Trying (and Trying and Trying) To Conceive

We spent twelve years trying our best to NOT conceive a child.  The first time we were intimate with a purpose was one of the most surreal and terrifying (in a good way) moments of my life. “Oh shit, did that really just happen?” Of course we were going to get pregnant immediately, from that first attempt.  I did my homework. I knew ovulation occurred about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual cycle which was 28 days long according to all the experts. We were only 31 so age wouldn’t be an issue. But when two months went by with no positive test, I was worried.  Yes, after only two teensy little months of trying, I was worried. (Fair warning: this post is mildly explicit and possibly TMI for some.)

Of course, I did what I always do, I read and searched and obsessed, trying to find the fail-proof way to make a baby. Did you know that many women don’t have 28 day cycles? I didn’t. Nor did I know that ovulation doesn’t always occur 14 days before the next cycle. Then I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF) and realized that most of those “experts” didn’t have a freaking clue what they were talking about. Thus began the use of super sexy ovulation test strips and charting of my fertility signs (basal body temperature and cervical fluid, bow-chicka-bow-wow).

It didn’t take terribly long to discover that my cycles were far from typical and far from consistent. Thirteen years of hormonal birth control will do that to you. Even after several months off of the pill, my cycle never truly regulated, but with the charting process I learned from TCOYF, I knew I was ovulating every month. So we kept at it, negative test after negative test. I was way too obsessed to just wait for my next period. Lucky for our budget, I found these ovulation and pregnancy tests lovingly referred to as “Internet Cheapies” by the online fertility bulletin board community. $10 for 50 strips? Yes please.

I can’t recall how far into the process it occurred, but at one point, I got the slightest hint of a line. I couldn’t replicate it with another test and to this day, I don’t know if it was a chemical pregnancy or a faulty test. It’s probably better that I didn’t know. I never grieved it like a miscarriage.

Evening primrose oil, vitex, red raspberry leaf, CoQ10, I can’t recall all the remedies we tried. The months ticked by and each time I heard that a friend or family member was pregnant, my heart dropped into my stomach.

Let me tell you how sexy scheduled sex makes you feel. Not in the mood? Too bad. I’ll *probably* be ovulating soon. Hey honey, I didn’t actually ovulate yet so we should probably get another round in. Maybe P.J. will want to offer his experience at some point, but I think I can speak for the both of us in saying it really wore us down.

Maybe ten or so months in, I began seeing an acupuncturist. She was expensive, didn’t know the difference between fertilization and implantation and kept pushing these pricey whole foods-based supplements on me. Soon, I found another acupuncturist who was also a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine and he actually seemed to know a bit about acupuncture for fertility. I really enjoyed the sessions and the ritual of drinking the herbal concoctions, but after a few months of treatments, I grew weary of his attempts to get me on a gluten free diet. He was a die-hard believer of the Blood Type Diet and after doing my own research, I wasn’t convinced that the science backed it up. I don’t have Celiac Disease, I don’t have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, I am NOT giving up beer or bread or any of the other wonderful gluten-containing treats. The money was becoming an issue, so I decided to move on.

Phil and I finally reached the big twelve month mark.  Anyone who has been there knows the significance of trying unsuccessfully for twelve months. A clinical infertility diagnosis. We knew it was time to go in for testing, but decided to give it one more month. Our first two cycles were poorly timed and during a couple other cycles, we really didn’t give it our “all,” so one more try sounded reasonable. One morning, close to when I was expecting my period, I gave in and for the 1000th time, peed on a stick. OH. MY. GOD. Is that a LINE?! That looks like a line. Let’s try another one, this must be a fluke. ANOTHER LINE?! And yes, we did it. Finally.

Going in to wake Phil up that morning was weird because I wasn’t prepared to get overly excited. Eventually the reality set in and once I got the digital PREGNANT a few days later, I felt ready to relax and celebrate.

Would I change anything about our journey? Hell no. When that particular sperm met that specific egg, our perfect sweet little monkey was created. In a year or so, we may start thinking about another child and I haven’t a clue what to expect. I’ll be that much closer to “advanced maternal age” and maybe we’ll struggle all over again. We were spared from the testing, hormone treatments and costly procedures on which so many infertile couples rely. But we’ll cross that bridge when and if we come to it. For now, we’ll enjoy what we have.

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