Thursday, July 17, 2008

Conflicting Information

I know it sounds almost prehistorically paranoid, but I and a lot of other women having difficulty conceiving worry that having orgasms, fucking, using super-powerful vibrators, etc. could somehow be exacerbating our problems AFTER fertilization (but before implantation). I *know* it sounds crazy, but if you have never been infertile when you wanted to be fertile, you are in no position to judge the possibilities a woman will entertain to explain her problems or the lengths she will go to to avoid ANYTHING that could possibly threaten her chances to conceive. You can read this and think that I'm ignorant or not well read, but I doubt many people can offer knowledgeable, researched, documented information accessible to the masses that adequately explains away my concerns.

We've been trying to get pregnant for over a year. As we got negative after negative pee test results, I searched (and found) handfuls of tips and rumours on the internet about all kinds of things that are good or bad for fertility. Example: maybe my massive soy consumption was part of the problem. When you read information that's unclear or not well-researched or speaks of potential problems or you can only find one mention of how much is TOO much (and that amount is less than what you're consuming) then you go ahead and err on the side of caution. So I decreased my soy intake to almost nothing after I read that just over a month ago. Note: the only difference I noticed is that I almost totally stopped farting stinky farts once I stopped chug-a-lugging soy milk.

Back to the original question, though; in my layman's mind I cannot help wondering how orgasm or strong vibrations could possibly effect implantation. I *know* orgasm helps with fertilization; you can read about the mechanics of it and it makes complete sense! But no one has provided and I have not found an explanation for the mechanics of orgasm and impending implantation: if you've got a fertilized egg hanging out in your uterus getting ready to burrow in, what will orgasm do to it (if anything)?

I was told that the reason semen is "washed" before an intrauterine insemination is to get rid of the prostaglandins that can make women cramp up:
"Raw semen cannot be inserted directly into a woman’s uterus. This is because semen contains chemicals called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause muscular contractions and are responsible for cramps during menstruation and pregnancy. If raw semen is inserted directly into your uterus, rather than going through the cervix first, it could cause severe pain and cramping. It could also cause your uterus to collapse, causing severe complications."
From that information, I assumed that contractions will fuck shit up if you're trying to get pregnant. From there I couldn't help wondering what the difference is between a crampy contraction and a contraction from an orgasm. No one has answered this question for me except a person in a chatroom who claimed to have a ob/gyn for a wife who told him to tell me that "one is drawing in and one is pushing out." It sounds almost sensible, but obviously isn't information I can count on or would repeat to anyone else as the proven, gospel truth.

Of course I googled the hell out of my paranoia, and found buttloads of other women struggling with infertility expressing the same worries AND (get this) saying that they were told by their doctors to abstain from sex (and some said orgasms too) after their fertility treatments (IUI and IVF mostly). I know you can't trust everything you read on the internet (and I DON'T), but I think it's kind of natural to worry when you hear this kind of information being passed around. Or when doctors or experts answer the question but don't adequately explain WHY or WHY NOT you should/shouldn't do this or that. For example, when you find people answering the sex toy question, they invariably have one type of sex toy in mind that is quite different from other sex toys. A hitachi magic wand with its jackhammer-strong vibrations is not the same as a dildo is not the same as a tiny watch-battery powered clit vibe, so if you tell me "your uterus is well cushioned from the vibrations" but you don't say "even from a hitachi magic wand's thrumming for a half hour because you place yours ABOVE your clit because it's too much stimulation directly on your unit" then I'm not going to be certain your answer applies to me and my toy(s).

Factor in that even if you can pin a doctor down on these things you can't help suspecting they're making an educated GUESS because you doubt there's any real research on these things. And that doctors are still going around asking how big your "clots" are during your period to figure out if you're normal or not, which shows they really don't know everything (a topic for yet another blog entry I've procrastinated on detailing the time I asked a doctor about the clots question on her office's intake form and her answer/non-answer and the WAY she answered it were so disturbing to me I'm still in shock over it years later).

