When you can’t have a baby, take a trip

April 7, 2013 § 24 Comments

I hate to fly, but I love to travel.

When I was a kid we never really went anywhere except to my grandparents house. There was a trip to Disney World once. And one or two to the beach. But my parents were poor students (apple and tree comments commence), and they lived far enough from their own families that they chose to spend whatever meager vacation days they had on visiting their folks. But when I was 15, my dad became involved with a doctors without borders type of program and used his charm to convince the director to let me tag along on a trip to Peru. And since then, I have taken every opportunity I have had to get out of my world and to see someone else’s. My career is an example of this, I think. As is my love of stories. And documentaries and reality television. And my desire to travel.

About three weeks ago, a good friend of mine happened to mention in an email that she and her husband were thinking of taking a trip in May. Her husband and mine have been besties since before puberty, and she and I met as juniors in college when we were both just starting to date these two best friend boys. We were super college drunk the night we met and declared that we were going to be great friends and we were right.

The Artsy Engineer and I have only taken one international trip together and that was our honeymoon, which we decided to spend in a very non-honeymoonish way by hostel-hopping through Vietnam and Cambodia for a month. We arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam with zero plans and a plane ticket out of Saigon 4 weeks later. And it was, of course, an incredible adventure. As a brief aside, the weird thing is that I’m not really an adventurous type. I seek it out and then alternate between suffering through it and having the time of my life. I don’t know what that’s about. Anyway,

we’ve always wanted to travel with these two friends. They’re easy to be around, low maintenance. Comfortable. They also live hundreds of miles away from us and we only get to see them once or twice a year when we go visit the Artsy Engineer’s family on the east coast. So when the opportunity presented itself to take a trip with them, something weird happened. We didn’t really think about it. We usually think these things to death. But this time we didn’t sweat over our bank account or calendars. We just took it. Picked dates. Booked tickets. I didn’t even tell my bosses until after it was a done deal. We did it even though we should be saving the money for future treatments. And even though it may mean we try without intervention for a cycle.

I just feel like we’ve sacrificed a lot already. Only 4 years in to my program was I able to take more than a 4 day vacation. And now we continue to sacrifice a lot of experiences for this baby that hasn’t come. That is not to say this it won’t all be worth it. Because I truly, truly believe that it will. But, doggone it, when? And why me? Why can’t I just get knocked up free and easy and have that be that? And just because I believe the wait will be worth it, does that mean that I should just be quiet and quit complaining about it? Sit back? Let things pass me by because maybe this month will be it? I don’t think so (at least, I don’t think so today; it may be different tomorrow).

So, we’re going to Ecuador in 5 weeks.

File:Bolivian Alpaca.jpg

This was not taken in Ecuador, but this alpaca is hilarious. In fact, all alpacas are hilarious. Look at its facial expression! They all look high. I’m serious. Google alpaca and tell me I’m wrong!

Source: Patrick Furlong

But because I can’t get the yellow fever vaccine or take the anitmalarial meds due to this whole trying to have a baby thing, we’ll have to stay in the Andes (above the mosquito line) and out of the jungle, which everyone seems okay with. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not without reservations about the whole thing. But “reservations” ought to be my middle name. What if my timing gets fucked up and I can’t do an IUI cycle in the week leading up to the trip like I have planned? What if I’m pregnant and I get sick? What if I’m pregnant and I miscarry? What if we all die in a horrible car crash because I’ve heard the drivers are madmen? (Have you guys figured out what a ridiculous odd anxious duck I am? I was hoping to hide it. But, let’s be real, here. There is no hiding it.)

I don’t really know what we were thinking with this thing. I think it was something along the lines of this: We have put lots of things on hold for the last year and a half because we thought that we’d get pregnant any day now. And before that, we had to turn vacations with friends and family down because I couldn’t get off of work. And I know I chose that first part of it, but I wasn’t expecting that second part to happen at all, much less follow so closely behind the first. So, I’m burnt out. And I think I finally get it. I’m not waiting around for my life to start. This is it. And if I want to fill it with things I love, I better start doing it now. Because right now I have more life left than I will ever have again. (That was morbid. But, really.)

But, seriously, am I crazy? Am I crazy to spend a bunch of money (that will likely later be needed for future treatment) to fly (because I usually take a benzo when I fly but I can’t if I’m pregnant) to a country that has diseases (that I can’t be protected against) and an active volcano (that I can’t be protected against)? Or is that just my anxious voice talking so loudly I can’t hear over her?

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§ 24 Responses to When you can’t have a baby, take a trip

  • ladyblogalot says:

    i think it is an awesome idea, to keep on keeping on. it will be awesome and you deserve to be doing fun stuff and not just waiting and counting and injecting and hoping and worrying all the time. Yup. Switching worrying about fertility to worrying about an active volcano sounds like something everyone should do once in a while.

