Resolve to Know More – Part One :: I’m Not in Kansas Anymore


It was one big roller coaster ride! After much contemplation, and having just broken up from a yearlong relationship, I decided to begin my fertility journey. It was a year of poking, prodding, crying, laughing, doctors, support groups, weight gain, hoping, praying, contemplating, unease, and a lot of disappointment.

Here’s how it went…first, I decided which sperm banks to use…and the weirdness was only just beginning. I mean, how much do these guys get paid anyway? Are they in it for the money? I had all sorts of judgments about the potential biological, um, donor of my child. And the picture that was created in my mind about some random guy who I hoped to never meet…ok, I seriously digress. Who knew that picking out sperm would be a lot like on-line dating…but on steroids. You could sort through “guys” by religion, ethnicity, education (you had to pay extra for the really smart sperm…no joke!), physical characteristics, genetics, family history, etc. You could even choose to see a baby picture, which I did…but that cost extra too, as did a recorded interview with the donor! OK, I got “my guy” AND a backup – everyone needs a backup in case you run out of sperm from donor #1 and there aren’t anymore vials to buy…which, by the way, is devastating after all the work you put into finding the perfect match in the first place.

My procedure of choice would be intra-uterine insemination (IUI), because that is all my insurance would cover (it would not cover In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF). I chose to have this procedure performed first by my OBGYN. He began by prescribing me Clomid, one of the many (I would come to learn), and most basic in the world of fertility drugs. Had I known what I know now, I kind of wish someone would have shaken me to say, “hello, Becca, you are almost 40, so stop with the baby steps and pull out the big guns.” But, like most women, I was SURE I was fertile and yes, we have to tackle this at our own pace (although I wanted a baby yesterday).

After my first IUI, I just knew I had to be pregnant! I mean, I could feel movement already. I realize how crazy this sounds. Everyone knows you don’t feel anything for months. BUT, it was true, after I was “basted,” (as some of my family called it) I felt so bloated and felt the movement of the fluid inside me (too graphic? Or maybe just too crazy because what was I really thinking). This feeling was all new to me, and I was excited!

The two-week wait until I could take a home pregnancy test seemed like forever, but now it was time. I eagerly awoke in the morning (the most anxious I’ve ever felt to wake up so early in the morning) and ran to pee on my stick. I took a quick shower just to make sure I gave it enough time to register. Oh my G-d! It’s positive!! I knew it! Maybe I did feel something! But, the doctor still wanted me to do a blood test to be sure. I had a little pep in my step as I walked in to the OBGYN’s office. They took a blood test…but this time…it read negative. DEFLATION! This was my first major letdown. I didn’t want to believe it, and even though I started moving forward with my second treatment, I still thought I could be pregnant – even after I got my period. I’ve heard of women who bleed even though they are pregnant, so I was convinced that was happening to me. No such luck!

Two more inseminations with my OBGYN and then it was on to the “Big Kahuna”…THE fertility doctor in Chicago. He would for sure get me pregnant (is there something inherently wrong with telling your Dr. you hope he’s the one who gets you pregnant?). He told me that I would have to start giving myself shots of medication. WHAT??? I can’t do that! I can barely get shots when someone else gives them to me. But if this is what it’s going to take to help me get pregnant, I sure as hell can do this! Right? Right! And, I did – for the very first time in a hotel room after a work event with one of my co-workers, then sitting on the toilet in a bar (lots of t.p. down on that seat), then in my car in a parking lot before meeting friends in a restaurant, and even while on a date!! The pounds started piling on yet I have to take it easy at the gym…and my moods were erratic!

On top of this, I HAD to tell my boss what I was up to because of all the work I’d be missing. In any given month, I would be at the fertility clinic at least 5-6 times getting poked, prodded, stuck, and basted. It was like a factory in there. All these women sitting around waiting to be called and not making eye contact with anyone else. And oh, those poor men who showed up. When the men were there, you knew exactly what they were going to be doing (see paragraph two about the picture I created in my mind of the sperm donor). At some point, I just started talking to people. Heck, we were all in the same boat, with the same dream and a body that had failed us.

OK, so here I am single, still trying to date, holding on to this “big secret,” feeling totally bloated, not working out as usual (little did I know that this was preparing me for the barely-existent work-outs when I finally did become a parent), pretty much giving up drinking when I was out (I mean really!), getting acupuncture twice a week, driving two hours for pelvic massages (I mean, I would try anything if I thought it would help me get pregnant) and trying to pretend that life was grand! I did this for THIRTEEN months – LIFE WAS NOT GRAND! I knew if I had any hope, I would have to try IVF, but even if I did come up with the money, the doctors were not giving me a good prognosis. I felt defeated and decided to put things on hold for the time being. I thought, “Who am I and what have I put myself through??”

There was a big piece of me that felt like my biggest dream had been shattered, and yet there was still a big part of me holding on to hope and embracing other ideas of what a family might look like for me.

At what point, do you decide to move on to plan B?

For more information about infertility:
Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.
About NIAW

Next Up: “The Wicked Witch,” coming April 5th

Until Next Time,

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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Jessica Johnston March 16, 2014,

    I remember driving to the fertility clinic with warm sperms in a little container hoping and praying that I did not get pulled over. I also remember the feeling of deflation, sadness, and being disgusted with my broken body!!

    • Rebecca Gruenspan March 16, 2014,

      Jessica, oh yes, how could I forget. I too walked down the streets of Chicago with some big medical cooler in my hands (I remember it being really heavy), getting in a cab and going to my OBGYN’s office…when they opened the contraption, I couldn’t believe this little tiny vial of sperm that came out of it. My goodness. Thanks for sharing your comments.

  • Cicely March 16, 2014,

    I have my first “fertility” consultation on Tuesday. I have no idea what to expect. I am prepared for the worst.

    • Rebecca Gruenspan March 16, 2014,

      Thanks so much for sharing, Cicely. The fertility journey is certainly a roller coaster of emotions – some good, some not, but you will be ok, especially if you have some great people supporting you. Good luck. Sending you lots of good vibes! Feel free to comment again and let us know how it goes.

  • Doug Pitchers March 20, 2014,

    My wife and I went through this. I remember giving my wife the shots. The waiting. The disappointment in failure. We succeeded on our second try. We have a beautiful boy. He is 2 and half now.

    • Rebecca Gruenspan March 20, 2014,

      So so many people have suffered from fertility and just don’t talk about it. Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad you got your pot of gold! My son is also 2 1/2.

  • Janet March 20, 2014,

    I have a very close friend who when thru this, so many ups and downs – it was hard feeling like I there was nothing I could to help – but support from friends and family is needed and does help and yes…success – her son will be 5 this year! 🙂

    • Rebecca Gruenspan March 20, 2014,

      Yay!!! Lots of hugs and showing your support…that’s all anyone can really do. I’m sure she felt that from you. Thanks, Janet!

  • Stefani March 20, 2014,

    Love this post!! Especially the pictures! 🙂

    • Rebecca Gruenspan March 20, 2014,

      Thanks Stefani! I had fun picking them. Funny how a picture can speak so many words! 🙂

  • Stefani March 20, 2014,

    Yep – it certainly can! Clearly the first one is saying “ouch”. The second…well, it’s saying lots of things! 🙂

  • Beth April 26, 2014,

    Wow, Becca, love your honesty (and humor)! You’re providing such a wonderful service to other women going through this.

    • Rebecca Gruenspan April 26, 2014,

      Thanks, Beth. I feel like adoption consulting is the best kept secret!

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