Chained to the IVF Calendar

I’m usually in bed by 9:30. Last night I decided to stay up until midnight to see the great lunar eclipse of 2019. If you missed it, it was the new moon, the first full moon of the year, the Moon, Sun, and Earth all lined up perfectly, Jupiter aligned with Mars, peace guided the planet, love steered the stars and it was the dawning of the age of Aquarius. (And apparently astrophysics collided with the musical, Hair.)

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Call it “all in your head” or “being neurotic” or finding a great excuse to shirk my responsibilities and be totally unreasonable (I’m okay with all of the above) but the full moon affects me. I’ve luckily never really felt too bothered by PMS, but the last few years, I totally get it. A few days before the full moon, I get really tired and am even more of a pain in the butt cheek’s upper outer quadrant to be around than normal. But hey, if you’re trying diligently to get pregnant—especially if you’re doing fertility treatments— you’re a slave to the almighty calendar.

First I figured out my ovulation dates, which by the way, after I traded that in for IUI, IVF and FET, I realized: “Hey, you know what? I may have been calculating my ovulation date / window of conception opportunity wrong all that time. Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the head if I really didn’t need any medical assistance at all and put myself through: 2 clinics, 6 doctors, 16 nurses, 5 receptionists, and 3 billing people all because I couldn’t add?”

Then I started seeing a fertility specialist—a Reproductive Endocrinologist. (I skipped the whole “should-I-stick-with my OB/GYN-and-see-what-they-know-or-head-to-a-specialist?” step. I was two months away from turning 40 when I decided I might need conception help. My OB/GYN saw me coming, locked the door, turned off the lights, pulled down the shades, and put up the “For Rent” sign.)

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It was time to take out the calendar again to mark down the first day of my period. So that’s easy enough. Except that I was never quite sure what the first day was. I mean, if I got it at night… was that the first day? Or if I thought I saw something but it wasn’t much… was that the first day? Or if it started in the morning but slowed down to nothing and didn’t really get going until the next day… was that the first day? I understand your point of view completely. And those are totally reasonable questions you’re asking yourself: “Why was this 40 year old woman with almost average intelligence asking herself this? Didn’t she think to ask anybody in her past 28 years of menstrual cycles? Why was she waiting until 6 months before the onset of menopause to find out?” So, I finally did inquire and just in case there are any other grown women reading this who should, like me, have asked someone when they were 11 and who are sitting at the edge of their seat hoping I’ll give the answer: A nurse told me that you start counting from the first full day of your normal flow. Good to know… better late than never… I guess.

Then, you have to mark your calendar for when you’re going to be tested. They have to make sure all of your parts are present and accounted for, located where they should be, and open for business. And then he has to be tested to make sure his contributions to the process are ready, willing, and able instead of few and far between, lost, or lazy.

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Then you have to mark your calendar for the appointment to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. And then in a few days to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. And then in another few days to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. (Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Too bad I still use an old-fashioned wall calendar instead of an electronic one.)

Then there’s the scheduled date of the insemination, and if needed, egg retrieval and embryo transfer— “Do I mark day 3 or day 5?” Better do it in pencil. Then you mark down the date of the pregnancy test 2 weeks later. Like anybody has to remind us of that date… We all remember precisely when that official pregnancy test date is… it immediately follows the 8 unofficial ones we’ve taken that we were told not to. Somehow, those never make it to the calendar.

Lots of people have planned pregnancies but nobody can plan a pregnancy like we can..

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I really appreciate you stopping by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here a few minutes ago. I’ve got a lot of things brewing- YouTube, podcasts, new books… so please subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated. (I promise not to annoy your inbox with constant emails. How irritating.) Also, if you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense or infertility & its “aftermath” , check out my books: Everything’s on my homepage: http://laughingisconceivable.com

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