It was a Cruel, Cruel Summer

You know you’ve been in the fertility game too long when a friend tells you they’re pregnant and you look at them with total, utter confusion.

Friend: We’re pregnant!

Me: Oh my God!  But… how?

Friend: What do you mean.

Me: Like, from doing it?

Friend: Yes…

Me: With each other?

Friend: Yep.

Me: That’s all you did.  You just… did it.  And now there’s a baby in there.

Friend: Um…

Me: Wow, that’s just… I had no idea people got pregnant like that anymore.

This past spring BR and I went through another long, painful round of fertility treatment.  Number six.  We’d had pretty crappy luck so far, so this time BR wasn’t taking any chances.  We were going to the best clinic with the best doctor.  We were going to New York.

At first I wasn’t really jazzed about this decision.  I was comfortable at my usual clinic and I didn’t want to start all over again in a strange city away from home.  But BR insisted.

BR: Blondie I’m not giving our idiot doctor any more money.  All this time and he still hasn’t gotten us a baby!

Me: Yeah, but it’s not exactly a guarantee.  I’m not really sure it’s the doctor’s fault… I’m kind of out of eggs.

BR: Of course it is!  That’s why we’re going to another doctor!  A Jewish doctor who knows what he’s doing!  In New York!

So we flew to New York before the cycle began to meet our new doctor and to get some tests done.  We also went to look at some hotels which would be suitable for me to stay in while I was there.

Me: Um, BR?  Why do we keep looking at all these shitty hotels?  I’m starting to get a little nervous.

BR: Blondie, I’ve looked up a bunch of prices and there’s no way you’re staying in a nice hotel while you’re here.

Me: What’s that supposed to mean?

BR: It means you’re going to have to lower your expectations.  I’m not forking out a jillion dollars for you to live it up at the Plaza for three weeks.

Me: First of all BR, I’m not “living it up” during an IVF cycle.  I’m suffering.  Second of all, it wasn’t my idea to come to New York.  So if you want me to stay here you better make sure I’m comfortable.

BR: Blondie!  This baby is costing me a fortune!  Do you know how painful this is for me?

Me: But you have a fortune!  And you’re not the one going through it!  And making me stay in the Bates Fucking Motel isn’t going to help me get pregnant!

BR: Oh really?  You’re lucky I’m not making you stay over there!

Me: In that cardboard box.  With that homeless man.  Oh that’s nice.

BR: It is nice.  Too nice.  You’re getting spoiled.

But after a few days BR finally relented.  I think he was just tired of listening to me cry.  So we booked the room and a month later I was off to New York.  BR came for the first couple of days to help me get settled in.  But then he flew home and I was left to fend for myself in a big city while facing inevitable hormonal delirium.

And for approximately two and a half weeks, the cycle was relatively manageable.  I pumped myself full of hormones, went to my appointments, ordered room service, napped, watched a bunch of trashy television and hid out in my hotel room.  And I was sort of doing ok.  So one night I called BR to wish him a happy birthday.

Me: Happy birthday BR!  What are you doing tonight?

BR: I’m going for dinner with my parents.

Me: Oh that’s nice.  Are they taking you to the strip club after?  Haha.

BR: Ugh, Blondie… I’ve already been there so many times since you’ve been gone, I can’t go back for a while.

Me: Pardon?

BR: I need at least a week off from the strip club.

Me: Are you telling me that the whole time I’ve been in New York enduring fertility torture alone, you’ve been whooping it up at the rippers?

BR: Blondie, I’m helping to support to single moms.

Me: (pause…)

BR: It’s my way of giving back to the community.

Me: How charitable of you.

BR: Exactly.

Was I annoyed by this?  Oh slightly.  He was at home having all sorts of scandalous fun while I was here suffering through yet another agonizing round of IVF.

But then I thought, what would the alternative be?  Would the alternative be having him here to support me through this difficult treatment?


