I simultaneously feel like I’ve completely given up hope, but also that I’ll be absolutely devastated when this cycle is a confirmed failure. Everything I’ve read says we should have frozen our embryos, though our doctor seemed to think that wouldn’t change our chances in any notable way. He is a professor at a competitive medical school, so maybe there’s some merit? Regardless, everything online says it never happens the first time. I assumed we’d have a few frozen trials at least, but if we are indeed not pregnant, our only option is to start over in a couple of months.

This has been so much harder on me than I thought it would be… and as you can see, from my other posts, I never thought it would be easy. I used to watch A Baby Story on TLC, as a television addicted teenager. Then I’d watch John and Kate Plus Eight. The stars of these shows would occasionally give an overview of their fertility issues and ever since, it has literally been one of my worst nightmares to go through this. I did not have high hopes. Still, I’ve been in some level of pain and discomfort since the egg retrieval over a week ago. My ovaries are swollen and the progesterone shots leave my lower back perpetually sore. I’ve been nauseous and dizzy and I think I might have a very mild case of OHSS… or it’s just the side effects from all the drugs. It’s a delightful mystery.

All of this is to say nothing of the emotional trauma of feeling like my body is killing my only surviving embryos, like I’m going to let everyone down, like it’s never going to happen. It’s also to say nothing of the cost. Jake is determined to try again, but I’m not entirely sure where he’s going to get those funds. The plan is to put down another thousand dollars on a new date, after we get an official negative, and then… figure it out. We’ll likely be starting a new cycle around the holidays. Zetus lapetus, 2020 is the worst year.

I’ve tried to stay out of the online infertility community. It’s bleak, at best. But I do know that there are many women who spend their two week wait pretending that they’re pregnant and refer to it as “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.” I don’t know why anyone would get their hopes up like that. I’m already planning next steps and I’m a week away from my pregnancy test. I’m dreading the news, so much. Jake will have to tell his parents that the $8,000 they gave us was completely wasted. I’ll have to tell my Gramma that there won’t be any babies any time soon. I won’t be able to get out of bed for several days. The depression is the worst. It wastes so much time. At least, once it’s a confirmed failure, I can take as much medical marijuana as I like, to dull the pain. All my life, I’ve yearned for parents, like everyone else has, and never gotten them. Now, I get to yearn for children, like everyone else has, and never get them.

I’ve looked into other options, like sperm donors and private adoption. Jake’s not ready for donor sperm, though, and private adoption costs more than trying this two more times… so I guess that’s what we’ll do. I’ll continue to drag my feet through this process, entirely expecting heartbreak, only to be knocked off those feet anyway, when it happens. Next time, we’ll freeze all.


I’m supposed to chronicle this “adventure.” That’s the point of this blog: to process my feelings and emotions, to eventually share it with others who are going through the same trials and can only find horror stories online, to show it to the children who might never exist. Yet, I feel like any reports I give could potentially jinx everything, when there are enough wrenches that could be thrown into this complex process. IVF has literally been one of my worst nightmares, since I obsessively watched A Baby Story on TLC in high school. IVF during a global pandemic… it’s like a Family Guy cutaway, at my expense.

I started my shots last Saturday, with 150 daily millilitres of Follistim and 1 unit of Menopur for the low, low price of approximately $4,000. Having grown up giving shots to livestock, Jake does the injections for me. I haven’t had a real aversion to needles since I was six years old, which is handy, since I also have to have blood work done every three days. I suppose the medication itself isn’t so bad. I find it nearly impossible to sleep, feeling like I’ve had a caffeine injection, despite only getting a few hours in each night. I feel like I did in grad school, when I’d go for three days straight and down enough Five Hour Energy to stop my heart. The doctor told me I can take Benadryl, though, and that’s helped… a little. I’ve had a couple of epic headaches and mood swings that could just as easily be attributed to the stress and fatigue. All in all, I expected much worse.

The doctor seems pleased with my reaction to the medication, based on his response to the blood work and the ultrasounds. I’ve lost all modesty in this process, no longer embarrassed that my doctor is a dude. I’d show my vagina to a packed stadium if it would guarantee success. Regardless, he hasn’t had to change any of the dosages unexpectedly. He seems positive. I wish I felt the same way… maybe… I don’t know. Perhaps it’s best to be mostly pessimistic. I can always work backward from there.

