Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Long and Winding Road

As anyone who has even whispered the word Clo.mid knows, infertility can wreck havoc on even the most solid of relationships. In most areas, I feel as my marriage was strengthened by our Battle For Baby. However, one facet of our lives was definitely hit hard and, surprise, surprise, we are still feeling the ramifications of it.

For three years, our sex life was about one thing and one thing only: procreation. While any biology book can tell you that sperm + egg = baby, it doesn't tell you what happens when the equation doesn't balance out, when a baby isn't the result of sperm + egg. There is frustration, silent (and not so silent) blame, anger, sadness, and probably most of all, fear. This does not make a good recipe for success in the bedroom.

Early on, right after our first miscarriage, M found one of the calendars that I had started, tracking my ovulation, and warned me not to get "too crazy" about the whole baby making business. Yeah. Right. Anyone who read my blog during the TTC days knows that I passed Crazy Town after about the third miscarriage. Crazy was my middle name.

Fast forward to the days of swollen ovaries, on-demand sex, ultrasounds, shots in the arse, IUIs, blah-blah-blah, and of course all of the emotions that accompany those things, and crazy doesn't even begin to describe the person that I became. There were nights when my ovaries were so swollen and sore that the very last thing I wanted to do was slip on something more comfortable and entice M into the bedroom. So I didn't. I would just remind him that it was a "critical day," and my poor, exhausted husband would follow me upstairs where we would proceed to do the "deed" as quickly as possible. Ah, the romance. What made it even better is that I would invariably cry after we were done, fearful that we actually had been successful in conception and that I would miscarry. I remember wailing, "What have we done?" one time. Yikes.

Then of course, during my pregnancy with Will, sex was definitely on the list of "Are You Freakin' Kidding Me" during the first trimester and, to be honest, well beyond. I don't think either of us were prepared to deal with the aftermath if we dared to have sex and then, God forbid, something happened to the baby. And although I definitely had an increased drive during the first and early second trimesters, but the time we could do something about it, that was a thing of the past. And then I got pretty large and in charge and, though M would have rather cut his tongue from his mouth than to admit it, I think he found my pregnant form far more intimidating than sexy.

Add to all of this a heavy does of post-partum recovery and what do you get? A sex life that is still limping along to the infertility beat. We seem to be on different pages when it comes to frequency, desire, and just about everything else related to the bedroom. A night that might work for me is when M is tired from twelve hour days at the office and stressed about upcoming cuts in his department. A night when M is in the mood has followed a night when Will was up more times than can be counted and I am so exhausted that I can't see straight. There have been times when we both think, "Yeah, okay," and as we get started, the monitor lights start revving up, indicating that our son is the one not in the mood!

We've talked about this issue, but I have found that sex is one of those things that you kind of just have to DO. Too much talking about it (like most everything, really) just takes the fun right out of it. And there has been too much of that in the past three years.

I know this is not only an issue for post-infertiles. Many of my friends say that their sex life takes a hit after Baby Makes Three (or more), but I feel as if we have been taking the hit for a long time on this one. Our six year wedding anniversary is coming up soon and we will leaving Will with his Grandma for the first time overnight. Hopefully, we can use that time to getting things back on track.


Tracy said...

Right there with you, sister. I could count on one hand the number of times we've both felt like it at the same time and the babies actually cooperated. We've got an overnight coming up in May, and we hope to get back on track, at least temporarily, too. :)

Fertilized said...

Oh YEs - we are doing that same song/dance.

I have found that the more i just do IT. I actually will think about doing it again a few days later ... WEIRD. I guess it's an itch that needs scratching - the more you scratch the more you itch ;)

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

I swear I could have written this post (up until the successful pregnancy part).

I'm so glad I'm not alone!

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

I swear I could have written this post (up until the successful pregnancy part).

I'm so glad I'm not alone!

Joy said...

Oh yeah, you're definitely right! Sex after baby affects everyone, infertile or not.

Have FUN on your anniversary! You guys will get back on track soon!!!

Elle Charlie said...

It's hard to keep things hot in the bedroom when TTC (for more than the first fun bit of it). And as for afterward - I can't speak to that (yet). I'm glad you wrote this - I think it rings true in some way or other for so many people out there.

I hope you have a great overnight!

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

This has been one of the most difficult hurdles for G and I to get over. But like you said, talking about it doesn't make it any better--doing it (surprisingly) does. I've found that if I just suck it up even when I'm not really in that place I still can enjoy it and when its over I never regret it. I think we are finally starting to get back into the swing of things, but its still hard. You are definitely not alone in this! :)

I hope you trip brings you both MUCH closer together! ((HUGS))

Maria said...

Oh man, can I relate to this. Infertility has completely ruined my sex life. Even when I took time off, it was really hard to find that balance that had so quickly disappeared when we started ttc.

Jen said...

Exactly. We've got to get the baby her own bedroom too.

Yoka said...

I can so relate to your post. Either I am to tired or he is not in the mood. I used to love it in the mornings, but now our daughter prevents that. Children are the best birth control...

Mel said...

Sigh. This is my life right now. Seriously, we haven't touched each other since one brave attempt in my second trimester and that was it. Sad much? Infertility just changed everything so much.... sigh again.
Hope your much needed night away provides the romance and room for some fun.

Polka Dot said...

This is going to sound so very strange ... but knowing we would never get pg by clomid and sex alone actually took a lot of pressure to perform away from us. I experienced it with my first husband it was awful. But Patrick & I headed straight to inj w/iui - the only time we had to abstain was 2 days before the trigger and then we were instructed to have sex the night after our iui (which, with swollen ovaries, wasn't exactly fun for me).

Otherwise we were free to romp at will.

Which, amazingly enough, let us separate the hardship of treatments away from the sex.

& I do second Farah's comment - just do it. The more you do, the more you'll think about it and not only be willing to, but actually want it.

Amanda said...

AMEN SISTER! Also add in low self esteem and poor body image. Ro-man-tic!

I agree with Farah, though. When I've just jumped in and gone for it, it seems I've wanted it more a few days later.

Good luck and happy anniversary!

Sophie said...

Thank you once again for speaking the unspeakable. It's been WAY too long for my hubby and me, I'm starting to feel like we're room-mate parents. The longer we wait the weirder it gets, *sigh*. I guess we don't have to worry about that ironic "oopsie" pregnancy at age 42 after years of infertility...

Adriane said...

Late to the game on this one....but it is SUCH an issue in our house.

We're just now (8.5 mos post partum) getting back into a groove. I reminded my hubby that it has been years since we've had normal, not TTC sex. I really think years of having TTC sex has had a significant impact on how we view sex in general.

I agree with Farah - scratch the itch and you'll keep scratching and itching. So easy to say, hard to do.

Hope you have a great anniversary!!!