Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why I Won't Get Pregnant "On My Own"

Yup, I know how negative this post title sounds. This is the dream, right? To strive and strive for a pregnancy only to miraculously find yourself pregnant, on your own, when you least expect it. Everyone knows someone this has happened to -- usually someone who was told it wasn't possible to get pregnant on her own, ever. I suspect everyone knows the same handful of people, or has read the same magazine article or seen the same daytime talk show about this phenomenon.

A phenomenon that gives credence to the "just relax" people -- "See--they'd totally given up, and THAT'S when it happened!" A phenomenon that backs up the asinine "adoption-as-fertility-treatment" theory--that once you put your stress over getting pregnant to bed and start the adoption process, BAM! Pregnant. Because you weren't thinking thing about it. Even though I actually know people who experienced this mythical miracle, I know a hell of lot more people who did NOT get pregnant on ther own. Or after adopting. Because that is NOT the norm.

It's difficult to respond to incredibly well-meaning people who assure me that now, in the break time, I could get pregnant. "You never know! Stranger things have happened!" Sometimes all I can do is just smile and weakly nod and say, "Yup, it's not impossible..." instead of explaining how UNBELIEVABLY IMPROBABLE that is. From multiple standpoints. I guess part of me doesn't want to burst that bubble of magical thinking. They have more hope than I do on this front.

Here are the factual reasons why it's highly, HIGHLY unlikely that I will find myself magically knocked up:

  • I have PCOS with ovulatory dysfunction. I rarely ovulate without drugs. No eggs, no baby.
  • Even if I did ovulate, the ectopic pregnancy left me with only one tube--so 50% of the time that egg that would go nowhere fertilizable.
  • We have significant male factor--those swimmers are scant in numbers and floundering in inflatable swim aids. THe chances of a rogue sperm making it to an actual traveling egg are miniscule.
  • In all our attempts, our fertilization rate WHEN THEY INJECT A SPERM DIRECTLY INTO MY EGGS is anywhere from 50-70%. Not looking good for that poor swimmer and floating mystery egg on their own.
  • I typically use assisted hatching with IVF, which means my poor, sad, defective little eggs have a crusty shell and can't hatch and attach without help. Even with this modification, my embryos haven't done well implanting.
  • In 7 IUIs, 4 fresh IVFs and 2 frozen transfers, we have had 16 confirmed embryos and 2 implantations. One in my tube (less than 1% chance of that with IVF! Go team on hitting THAT improbability!) and one in my uterus that crapped out shy of 6 weeks. Not great odds.
  • My miscarriage and poor implantation rate suggest a high probability of chromosomal abnormality. Which means if I did get pregnant on my own, it wouldn't likely last long.
So, between my faulty eggs, Bryce's faulty sperm, my missing tube, my disagreeable ovarian function, and embryos that can't get their shit together despite lots of help, I think it's probably not looking so hot for a miracle. Even though a miracle is technically success in SPITE of all of these overwhelming odds against us.

Which is why, as unbelievable as it is for some to understand, the biggest reason why I won't get pregnant on my own is because I choose to be on the Pill during my break. WHY deny yourself even a chance to have a miracle during your off time? is a cry I've received more than once. It seems counterintuitive, but here's why.

I am an incurable optimist when it comes to my dsyfunctional body. Because I don't ovulate, it takes me forever (if ever) to get a period. In the meantime, if I feel remotely tired, nauseous, sensitive to passing cigarette smoke, sore-boobed, etc. -- I WILL THINK IT'S POSSIBLE I'M PREGNANT. I will mull over it for a day or two, I will worry that I had margaritas or too much wine, and imagine my poor Fetal Alcohol Syndrom baby miracle who will hate me forever for being so irresponsible. Then I will turn and imagine how I will joyfully tell people that YES, I AM A MIRACLE. I will be tempted to pee on a stick and agonize over whether it's worth the money to buy a test (it's not). I will then call the clinic and request Provera to bring on a period, since at this point I have to call and say I haven't gotten it by day 35 or 40 or something equally ridiculous, and they will send me for a pregnancy blood test. And I will be actually upset when it is inevitably negative. It is ALWAYS negative. I have literally cried over a possible pregnancy that WAS NOT POSSIBLE. It's torture. The last time I put myself through this was particularly nasty, because I stayed off the Pill for weeks and weeks after my miscarriage and had spotting, then nothing. IT'S IMPLANTATION SPOTTING!!! I thought, with more hope than was healthy. Who knows, maybe my body became normal after a short-lived uterine pregnancy and it was actually a dress rehearsal for my REAL pregnancy! Um, no, crazypants. My system just sucks. And raging PMS is pretty damn close to early pregnancy symptoms, I just forget what PMS feels like because...my system sucks. And so, my silver lining outlook is ultimately cruel to me. Although I did actually get my period, on my own, two weeks later, no Provera necessary--which is actually an ironic miracle all its own.

Therefore, I go on the Pill. In part so I get a regular period I can plan on like a normal person, but also so I can keep the miracle pregnancy fantasy tamped down. I need my break to be a real break, where I drink coffee and wine and tequila and eat processed Halloween candy and don't worry that I'm damaging my fragile fetal (nonexistent) miracle baby. Where I can get my body into decent shape with exercise that makes me sweat and raises my pulse and my core body temperature...again, without worrying that I'm damaging a fantasy fetus.

It keeps me sane, not "trying on my own." It gives me a rest from all this brou-ha-ha. Which in turn, I hope, gives me a better shot at actually getting pregnant under the expert direction of our fertility team, when it's time to go back into battle again.

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