Corn Maze of Infertility


Corn mazes: They're one of my favorite parts of Fall. Even though most of them feel a tad gyppy rip-offish and my husband Lloyd and I are notoriously horrible at them. It's our annual tradition. The sweet smell of corn. The sweet sound of wives yelling at the back of their husbands' heads: "Will you wave the damn flag already and get us out of here?!" Every year we go to the same corn maze. It's carved out the same way. We get lost in all the same places. Last year, there had been a lot of storms. The maze was so depleted, I was towering over the stalks. And as you can imagine, at 5'2 1/4", I don't get that many towering opportunities. Regardless, it still took us a good hour and a half to navigate our way out. Sure, we could see the exit clearly. We just couldn't figure out how to get there without intervention- divine or otherwise... Hm... Sounds familiar...

I wish the first day I set foot into a fertility clinic, somebody had said: "Welcome! Have you ever been in a corn maze? Oh good. Well, going through infertility is just like that."

And then I could have said: "Do you mean that I'm going to pay you a ton of money to feel frustrated, disoriented, totally lost, and like my husband is of no help at all?"

"Great! You understand!"

When you first get into the corn maze we go to, you notice the entrance is right next to the exit. Just like when you're trying to get pregnant (get your mind out of the gutter).. what I mean is-- we all think "Hey, it's September. We'll have a June baby!" "It's so simple. I see the end. It's right there. I can practically touch it."

But what we don't see coming with either the corn maze or trying to get pregnant, is that for many of us there are all kinds of twists and turns and running into a lot of dead ends en route to that exit. (You'd think we would have had a hint of the difficulties ahead at least at the corn maze. I mean, the fkn thing has "maze" in its name.)

So we head into the trying to conceive maze innocently enough, skipping merrily hand in hand, eagerly following the pink and blue ribbons straight ahead. Then we take a pregnancy test. That can't be right. Then we take another pregnancy test. That can't be right either. We hit a detour in the road. There is no more straight ahead. We head right into ovulation tests, fertility diet books, and unsolicited advice that nobody asked for or solicited. Then we take another pregnancy test or two or six. Negative. We realize that we've gone in a circle: We're back where we were before we hit the detour.

So we head left this time. The ribbons are green. Our friendly neighborhood OB/GYN gives us some fertility drugs to try. Dead end. Turn around. Follow the green ribbons in that direction. Reproductive Endocrinologist tries IUI. Following the green ribbons. Following the green ribbons. It's the exit! I see the exit! Ah, fk, it's not the exit. It's the entrance again. I knew it looked familiar. We're starting all over again. Another go at IUI. Following the green ribbons. Follow follow follow follow... Follow the green ribbons and we're about to arrive... it's... it's...  the damn entrance again! Well, just for the heck of it, let's try this same exact dead end path twice more... just to be sure it's not the right way. The ribbons are red now. We're not even in the green zone anymore. Then we somehow end up at IVF. Nope. Still red. Should we just wave the damn flag and give up already? Wait, what's this little path? Have we tried it before? Maybe. I don't know. I'm so turned around.  FET (frozen embryo transfer)? Let's just go there. I'm exhausted. I'm irritable. I'm desperate to get the hell out of this maze already. The exit! Unbelievably, miraculously it really is the way out!

In both the corn maze and the conception maze, patience and perseverance do pay off. And, at least for one of them... it doesn't hurt to smuggle in a pair of hedge clippers.


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