I haven’t been going into work, expect for on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings. I could probably work through all of this, were it not for Covid-19, the biggest wrench of them all; because although they’ve resumed treatment, any signs of infection mean a canceled cycle with no refunds for services rendered. We could literally lose everything. I’d rather take the leave, even if I miss the distraction of my coworkers. I’ve finished rereading most of The Sorcerer’s Stone and made some great progress watching The Witches of East End. I’ve walked a lot. The cat and dog are thrilled to have me home. I’ve been able to continue my programming from home, so I don’t have to completely drain the hours I’ve built up, in my nine years with the system. I still get to see my teens… through Zoom.

These are truly terrible silver linings.


Jake and I finally got the results of his urinalysis back. As a standard procedure, the clinic requires blood work and urine samples from both of us, to make sure we have no infectious diseases. I haven’t done anything to catch any, aside from have sex with my husband who once started drunkenly naming rodeos when I asked if he could name the women he’d been with… that is, unless someone actually named their daughter Pretty Prairie. The odds of Jake or I having had undiagnosed chlamydia or gonorrhea were mighty slim, but then again, so were the odds of his sperm count being in the hundreds of thousands. I’ve been sick all week at the thought that we might have to postpone, while he takes antibiotics to rid himself of his whorin’ days. I’ve been angry and hurt that I could go through IVF, my literal worst nightmare, which I fear is going to break me, but Jake couldn’t pee in a cup four years ago. Logically, I knew the chances of this being an issue were low… but it was a rough week and I don’t fully understand why they wouldn’t have done these tests weeks ago, when they put me on birth control.

I have blood work and an ultrasound in the morning, at 8:00 on a Saturday. They’ll tell me how much more medicine to order, if needed. They’ll schedule more appointments and possibly my retrieval. So… that’s where I am: in the middle of an IVF cycle in the middle of a global pandemic, hoping and praying I don’t get Covid-19 or a fever in the next week.


All By Myself

Our IVF start date is approaching… assuming this pandemic doesn’t shut everything down again. I see the doctor for blood work and an ultrasound on Wednesday, to verify the birth control I’ve been on for three weeks is working. Assuming my estrogen levels are where they should be, I’ll be starting my injections on Saturday. We’ve had nothing but good news, since the original devastation that we’d have to do IVF at all… and still, I can’t bring myself to feel any level of excitement.


I feel so ungrateful, knowing that many couples can’t afford to even try IVF, when we can afford at least two cycles, but I simultaneously feel utter defeat. My entire life, I’ve never felt… worthy or included, at least until things finally began to fall together in my late twenties. I met Jake, got a full time librarian position, bought a home. I felt normal and now I feel like I’ve been pretending this whole time. My comfort, contentment, and inclusion were all a lie, as more tragedy waited in the wings and I can’t bring myself to feel that this will end any other way. As the procedure nears, I’m not even optimistic, just… begrudgingly willing, for Jake’s sake.

Jake… I am petrified of disappointing him. He’s such a good man, a hard worker, emotionally stable. He’s supported me all throughout this wretched year and never once leaned on me, knowing that I’m just not capable of returning the favor right now… because I’m an utter mess. I don’t even know what he sees in me and the idea that he’d spend all this money, that he had in savings and investments before he even met me, and I won’t even be able to give him a baby in return… is absolutely crushing. I know he feels responsible, since we’re looking at male factor infertility, but it’s my life that’s never gone right. Things have never panned out for me, no matter how hard I’ve tried… and now they won’t for him. I’m Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic, watching her own curse destroy the man she loves and I am so sorry. I suppose the least I can do is take some hormones and see what happens, but… I just wish it were over. I’m terrified that everything will fall through, because Jake or I get Covid-19 or the CDC decides it’s not safe to get pregnant or my body isn’t responding properly to the medication. There are so many things that can go wrong in an IVF cycle and I’m going through mine in a global pandemic. 

Speaking of which, said pandemic calls for new rules, namely that I can’t bring anyone to appointments… any appointments. Not only do I have to weather this storm, I have to do it all by myself. I have to go in for my ultrasounds and blood work alone, but I also have to go through the egg retrieval, a procedure requiring anesthesia, the transfer, and even the final pregnancy test alone. My husband has to wait in the car for me to bring joy or devastation and I hate this. I can’t imagine life without children, but I’m not sure if I can do this. I’ve already miscarried alone once and I just… I don’t know if I have it in me to do so again or to find out that we wasted all this time and money and didn’t even get pregnant in the first place.

I feel so trapped… and forcefully abandoned.

I Will Survive

They say that God never gives us more than we can handle… and without fail, I want to punch them in the face for their ill-timed platitudes amidst tragedy.