  • Amanda says:

    I don’t think you’re crazy; I think you’re really brave. I would never have the courage to spend 4 weeks in vietnam without lots and lots of reservations, and guides, and translators, etc. I hope you can enjoy your trip despite all of your anxieties. We are currently leading similar lives of grad school, student loans, and infertility bills, and I can vouch that it is no fun, so I hope you can give yourself the freedom to live. Plus, I hear that vacations make great conception stories! : )

  • JustMe says:

    You are not crazy at all. First of all, I LOVE South America. I’ve gone twice in the past few years and can’t wait to go back. You will fall in love with the sense of being in another world and you will LOVE the food.

    Secondly, I believe that, to the degree possible, it is always worth spending the money on traveling. The money spent grants you memories, self-growth, and exposure to things you would have never seen.

    I’ve never, ever regretted a trip. Oh, and the TWW I spent in Mexico was the one where I got pregnant πŸ™‚

  • Stasy says:

    You’re not crazy. At some point, as much as it hurts and as hard as it can be, you have to stop putting your life on hold for the “what ifs.”

    Enjoy your trip!

  • hopingonhope says:

    Wow. Enjoy yourself there gal. To be honest I am envious :)) this trip sounds like an experience of a lifetime so take it with both hands. Once you have the baby Eucador wont happen at least till the kiddo is 7-8 maybe. So this way the timing is perfect. And dont worry when you are pregnant and travelling.(note the when and not if) because it will happen. Just keep generating positive energy.

  • Sadie says:

    Not crazy at all, I’d say it’s smart. All this IF crap is soo exhausting at times, and the truth is none of us here is in a position to put life on hold for the ‘when’…You need to live a little too, lady! That can only be good for your fertility πŸ™‚ But also – no, you’re not being ridiculous or odd to think all that stuff, because, erm…I too have had every single one of those worries when planning travels. And (obviously!) I’m not ridiculous. So there you go πŸ˜‰

    I loved Ecuador, you’ll have a great time!

  • You knew we would all say you’re not crazy, right? Just looking for validation? Hehe.

    Girl, you are the opposite of crazy. In fact, you’d be crazy NOT to go. You get one chance to be young and (dare I say) reckless… one chance to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. Because one day you will be (WILL BE, dammit) saddled down with kids and schedules and you’ll be saying “Woe is me… should have gone to Peru.”

    Seriously, the trip sounds amazing, especially with great travel companions. I’m uber-impressed with your honeymoon, too… sounds like you really are adventurous! We barely made it off the resort for ours, we heard rumors of robbers on the beach past a certain marker and stayed the hell away. Go, have fun, and let your body relax and think about something besides babymaking for just a minute.

  • Infertility Can Suck It says:

    This sounds like an amazing trip and I’m so jealous! It’s also the kind of trip that isn’t kiddo friendly, so I’d say, take advantage of where you are at the moment and enjoy your life while you’re in it. I, too, changed MANY plans when trying to coordinate them with cycles and obsessed about dates and what-ifs for over a year and ended up missing out on some great experiences with friends and family. The month we said “screw it” and stopped cycling, we took trips to Seattle, California and Utah. Turns out my implantation date was on a day when we were climbing waterfalls in a slot canyon (and one of them I fell off of and crashed into the water). Our little dude ended up being just fine and we had a pretty shocking surprise waiting for us 2 weeks later. Long story short, I say go for it and let yourself have a bit of a break from the stress and have fun! You deserve it and I can’t wait to see the pictures!

  • It’s so funny you just wrote this—just this past weekend, DH and I (who is not yet DH) were talking about going to Culebra, off the coast of Puerto Rico, to (finally) get married. Which seems insane—the money, the time. But we’ve put getting married on hold for so long, and we haven’t gone on a trip together (that was not fertility-related) in ages. Part of me is like: What are you doing? You say you want to have more than one kid, you are 39, and you don’t even have one yet—you have not one second to spare! Another part of me is like—just as you say—we’ve already put so much on hold for so long. We always prioritize fertility/babies, and we need to fill our lives in other ways. I for one think the trip is a great idea. It could really change you, recharge you, in good ways, and if you feel drawn toward it, maybe that’s why.

  • Amber says:

    Haha, we are all a bit of an odd duck at times, but I sincerely doubt you are ridiculously odd πŸ™‚ I think this trip sounds like a fantastic way to get away from all your “real life” worries for a short time. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Take advantage of being able to take this trip right now.

    By the way, I think that sounds like an amazing honeymoon! You, my dear, are more adventurous than you think if you can run around third world countries without a plan! I wish I had the guys to do something like that!

  • JenS says:

    You gotta keep living your life! Now is the time to travel to places like Ecuador – BEFORE you have kids. Sounds awesome. My husband and I talked a lot about taking a trip while we were in the middle of all our fertility treatments and never did because we were afraid to spend the money. I sort of wish we did now. You will only regret the things you don’t do, right?