The alternative would be me trapped in a New York hotel room with BR for three weeks while trying to manage exhausting levels of physical, emotional and psychological stress.

The alternative would be having to hear things like, Blondie i’m bored.  Blondie I’m hungry.  Blondie massage my feet.  Blondie stop complaining about the hormones and massage my feet.  Blondie I’m still hungry.  Blondie I don’t want to watch Mad Men.  Blondie change the channel.  Blondie turn the music back up.  Blondie I don’t understand why you don’t want to listen to Rhianna really loud at 7am.  Blondie where’s my Iphone.  Blondie where’s my Ipad.  Blondie.  Blondie.  Blondie.  Blondie!!!

The alternative would be me losing my shit and eventually murdering him.

So that’s fine BR.  If Cinnamon and Destynee are what it takes for you to leave me alone in New York with some well-deserved peace and quiet, then knock yourself out.  “Make it rain” for all I care.

But then… BR came back.  He came back for the egg retrieval and to make his small yet important contribution to the cycle.  He blew in like a hurricane and as the door to the hotel room swung open I realized that my little cocoon of solitude was now ripped to shreds.

Me: BR you have to turn the TV down, it’s really loud.  I can’t think.

BR: Blondie no one’s paying you to think.

Me: If you don’t turn the television down, I am literally going to punch you in the throat.  Please turn it down and come and help me take this shot.

BR: What shot?

Me: The shot that’s supposed to induce ovulation.  I have to take it at exactly 10:30 and I need your help sticking it in my butt.

BR: Are you coming on to me?

Me: NO!  Now turn down the TV, get over here, and please help me with this giant fucking needle! 

BR: Wow, that is a really big needle.  How do you want to do this?

Me: Ok, I’m going to pull my pants down, lie on my stomach, and you’re going to gently stick the needle in my butt and carefully push the plunger.  Ok?

BR: Blondie, I’m basically a surgeon.  I’ve got this.  Now take a deep breath and count to three.

Me: Ok.  One… two… MOTHER OF FUUUCK!  I said gently!  GENTLY!

BR: Oh.  Whoops.  I thought I was supposed to jab it.

Me: Who said anything about jabbing?!  I never said jab!  That really hurt, what’s wrong with you!

BR: Blondie, you’re overreacting.  That was way more stressful for me than it was for you.  I’m tired now.  Come and put me to bed.

Me: BR, you just stabbed me in the ass.  My ass really hurts.  So do my boobs.  So does my head.  And tomorrow I have to go and have my ovaries harvested, which I’m dreading.  So maybe for once you could put me to bed.

BR: Blondie, shhhhh.  Nobody likes a talky-talk.  Now shutty your trappy and come tickle me to sleep.

So I did.  I also contemplated smothering him with a pillow.  Many times.

So after an anxiety-ridden, sleepless night it was time to go to the hospital for the egg retrieval.  I was not looking forward to the procedure but I was looking forward to being heavily drugged.  Now I won’t go into graphic detail about what an egg retrieval entails, but if you feel like barfing, google it.

Anyway, the retrieval sucked as usual but the recovery was no picnic either.  I had a solid week of abdominal pain and swelling.  I was put on progesterone shots which immediately made my boobs ache and my entire face break out.  I couldn’t really move around without moaning like a wounded animal.  I couldn’t really wear pants.  I was only allowed to take Tylenol.  And BR was my nurse.

Kill me.

All this for three piddly little eggs.  Then a few days later it was time to have the embryos transferred.  Miraculously all three eggs fertilized, and all three were put back in.  I should have been happy (or at least hopeful) about this but I was so tired of being poked at like a barn animal that all I could do was quietly sob in the recovery room afterwards.  I was just too exhausted and sore to do anything else.

But I was also mad.  Mad that all of our hopes and efforts to have a family had resulted in… this.  This wasn’t baby making.  This was bullshit.

