Don't Masturbate, I'm Ovulating


The month following our miscarriage we began the Clomid protocol again; hell, it worked the first time around. Since Clomid had worked before, I was extra hopeful. The cause of our infertility remained unknown, but it now seemed that with assistance we could become pregnant, and when it comes to infertility, every little thing is a step closer to an answer. That was a good thing. 

That weekend we went to a friend’s house for dinner.  I brought the normal dinner gift of wine for the hostess, and we had a great evening with our friends. By the end of the night the wine remained untouched and she suggested we should just take the bottle home. Looking back at the moment, I should have realized what the small gesture meant, but my spirits were high with the new treatment and after the previous month if anyone needed every drink they could get, it was me. We left, wine in hand, and thought nothing more about it. 

The month went as all the others had and so many more would go. It started off on a high note with a new and promising treatment. I was determined and ready to start the month off optimistic. Each month was a new chance for a baby. Because it is still timed intercourse as the method of creation, I still monitored my LH levels with ovulation strips (even though on medicated cycles it can give different results). The monitoring of cycles had become second nature at this point, so why stop now?

Fun fertility fact: Men have the best volume and quality of sperm if an ejaculation occurs every 2-3 days. An ejaculation everyday can decrease odds of conception. So, “when a spouse ejaculates” becomes a matter of record. 

Generally a couple starts trying to start trying, a few days before ovulation. The idea is to have sperm waiting and ready as soon as the egg makes its appearance. Since sperm can live inside the host for a few days and by this point if you have even semi – regular cycles you likely know the week you will ovulate. The timing of your cycle should be pretty obvious right? WRONG!!! This is not the case for all women dealing with infertility, in fact, irregular cycles caused by any underlying issues are often the cause of infertility. Lucky for me, my cycles un-medicated were 32 days exactly so I generally knew when to start testing. Finally the week arrived that ovulation should occur.

That night I asked my husband, “You haven’t masturbated the last day, have you?”. To which he responded, somewhat shaken, “NO! I saw all the strips and stuff so I knew not to.” Smart man. While trying to conceive, you will find yourself having conversations you never thought you would have, both with your spouse AND with complete strangers. Things that may have once seemed strange have somehow become normal to you. The parade of people between your legs will make you feel like you are on a college bender. However you look at it, fertility treatments are not for the faint of heart. 

That week we get to work. Every other day to ensure quality sperm until after ovulation occurs, then you could go back to sex as often as you like. At this point the real counting would start, the dreaded and exciting two week wait (TWW).  

The two week waits (TWW) are the longest and craziest two weeks of a fertility patient’s month. Every possible symptom is analyzed, then over-analyzed, researched, discussed in various online groups and ultimately determined as a sure sign you must be pregnant followed by doubt and the crushing blow that leaves you feeling completely empty. The cruel reality is, there is no way to get past the two week wait… no speeding it up and few ways to remain sane during those weeks. Pregnancy symptoms and the symptoms of PMS are one and the same. My boobs hurt (maybe it’s a good sign…) I am feeling tired (could this be it?) … changes to cervical mucus (this has to be it!) Around day 10 of the two week wait, the early pregnancy test usually begins (if you last that long). This brings on a different obsession. Is that a line or an evaporation line? Does this look like a line to you? Eventually the reality starts to sink in. The cramps come on slow and you try to tell yourself it’s implantation cramping. You take a pregnancy test daily comparing it to the previous day’s test to see if the line has gotten darker, sometimes consulting the women in your trusty support group and comparing your test lines to the ones on the internet that ended in a positive. Even when you see spotting, you often try to convince yourself that it is implantation bleeding until it is undeniable that you are not pregnant. 

The day that reality hits you, you break. The break may not come that day or the next, but soon you come home and just crumble. The feelings of sadness, as you mourn a loss of something you never had; anger at why this is happening to you, why they don’t know why you haven’t gotten pregnant, or why your body just won’t work the way it is supposed to; guilt at being unable to make your parents grandparents and your spouse a parent; and grief. The result of all of the feelings can become overwhelming.

A complete breakdown can come on slow, creeping into you slowly for hours, days or sometimes weeks. The feelings grow stronger each time you see your husband, scroll past another pregnancy post, walk past the baby section, hear a song, or for no reason at all. These feelings can start as one emotion in the back of your mind before taking over everything; they can come on as one single feeling or bubble up as every feeling all at once. Other times it comes on all in a single moment and results in an ugly cry in the shower, in the car on your way to work or in the driveway of your own home. Other months surprise you and leave you with just the feeling of complete emptiness. The worst part is that as it turns out, the world does not stop during this time. WTF!? You are a complete mess and yet people around you continue to go on with their own lives, just laughing, eating and enjoying things. You still have to get up in the morning AND go to work like nothing happened.   

A day or two of each month was spent a mess in private, but then the hope would return, and the cycle of hope, craziness and sadness would begin over again. This went on for a total of three months. The Clomid protocol, we had so much the first month and offered so much hope, ultimately did not work.  

Once more I scheduled an appointment with the RE. At the appointment the decision was made that I would move on to IUI with injectables, monitoring and a trigger shot.