Monday, August 3, 2009

The process

When I was in law school, I recall talking with someone at a non-law-related event (it was at a Weight Watchers meeting, actually) who commented that law school would be so hard and take so long that she could never do it. I told her that in many ways, law school is just like doing anything else that will take months or years to complete: you just take the first step down the path, and then the next, and then the next. As long as you continue taking one small step at a time, eventually you get to your goal.

To become a lawyer, there are many, many steps. First there is the application process which starts with taking a standardized national test offered only a few times a year. You then select the school(s) to which you will apply and jump through whatever hoops they ask you to in order to be considered. Once you are accepted and enrolled, all you have to do is show up each day and keep up with the work. (Not that doing this is not challenging, but it's a totally doable task, broken up into many small steps.)

Once you graduate, the process is still not complete because you must now prepare for (and pass) the bar exam and also find a job. Each of these goals can be broken up into many smaller tasks: signing up for the bar exam, studying one subject area each day for several weeks to prepare, sending out resumes, going to interviews, etc., etc.

When I look back at the whole process it took to become a lawyer, I can see why someone who hasn't done it might find it daunting. If I had thought of the thousands upon thousands of pages of text that I would have to read, all the exams I would have to take, all the interviews I would attend, and all the rest, I might not have thought that I could do it either. But it doesn't seem as unattainable when you just take it one step at a time.

I think this analogy applies equally well to earning any type of degree and likely to many other things as well. Building a house, for example, cannot be done in a single day. At best, it will take days or weeks, perhaps even months.

I was thinking this morning about how this process compares to TTC. For the lucky majority, deciding to get pregnant is no more than going off birth control, having some well-timed sex, and celebrating two lines on the HPT. For some parents, no planning whatsoever is involved, and a pregnancy just happens.

But for those of us struggling with IF, TTC is indeed a process. I know I started off by BBT charting and having well-timed sex (thinking I would be a part of that lucky majority). After a few months, I added OPKs to the mix, and then a ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor. When we still had no success, we saw the RE and went through a variety of tests. We had multiple appointments with the RE to discuss test results and formulate a plan. Ultimately, in April of this year, we did our first treatment cycle with Clomid + hCG trigger + IUI. We did a second Clomid cycle in June with hCG trigger and timed intercourse only. And now I am in the beginning of our first cycle of Clomid + Follistim + hCG trigger + IUI.

When I stop and think about everything I have to do each cycle--let alone the entire path to our desired outcome--the process seems a bit daunting. Nearly every day of my cycle, at least prior to the IUI, there is a medication that I have to take, or I have to use OPKs, or an ultrasound is scheduled. Although each task takes up only minutes, I have to plan my day around them. So I try not to dwell on these thoughts and just do what I've been instructed to do each day.

I don't like the prospect of continuing in this frame of mind for months and even then, possibly still meeting with failure. But I know that the process takes time and many baby (pun intended) steps to reach the goal.

One key difference: in law school, despite the length and complexity of the process, I knew that at the end I would eventually be a lawyer. Now if only I could know that through this process I would ultimately achieve my goal and be a mother.

Unfortunately, in TTC, unlike in most other areas in life, the means do not always achieve the end. So frustrating.


  1. It's sad that IF is more daunting that law school! I'm keepin' my fingers crossed that Follistim does the trick for you guys! I haven't tried it yet but I did just finish a cycle with Gonal F. It was worth sticking myself in the stomach instead of taking Clomid. It had no where near the side effects of Clomid, thank goodness.

  2. This is such a well written post. Great job.

  3. oh my lord in heaven - this is exactly why TTC makes me so frustrated. someone asked me recently if i knew what my "life lesson" was. i said i need to learn that i am not really in control, but that doesn't mean i'm a failure. i have always been able to set a goal and achieve it, period. college. no problem. law school. bar. clerkships, jobs, marriage, house, take care of business, reach a goal, set a new one...EXCEPT this one won't cooperate!! its one reason that IVF was so appealing - follow the steps, do everything right...

    sigh. i'm trying to learn the lesson.

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  5. It is hard to not know...and so frustrating!


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