Saturday, May 11, 2013

Why Are You Squeezing Me with Your Body?

originally posted on 365 Attempts [at life]

Mama Greek knows we did IUI.  You may think we’re crazy for telling her, but she’s pretty astute: she knows we want to have a kid, and she can see there’s no kid.  We don’t want her to give up hope, so we feed her crumbs.  If you've ever met an old Greek lady, you understand why.

So a few days after the - ahem - procedure, she calls to check up on me.  Tony’s out that night, and I’m burrowed into the couch cushions under a blanket, watching old episodes of Arrested Development.

“Tony tell me you do the thing, and I want to know if you okay,” she declares, when I answer the phone.

“I’m fine,” I laugh.  “Don’t worry.”

“I don’t know if it’s difficult, or if you have pain or ever.”  (Or ever = Mama Greek Speak for ‘whatever’.)  “Because Tony tell me you have hard time.”

“No pain,” I say.  

Which is the truth, unless you count the fact that I’ve started having insane insomnia.  I’d googled this (always a smart idea,) and learned that insomnia happens to less than 1% of women who take Clomid. But I’ve always been sensitive to drugs.  Not that I know this from experience.

Anyway, the hard time Tony's referring to is that Clomid turned me into a raging lunatic, but thankfully that's over now. (I know what you're thinking, keep it to yourself.)

“Well, I’m glad you okay,” Mama Greek says.

But suddenly, I want her to know that I’m not okay.  I want her, just for a second, to know the sleeplessness I’m going through in the hopes of having a child.  I want her to acknowledge my pain, and my suffering.

“The thing itself wasn’t hard,” I say.  “It’s just that I’ve got -

“Good, good.  I’m glad.”

“Yes. But I’m having -

“Well, Natalie, I’m glad you okay."

"I'm having a really hard time -

"Go relax now, okay?  Kiss Ruble for me.  Goodnight.”

And with that, she hangs up.


On Sunday, we find out that the IUI didn’t work.  Tony and I try to deal with this by taking Ruble for a walk, and mopily eating sandwiches at a picnic table in the park.

“Call your mother and tell her,” I tell him.  “I don’t want to deal with any questions at dinner tonight about whether I’m okay.  And please tell her I don’t want to talk about it.”

He obliges.

A few hours later, we arrive at Mama Greek’s.  Tony heads to the bathroom to wash his hands, and I’m not even out of my coat before she sidles up to me.

“So,” she says, scrunching up her face sympathetically. “It not work, eh?”

“No,” I say, gently, “but I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay.” She pats my arm.  “But are you sure it not work?  When I get pregnant with Tony...”

“I don’t. Want. To talk about it."  This time, I say it loudly enough that Tony can hear.

“MA!” Tony shouts from the bathroom.  “DON’T.”

“Okay,” she whispers, “but -

“Shhhh,” I say, cutting her off.  “Go relax now, okay?”

I hold my finger to my lips, and walk away.  


The reason I don’t want to discuss the comings and goings of my womb with Mama Greek is not because I want to annoy her, although I admit it’s a nice bonus.  It’s because I’m starting to learn that it’s really hard to deal with my own feelings when I’m also trying to care of someone else’s.  In this case, I know my and Tony’s feelings are the only feelings that count.  But, although she’s hiding it well, MG is devastated not to be a grandmother, and it’s hard for me not to feel responsible for this.  

So I’m pleasantly surprised at my decision, and resolution, not to talk about it with her.  Less pleasing is how I’m dealing with some of the other stuff.  Reading the fertility discussion boards, where my fellow <1%ers share their experiences with Clomid insomnia, I keep coming across this sentiment:

“I don’t care what I have to go through if it leads to a baby in the end.”

But here's the thing: I do care.  And the more I go through, the more I care.  I hate being tired all the time.  Just recently, after years of restricting 15 zillion variations of gluten, sugar, booze, dairy and grains, I’ve started to just eat what I feel like eating.  It was like getting out of prison, and I was loving every minute of it.  And then yesterday, I had my first appointment with a new acupuncturist, one who specializes in infertility. 

“Stop eating cheese,” she says.  "Also sugar, and fatty meats.  And no more alcohol.”  

Basically, my 4 favourite things on earth.

I have no doubt this is partially fuelled by fatigue, but I’m starting to wonder: not sleeping for months on end, in order to conceive something that’s going to prevent me from sleeping for another 2 (or is it 18) years?  Going back to reading ingredients on every box at the grocery store, and not being able to even have a whole grain spinach organic goddamn turkey wrap when I'm about to faint from hunger? Asking irritating questions in restaurants? (“Do you thicken the sauce with flour? Could you ask the chef if there's sugar in this?”)  No glass of wine on a terrace with a friend on a sunny spring Montreal evening?  Spending unthinkable amounts of money to have needles poked in my face every week?

Is it really worth it?

Those of you with kids will probably tell me it is.  Or, you might reassure me that you shot crack cocaine for the full 9 months of your pregnancy and your child is now graduating from law at Harvard.  I’m open to all advice (as long as it’s not “just relax and it will happen,”) but for the first time since this whole thing began, I’m drawing a line.  


I’ll decide where as soon as I'm done this cheeseburger.


  1. It will all be OK in the end. Mama Greek will never learn to relax, but, at least you can enjoy your cheeseburger.

  2. Thanks Helen :) You're so right.

  3. Natalie, I want to give you advice that worked for me and for lots of my girlfriends. I think it will work for you too because we are almost the same age. I was trying to get pregnant for 1,5 year and it seemed to me it would never happen. There is a tube test ( it determines if your tubes are clogged) and after that test lots of women get pregnant. I've done it and my result was good ( they said my tubes are fine) I got pregnant the next month.the test itself flushes all the mucas from the tubes. I am ready to bet anything it will work for you too.

  4. Thanks, Anonymous. I did actually get that tube test a few months back... no dice! And man, was it uncomfortable. But thank you for weighing in, and congratulations!!

  5. I absolutely agree about the procedure being uncomfortable. I fainted after it and was throwing up the whole day. But! don't panic! there is always invitro fertilazation! if nothing else work there is that magic! my cousin did in-vitro 3 times--the last time they planted 3 embrions instead of 1 and 2 month ago she has a baby boy. I wish you lots of luck. With your determination there is no way you are not getting pregnant.

  6. Poor you! But thank you for your comments and encouragement, and for reading! :)