My new friend, another single queer who is also on the IVF path, told me recently that she’s been trying to wank as much as possible in order to get pregnant. Don’t worry—I checked with her and she knows it’s not that kind of sex that can make a baby. No, she’s doing it to mimic the natural/hetero hormonal cycle. I’m going to call this friend Bonnie, because she looks like she’ll end up being a pretty important friend in this journey and so she’s going to need a code name for this blog. Of course back in the caveman days, pre turkey baster, around ovulation time your body would be directing you to head out looking for some sperm, and you’d be looking for it in the form of sex. Hence why people with ovaries often get really randy around the Big O Day. So in order to trick her body into thinking that this is just a normal egg-meets-sperm-in-a-smokey-bar kind of scenario, Bonnie’s doing her bit by working sex into her fertility regime. She’s coming home from work each night and religiously taking her fertility potions, doing her fertility yoga, doing her fertility meditation, and then finally she has her nightly fertility wank. Problem is, by the time she gets to the last part she’s usually just ready to crash. Plus the hormones we’re both on totally kill your sex drive. Like, totally. To the point where a hot lover of mine sent me a text last week saying “hey sexy”, and I recoiled in revulsion at the word “sexy”. For those who know me this is a pretty big deal. My whole life revolves around sex—my academic career, my performance poetry, my day job. Occasionally I even have it. Well, not anymore. And I swore this wouldn’t happen to me. I swore I wouldn’t be one of those mums who shuts up shop when the kids arrive. I was going to be a MILF, a sexy mama, a one-woman pregnancy-porno. I was going to turn the myth that mothers aren’t sexual on its head. I was going to be the queer who made parenthood sexy, who proved that you could have your baby and eat it too. I mean cake. Have your baby and still eat cake. I hadn’t counted on the hormones.
The other thing I hadn’t counted on was the vaginal fatigue. I didn’t anticipate the hospital rigmarole being such a mood-killer. I mean, voyeurism can be fun, and everyone has a medical fetish, right? Doctors are sexy. Stethoscopes are sexy. Hospital gowns are sexy. Having your legs up in stirrups in a room full of strangers is sexy. Especially when they’re all completely ignoring you and discussing which tool will be the best to use to rip through your cervix so that the embryo transfer tube will fit. Hottttttt. So it’s little wonder that after three internal ultrasounds, one traumatised cervix, and one encounter of being penetrated by an Austin Powers dolphin with a giant needle on its head, I’ve even banned carrots and cucumbers from my fridge. For the last five and a half weeks I’ve been perfectly happy to curl up at night with my cat and my hot water bottle.
But now for the punchline. The evening after my embryo transfer I got into bed with my cat and my hottie (hot water bottle, not hot lover) and I decided I wanted something a little more. For the first time since all of this began, I felt slightly horny. I guess the big trigger shot I’d given myself two days earlier had finally kicked in and was directing my body to release my eggs and hurry up and introduce them to some sperm. I knew that orgasms were supposed to be a good idea after an insemination, to make the uterus contract and suck up all the cum, but I wasn’t so sure about orgasms and IVF. So I did what every paranoid IVF patient does—I got out my phone and I googled it. And here’s the clincher. Half the information about post-embryo-transfer sex discuss sperm and the other half discuss orgasms, but neither address both. Seriously. It’s fucked up. There’s a heap of literature about how an embryo seem to have more chance of taking hold if there’s loads of sperm swilling around in the womb along with it. If you sit in this camp and are partnered and heterosexual then the advice is to go for gold, son, and for once to do it without a condom. In the other camp is the perhaps less scientific and slightly more paranoid view that it isn’t safe to orgasm because the contractions can make the womb spasm and consequently expel the teeny tiny little embryo before it has time to attach. Oddly enough no one in the first camp seems to have considered that in order for the sperm to get into the womb, it’s possible that not one but both parties might actually end up having an orgasm, and which camp would that leave them in then?! Disheartened I gave up on the whole orgasm idea and reached for my book instead.
And now? You (and one or two lovers) will be pleased to know that things are slowly returning to normal, except for one little thing, that is. I am now shafting progesterone pessaries up my clacker two times a day, which if you use your imagination isn’t particularly conducive to oral sex. Of course, once again I turned to my trusty friend google. “Do progesterone pessaries taste gross?” I asked the world wide oracle. It responded with several threads about a metallic taste in the mouth being a potential side effect, but I don’t think they meant it was a side effect of oral sex. There were also plenty of tips on how to time heterosexual intercourse in order to maximise pessary absorption. It looks like once again lesbians and queers have been left out of fertility conversations, but at least this time there’s an easy solution. I may have temporarily banned carrots and cucumbers from my kitchen, but I never said I’d thrown out my strap-on collection…