Tuesday, July 15, 2008

miracle on 61st street

There was a time when I was a frisky, frisky girl. My number might be quite low, but my unwillingness to go "all the way" (or even most of the way) didn't hamper my desire for a hot makeout session. My first high school boyfriend and I spent the first 2 weeks of our "relationship" talking about anything and everything, but the next 5 months our tongues were tied, literally, sometimes for hours. I was devastated when he dumped me and got over it by systematically breaking the hearts of all his friends. Anything for a (relatively tame but nonetheless) steamy afternoon.

My second boyfriend and I had a more intellectual connection than the first, but the kissing was even better. We found time for both by spending every waking moment together, smooching for hours wherever we could and then slipping each other long, heartfelt notes before saying goodnight. All the conversation without sacrificing any of the action! Eventually I suffered another broken heart, mending it in the usual manner: lots of flirtations, hours spent liplocked with the boy of the hour.

It turned out that breaking *their* hearts got me in the mood just as easily. I capped a 2+ year relationship (my most serious to date) with a series of makeouts in a hammock (harder than it sounds) with a hot but balding boy, who was anything but my type. Wine and flirtation followed by muscles and groping on a warm summer night. To this day I can't help but grin when I spot a hammock...

So imagine my surprise when approaching my 3 year wedding anniversary I, the Makeout Queen, find myself in passionate embraces...infrequently. Rarely. Almost never.

My husband and I kicked off our courtship with a long conversation in a basement bar. I was enthralled by his British accent - he was enthralled by my weakness for a British accent. Before the night was over we were entertwined in a booth, being overwatched by coworkers and the boy who until that night was the center of my flirtations. Five days later after our first date I sated my need for the makeout (while no doubt inflaming other needs for him) with an overindulgent goodnight kiss on his doorstep. We found ourselves seperated by an ocean for the next 2 months of our relationship, relying on talk to keep us afloat. When he returned we resumed the connection, although admittedly with less urgency than we started.

For the next 6 years our sex life was solid. We weren't exactly swinging from chandeliers, but we certainly had our moments - and had them quite frequently. And then we began Trying To Conceive.

It all starts innocently enough - "we'll only do it when we feel like it; we don't want sex to become a job." But the months pass, worries mount and rules get established. Positions are considered, saliva is out, and the timeline - the dreaded timeline - is adhered to. Before long we're doing it out of obligation, not desire. "Let's get it over with" became a common refrain. All that matters at some point is getting the goods where they need to be, everything else is superfluous.

But at least we were still doing it.

When the MFI diagnoses came in everything changed. Sex had long since become a goal oriented procedure and learning that the goal was virtually unattainable changed everything. After almost 2 years of sex-on-command we needed a break. We were still affectionate, but passion just wasn't in the playbook anymore. Not only were we not doing it, I didn't want to do it. At all.

It's easy to make excuses: we're tired, it's late, what's the point. But eventually I couldn't help but wonder what was really behind my "cold-fishery". Was it that the quality had suffered so drastically when the strict limits had been imposed that I simply wasn't physically getting anything out of it anymore? Was I so emotionally exhausted that the idea of feigning delight (or even experiencing it) was overwhelming? Did I harbor some deep, unknown resentment against his organs that failed us like mine already had and couldn't bear to face them? Any of those might be true (and to some degree I suppose all of them are) but no explanation really touched a nerve.


One day it occurred to me, in the middle of cursing the spotting that was now starting 7 full days before my period, that maybe I didn't even want the hope of pregnancy anymore. The 2+ years of wondering, of hoping, of optimism against all odds was exhausting. The roller coaster of infertility was unavoidable, and yet I was trying my hardest to get off the ride. I want a baby but I don't want to hope for a miracle anymore when no miracle is coming. It couldn't be a coincidence that the few times we did it in a month were nowhere near my (increasingly infrequent) fertile period.

There's no doubt that I want to be pregnant. I'm just tired of wanting to be pregnant.


That was the post I planned to write.

Since before we went out of town those words were swirling in my brain. Makeout sessions of yesteryear would pop into my head; welcome reminiscing leading to wondering about the state of my marital bed. For weeks I considered this topic, and then:

we did it.

we did it again.

Next thing you know a week has gone by and more nights have been spent "on the job" than not. And more surprisingly, I initiated it every.single.time. Not out of obligation or some sense of wifely duties, but because I wanted to. Desire, longing, even a little passion. Where is this coming from, especially when I'm spending so much time mentally writing about my lack of interest? And then it hit me: after spending months with no real plans of how to proceed with IVF #2, suddenly things are moving. Doctor's appointments are being made, funding is coming together. It's clear that we're going to get to try again. (Try in a way that means something, not in the pathetic, desperate hope of a miracle.) Somehow the IVF planning has released sex from the chains of baby-making and returned it to the loving arms of a couple who ISN'T DEAD YET. We might not get our miracle break-cycle baby, but for the moment we've got our sex life. And that is a miracle in itself.

Can I get a HALLELUJAH?!

(by the way: longest post ever.)


RM said...

Sex-on-demand ad infinitum just sucks. I know this first hand. Way to reclaim good sex!! I'm envious!!!

theworms said...

HALLELUJAH! I'm about to go have some sex myself :) Enjoy ;)

SAHW said...

Good for you!! Sex on demand can really take a toll on you over time...and like you said, I think we sometimes don't realize how much it has effected us until much later. I'm glad the promise of IVF is helping your sex life. ;)

seriously? said...

HALLELUJAH!! I agree about sex on a schedule. Yuck.

Thanks for stopping by, that was actually the first announcement on L&F (if that is where you saw it). My other stuff never made it there. BTW, DH won't have sex with me, he's afraid to. Good Lord...

this one said...

I have similar moments when I freak out about my sex life and then I realize that everything is okay at the end. I'm glad you had that nice ending, too.

Also, I can't imagine 2 yrs of sex on command, that's too much.

Just Me. said...

Oh wow me, I love this post! So so well-written cuz it's exactly what we're going through. I first met my DH at a club when I was drunk cuz my then-boyfriend had broken up with me. Horny and what's-not, I took to my DH and we had such great sex!! And 6 years later, we got married. Then, fast forward 3 years after our marriage, infertility came into the picture and then came the bitch of a Clomid and timed intercourse and that just pretty much slayed our sex life!!!!

Oh, my, I'm rambling!!! But yeah, I just wanna say, WOO-HOO! and HALLELUJAH! I might just go grope my DH tonight before AF appears.

ps i'm tagging you cuz i love this post! :)

Amber said...

WOw, I ma in the EXACT same place. Now that I haev given up on sex-babies I can enjoy sex again and actually initiate. Now that we are heading into IVF #2 that may change for a bit (hard to want sex with all the IVf stress) but until then we are good to go!

Thanks for sharing. The sex part of a marriage is important and it's so easy to just let it slip away. Especially with all the stress and heartbreak of infertility. Best of luck on your IVF #2. I think we'll be cycling together. Check me out and cheer me on and I will be doing the same for you!