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Introducing 'Funny But Not Fertile'
a blog by Jay Pal, February 8, 2010
I was always told that if you let a penis touch your leg, you’d get pregnant. This is the impression most 5th grade teachers and bad after-school specials left me with. If you were in a two-mile radius of sperm, you’d get knocked up, have no money, and the baby daddy would always seem to end up working at a gas station in these scenarios. That was the deal.
However, after almost two years of more unprotected sex with my husband than I ever thought imaginable, three artificial inseminations (including one involving a Starbucks bathroom) and a failed in vitro fertilization (or ‘IVF’ as the cool kids call it), I am still, somehow, not pregnant. And so we’re clear: in almost all those attempts, my husband’s penis did way more than just touch my leg.
Fertility Blogs and Humor
March 2010 is when we did our first IVF, and it was also the time I began blogging about my fertility journey (I say journey because disaster seems a tad too negative). My running joke for “IVF Part One” was that IVF actually meant ‘I’m Very Fertile.' However, after we got word that neither of our two gorgeous embryos wanted to move into my uterus for the next nine months, I realized that IVF simply stood for ‘I’m Very Funny.’ Funny… but not fertile.
Trying to get pregnant is often depressing, and I can’t deny that there have been many times when I’ve felt like a complete and total failure. That’s where making fun of this whole thing has come in handy. Truly, with either the right attitude or the right glass of wine, trying to get knocked up when the odds seem to be stacked against you can be rather amusing.
For example, there was the time I spent 20 minutes explaining what IVF was to a Russian woman while she gave me a bikini wax.
"They then remove the eggs and fertilize them outside of my body..."
"Then, they put them back in… oh, I’m sorry… do you need me to lift my leg?”
Or the time my husband and I went to our favorite diner and our chipper waitress asked me how I wanted my eggs. Sunnyside up? Scrambled? And I answered "Fertilized and implanted, thank you."
And let’s not forget when I composed “The Twelve Days of Infertility” just in time for the holidays.
On the twelfth day of Infertility,
My true love sent to me
Twelve thousand debt,
Eleven tubes of preseed,
Ten hormone injections,
Nine egg donations,
Seven embryos a-frozen,
Six follicles a-growing,
Five Clomid Pills,
Four Calling Doctors,
Three Gonal Pens,
And a sperm count with great motility…
Much to my surprise, having a warped sense of humor has been the best coping mechanism. It has genuinely kept me sane (I think). Well, that and watching the LOGO channel. How I do love the gay channel. It has nothing about babies, pregnancy or children. The commercials are all about weight loss, plant care and pet products. And then there’s RuPaul. Oh, RuPaul, how I love you! You’re the best distraction a fertility challenged girl could ask for! Because of you, I’ve told my eggs, “You better work!” more times than I can count.
Clinical Trial for a New Fertility Drug
Presently, I’ve been taking part in a clinical trial that will hopefully get me good and pregnant once and for all. My husband and I luckily met all of the criteria (age, weight, health, history) and after many a meeting, an orientation class, a sperm analysis, some blood work, a sonogram and paperwork that pretty much signed my uterus over to the clinic, we were accepted. We began shots on January 28.
The trial entails trying out a different kind of hormone shot similar to Gonal-F and Follistim. The difference is that this new hormone injection wouldn’t be given every day. It would only be given every few days in the hopes that it would help you produce as many eggs as you would if you did the shot on a daily basis. Neither the patients nor the nurses involved in the trial know if you’re getting either the new drug or the old drug, so it’s like playing a form of Russian roulette … but with hormone shots. One of the nurses said to me on the first day of injections, “This is very weird for me as I don’t know what I’m handing you, but I’m telling you to inject yourself with it. It goes against everything I was taught.”
The good news is that no matter which group you’re in (the test group or the boring old drug group), you still produce eggs, so it’s not a wasted cycle. The annoying news is no matter which group you’re in (and I haven’t a clue which one I’m in at all) you still have to do a shot every day. At the end of the day, if it works, I don’t really care what I’ve been injecting myself with. Hormones, lighter fluid or sugar water… as long as I see results, it’s all good.
The best thing about this trial though is you get a free IVF. This includes free assisted hatching, free ICSI, free freezing of any leftover embryos, free medication (except for antibiotics) and if I bring a big enough knapsack, free anything I can steal from the examination rooms. Free is always good in general but ever since our insurance company broke up with us (at least where fertility is concerned), to have an opportunity to become parents on someone else’s dime is a huge gift.
This brings us to tonight, which is when I will take my HCG shot. Monday will be the egg retrieval, and we’ll see just how effective these experimental drugs are. I’m ready for it too. I’ve gotten a bikini wax, my two-week wait distractions are lined up and my cheesy romantic movie DVDs have been rented and are ready to go. I sincerely hope you’ll stay tuned to this exciting story as it develops and that you check in (and laugh) often!