Thursday, March 25, 2010

What, exactly, are we trying to prevent?

So, the other thing I have had on my plate the last few months is our decision to use more...long-term (I don't like the term "permanent") birth control.

Yes, that seems completely counterintuitive. We can't get pregnant (despite multiple attempts), so we probably don't *need* to use something. And why on earth wouldn't we welcome a child who results from an unplanned pregnancy?

Except that is one of my biggest fears right now - the unplanned pregnancy.

To be honest, about 50% of this is fear regarding my professional life. I am starting a new - and potentially very stressful - phase in my career. I will be getting on the tenure track. And, depending on where I choose to start my career, I will be going up for tenure in 6 short years. Six. Years.

Granted, most places are quite equitable now, in terms of granting time off the tenure clock, reducing teaching expectations for new parents, and that sort of thing. But. But. But. Given my personality - my perfectionist tendencies - and the possibility that we may be moving back to A Big City (depending on which jobs I am offered, and which one I choose)...well, it's just not the best time for us to have an unplanned pregnancy.

The other 50% of the fear is due to the fact that I am not exactly following recommendations for women who are trying to get pregnant. I like a glass of wine with dinner - or a beer with lunch on Saturdays. I am careful but not overly so about what products I use. I am not in the careful mindset of someone who is thinking about gestating a growing embryo/fetus/child. And I have seen too many things go wrong to risk an unplanned pregnancy *when I am making potentially unhealthful choices for a growing embryo*. Note that I didn't say they're not unhealthful choices for ME - there is always room in my life for a glass of wine. But I do not want to...what's the word...stick a kid with these choices. It's not fair. I'm more careful than that.

And, a teeny tiny part of me - maybe bigger than I'm giving it credit for - is due to the emotional impact of being infertile-yet-not-giving-up-hope. It's the part of me that thinks, yes! I *could* be one of the lucky ones! And to be honest? Having that hope every.single.month, and then losing that hope every.single.month (or, to be honest, again - every 21-25 days) was wearing on me. I know people deal with that for longer than I did. But to have my hopes dashed every think that THIS TIME, it might have worked? I couldn't deal with that any more. Particularly given the potential for the time on the tenure track (wow, that was alliterative) to be emotionally difficult in other ways. It's not fair to me - or to my husband - to add hope (and despair) over failed conception to the mix.

We decided that an IUD would be the best move. I'm not yet ready to jump into something permanent - who knows what could change in a few years??? But this is the next best thing. It's relatively mindless. I don't have to take something every day. The hormonal effects are local, not systemic. So, good choice all around.

I spent the insertion talking about our infertility and the choices we had made with the attending and the nurse, while the resident placed the IUD. That was interesting...I've become much more adept at talking about it, even when I don't want to.

But the aftermath...good grief. The same part of me that thought "maybe we'll be one of the lucky ones!" also thought "maybe I'll be one of the people who has no bleeding, no cramping, and no periods!" Um, yeah. No. Cramping for a week+. Bleeding now for a week+. Feeling like my insides were being twisted like a towel is wrung. Laughing at their suggestion of back up contraception for two weeks because, a) remember, I can't get pregnant? and b) why on earth would I want to have sex feeling like THIS????

My husband is overseas for a week or so, then working (as per usual) in the Big City until coming home for Easter weekend. We'll go to my in-laws' (sigh). So we'll probably be abstinent for most of a month after the insertion. Which is good. It''s a little icky right now. Here's hoping it gets better. The cramping has improved remarkably...I am hopeful that the bleeding is next.


  1. It does sound weird to go on birth control when you've been trying to have a baby, but there really are good reasons why you might want to do so. I hope you're getting over the adjustment period with the IUD!

    I wrote about how my dh & I handled (or didn't) the whole question of birth control & childless living after infertility awhile ago on my blog.

  2. I hope you're adjusting to the IUD. Birth control when you've been trying to have a baby does seem weird, but there are good reasons why it's a good idea! My dh & I wrestled with this subject & I wrote about it in my blog: