no children

things have been really exciting down in the trying to get pregnant mines. i did my third round of clomid this past cycle. this was my last round at 50mg. the doctor said that if it didn’t work (which is to say, if i did not get pregnant), she would double my dose & order an HSG. these are things about which i have feelings.

clomid is not actually the safest drug in all the land. it works by stimulating a person’s ovaries to riped & release eggs. sometimes it stimulates a person’s ovaries into releasing more than one egg. sometimes it does its job so effectively that a person’s ovary twists around on itself under the weighty bushel of ripened follicles it is sporting, which can cut off blood supply to the ovary, cause excruciating pain, & sometimes even lead to the emergency removal of said ovary. & since you obviously need ovaries in order to ripen & release the eggs that will hopefully become fertilized & turn into embryos, losing an ovary can indeed impair a person’s fertility. which is less than spectacular when you consider that like 99% of people taking clomid are doing it to address a problem with fertility. (the other 1% are people who got their aunt georgie to bring back illegal clomid from mexico because they are so desperate to conceive multiples & become the next octo-mom. seriously. there are entire websites devoted to helping women get their mitts on black market fertility drugs & conceive multiples. scary shit.)

& an HSG…it’s short for hysterosalpingogram. it’s a test in which a doctor shoots some crazy fluorescing dye into a lady’s reproductive system & checks everything out a monitor to look for any scarring or blockages that may be preventing her from becoming pregnant. it’s a diagnostic tool but it can function as a treatment sometimes, because the force of the dye has been known to unblock fallopian tubes. from what i understand (which is admittedly not much because i think this is the kind of thing i probably shouldn’t think about too much), the dye gets up into the uterus via a cannula that is inserted through the cervix. UGH UGH UGH DO NOT WANT.

remember that abortion i had four years ago? it worked the same way. a narrow cannula was inserted through my cervix & vacuum suction was applied to remove the contents of my uterus. the vacuum aspect didn’t bother me at all, but having something pushed through my cervix HURT LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. apparently i passed out for two hours, although i have no memory of this. all i remember is pain. pain which probably feels like kittens licking my hand compared to the process of natural childbirth, but nonetheless. i tried to get an IUD a few months after the abortion, so i wouldn’t end up accidentally knocked up at any point in the future, but i couldn’t cope with having the little scrap of plastic pushed through my cervix. it brought back unfortunate memories of the whole unmedicated abortion thing. don’t get me wrong, i don’t regret my abortion at all & it’s not, like, emotional trauma that makes me have feelings about. & pretty much everyone else on earth gets some kind of painkiller or anesthesia before an abortion. i did not because of my vaso vagal syndrome (a breakdown in my body’s primary pain receptors). i knew that i have a tendency to pass out in response to pain, & that it’s not just “haha, she fainted, no big” passing out. it’s a life-threatening blood pressure crisis. the docs at the clinic didn’t want to take the chance that anesthesia would interfere with their efforts to revive me if my blood pressure started dropping…which it did.

anyway! so yeah, i am so not excited about having this test done. but if it sheds some light on why i’m not getting pregnant, & maybe paves the way for a pregnancy in the future, i guess it’s a good thing.

i had a lot of excitement last week when i took a fancy drugstore test & got TWO LINES! & they were both PINK! check it out, bros:


people always say it doesn’t matter how faint that second line is–if it’s there, you are pregnant! i called the doctor, but she suggested that i try to relax through the weekend & come in for a blood test after a few days, closer to the date of my next expected period. so i tried. but of course i couldn’t resist taking another test on sunday…which showed absolutely nothing. negative as can be. i swore i wouldn’t cry about not getting pregnant anymore. this was our ninth cycle trying, & trust me, it’s just not sustainable to maintain the level of emotion required to experience devastation month after month after month. but i couldn’t help it. i cried. & then i bought a pack of cigarettes because…why not, you know?

i still don’t know what this was all about. it could have been a bad test. it could have been an especially awful evaporation line (where the antibody strip on a negative test is visible enough to appear to be a second line–although an evap is not supposed to have color at all). it could have been a chemical pregnancy, also known as a very, very early miscarriage. it would appear to be a normal cycle to anyone who was not obsessively taking pregnancy tests on a daily basis. there’s really no way to know, & it doesn’t really matter. the bottom line: not pregnant. again.

i went in for a blood test anyway just to confirm the negative result, & the woman checking me in recognized me because i’m at the hospital getting blood tests for one trying to conceive-related thing or another like every two weeks. she asked if i was having a standard round of tests done because they have a different protocol for that. i was like, “no, i’m trying to get pregnant so i just get a lot of tests run.” not because it was her business. i was just making conversation. i don’t really see the point in keeping quiet about my fertility woes, you know? it’s not like it’s anything to be ashamed of.

i have medicare, so she had to ask me the medicare insurance coverage questions: are you a veteran? are you receiving black lung benefits? is your visit today to address an accident or injury? she chuckled & said, “i love asking pregnant women that last one. they’re always like, ‘how did she know it was an accident?’ hahaha!”

i kind of chuckled politely & said, “oh, if only it were that easy.” you know–hint hint, lady, did you not hear the bit about how i’m TRYING to get pregnant & this is like my seventh blood test in the course of two months? do the math.

she continued to laugh & said, “you know, you get a little fast & free with the wine coolers one night & the next thing you know–whoops! you’re booking some time in the maternity ward!”

i lost my temper & said, “or you’re moving into your fourth cycle of fertility meds & you have to get blood tests every two weeks in order to assess your hormone levels because it’s been almost a year & you’re still not pregnant.” that shut her up. seriously though! how the fuck do you get a job at the hospital when you’re that fucking clueless?

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

One thought on “no children

  1. For what it’s worth, I actually had an HSG this morning (also fertility-related). I was freaked out about it for similar reasons. They used a very narrow catheter, which was smaller than any cannula I’ve ever seen. I had cramping when they inserted it, again when they pushed in the dye, and then afterwards for about 30-45 minutes, but it was never unmanageable pain and most of the time it felt like nothing. I took 1000 mg of tylenol before the procedure, as instructed by my doc. I’m not sure how much it helped, but maybe it did. The anxiety and stress of preparing for the procedure was probably worse than the actual experience for me. I would recommend shopping around if you’re pay for it out-of-pocket (I did). There was a $550 difference in price between the most and least expensive places I called, which is pretty substantial. Good luck with yours.

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