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.