Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some random thoughts

I'm not sure exactly when this mental shift occurred, whether it happens for everyone, or what caused it. . . . but my attitude toward TTC is much different now than it was a year ago. As I wrote in my introduction post, a year ago I naively thought that I would throw away my birth control pills and achieve a pregnancy in about 3-4 months, perhaps 6 months at most. It never occurred to me that I would be anything less than fertile.

When I first started out TTC--and even before that, when I was contemplating taking that step--I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to have a baby of my own; what it would be like to be a mother; and how I would feel when I saw that + HPT. I thought about what kind of pregnant woman I would be, what labor might be like, and whether I'd be able to breastfeed successfully.

Now I find that I spend very little time thinking of these things and far more time thinking about how I will cope and adjust if it turns out that we never have a child of our own. I spend more time trying to picture my life as a childless person than I do planning for a future that includes a child. I don't think about nursery decor; I don't mull over baby names and how they sound with MM's surname; I don't think about the pros and cons of having a girl versus having a boy.

I have arrived at a point where the possibility that we will not be successful in our TTC efforts seems more realistic to me than the possibility that we will be successful.

I can't help but think that the difference in my perspective is not unique to me. I have told some people who I know online and in real life that we are TTC (though it's hardly common knowledge), and now that we are doing intervention, it's interesting to compare the comments and viewpoints of women who conceived easily with those who have struggled with infertility themselves.

Almost all of my "fertile" friends are extremely optimistic for the success of this cycle. (Of course, they were optimistic for the success of most--if not all--of my previous, natural cycles, too.) The one exception is a friend whose sister-in-law used IVF for her children; maybe that's because she is slightly more realistic about the odds of success with ART.

In contrast, friends who have themselves struggled with infertility are supportive and understanding, but do not give an impression of being "sure" that the IUI will work. Any optimism that they convey is tempered with the thought that this might not work.

As I explained to the nurse at the RE's office following my IUI last Friday, to me it would seem illogical to believe that something that has an expected success rate of, at most, 20% will work. To me, that means that there is an 80% chance that it will NOT work.

Thinking this way is one of the drawbacks of being an analytical person. I don't consider this pessimism; I consider this a realistic evaluation of the data and information that I have. So while I am hopeful that the Clomid + IUI that we used for the first time this cycle will do the trick, I by no means believe that it will.

When there is no explanation for why you can't conceive, it's hard to know what to "fix." How can I know that Clomid + IUI will help us when I don't even know why I can't get pregnant?

At this point, I will be more surprised to learn that I'm pregnant than I will be to learn that this cycle, like the 13 before it, was a bust.

Does anyone else feel the same?

P.S. If you are here for ICLW, welcome!


  1. Fertile people just don't get the odds. They never will. Two of my best cheerleaders are fertile people. I love them because they are supportive, they ask about my cycle instead of pretending they know it all from the Octomom coverage. But they never, ever get that these treatments fail. The figure that my first failure was a complete fluke that came out of no where. They don't think it could possibly happen twice.

  2. Yes, I feel the same! I do go back and forth between being depressed about the 80% failure rate and heartened that 20% success isn't so bad, I guess. I am not a statistician, but it seems like 3 IUIs would give you a better than 50% success rate.

    Since we're unexplained, too, I feel the same way as you do about IUI + clomid - how do we know it's doing anything at all to help?

  3. So true! It is strange how your thoughts change over time. I love this part:

    "Almost all of my "fertile" friends are extremely optimistic for the success of this cycle. (Of course, they were optimistic for the success of most--if not all--of my previous, natural cycles, too.)"

    We're unexplained too, and I like your comment about being realistic vs. pessimistic. I'll be following!


  4. Acceptance. That is what has caused your shift in thinking. I have been through the whole grieving process, and painful as it was, I am a better person for it.

    You and I are both realists. It's the only way to be. The letdown isn't as bad that way. ;)

    Good luck with this cycle!

  5. Hi S- I remember thinking the same thing as you when I had my first IUI. I am sorry things look bleak for you. The feeling that you may never conceive is just gut wrenching. Looking back, I regret doing 3 Clomid IUIs given the low success rates associated with Clomid. I wish I had moved to injectibles sooner. In all I did 5 IUIs (3 Clomid and 2 Injectible) before moving to IVF. Something in me though wanted to take things more slowly before I got to the more invasive, but more likely to create pregnancy, IVF cycles. There was a real internal conflict over everything. Just decide on your plan and carry out the steps. That's all I could do. Hoping you get your positive test soon!

  6. I second Frau! Fertile people *really* don't get the odds. My Dad is Mr. Science and Dr. Math, but even when I tell him that we have a less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally, he still "doesn't get it."

    Mr. Shelby (from ICLW)

  7. hi my friend! i'm glad to find your blog! i just need to add it to my blogroll so i don't loose it again. i keep up with you on FB, though. and i'm ditching FF i think. i think i have 11 more days or something.

    i have this hilarious comparison of what a "fertile" does when she gets a bfp, and what an IFer does when she gets a bfp. i've been waiting to GET a bfp so i can post it...hahaha...maybe i should just go ahead and post it at this point.

    i am excited for your IUI and understand trying to keep yourself grounded while at the same time hoping that this somehow is the answer! its a tough balancing act.

    i saw your post about getting a new golden rescue! i have been begging for a new rescue. is it bad that if my next ivf doesn't work i will shamelessly use that as leverage for a new dog?!?

    anyway - i hope this roll of the TTC dice is the one for you!


  8. I stumbled upon your blog today, and WOW- today's post hit the nail on the head for me! While I must disclose that I have only been TTC for 9, almost 10 months, I have come to that place of sad acceptance as well. Gone are the days of "we should try the method for a girl" like it's so easy. Now it's just "well everything is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. Pee on a stick, ovulate, pee on a stick, menstruation, repeat."

    As opposed to your unexplained diagnosis, my husband has been diagnosed with low morphology. These past couple of weeks we've started to ask those questions like "when do we decide enough is enough? Do we look at adoption? Do we live childless lives and spoil our neices/nephews?"

    And ultimately, the final exhausted statement always comes out in a defeated whisper: "how did it come to this?"

    Have faith, that is all you can do. The reward for faith is to see what you believe.

  9. HI there, thanks for visiting my blog. I added you to my blogroll as your blog really spoke to me. I used to tell people, when they said i am a pessimist....nope, I am a realist....and LOL for blogging from IUI table :) I might try that!

  10. I hate that you feel this way, but I simply lack the experience to understand the process and I'm sure that internal optimism takes a hit.

    But then again, my analytical mind says 20% is better than 0. :)

  11. My ex-doctor (one of the many ex-doctors) told me that there was 10 percent chances of that particular IUI succeeding. But who is to predict as to in which side of the statistical fence are we likely to lie. With our share of fertility luck, there is too much uncertainty.

    Well, all the best to you sweetie!


  12. I feel this way too. And not in a realistic look at the numbers sort of way, but in a bone-shattering this is Truth with a capital-T sort of way. But we keep trying because logical or illogical, that is really all we can do.

    I wish you the very best on your journey.


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