Those Late Periods


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.

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Am I Doing Enough?


I’m ending a multi-day bout of online infertility “research” feeling guilt-ridden.  Am I not doing enough to get pregnant naturally?  Each website contradicts the next: drink green tea, but avoid all caffeine.  drink warm drinks, but not hot or ice cold drinks.  eat fruit, but don’t eat raw food (should I be cooking my fruit??).

I’m overwhelmed.  Am I unwittingly turning my uterus into an inhospitable icy wasteland that shuns helpless embryos?  Am I causing my body to be nothing more than a land of inflammation and zig-zagging insulin levels?  Am I making endometriosis worse by drinking this cup of coffee?

Oh yes, coffee.  That vice I was all starry-eyed to give up last month.  Only today—on CD 11—am I finally putting my money where my mouth is.  Well, technically it’s still a work in progress: I had one cup of half-caff early this morning.  Currently I’m sitting at work staring at my office mug and resisting a very strong urge to brew my daily second cup of joe.

My coffee mug, sans coffee.

An OPK sits nearby on my desk, waiting to be used on my next pee break. The perks of having the office to myself this week = leaving random OPKs on my desk and blogging from my office at 11 a.m.  Fertility consumes me even here.

Just another day at the office.

When I read websites, articles, and books—which I do in abandon—about how to get pregnant, I walk away from them feeling like a selfish monster who isn’t doing everything possible to “prime” her body for pregnancy.  For optimal egg health maybe I should live off of seeds, quinoa, wheatgrass, and room temperature organic water.  Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

The honest reality could be that the damage has already been done.  Look, I’m all for natural approaches to fertility and not heading strait to IVF; it works for many women.  But the fact is, I lived below optimum health for years…  YEARS!  Like, I ate crappy foods, barely exercised, and liberally drank alcohol.  I unknowingly basked in BPA, phthalates, and parabens.  So did Jake.

But here’s a fundamental difference: whatever damage Jake may have done to his swimmers by engaging in these activities isn’t forever.  Presto—his body just makes new ones, so his now-healthy lifestyle means his sperm are healthy too!  But I don’t have that luxury, my body isn’t making any new eggs.  Are a few years of progressively healthier living enough to undo a lifetime of exposure to Bad Things?  I wonder.

All of this culminates into excessive feelings of guilt.  Ate a piece of cake?  Ninety days until my eggs recover from the insulin spike!  Had a cup of coffee?  Just trashed my chances for conception this cycle!

While the rational, even-keeled part of me understands that balance is key to all things in life, another part of me—the part borne from my fertility “research”—tells me that I’m just making excuses.  That I’m too selfish to want to give up X, Y, and Z for my baby-to-be.  What kind of future mama am I anyway if I can’t sacrifice everything possible now?

Then I take a step back and remind myself that my life, my times, our season, our miracle—it’s all in God’s hands.  Not that that absolves me of responsibility to live right and do all that we can to achieve a pregnancy… because it doesn’t.  I usually dislike the expression, “Let go and let God, ” but right now it rings true.  I don’t want to make TTC into an idol.  I’ve done everything I know to get pregnant (or have I?? guilt, guilt, guilt….).  At some point, that needs to be enough and let faith step in.  At some point.  At this point.