Then a couple of days later we flew home.  I didn’t have high hopes for this cycle, so I spent the next couple of weeks waiting for my period to come.  But then it didn’t.  So I peed on a stick.  And I was about to chuck it in the garbage when I thought I noticed a very faint, second line appear.  What the… so I peed on another stick.  Same thing.

Holy shit.

A couple of days later our family doctor confirmed it.  We were pregnant.

Once the initial shock and confusion wore off, I was thrilled.  Panicked, but thrilled.  But BR was a little more cautious.  He wouldn’t allow himself to emotionally react to this baby until he knew we were in the clear.  And until then, he took it upon himself to micromanage my every move.

BR: Blondie!  You’re not supposed to be having coffee!  Spit it out.

Me: BR, I’m allowed to have a cup of coffee.  Stop overreacting.

BR: And what are you doing walking around?!  You’re supposed to be lying down!  Lie down!

Me: But our doctor said I can resume normal daily activities.  I don’t think puttering around the house is going to kill me.

BR: Blondie, he obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  He already lost a patient this year.

Me: Your grandmother – may she rest in peace – was 91.  And this is not a high-risk pregnancy.

BR: It’s high-risk to me!  Now put down that coffee and get back to bed!

So aside from BR acting crazier than usual, and having to hear lots of unsolicited advice from family, I was actually doing ok for the first couple of weeks.  Until the nausea kicked in.  And never. Let. Up.

This happened at about the same time we moved up to the cottage for the summer – which should ideally be a relaxing and tranquil place to be.  It isn’t.

The “cottage” is an enormous property that functions more like a small hotel.  We move up there with BR’s family, and there is a revolving door of guests from the moment we arrive until the moment we leave.

Allow me to sum it up for you: I was pregnant, constantly nauseous, and exhausted.  I had a huge ass and raging acne from the progesterone.  I was too sick to stand upright for more than a few minutes, let alone walk around.  I was too hormonal to talk.  And the cottage was full of people.

Now I don’t care how much you love your friends, family and in-laws – I don’t recommend this.

So I basically slept through the summer until it was time for our 12-week ultrasound. We drove back to the city and arrived at the hospital.  BR was nervous, but I wasn’t.  I was actually excited.

A nice, young technician performed the ultrasound and then called in another doctor to take a look.  Neither of them said anything, they just nodded and smiled.  It wasn’t until our own OBGYN came into the room that we were told there was no heartbeat.

No heartbeat.  No baby.

We were devastated.  But then it got slightly worse.

Me: So… what do I do now?  About the pregnancy, I mean.

Doctor: You have two options.  We can give you some medication to take at home which will induce a natural miscarriage, but the results can be a bit unpredictable.  Or we can call you in a few days when there’s an opening and you can come back and have the fetus surgically removed.

Me: Well those both sound awesome.

I chose the latter.  At least I would be knocked out.

So we left the hospital and drove back up to the cottage where we would have to break the news to everyone.  I didn’t feel like speaking during the drive so I just numbly stared out the window… until BR provoked me.

BR: Blondie, don’t be upset.  This will all work out eventually.

Me: I hope so.  I don’t know how many more times I can do this.

BR: Blondie that’s loser talk.  You need to be more positive.

Me: Oh really?  About what exactly.  The weight gain?  The nausea?  The exhaustion?  The explosion of acne all over my face?  The fact that I have to wait around for a phone call so I can go back to the hospital to have our baby removed?  The fact that I have to go through another painful gynaecological procedure?  The fact that once I recover I have to do this ALL OVER AGAIN?!  THE FACT THAT WE HAVE NO BABY?!  No BR.  I think the only “positive” thing here is that I haven’t flung myself off a bridge yet.

BR: Blondie, come on.  You’re not the only woman going through this.  I think you should suck it up.

Me: (blinking and staring)

BR: It’s not like you have cancer.

Me: is that the most… helpful thing you could think of to say right now?

BR: Blondie, it’s not my job to be helpful.  It’s my job to be in charge of getting us a baby.  Damn it, why am I not allowed to just clone myself?  All of this would be solved! 