As sure as I am that I’ve literally never found these words comforting at their time of utterance, I (begrudgingly) find the sentiment to be objectively true. It was true when I was 8 and my parents didn’t realize I’d become the smelly kid and had few friends. It was true when I was 12 and my mother’s rages became increasingly frequent. It was true when she left my senior year. It was true when I married and divorced a sociopath, which means that, by extension, it was true when he burned down our house and killed all of our pets, when we were repeatedly evicted/asked to move, and when I lost a baby. All of that made working two jobs and attending grad school a breeze and I suppose it must be true now. I have always survived and will continue to do so.

Surviving, however, doesn’t necessarily mean thriving. IVF is a harrowing and potentially heartbreaking process. Sure, we could be blessed with a plentiful retrieval and many healthy embryos, achieving pregnancy on the first try… or we could spend tens of thousands of dollars, suffer a half dozen miscarriages, and never actually have a baby. The former sounds wonderful, but while I’m sure the latter won’t kill me, I’m also certain it won’t make me stronger. It’s been almost ten years since the most traumatic time in my life and in many ways, I feel like I’ve just begun to recover. So, naturally, I’m worried about how the worst case scenario with infertility treatments will impact me long term. What kind of person will I be? What kind of wife? Will I even be able to weather the unique stressors of adoption from the state, with what’s left? Will I be irrevocably fragile and broken? Will I spend half my years trying to recover from the next one?

I’ve spent the better part of my life wondering exactly what broke my mother. Was it being adopted… the death of her father… marriage to my father… her brain tumor… divorce? Was there one pivotal moment or did a small fracture spread? Will my own fractures from my early twenties, which have finally begun to heal over, crack? Sure, I can survive IVF, but what does the quality of life look like on the other side? Am I a mom, grateful every day for the diapers and tantrums I once feared I’d never have… or am I shell of my former self, too shattered to consider other avenues?

We have a start date, July 18th and I’m supposed to be excited… but how can I be enthusiastic, when I don’t know what we’re starting? A family? My downward mental spiral? The beginning of everyone’s disappointment in me when my body inevitably doesn’t come through for them? A series of miscarriages and lifelong debt?


I’ve gone back and forth over the last month, from hopeful and optimistic to insistence on canceling the whole thing. Ultimately, however, I know that if I don’t, I’ll always regret it. If my aunt and uncle, who had triplets via IVF, hadn’t been brave enough to attempt the procedure in the first place, those three humans wouldn’t exist and all the impact on the world they’ll have would never occur. If I can’t do this, out of fear of my own fragility, I might never meet destined children. I’ll just have to risk the possibility that I might be destined none and this is how I discover that fact.

I promised Jake that if he could secure the funding, I’d find a way to go through with this… and so I must. There are undoubtedly countless couples who would be happy to attempt IVF themselves, but don’t have the option. I should be grateful… but I’m mostly terrified that it’s all for nothing and I won’t be the same woman on the other side, even if I do technically survive.

How are they all making this worse?

We got our start date for IVF this month… on our three year wedding anniversary. I guess it’s good news. I was excited when the call came in, what with Covid-19 potentially delaying the whole thing indefinitely. If all goes as planned, I’ll undergo the final testing at the end of June and start my shots on July 18th. “If all goes as planned,” is a substantial caveat, however, when discussing a $30,000 procedure during a global pandemic.


Fortunately, Jake and I have been working, being paid in full, and still earning leave and benefits through lockdown. Unfortunately, that work adds up to about $80k pre-tax, so our IVF financing plans were contingent on accepting help from family. I asked my dad for money, and although he most definitely has a couple of thousand to spare, I’ve yet to hear back and no longer expect a response. Jake asked his parents for money, as well, but there seems to have been some kind of communication breakdown… unsurprisingly, since the Grangers are terrible communicators and my husband is by no means exempt from that generalization. While we’d like to be able to plan on financing through a private company that works with our clinic, word will remain out on that until the last moment. So, here we float in infertility limbo, good candidates for IVF, but not entirely sure if we can make it happen, while the people who are supposed to be providing love and support are somehow managing to make a wretched situation so much worse. 


I’m too exhausted to even try to unravel the Granger family social dynamics, but the short version is that, although Jake has shared every detail as we’ve received it, his parents feel “out of the loop,” now that we have a start date. There were supposed to be more tests or options, I suppose, even though the original semenalisis made it clear that there would be no more tests, because there were no more options. We were supposed to check out more funding sources, I guess, even though it’s clear my family won’t even offer emotional support, let alone financial support, and we’ve shared as much. Finally, Covid-19, fate’s ultimate fuck you, has devastated the country, with no exemption for the cattle market, so I’m not sure if Jake’s parents even have the money, at this point, regardless of whether or not they’re interested in giving it.

