One of the things I do in my real life, and I do have one, is perform as a singer/songwriter.  Over the years, the little explanations and bits between songs grew into full-on monologues and stories.  This Friday I’m doing a mini-version of a show I’m planning for February, and I’m doing it for my moms’ group.  While I think infertility is a great topic to encourage gratitude in moms, especially those whose babies came easily, this little performance also might do a little something more.  That is, I hope, to educate those who conceived easily about what it’s like for those of us who did not.

This is the first part of the infertility monologue:

When you have an IVF done to try to get pregnant, it takes 2-3 months before, and 2 weeks after.  You have countless visits to the fertility clinic.  One of the things they do the most often, besides taking your blood, is the vaginal ultrasound.  Which means you’re at the doctor’s office, well, you’re not – but I am – and so I see this big plastic… wand… with a kind of familiar shape and since I’m sitting there with no underpants on, I’m thinking, well I guess I know where that’s going.  And then while I’m thinking that, the ultrasound tech person puts a condom on the wand.  Which strikes me as odd.  Am I NOT here to get pregnant?  And we’re using birth control?  Because if it’s the wand that gets me pregnant, I am okay with that.

When you have an IVF done, and I hope you never do, there are lots of medications.  I have to give myself shots.  In the belly, for which they gave me a needle this long, and I wasn’t quite sure about that.  And I have to give myself shots in the thigh, and in the butt.  There are pills to take, and patches to wear, and then there are pills to be inserted. Apparently we have to constantly put things in there before a baby is ever going to come out of there.  Y’all just had to put something in there once.

So, whatever, except the pills to be inserted are blue. I need artificial coloring to get pregnant?  I don’t know what color it is in there, I mean I know the equipment isn’t working, but is it really about the décor?  And then of course, the blue comes off all over the place, and of course at first I forget about those pills, and so there’s the blue, and then I’m thinking BLUE.  No wonder I can’t… I’m BLUE.

When you have an IVF done, the statistics are always around 50% chance that it will work.  Sometimes way less than that, sometimes a teeny bit more.  And those are just the chances of pregnancy.  The chances that a pregnancy will last, and there will be a real live baby at the end of it – you can’t count on it.  But when you have an IVF done, there are certain things you can count on.

The first is that when you go to the doctor, they will need to do certain things on certain days of your cycle. Whatever cycle day they need it to be, is yesterday.  So you’re dying to get the show on the road before you’re 47, but every time you go to the doctor he says “Well! We’ll see you in about a month.”

There are other things you can count on.  For example: When you’ve gone through all the drugs, and all the hormones, and all the waiting, and then you had to wait two weeks to see if it worked, and you were sure you felt weird, and maybe a little nauseated, and a little twinge here maybe?  And then the nurse takes your blood to see if you’re pregnant, and says she’ll call after 1, and she finally calls and you can tell by the way she says your name that it’s not good news.  And all the drugs and the money and the hopes and the time are just… gone.  That’s when you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will say “So, when are you two going to have a little one?” or “What are you waiting for?” or “Aren’t you worried about Down’s Syndrome if you wait too long?”

And if you found out you were pregnant and then you went in for the ultrasound – you know, the one you’re going to put on Facebook to let your friends know?  Except when they looked for the heartbeat, there wasn’t one.  When that happens, you can be sure that one of your friends is going to call you, breathless.  “We have news.” Or your co-worker is going to say “It’s so unfair!  I can’t believe I’m pregnant AGAIN.”  Or your sister-in-law will say “oh my gosh, I was so worried because it took four months… you should so get pregnant too so we can have our babies at the same time!”

That, you can count on.

But then, it finally happens. You get the good phone call and the heartbeat is there and you can even tell some people and you’re throwing up a little bit.  But then there’s the night with the bleeding and cramping and the emergency room and the doctor says he’s sorry, and then they tell you that you have to have a D&C, which shows up on your insurance that you had an abortion.  That will be two days before your best friend’s baby shower. At your house.

When you do an IVF, you can count on that.

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