Me: (blinking and staring)

BR: Seriously, how awesome would it be to have a bunch of Me’s running around.  I’m going to do some more research on this.

Me: Oh look, a liquor store.  You can just… drop me off there.

And then summer was over.  What a shit-show.

We planned for another round of IVF last month, but I cancelled at the last minute.  I just wasn’t ready.  BR was disappointed but I told him that I need a bit more time to recover.  I think he understands.  Or at the very least he hasn’t been pressuring me.  And now I’m looking forward to another winter in Florida with the dogs and lots of visits with family and friends.  I can walk the beach, get some sun, do some yoga and finally feel like myself again.  I can allow myself to feel happy and fortunate for all of the things we do have.

Until the next cycle.  But I’ll worry and blog about that later.



BR and I have been trying to have a baby for about three years now.  It’s not exactly going well.

Which is why it’s been over a month since my last post.  You know how drinking and dialling is a bad idea?  Well pumping yourself full of fertility drugs and blogging is also a very bad idea.  So I figured I would wait until I was feeling a little more “rational.”

Allow me to let you in on a little secret about fertility treatment that nobody really talks about: IT SUCKS.  I was not prepared for how much it would suck.  And all those glossy magazine photos of blissfully happy forty and fifty-something celebrities holding their newborn babies is totally misleading.  I’d like to see pictures of those women while they’re eyeballs-deep in hormones and trying to perform every-day tasks… like putting on pants.

Now I’m not going to go into all of the dirty details about fertility treatment because it’s something you have to go through to fully understand.  But trust me.  It TOTALLY SUCKS.

So as a result, this “baby” has been torturing me for three years and is already acting like a real jerk.  Thanks baby.

And on top of that I have to live with and take care of my adorable adult baby – or “man toddler” – who also tortures me on a regular basis.

ME: BR, I really don’t feel good tonight.  These hormones are making me feel like crap.  Can I have some nursing?

BR: Blondie, I’m not a nurse.  I’m a doctor.  Therefore I can’t really take of you, I can only diagnose you.  And I diagnose you with looking like a crazy person.

ME: You are not a doctor.  And I know I look crazy because I feel crazy.  Which is why I need some nursing.

BR:  Blondie, come on.  It’s not like you have a broken leg.  You just have googly eyes.

ME: Pardon?

BR: Is your leg broken?

ME: Are you actually comparing five cycles of fertility treatment to a broken leg?  What is wrong with you?

BR: You’re right.  A broken leg is much worse.  I should know, I’ve had a broken leg.

ME: BR!  Come on, I’m begging you – just rub my back or try to console me or something!  I really don’t feel well!

BR: Blondie, I already told you – I’m not a nurse.  I’m a doctor.  Therefore there’s nothing I can do for you.


When we first found out we had to do IVF we were instructed to make an appointment with the fertility counsellor.  Together.  BR had never been to a therapist before so he was a little “hesitant.”

THERAPIST: Now I understand you’ve already been through three unsuccessful IUI treatments.  So I just want to ask you both some questions before you begin IVF.  Now please understand that the purpose of this is not to assess whether or not you’ll make good parents.  It’s to assess whether or not your relationship can handle the stress of such an aggressive treatment.

Apparently a number of relationships do not survive fertility treatment, especially if it’s ongoing.  Which is why the therapist looks for any potential “red flags” and then teaches you some valuable communication skills to help you both cope with the stress.

THERAPIST: Now BR, of all the times you’ve tried to console Blondie during her previous treatments, what percentage of the time do you think you’ve been successful in consoling her?

BR: (blinking and staring)

THERAPIST: Ok, let me rephrase the question.  Of all the times that Blondie has been upset and you’ve tried to make her feel better, how often do you think you were successful?

BR: I think that depends on your definition of “console.”

