelling on whether or not you will ovulate. If you're undergoing fertility treatments like injectable medication, this is even worse because you have bloodwork and ultrasounds every other day to analyze and obsess over. Will I have follicles? How many will there be? How many will get large enough? Are my levels high enough?
- Then comes the second half of your cycle, it's so much WORSE! It's the dreaded two-week wait. I'm convinced that this two weeks seems longer than the rest of your entire pregnancy. It drags on forever and ever and ever! You analyze every twinge, every possible symptom, every rise or fall in your temperature. (Yes, I've done the temperature charting and it only makes it worse, it's so all-consuming!!)
- Then comes the worst part of all, you've waited, you've fretted, you've spent the entire month hoping beyond hope, and it all ends. Either you take a pregnancy test and it's negative (which in all honesty isn't the end because you then convince yourself that it must be too early and it just hasn't implanted yet!) Or your dreaded menstrual period comes. Of course the fact that you're finding out that you're not pregnant comes at the absolute worst time possible....right when PMS has overtaken your entire body! You cry, you yell, you cry, you pout, you vow to never get your hopes up like that again, you cry! You get the point, right? It's terrible!!!
- Unfortunately, if you've been pregnant before, it doesn't really help! It adds the extra time and energy of trying to remember exactly how you got pregnant the first time. What was my temp on day 15, 21, 28? Did I take it easy between ovulation and my positive test? Did I eat something different, do something different, feel more relaxed? See....not helpful is it?
- Somewhere in the midst of all of this, you have to decide if you'll tell anyone you're "trying" or not. Neither option is good! If you don't tell, then you go through the disappointment alone. No one knows how you're hurting. If you do tell, then you have to tell everyone that it didn't work. No matter how many people you've already told that you're not pregnant, it hurts every single time.
Of course all of this is just the tip of the iceberg....there's a million more things I could write if I wanted. But I think you get the point.
I know this is kind of a downer of a post....sorry! But now I hope you have a little bit of understanding of what it feels like. So next time you start to say "it's okay, you're still young, you can try again next month..." you'll stop yourself and think of just exactly what another month of trying entails. Your best option is to just say, "I'm so sorry! I can't imagine how you must feel!" That will probably suffice for now, nothing else is really comforting.
By the way, if you've been through infertility, you probably found yourself chuckling a little as you read, thinking how silly it is, and yet feeling strangely comforted that you're not the only one doing all these things!