Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, people had sex to get pregnant. They peed on sticks and waited with giddy excitement for two pink lines to emerge. And when they learned they were pregnant, they were happy.
Not today. One in eight couples will battle infertility and one in 100 babies are conceived in a petri dish. Frilly lingerie and wine-soaked romps have been replaced with hospital gowns and estrogen suppositories. More husbands know how to shoot their wives up with progesterone than how to fix a flat tire.
I know from experience. Dan and I spent two years trudging in and out of fertility clinics, plowing through treatments such as the ovulation-inducing drug Clomid, intrauterine insemination and injectable medications before bowing down before the granddaddy of them all: In vitro fertilization (IVF). Procreation swiftly morphed from a pleasurable journey to a daily grind. Our baby was ultimately conceived not in our candlelit bedroom, but a darkened lab by a man I’ve never met; five days later, I swallowed a Valium and had two embryos inserted in my uterus through a catheter before (I am told; the drugs caused amnesia) eating a Snickers bar and passing out. Eleven days after that third IVF attempt, we received the phone call that would change our lives: “Congratulations!” Nurse Jamie proclaimed. “You’re pregnant!” Our bodies flooded with shock and elation.
Then, the fear set in, and instantaneously, I knew: My pregnancy journey would not be like everyone else’s. “Women who become pregnant after infertility treatments face more complex challenges than those with a natural pregnancy,” explains Amy Blanchard, PhD, a psychologist in Cupertino, CA, who specializes in infertility. “They can’t relax; there’s incredible fear and anxiety over miscarriage or birth defects. They’ve usually spent years in treatment, and are used to things not working out.”
Keep reading my story, Formerly Infertile, in the new issue of Fit Pregnancy magazine…