Maybe this is ok for some people, but Mr. T and I have always had an active sex life. Even infertility didn’t put too much of a damper on it- we went from happily “trying” to have a baby, to finding out that the only way we were going to have a baby would be to mix our eggs and sperm in a dish. Sex would forever be purely recreational for us. No more pressure of doing it “at just the right time” (there’s a plus to IVF.)
The downside is that the immaculate conception process of IVF doesn’t leave much room for old-fashioned sex. Mid-way through growing a follicle farm, sex no longer seems like a fun idea. After the retrieval surgery, it’s banned for two weeks because of risk of infection- not that it matters, since I doubt even the most active libidos would want to have sex after recovering from having their ovaries harvested. Anyway, three to five days later those hard-won embryos are transfered back to the uterus, and most doctors suggest abstinence for at least two weeks after that- sometimes even longer.
If you’ve had three rounds of IVF, the first two which ended in early miscarriages, you don’t want to take any risks. Or at least that’s how I feel. I know that sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe, but since riding my bike across the bumpy path a few weeks ago freaked me out- this seems even more dangerous to our tiny fragile baby.
Mr. T felt the same way. So we’ve been suffering a long unfulfilled dry spell- particularly hard since sex is such a stress relief and God knows this has been stressful.
Anyway, on June 9th, the 11th anniversary of the day Mr. T and I met, we went to meet our midwife for the first time. I sat in the waiting room, worry twisting me up, trying hard not to be jealous of the huge pregnant bellies that filled the room. They looked so relaxed, so confident. One roundly-pregnant woman put in an order at Subway for her five kids at home. I felt entirely out of place. I gripped my phone and tweeted away to my Twitter friends to remind myself I wasn’t alone here.
Finally we were called in for our ultrasound.
“So you are pregnant?” the technician asked.
“I hope so,” said without much confidence. “We’ve been through a lot.”
I summarized our story so far.
She was sufficiently impressed, and I sensed, a bit nervous about her staring role in our day now. Would she be delivering good or bad news to this nice, sad, long-suffering couple?
After a moment of confusion about why I wasn’t getting undressed (So accustomed to my internal ultrasound dates with Mr. Wandy) I realized that I finally would get to have the kind of ultrasound that just involved some jelly on my belly.
I closed my eyes, so afraid to see bad news, and a moment later, heard her tell us with evident relief, “Great news! There’s your baby!”
“And a heartbeat too? Do you see a heartbeat?” I asked anxiously, still not daring to open my eyes.
“Oh yes- look!” Mr. T was already staring in amazement at our baby bouncing around on the screen, waving tiny arms and feet.
Tears of gratitude and wonder blurred my view. Despite my limited symptoms and my dangerously low optimism, this little person was growing strong inside me.
She counted arms and legs- two arms, two legs. Baby measured 11 weeks, a day ahead of its gestational age (thanks to IVF of course we know the exact conception date) and the heartbeat was at a strong 169, though the technician said it would start to slow down.
We watched in amazement as our baby bounced on the screen, the kind technician printing out lots of pictures for us of the little hands and feet, of the profile that already seemed to have a strong Italian nose. At one point baby did a little somersault, as if to show off to mama and tell me not to worry.
I laughed with joy and relief.
Today, I woke up in Mr. T’s arms and decided it was time to trust that baby wouldn’t mind if mama and dad had a little fun.
I have to admit it wasn’t our best sex ever, but just being so close to my husband again felt good. Mr. T made breakfast and noted approvingly that I looked happier than he’s seen me in a long time.
It’s been 11 weeks and 2 days since our immaculate conception. I’ve finally had sex with my husband. I’ve survived my first midwife appointment. I’m still taking it one day at a time, but I’m determined not to let my fear rob me any longer.
Though we’ll see how I feel about sex in the second trimester.