Trying For A Baby While Self-Isolating Is More Complicated Than We Expected

Of all the hurdles along our fertility journey, we didn’t expect a viral epidemic to be one of them, writes Lorna.
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My husband and I have been trying for a baby for over two years now. I have endometriosis, and after an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage, opted to have the diseased tissue surgically removed in October, hoping to improve our chances. While everything healed, we were given a six-month wait before we could start trying again.

After six long months of trying to think of anything but babies (and rediscovering how annoying condoms can be), our wait was over. Our moment to start making love morning, noon and night was here.

Then came covid-19.

If I was religious, or superstitious, I might think this latest hurdle was a sign. When this all first happened and the world started shutting down, I briefly thought: Is there some higher being/force somewhere that doesn’t want us to conceive so much that they created a global emergency to stop us? But I’m not religious, superstitious or a complete narcissist, so I put that thought in the bin where it belongs.

“The trouble is, I don’t have time to wait.”

However, the situation has complicated the issue just a tad. For starters, we’ve had to have a hard think about the wisdom of even trying to get pregnant when we might not be able to get early pregnancy scans (especially important with my history), could potentially end up in an overcrowded hospital if things go wrong, and don’t really know where we’ll all be in nine months time. My scan, due this week, to check whether I’m ovulating properly, has of course been cancelled.

The trouble is, I don’t have time to wait. Endometriosis, while treatable, is incurable, and I’m aware that mine may start to grow back. After a call to our fertility clinic – closed for the foreseeable future – we decided to go ahead anyway. Women have babies in much worse situations and with much less available medical care all the time, after all. We don’t want to be irresponsible but, as for many couples with fertility issues, time isn’t on our side.

On the plus side, we now have infinite amounts of time alone. We can lounge about naked, like illicit lovers in a three-day hotel room shag-fest (once the weather warms up – I mean, it’s bloody freezing in our flat right now). We have weeks to make up elaborate role-play scenarios, stay in bed for days (okay, I do have to work a bit I suppose), only getting up to retrieve rationed supplies and check that the world isn’t ending just yet.

“If our fertility journey has done one good thing for our relationship, it’s completely brought down the barriers around sex”

But on the down side… we now have infinite amounts of time alone. Just me, him and the app on my phone that says it’s time to suddenly want to rip each other’s clothes off. I’m not saying we’re going to become one of those quarantine divorce statistics, but I am aware that we might start annoying the hell out of each other after a few weeks. Add to the mix the pressure of having to copulate at a certain time, whether you’re feeling frisky or not, and you don’t exactly have the recipe for romance.

Our plan? We’re just going to have to do our best to laugh at the situation, be completely frank and honest, and not sink into wearing our ugliest loungewear around the flat. If our fertility journey has done one good thing for our relationship, it’s completely brought down the barriers around sex. We’ve had to let go of our egos and insecurities, and if we’re not in the mood but know we should, we treat it as an opportunity to spend time getting there, rather than feel the pressure. And sure, some times are more perfunctory than others, and sometimes the pressure is just a bit much, but that’s okay!

I know that the current situation is, in a lot of ways, going to make all that more difficult. But I know there are many couples out there going through the same thing, and we’re all experiencing these crazy times together. None of this – the scheduled sex, the pandemic-angst timing – is ideal. Absolutely everything, including our own personal quest, is uncertain.

But we’re just going to have to keep going – and keep trying.

Lorna is a freelance journalist, writing under a pseudonym

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