THERAPIST: Let’s try this again.  Think of all the times Blondie has been upset during treatment.  What percentage of the time do you actually say or do something that makes her feel better?

BR:  Well… do you mean physically upset or mentally upset?  I can usually only tell if she’s upset when she’s crying…

ME: Oh my God, pick a number.

BR: What?

ME: A number!  She wants a number!  What percentage of the time do you try to make me feel better and succeed?  PICK A NUMBER.

BR: Fine.  Twenty percent.

THERAPIST: Oh dear.  Ok, and Blondie?  What percentage of the time do you think he’s successful in consoling you?

ME: Actually I was also going to say about twenty percent.

BR: Woo hoo!

And then he high-fived me.  Right in the middle of our therapy session.

THERAPIST:  Ok, that’s not really something to be “high-fiving” about.  It’s actually a pretty low number… and a potential red flag…

BR: But we got the same number.

THERAPIST: Yes, I’m aware that you got the same number but…

BR:  See?  Woo hoo!

He high-fived me again.

THERAPIST: That’s not really the point.

BR: What is the point exactly?

So that was helpful.  I’ve tried to explain to BR just how crappy the hormones make me feel and how painful the procedures are – not to mention how exhausting the stress of it all is – but he really doesn’t get it.  It’s not his fault.  He’s a man.  And a robot.  But he’s trying to be supportive so I have to give him a little credit… right?

ME:  BR, I really don’t feel well, I don’t know what to do with myself.  I’m stressed, I’m exhausted, I’m crampy, and these hormones are making me feel nuts.  I’m so miserable!

BR:  Blondie, I don’t understand.  All I know is that your hair is all messy and your makeup is smudged and your eyeballs are really googly.  In fact I’m not even sure I want to be around you right now.  You look kind of scary.

ME:  You don’t want to be around me right now?  I don’t want to be around me right now!  But unlike you, I can’t get away from myself!  I really don’t feel good and you’re not helping!

BR: Blondie, I’m trying but I’m not a mind reader.  I can’t just look at your face and your body language and listen to what you’re telling me and “magically” figure out what’s wrong with you.  I need a hint.  Text me an emoticon.

ME: Pardon?

BR: An emoticon Blondie.  That would be helpful.

ME: There is no emoticon for how I’m feeling!

BR: Try.  I can’t help you if you can’t help me.

So I sent him one:  >%-( 

BR:  Oh… yikes.  That looks pretty bad… I think I’m going to follow my initial instincts and leave the house for a while.

ME: You’re leaving me?

BR: Blondie, it’s ok.  Just do what you normally do and hide under the covers and cry hysterically.  Then by the time I get home you’ll feel better!  Here’s a bunch of kleenex.  Now I’m just going to cover your head with this blanket…

And then I heard the door shut.

Now another unfortunate thing you have to endure while in the throes of IVF is the constant appointments.  You have to go to the clinic every morning for blood work and a yucky ultrasound so they can check your hormone levels and see how your follicles are growing.  This can go on for days and it gets pretty annoying after a while for both us.  But all BR has to do is drive me.  He gets the easy job.

ME: Wakey wakey BR, I need you to drive me to the clinic for blood and ultrasound.

BR: Blondie I’m not feeling well this morning.  You’ll have to take a taxi.

ME:  A taxi?  Please don’t make me do that.  Those guys drive like jerks and I’m all crampy and I don’t want my ovaries jostling around.

BR: Ugh, Blondie!  I really don’t want to drive you to the clinic today, I don’t feel good.  You and your ovaries will be fine.

ME:  Are you planning on playing hockey today?

BR: Maybe.  What does that have to do with anything?

ME: If you’re well enough to play hockey, you’re well enough to drive me to my appointment.  Get in the car.

BR: No.

ME: All you have to do is drive me!  You don’t have to pump yourself full of hormones and go to the clinic for a daily probing!  Come on, we’re in this together.

BR: No, we’re in this separately.

ME: We are NOT in this separately.  This is potentially OUR baby.