Memorial Day weekend was one for the books. We traveled to Jake’s sister’s house for lunch and to give our nieces the birthday gifts we’ve had sitting on a table since the start of lockdown. A decent day with family, however, spiraled into a heated conversation with Jake’s sister, about the lack of communication with his parents. “As a mother” she understands what my mother-in-law is going through. “As a mother” she can’t imagine watching her son struggle with infertility. “As a mother” she can’t imagine not having kids. Well, I must say that “as a mother,” she also doesn’t realize how it feels to hear people make our infertility about their feelings. I like Jake’s sister. She’s a hard worker and a devoted wife and mother. She’s a good, if sometimes preachy, big sister, which I understand comes with the territory. Neither she, nor my mother-in-law, are trying to be cruel, but exactly one person seems to understand that this is something happening to Jake and me, and that’s my grandmother.

I understand that my in-laws feel they have a stake in our future family, but we are the ones facing potential financial ruin to have something that comes free to most people. am the one with a best case scenario future of daily injections and a worst case scenario future of no babies. We are the ones potentially facing multiple disappointments and miscarriages, for the chance of having a healthy child. am the one who may have to weather the horrible experience of my body tearing apart my child, again. Ten years ago, I bled my unwanted baby out onto a Spiderman beach towel, all alone, and I’m petrified of reliving that experience with the raised financial and emotional stakes of having prayed for said child. So, while I get that other people are entitled to their own feelings, I simply cannot bring myself to care.


I have to concede that Jake’s family deserves some credit, however, for having any feelings on the matter. No one in my family even calls to check on my well-being, aside from my grandmother. Oh, they all know about our circumstances and plans. I’m sure they’ll want to partake in baby showers and newborn snuggles, too… you know, the fun stuff that’s not listening to me cry my eyes out during the entirety of an hour and half car ride home from a holiday weekend, because I don’t think I have the emotional fortitude to do this, whether or not the finances come through.

It’s not enough that I have to lick my new wounds, y’all. I also have to tend to the old ones, the ones left over from having never been anyone’s priority in my entire life. My phone sits silent without even a text of concern from my own family, regarding a situation that’s legitimately the worst thing to ever happen to some people. That’s not even true for me, though. Infertility is unquestionably not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, but I guess none of my family were there for those things, either… except for my Gramma. She was my literal shelter from my abusive mother growing up, taking me to spend the night with her more than once during her daughter’s rages. She comforted me through the miscarriage, the dead baby, and the divorce. She cosigned on tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, floated me to payday as needed, walked my dog when I couldn’t get home between jobs, and brought medicine to my apartment when I was sick. Now, here she is, talking about taking out a loan to help Jake and I financially, reassuring me that God is not trying to intervene in my becoming a mother like my own. I feel like she and Jake are all I have… and that’s more than I’ve had in the past, because Jake.

Despite the poor communication skills, Jake has been wonderful, as he’s let me sit on his lap and cry, because I really thought my father would come through with some financial help. He’s held me as I’ve insisted I’m not going through with IVF at all, that we should cancel everything. He’s shared in my excitement on my good days and brought me coffee, when I’ve refused to get out of bed on my worst ones. He takes my moods as they come and he never makes me feel bad for them. He doesn’t need me to be strong, nor does he need me to make him feel like the hero by being weak. I’m so lucky to have him and I worry that this process, if it doesn’t end in healthy children, will make me resent him, take him for granted. Still, I’d rather go through this with him than skip it without him. He’s my best friend and I wish I were better at handling this, that he didn’t have to always be the one with his shit together… but I’m not. I can barely go to work some days, because I can’t imagine a life where I don’t get to give Jake children… where I don’t get to fix what my parents broke for the next generation. Everyone but my Gramma and Jake sucks, but I still don’t feel worthy of the blessings I have in them. This is awful and confusing and I wish I could fast forward time by two years, because somehow, everyone else in my life has managed to make this miserable experience even worse.


I’ve noticed, recently, that blogs seem to have lost some ground to podcasts. Perhaps it speaks to the wider issue of our over scheduled lives. It’s easier to listen to something, while doing the laundry, than it is to sit down and read. Perhaps it’s just trendy, TikTok versus Vine, Snapchat versus Instagram. I’ve never been into trendy, and just Googled how to spell TikTok and Spachat, so I suppose I’ll stick to blogging.

