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The IVF Period
a blog by Murgdan
My IVF cycle officially started with the arrival of my period. I must say, I haven’t been this excited to menstruate since my early twenties! I almost chuckle imagining the days when I actually feared pregnancy.
Menstruation is a curious thing: Her arrival heralds us into the joys of womanhood and her departure into the throes of menopause. I will never forget my first period and how horrified I was at the curse that would besiege me for rest of my life and how I hung my adolescent head in shame when a boy in my class pointed his finger and called me ‘maxi-pad gir.’ Oh, the dread of having to purchase feminine products with wings before I was even allowed to shave my legs!
As I grew up, the ‘monthly bleed’ became an annoyance. It interrupted trips to the swimming pool, stained my favorite white pants, and could ruin the entire weekend. How wonderful when I discovered birth control pills could assure me ‘that time of the month’ would never occur on a Saturday. It got even better when the pill promised a period only four times a year. But even on the pill, the arrival of good old Aunt Flow meant I had cheated the fates again—I had avoided getting knocked up.
Before trying to conceive, menstruation was nothing more than a mild inconvenience, but attempting pregnancy gives menses a whole new meaning. Suddenly, that old untimely and bothersome monthly visitor becomes a constant obsession. A regular period is a reassuring testament to fertility. Irregular cycles are no longer a thing to ignore. The lack of a cycle may suddenly go from a handy coincidence to the devastating realization that they may never again return.
As the pregnancy attempts add up, and our failures accumulate, our periods become a point of sadness. Each arrival is no longer greeted with a sigh of irritation, but with tears of heartache, aggravation, and defeat; a monthly source of anger and disappointment. It is consistently the wrong answer to the ‘Am I pregnant?’ question.
With the diagnosis of severe male factor infertility, my period reverted back to its former meaningless state. It is just another expected monthly occurrence. No more, no less. It is no longer associated with the pangs of disappointment. I have no fantasies about a surprise pregnancy; no hopes to shatter. Over the last few months, being ‘on the rag’ has been nothing more than a slight nuisance.
My IVF cycle officially started with my last period. This period has taken on a whole new meaning. This period marks the first time we will ever really try to conceive. This period marks the first time we have hope.
I’ve been waiting for this period for almost two years. Rather than a monthly curse; it is a monthly blessing. I’m in this long awaited cycle. Period.