BR: No.  It’s my baby.

ME: What is wrong with you.  Please get up and drive me to my appointment.

BR: Shhhh… I’m just going to shut my eyes and go back to sleep…

ME: (blinking and staring)

BR: Can you just rub my back a little?


BR: Fine.  But you’ll have to dress me.  Go get my clothes.

ME:  Oh my God.  Ok, here are your clothes.  Now put them on and let’s go.

BR:  No, you put them on me.  Pretend I’m the baby.  It’s good practice for you.

ME: Are you kidding… ok.  Ugh, I can’t even get your sock on, your leg is so heavy!  At least lift your leg a little!

BR:  Blondie, I’m the baby.  You have to dress me.  I’m totally helpless.

ME: For the love of God, you weigh a thousand pounds!  Put your pants on!  We’re going to be late!

BR: Blondie, I’m getting cold.  Hurry.  I’m going to start crying.  WAAAAH!  WAAAAH!  WAAAAH!  WAAAAH!


Then a couple of days later BR surprised me with something nice.

BR: Blondie, I got you a present today.

ME: You did?  What is it?

BR: It’s a booklet that shows all sorts of different “moods”.  See?  And each mood has a description to go with the cute little emoticon picture.  So now you can just flip to the appropriate mood and then I’ll look at it and try to understand how you’re feeling!

ME: Aw, thanks BR!  That was very thoughtful.

BR: I know.  Maybe too thoughtful…

But then he heated up some chicken soup for me and rubbed my tummy for a while.  He was a good nurse.

Unfortunately this cycle did not work out for us.  I needed to get out of the house and away from my usual surroundings so BR took me to Chicago.  We didn’t see or do as much as we would have liked, but we were both a little depressed and I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. So we mostly just wandered around aimlessly and ate a lot of deep dish pizza.

ME: Ok BR, are you ready to go shopping?

BR: Yes.  But first I’d like to stop for pizza.

ME: But you just had breakfast.

BR: Blondie, I’m hungry.  And I want delicious deep dish pizza.

ME: Oh no, I know exactly what’s going to happen.  You’re going to scarf down an entire pizza and then you’re going to make us go back to the hotel so you can nap for three hours.  I don’t want to spend all day in the hotel.  I need to get out.

BR: Blondie, don’t be ridiculous.  I’m only going to have one or two pieces.

That was a blatant lie.

ME: Umm, BR?  Are you ok?  You just ate an entire medium deep dish pizza.  And your eyes are all glazed over.  And I think you may be slurring…

BR: I’m in a pizza coma, Blondie.  I need to go back to the hotel and lie down.

ME: But you promised me date day!  And shopping!  Together!  I knew this was going to happen.

BR: Blondie, you don’t need me to go shopping.  You can go shopping by yourself.

ME: I don’t want to go by myself, I want to go with you.  As a couple.  Having a date day.

BR: Blondie, just go to Saks and come back to the hotel when you’re done.

ME: If you let me loose in Saks by myself after a month of hormonal hell and depression, I’m going to bankrupt you.  Is that what you want?

BR: Fine.  I choose bankruptcy… and pizza.

But aside from the pizza fiasco – multiple pizza fiascos – BR actually took very good care of me on this trip.  He could tell I was wiped out and on the verge of a breakdown.  He let me drink all the bottled water from the mini bar that I wanted.  He let me order as much room service as I wanted.  He bought me some very pretty shoes.  He rubbed my back and snuggled me in bed while we watched multiple episodes of Pawn Stars.  And he consoled me every time a baby would appear on a commercial and I would start to tear up and cry.  He was the best crazy-pretend-nurse-who-thinks-he’s-a-doctor that a girl could ask for.

So we’re home now and planning our next trip – to Israel!  Apparently they have some of the world’s leading fertility technology.  So we’re still hopeful that we’ll find some answers that will eventually give us a baby.

And right now hope is better than nothing.