Friday, March 1, 2013

marriage and baby: not for the weak, part VI

Conception, The Finale (Part IPart IIPart III, Part IV)

TTC Month Six

Alex and I were still in (attempted) relaxation mode this month so we had a string of road trips lined up to take our minds off of our crazy life. Up first was a trip to Vermont, where we stayed in the hotel suite we had stayed in when we got married. We spent a lazy few days reminiscing and reigniting our spark. But, we found it difficult, as we were right in the middle of deciding on a house and spent much of our time on the phone with our realtor.

By the end of the trip, we had a house. The price being the continued tension being Alex and I, as a couple. 

We decided to try again. So, I packed up my ovulation kit with my camping gear and we headed up to the Adirondack Mountains. As Alex and I set up camp the first night, we suddenly felt removed from our life. We talked deep into the night by the camp-fire. I cried in the darkness of the forest, feeling so lost and distant from the man who sat beside me eating s'mores. This was the summer that was supposed to bring us closer together as we created a new life—a new town, new home, new child. But, there was distance. Our living situation and a bevy of enormous and simultaneous life changes had led us to escape into separate corners. 

We longed for the simplicity of our newlywed days, which weren't all too long ago.

We came together that night, sweating on top of sleeping bags, the lullaby of loons echoing all around us. The next morning, I peed on a stick in the woods…an ovulation stick, that is. Something felt incredibly unnatural about that, though. It was like a metaphor for my conception obsession. Having a baby was the most natural thing in the world, but I was chipping away at the naturalness of it by trying to force it. I mean here I was, in the mountains, surrounded by nature, with an ovulation kit in hand. In that moment, I wished that I had had the kit six months ago, I wished that I could have remained relaxed...I wished I could start over. I was fed up with the whole thing. 

The next day I took my temperature when I woke up, like I had done all the mornings before it for almost a year. I grabbed an ovulation stick, but on my way to use it, chucked it in the garbage—partly in frustration, partly as a symbol of my surrender. 

That day, we rented canoes and paddled through the mountain lakes. For the first time in many months, it was just me and Alex. Alone. And calm. We didn't talk about babies or houses or moving. We paddled and laughed and let go in the summer sun. Eventually, we came to a tiny, deserted island and decided to stop there for lunch. As we sat on a fallen tree together, munching on cashews and homemade protein balls (no, that is not a euphemism), we delighted in the silence. We talked about how great it felt to be sitting on a small piece of land, disconnected from everything….and everyone. 

Then, we let our clothes fall to the pine needle laden ground, along with all the pressure we had put on ourselves.

The next day, we packed up our camp and headed to Saratoga Springs to stay with Alex's sister for a few days. I started to feel the twinge of pain I had come to know quite well. I was ovulating. When we arrived, I ran to the bathroom with my last ovulation stick and discovered that the egg was already gone. Alex and I gave it one more try in the bathroom, but I knew it was too late.

Although I desperately needed all the relaxation and to approach baby making in a more casual manner the past two months, there was still the part of me that was not okay. I still wanted a baby. So, that part of me cried, feeling regretful about "not trying hard enough" that month.


A week and a half later, back home, Alex and I were leaving a movie theater when I suddenly exclaimed, "I need a steak. Like NOW. Seriously, you need to find me some beef or I'm going to lose it!" This sounded incredibly strange to both of us, not because of its randomness, but because I don't even like meat. And I don't eat beef. Yet, I was obsessed and could not quell this desperate need. We spent an hour driving around trying to find a hamburger before I ended up in the Whole Foods prepared food section, inhaling a meatball.

The following week, I woke up before sunrise one morning, and did what was as routine as brushing my teeth at this point: take my temperature. I looked at the thermometer and to my surprise the number was much higher than I expected at this time of the month. Alex, who was woken by the sound of the thermometer beeping, told me to get in the bathroom and take a pregnancy test. No, I couldn’t. Could I? I had already cast aside any hope of a pregnancy this month given the lackadaisical manner in which we had sex on our camping trip. But, I got up anyway.

I crept into the bathroom and grabbed a test by the light of my cell phone. Then I set my timer to three minutes. I sat in the complete darkness of the bathroom, my stomach fluttering. Alex called out excitedly, “what does it say?! Babe? Hello?” The timer went off. I couldn’t look. I took a deep breath, lit the screen on my cell phone and aimed it at the test.

Oh my god!

I shot up and turned the lights on. And there it was. A faint, but very real, second line staring up at me.

I walked back into the bedroom and announced, “I’m pregnant!” as Alex pulled me into the bed in a giant hug.

“Finally!” he said.

We couldn't imagine a more beautiful ending to our story: on a small, deserted island, Alex and I returned to one another, and our reconnection created a new life. 

As I hugged my husband, the past six months faded away, and our life began to circle around the small ball of cells that now lived in my uterus. 

Yay! I just made a baby…but I don't know it!
Up next, pregnancy...

Soapbox afterthought: I am not a doctor, or an expert, and my recommendations cannot solve any medical problems, but I am a woman. And I have this to say...Your fertility is your business. Getting to know your body and cycles can make all the difference when you are trying to conceive. I highly recommend using an ovulation predictor kit. They are pricey to buy on a monthly basis, but you can also use them just once before you start trying to conceive so you know when you ovulate, which can vary from woman to woman (not to mention, it's always good peace of mind to know that you are, in fact, ovulating). I used the Clear Blue Easy Ovulation test. I also highly recommend using an online tracking website. It does require you to take your basal body temp every morning and monitor your fertility signs, but the extra work results in an incredibly helpful analysis of your most fertile time of the month. The website I used is Fertility Friend, and though you can sign up for free, I opted to pay for the extra features, which include things like alerts when it's go-time (green light-have sex today, red light-wait), an analysis of your chance of conception each month given the information you've inputted, and much more. Obviously there is no guarantee, but after I signed up for the paid features and actually read all the information on the website and USED it…I got pregnant that same month. Just sayin'. One more thing. Pre-Seed. It's your friend. Saliva and lube are not. Happy baby making!

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