If there's a Nova video somewhere out there that shows one of those cool internal views of a fertilized egg and shows it not being disrupted or shooshed out during the implantation process by a bunch of orgasms, I will happily set aside my fears. Actually, I have already set them aside, but not happily. I did ask the doctor during my IUI and of course he reassured me that research either shows no impact OR it shows that conception rates are slightly higher for people having sex and orgasms during their two week wait.

So what about all those women crying on internet forums because they disobeyed doctor's orders and had an orgasm in their sleep when they supposedly weren't supposed to? I'm not sure, but the only thing I can figure out is that some women are told to abstain if they have an "incompetent cervix" or a history of miscarriages. That still doesn't make sense, though, if they're being told to abstain so early on. Maybe they're lying and their doctors didn't really tell them that. Maybe there really are doctors saying that but they're crazy or stupid themselves. Maybe *everyone* is relying on their own intuition and not real research and that's why everyone's information is different. Maybe it's just not politically correct to say that an orgasm could be anything but healthy and harmless.

So. There have been a number of times the past six months where I've said I was going to abstain during our two week wait, but none where I actually succeeded. There were a few times I canceled my webcam shows or didn't masturbate to orgasm (I *need* the wand for my shows -- finger-fiddling does NOT work on cam for me, mostly because of all the distractions), but other than that it's mostly been business as usual, especially during the two week wait following my first Clomid: I was way WAY too fucking horny to entertain the idea of not getting off many times.

I know that orgasm is a magical, wonderful thing. That should be obvious to anyone who knows me. I know about increased blood flow and oxygen and I know that implantation is something that happens on a microscopically small level and it's silly(!)(?) to think a wonderful, magical, natural event like orgasm could POSSIBLY disrupt any of the naturally perfect wonderful processes involved in getting pregnant. I know that most people would think anyone who imagines otherwise must be a misogynistic, religious nut who thinks all women are dirty whores who should have their clits excised and shrunken and hung as trophies from the rearview mirror of the popemobile. I know other people think, "now, now, young lady! You just let the DOCTORS worry about all that complicated business between your legs -- they know what's best for you! TRUST them when they say it couldn't possibly be a problem! Run along home now and feel good about yourself!" I know still other people would say, "it's just the stress, honey, from you getting all worked up and formulating all these hypotheses! As soon as you stop thinking about it so hard it'll happen for you!"

I also know that nature is full of contradictions and that there are tons of things women's bodies do to make getting pregnant HARD. Harder than you think. From our acidic cunts to our immune systems and all sorts of other things. How do I know this isn't another of nature's little contradictions? I also know that many women's bodies are DIFFERENT from many OTHER women's bodies, so something that has no impact on one woman can have a real impact on another, or something can impact one women one way and another woman another way.

When the doctor was stabbing at my cervix with catheter after catheter and I was CRAMPING (that's what happens when you try to stick shit into a woman's cervix: look it up if you don't believe me), I asked him if those cramps would be a problem (I mean, if they wash the sperm to PREVENT cramps, isn't a procedure like that totally fucking counterproductive? His answer: "it shouldn't be".

It shouldn't be. But that doesn't mean it won't be/wasn't. It doesn't mean they've researched it. It's not an explanation of why it's not. So why should I believe it? I actually might have been more prone to trusting it completely if he'd have explained that there are OTHER reasons why they wash the semen (to get rid of duds, leave only the awesome sperm, etc.) not just to prevent cramping or if he'd said that those cramps are minor compared to the cramps I would have gotten from a load of raw cum shot straight into my uterus, but he didn't (maybe because that's not true/I'm only guessing or maybe because he didn't want to insult me by saying the cramps I was having at that moment weren't bad enough to be a problem). Anyway, it was the Fourth of July and he had a lot of women to attend to and he needed to concentrate to get those bad boys inside me. We paid our $400 for the procedures that day, not for complex answers.

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