  • YeahScience! says:

    Well, you know I was pushing for Iceland, so I won’t hide my disappointment in this, but you also know how I feel about fluffy animals — so basically, I endorse this decision! I once even slammed on the brakes while on the highway because I spotted an alpaca nearby and was hellbent on taking the next exit to track down the farm.

    A friend of mine in a very similar situation to you was recently dealing with the same dilemma (except replace Ecuador with Denmark), worrying about IUI scheduling and such, and I told her what you’re telling yourself — you can’t put your life on hold. It’s better to make vacation plans and THEN deal with a BFP if/when it happens rather than bank on getting a BFP and then being disappointed when you’re still sitting at home, not pregnant, and not on vacation.

    You’re doing the right thing — have fun!!

  • Kimberly says:

    this is a great idea. travel is the only thing that has helped during IF. it is time to reconnect and dofuc on something other than treatment, sure it costs money and PTO that you could spend on treatment. but it also helps you relax, get your mind off things, evaluate, and rejuvinate before treatment. so i fully support you! excelletn idea!

  • bustedoven says:

    Yet another thing we have in common, my friend — my husband and I went to Cuba for 2 weeks for our honeymoon! That was certainly the most adventurous adventure I’ve ever had, especially considering it’s illegal and all. We spent almost a week staying at a casa where we rented a room from an older couple who spoke NO English. Hooray for adventurous honeymoons!

    I’m SO glad you are taking this trip. I feel certain that you will not regret it in the least. Nothing gets me out of my head or the day-to-day grind like an honest-to-goodness trip. Wish I was taking one, too!

  • Aramis says:

    I’m so glad you’re doing this and NO you aren’t crazy! I also put my life on hold for the last year and things still haven’t worked out, and I decided at New Years’ that I wasn’t going to do it that way again. Things still haven’t worked out, but at least I’m not spending my time both a) depressed about a failed IVF and b) depressed about not taking a trip or vacation to schedule said failed IVF. Have a great trip and don’t think twice about doing this for yourselves!

  • You already booked the trip so obviously you know what the right thing to do is here… This sounds like an amazing trip. You’re right we have to live our lives now and stop waiting for a baby for them to start. Live it up my friend.

  • Arwen Rose says:

    You are so not crazy. Putting life on hold is seriously tough you need to try and live while you can. I am super jealous of your trip!!

  • Romy says:

    That’s awesome! And not crazy at all. I wish I had learned that lesson a lot sooner. We postponed trips and I didn’t get a snowboard season pass 2 years in a row (this year I couldn’t get one because I’m pregnant, which is a great reason that I don’t mind at all, but I wish I hadn’t already foregone the season pass for the preceding 2 years as well).
    I ended up feeling burnt out and miserable because I felt like I hadn’t done anything fun in 2 years. I think you’re definitely making the better decision here πŸ™‚

  • shafie says:

    Hi, shafie here. I just read through. 1) i miss you 2) even our partners would get along and are similar in eerie ways 3) you should move back to New England. I have career connections for you and your fertility treatments would be free. add it to your list if it isn’t on there already. Maybe that is the reason we had weird twilight zone moments on that other internet place. xoxoxo. so good to hear your voice in my head again…

  • I’m so jealous that you will be going down there while our trip was cancelled- it’s going to be a great time!!

    Honestly, we have taken vacations in the middle of trying AND IUIs and I think that they are a great way to take your mind off of infertility. Enjoy your trip!!

  • sarah says:

    I’m late to the party here, but just wanted to say, huzzah – this is a great decision. We had been putting things off for the last 14 months and finally just said, to hell with it. Next month we are meeting friends in CA for a backpacking adventure and channel island camping. While my anxiety about whether it would interfere with a cycle, what if I actually was pregnant would I be putting everything at risk, etc. was very real, at some point we just had to say screw it and go for it. One of the things I think we all struggle to learn throughout this is that you can’t plan anything – but sometimes, you have to take control and just plan something, for your own sanity – like an out of town adventure. Anyway, Ecuador is beautiful and it sounds like you guys will have a fantastic trip!

  • torthuil says:

    Good for you. Take your trip. Have an amazing experience. Nobody can see the future and life happens here in the present, not just in the (imagined) future. It makes sense to budget for IF treatments and understand how it will impact your life, but as I think about it, I realize it doesn’t make sense to put everything in your life off because you might have a baby or might have treatments. Life is short don’t wish away or throw away what you have because it isn’t exactly what you thought or hoped to have.
    It’s funny because I have been thinking about whether Mr. Turtle and I should take a trip this summer, and when, and what kind, and what to do about tests/waitlists etc (It is unlikely we will have the opportunity to do any treatments). And I keep reading blogs by people with similar thought processes, and the conclusion always seems to be: don’t wait, live your life.

  • tazdream says:

    My childless sister in law says-if i cant have what i want, i will do what i want! Enjoy yr trip- it may be just what u need! PS we booked a long weekend away in june- sometimes you need to step back n chillax together!

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