There is a phrase worse than telling an infertile couple, “just relax and let it happen”. Insult can be added to injury by being told “you’re trying too hard”. Just to make sure you didn’t already feel that you were doing everything wrong. To prove his or her point, the well meaning friend may tell you about a couple they knew who tried to conceive for years, then decided to stop and magically became pregnant after that. I can’t resist pointing out the obvious, that if the couple conceived, then they didn’t actually stop trying. (Unless said couple did actually start using birth control; in which case, I’m sorry but the Universe is just fucking with you) Seriously, what other situation would anyone offer the advice of “give it up and maybe it will happen for you!” I can appreciate the well meaning intent behind the “just relax” advice and I think the underlying sentiment advocates that a couple should not overly focus on the procreation process to the detriment of other interests and activities. However, it is also possible to overly distract yourself.
We started renovating our kitchen over Labor Day. Husband and I are actually quite skilled at DIY projects. We weren’t planning to renovate the kitchen for a few years, but when we started TTC, I decided to start painting the cabinets, figuring I wouldn’t have much time to commit to the task after the little one’s arrival. When my father, who is a general contractor, visited in the spring, he saw what we were doing and started drawing plans to build a new island. I don’t cook, and I often joke that the only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house, but the finished product turned out really well. It is all consuming to do the work yourself. It eats up your weekends. Evenings after work are spent painting boards or repairing dry wall. In a sincere effort to show interest, Myrtle often asked about the kitchen project, which always seemed to remind me that I wasn’t preparing a nursery. AF arrived twice during the project, but I wasn’t as disappointed to see her. For two months we hand washed all dishes in our guest bathroom sink. The refrigerator was kept in the garage. Our kitchen cabinets were all emptied into boxes that filled the dining and living rooms. I was making coffee in the hall and preparing a salad on my table saw. It wasn’t that long ago, but I look back and can’t believe we lived like that. Towards the end, I was getting frustrated and testy. I can only imagine how much more annoyed I would have been if I were pregnant at that time.
One weekend in October, we gave ourselves a break from the renovation. I was competing in a swim meet and husband had to umpire a field hockey tournament. I had been using my Clearblue fertility monitor and was getting consistent results. When the monitor didn’t move from low to medium until day 13, I figured it would be another long follicular phase cycle. However on day 15, there was my high fertility reading, after only two ‘medium’ days. I got the result at 0530 on a Sunday morning as I was leaving for my swim meet. Husband texted me later that day asking ‘what was your result?” I replied to him with my swim time, and as soon as I did, I realised that he was asking about the fertility monitor. How funny that it wasn’t my first thought. We made it home later in the evening and felt exhausted after our busy days. We both feel asleep on the couch soon after finishing dinner, but woke up later to move like zombies to the bedroom where we resumed our restful sleep. The next morning I was back in the pool at 0600 doing my warm up labs. I noted that I hasn’t checked my monitor that morning, I had put it away. Why did I put it away…OH SHIT, WE FORGOT TO HAVE SEX!! I am feeling like the world’s biggest dumbass at this point in time. As if it weren’t frustrating enough to miss opportunities due to our travel schedules or limitations in our gametes. I feel like someone who banks on winning lotto, but never buys a ticket. That night we did the baby dance, despite my skeptical feelings that it’s too late to work, but it didn’t matter as Husband’s ‘stuff’ fell out (sorry TMI). We inadvertently successfully used the ‘pull out method’. I am beginning to think that we are the most pathetic TTC couple ever at this point. Husband tries to console me by saying “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh…”. “Why wait?” I replied. “Let’s laugh about it now.”