Infertility is distracting.
Never mind the agony, but trying to conceive takes up a lot of space in your daily routine and fills your brain with crazy. Last month my always-regular period was five days late. Five days is an eternity when you are hoping to be pregnant and thinking of course you’re pregnant, your period is never late and this is FIVE DAYS with no sign of a period. Every time you go to the bathroom, which is frequently, you brace yourself for any sign of blood.
When you’re trying to conceive, you spend a lot of time thinking about sperm and exactly what and how they’re doing at any given moment. I watched this fascinating documentary by National Geographic called Sizing Up Sperm, which very cleverly illustrates the process sperm go through to fertilize an egg by using hundreds (thousands?) of real people hiking up hills, swirling down pipes, and scaling ladders to represent the challenges of insemination.
Every invitation and trip and activity must be considered through the lens of a possible pregnancy. Will I be able to fly to that wedding across the country if I’m several months pregnant? Should I have that glass of wine if I might be pregnant right now and don’t yet know it? Is it safe to go on a carnival ride or a hayride that says “NOT SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN” when it’s possible I’m two weeks pregnant? How can a ferris wheel be dangerous for an embryo anyway?
When you add fertility treatment into this mental maelstrom, there are so many more details to consider. What if I get pregnant with quadruplets? What if it’s twins? What if it’s twins but one of them has a condition that will make it impossible for it to survive outside the womb? What if I get pregnant with multiples and some of the embryos aren’t viable and have to be reduced? How does that work and how would I handle it? How do you even breastfeed twins? How will we buy a new house in this market if we have twins? Will our daughter ever get any attention again? You also learn new things, like the follicle that houses an egg until it’s time to ovulate should be at least 17 millimeters when it’s ready to pop out that egg. When a follicle releases an egg, it’s supposed to tell the other follicles to shut down. But what if it doesn’t? You analyze every tiny feeling inside your belly, wondering if an egg is on the move. You rush to embrace every pang of nausea in case it means what you hope it means. But then again maybe you just have a virus. You foolishly succumb to the constant temptation to google “early signs of pregnancy” and various other conception-related topics even though you’ve already done this hundreds of times, have never learned anything new, and mostly find bulletin boards filled with stupid comments by people who are not actually authorities on anything and possess no medical expertise.
And of course, all this is supposed to be secret. So you just wait and wait and count down days and try not to be completely driven to distraction.