Thursday, February 28, 2013

marriage and baby: not for the weak, part v

Conception, Part IV (Part I, Part II, Part III)

TTC Month Five

I decided to buy an ovulation predictor kit this month. I had restrained myself from making the purchase earlier, at the advice of the OBGYN I was seeing when we first began trying to conceive. This was the same doctor who, during that same time, very casually suggested that I might have endometriosis, which could severely injure my ability to get pregnant. When I questioned her about the statement that she made in a very unsympathetic monotone, she brushed off my concern like it was no big deal. She continued on to tell me not to try to get pregnant. She told me not to pay attention to my cycles, or get caught up in the particulars or spend the money on an ovulation predictor kit. "Just wing it for a while," she said.

My mistake was listening to a woman that I didn’t even trust instead of listening to my own voice and knowing that I was in charge of my body (a lesson I have yet to forget since).

This OBGYN was a terrible doctor, but her advice about trying to conceive was not at all uncommon. You often hear, “don’t make it a big deal—just let things happen naturally” when you are trying to conceive. "Just have sex during the middle part of your cycle," you are told. "Don't worry until you’ve been trying for a year unsuccessfully" they insist. But, I’m not so sure there should be a one-size-fits-all approach to conceiving. 

It would be nice if baby making could be nothing but romance and exciting, spontaneous sex. It would be even better if none of us had to work hard to make it happen, and we could remain perfectly calm until we were successful. But, some of us worry. Some of us would like to have all the information—about our bodies, our health, the science behind conception—before we even begin so we can minimize the surprises and make intelligent decisions. Some of us cannot remain calm when we are shooting blindly in the dark. What about those people? What about me

Listening to a blanket statement is exactly what eventually led to my inability to let go and enjoy the process. Because I need information. I need to know when I ovulate and what signs to look for in my body just before I ovulate so I can have sex on the best days of the month. I don't do well with estimations and no plan. In effect, allowing myself to be completely neurotic about something gives me the power to remain calm and centered. Granted, other people may not operate like me, but I'm sure I am not alone in wanting to get pregnant quickly. And what is so wrong about wanting to have a baby? Why is it not okay to be involved and hands-on from the beginning instead of waiting until you are frustrated, emotionally exhausted and afraid? What is the harm, really, in buying an ovulation predictor kit on day one of TTC?

So, I bought an ovulation predictor kit. And I joined an online cycle tracking website (basically inputting your BBT and fertility signs every day so the website can analyze your data and tell you when to have sex). I took charge of my fertility (which I highly recommend over leaving it up to anyone else) and discovered that I was ovulating much earlier than the average woman. This was somewhat relieving, because it simply meant we were concentrating our efforts around the wrong days.


It was fairly obvious that Alex and I were failing to relax and take our minds off of all of the enormous life changes we were trying to force. My body knew that my life was in flux, and that I felt protective and unsettled given my current life circumstances and living situation. 

This was about the time I had the run-in with our next-door neighbor. While it was difficult to have a complete stranger accost me in the driveway and ask me questions about my sex life, it was far worse to know that I now had an audience while trying to conceive—an audience that slept across the hall from me, and was very doubtful in my ability to procreate. 

I myself was doubtful that I could get pregnant under the current circumstances of my life at that moment. I was suddenly very aware of what I had wanted to ignore the months before: it would take a miracle to conceive under such massive stress. When we started our TTC journey, the timing was perfect. But, after a few unexpected twists in our plan, the timing quickly became less than ideal.  

At this point, I knew that I needed peace and stability before a baby was a possibility.


I used the ovulation predictor kit, which helped me determine exactly when I was ovulating, but Alex and I were taking it easy this month. We planned to spend as much time out of the house as we could in order to focus on reconnecting and recalibrating. We decided to go ahead with our annual pilgrimage to my favorite yoga and meditation center, despite our need to save money for a house. It was the perfect place to center myself and get away from all we had been through the past five months.

We were deep in meditation and heavily lost in restorative yoga poses from sunrise to sunset. And I ovulated in the dead middle of my spiritual recharging. We missed our chance to capitalize on the perfect fertile moment, but I think we both let it pass by on a semi-subconscious level. If it had been one of the months before this, we probably would have found a tree to procreate behind in the middle of our guided nature walk, but not now. We needed a break.

Although we failed to conceive yet again, I felt more confident and at ease (even if only temporarily so) now that I was armed with the forbidden ovulation kit and the tracking website. I understood my body so well after all that I had been through, which renewed my faith a bit. And I had another road trip to look forward to next month, right around the time that I would be ovulating. It felt like a new beginning. 

To be continued...

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