Tuesday, June 29, 2004

quitters never win

About a month before I went off of the pill to start trying to conceive, I started preparing for pregnancy. I quit smoking, weaned myself off of caffeine, drank less alcohol. I went to the gym everyday, ate more vegetables, started taking a pre-natal vitamin. I was certain that all of these things would help me conceive faster, would make for a healthier baby.

For six full cycles, I took care of myself, watched what I put into my body (for the most part), but the day that we found out about the azoospermia, I bought a pack of cigarettes and drank myself silly at a party that night. As I write, I'm sucking on a cancer stick and sipping a grande latte.

I know I have to get back on the TTC regime- start those pre-natals again, stop the cigarettes and the coffee. And I will. We meet with Dr. Hope in 4 weeks or so and I want to be clean, full of folic acid and calcium, non-addicted to my substances of choice.

I don't want to end up blaming myself for every failed IVF cycle. Worry that the glass of wine I had, or the double espresso, or god forbid, the cigarette, was the reason it didn't take. And I certainly don't want the lectures from the medical staff on how my bad habits not only affect me, not only affect my baby, but also affect my chances of getting pregnant in the first place.

And still, something tells me that its going to be a harder row to hoe this time around. This time around being trying to conceive with the help of Dr. Hope in an office as opposed to doing it the other way- in bed alone with my husband. If I thought trying to get pregnant the "natural" way was stressful, I know now that I was sorely mistaken. Now, we're adding the expense of time and travel and medical procedures to the mix. We're adding injectable hormones and mood swings and hot flashes. The two week window between ovulation and the inevitable arrival of my period used to be hell, but now? Every time my period shows up means one more trip back to the States, one more cycle of shots, one more extraction of sperm, one more egg retrieval, one more embryo transfer, one more two week wait.

Just thinking about it all makes me want a drink.

And I guess that's my point. My vices are just that, my vices, my way (albeit an unhealthy way) of dealing with stress. And when I gave them all up last November, it was easy because I really believed that in a month or two I would be with child. I believed that giving them up was a small sacrifice for a greater good. And that's still the case, I know. But I don't have the same naive faith that I will soon be pregnant. I know it could take months or even longer. I know that there is a chance that I won't get pregnant at all, that we'll have to look at other channels for having a baby: donor sperm, adoption.

So, while I know that I have to quit again, I'm not looking forward to it. Not in the same way that I was looking forward to it before- as a means to an end. I worry that at the end of it all, I'll have nothing to show for it- except maybe slightly healthlier lungs.


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