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When You Do Everything Right and Still Don't Get Pregnant
a blog by CGD, June 29, 2011
I am currently waiting for a call from my fertility doctor's office to tell me if my FET (frozen embryo transfer cycle) is a go. It is very possible that we will not be able to start this month. Should this happen, it would be the second time that this cycle got delayed for reasons beyond my control.
Out of Our Control
While there are certainly times that I desperately need a break from cycling, I hate when I have geared up to start — both emotionally and physically — only to then be "benched."
I was texting about this situation with one of my friends, explaining to her that even though I had been using my ovulation predictor kit as directed by my medical team, I somehow missed my ovulation anyway, and now it may be too late in my cycle to start fertility drugs. My cycles have been very irregular, making it really difficult to predict this kind of stuff.
After I explained the situation, she responded by asking me why I use these kits if they do not work. It was an innocent comment. I know she was expressing her frustration at my fertility doctor's office, at the ovulation kit, and at life in general for just kind of being unfair. But for me, I wanted to yell “It’s not my fault, I swear I did everything right!!” Likely as a reminder to myself more than anyone else.
Why Are Things Going Wrong?
That statement feels emblematic of this entire infertility process. I did everything right, so why are things going so wrong?
My husband I took the decision to start trying to conceive seriously. We talked about it a lot, ensuring that we were ready both emotionally and financially. I did all the responsible things: I started eating more healthily, reduced my caffeine intake, began taking prenatal vitamins and went to my Ob/Gyn to have all the needed medical and genetic testing. All the things that they say you are supposed to do before trying for a baby — did it all. I was 32 years old and in good health. I figured the getting pregnant part would be a piece of cake.
As part of the testing my Ob/Gyn ran, it was revealed that I am a carrier of the Fragile X gene mutation (Fragile x is the most common type of inherited mental retardation). A series of appointments and consultations with genetic counselors revealed that my mutation level did not put a future baby at risk, but I was advised to tell my brother as he could be affected too. I made sure all the members of my family were informed and had long, serious conversations with my brother about this. I did everything right, everything I could do to make sure that I, as well as those around me, had all the information needed. Well, you could understand my surprise when I learned that my sister-in-law became pregnant with their first child before my brother had the needed genetic testing about the Fragile X condition. In the end, my brother tested negative for the gene, so my niece was not impacted, thankfully.
Still, I felt angry. How could you so easily and in this case ignorantly get pregnant with healthy baby, while I do all the things you are supposed to do and still nothing?
It Doesn't Make Sense
For my last cycle, I turned my body into a temple. I took daily (but slow) walks, I ate only organic produce and meat, I consumed not one drop of alcohol, I went to acupuncture weekly, and I eliminated gluten from my diet. I was the picture of fertility health, and still my cycle ended in a negative pregnancy test. I think about that when I see pregnant teenagers on the subway eating fast food and drinking soda or when I read about drug addicts having babies — how does this make any sense? Maybe I should be out partying and eating pesticide-laden apples ... then maybe I would get pregnant by accident?
I think that is just it — it doesn’t make any sense. We can do virtually everything "right" and still not get a healthy baby. It's just not the way things work. Still, I just want to believe in a world where if you do all the right things, you get rewarded by a successful outcome. Don’t we all want to believe that we are more in control of things in our lives then we really are?