A couple years ago I stopped taking monthly home pregnancy tests. Stay at this game long enough and you’ll longer need them. My BBT alone tells whether I’m pregnant: if my temp starts dropping around 10DPO, then it’s certain I’m out that month. My last two pregnancies taught me that my temp skyrockets when I’m pregnant, even immediately post-transfer.
This past cycle my period was late. I rarely have late periods—my body’s great at cycling like it should. A cautious hope with a type of nervous expectancy for a BFP began to set in. After all, starting 11DPO I’d been having strange poking pains in my lower right uterus which were so weird because—since I’ve no ovary on that side—it rarely sees any action. But, my temp began dropping on CD24 and hope remained dangling on the edge of caution.
I fleetingly thought about taking a HPT from my arsenal, but—honestly?—I just couldn’t be bothered. I couldn’t be bothered to continue tracking my symptoms, either. I eventually forgot what cycle day I was on.
Ambivalent was the best word for my feelings on the matter. Ambivalence causes me to think I don’t want this as much as I used to. It causes me to wonder if I’ve become a resigned, faithless, half-hearted TTC-er.
On the same morning when my period app reminded me that I was three days late, I finally took a HPT. It was negative. And I mean negative just like that cutesy “BFN” acronym—a big. fat. negative. I felt nonplussed by my results. And as I’ve done many times over the years, after thoroughly scrutinizing for a squinter, I chucked the test in all its stark white one line-ness into the trash and got up to go about my day. Scratch off another month and move along, I valiantly told myself, intending to go about my day business as usual.
A mere half hour later, where did my so-called valiant “strength” land me? Why, sobbing to Jake on the sofa while cramps overtook my body and the beginning of my period approached! Through big ugly tears and out of my desperation, I devised implausible ways to pay for another IVF. I lamented my fate as permanently childless. I gave voice to the feelings of failure, the tediousness of endless TTC, and the general hopelessness that is constantly trying to get the better of me. The battle is real; so is the enemy.
Here I’d been moments before thinking I was so tough and had become ambivalent—also known as hardened—to this years’ long process. Turns out, I’m still all mushy in the middle. Most months I don’t allow myself to feel the feelings. But they’re all still there: faith and hope mixed with failure and tears. Gratitude mixed with feelings of unfairness. Impatience mixed with patience.
All this from a late period. I’m grateful to learn that I still have an emotional connection to this process, to know that I’m not hardened by it as I’d secretly feared. Sometimes this Tin Man just needs a little oil now and then to know for certain.