Writing has always been a coping mechanism for me, as evidenced by 12-year-old Belle’s super cringey journals that I keep in my box of sentimental hogwash. So, naturally, when I found out that Jake and I were facing IVF or No Babies, blogging was my default… but I couldn’t decide what to write. I started this post on March 10th, during a high moment, when I was feeling hopeful and positive and actually had the emotional energy to write anything at all. Sharing that, though, seemed disingenuous, considering a few weeks earlier, I was an hour late for work, because I had a complete breakdown… sitting on the bathroom floor, crying and screaming so hard I couldn’t pull myself together to finish getting dressed.


In a Disney movie, woodland creatures comfort you through infertility.

The weeks passed, however. Appointments were scheduled and rescheduled as I changed my mind on doctors and clinics, until finally my research culminated in a decision with which both Jake and I were comfortable. I spoke to the individual financing companies, who provide package deals through the clinics we were considering, and discovered that with male factor as our only known issue, we shouldn’t have trouble getting approved. I called my dad and tearfully asked for a couple thousand dollars… unsurprisingly never receiving an answer, though he definitely has it to spare. Jake traveled to his home state to tell his parents the news, both of us grateful that it would be better received since his biology was the issue. They wrote him a check for the $8,000 dollars his grandmother had left him ten years earlier and promised him $10,000 more when the time came. I set a countdown on my phone for my initial appointment with my fertility doctor. We might be able to do this IVF thing in July. I could be pregnant by the end of the year. I was feeling good.

Then… a global pandemic hit.


I did everything right, y’all. After divorcing my psychopathic high school boyfriend in my early twenties, I vowed to make decisions that were directly aligned with what I wanted out of life. I lost a thousand pounds and taught myself to dress cute and wear makeup. I worked two jobs, while attending grad school online. I was responsible with my money, consolidating my debt and working on my credit score. I dated with a purpose and never even kissed any of those dates until I met my husband, despite the despicable pressure from my despicable friends to have one-night stands, when that wasn’t my thing. I worked my way up in an extremely competitive field, even spending a miserable year as a manager, before moving to a smallish town and rocking my dream job of teen librarianI married a good, hardworking, handsome, charismatic man, who is an excellent husband, and will be an excellent father. I overcame so much and now I have to be Infertility Girl?!?! As if that’s not enough, my options are now postponed indefinitely due to a global pandemic?!?!


Getting pregnant is a plot device in my romance novels and teen shows. My 36-year-old cousin claims she got pregnant by accident, with father number three of child number three, in circumstances no one considered ideal, but I plan my life responsibly and I can’t do it on purpose at 32? I spent my grade school and middle school years listening to my parents fight over who got to take my brother and who had to take me, my high school years being physically abused and neglected by my mother, and now all I want is to be a good mom. Instead of doing it the fun and free way, though, I have to pay more money than we put down on this house and it might not even work! There are no guarantees that we will have a baby.

So, as for coping, I can’t even really say where I stand. My highs are almost as high as my lows are low. I’m excited and hopeful and angry and heartbroken. I’m all of these things a hundred times a day. Fuck coping and fuck infertility.

The Beginning

Everything I’ve read says I’m supposed to chronicle my infertility experience. It’s supposed to be therapeutic and provide a beautiful, heartfelt struggle to share with the children that may or may not exist one day. Blogging seemed like the obvious choice, considering I have an established presence in the blogsphere, as The Belle of the Library, where I’ve been sharing my misadventures since my 25th birthday. Belleofthelibrary.com has been a chronicle of a divorcee, a graduate student, an inexperienced dater, a reluctant wedding planner, a newlywed, a librarian… but I just couldn’t do it y’all. I couldn’t turn my pride and joy, my seven years old blog with nearly 2,000 followers, into an infertility blog.

Infertility is big, folks. I haven’t had a social networking presence since 2017 and I still remember the PSA’s dedicated to crushing the stigma, the photos of women crying as they gave themselves shots, the artsy portrait of the pristine bathroom floor taken by a would-be-mom after being sick from her medication. I could get so many followers on my home blog, were I willing to become another spokesperson for the cause, the cheerleader for other unwillingly childless women… but I prefer to keep my pain private, even from my mostly anonymous blog full of pseudonyms. Perhaps I’ll connect my stories in time, maybe when I can guarantee an HEA. In the meantime, I start fresh… as the Belle of Infertility. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.