Modellahz diaries

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

When Will I Be Okay Again?

Most women expect that when they're ready to make a baby, their bodies will readily comply. But sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. And that realization can be devastating. In fact, more than 6.1 million women in the United States find it difficult or impossible to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, and 2.1 million married couples are infertile (meaning, they haven't gotten pregnant after 12 months of unprotected sex), according to a 1995 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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I have a secret identity.

No, I’m not a super hero, although if I was, I would like to have amazing superpowers like “ability to read ovulation charts with an eagle eye for thermal shifts” or “able to swallow large handfuls of vitamins and supplements in a single swig.”  Is it a super power to be able to translate a sentence written almost entirely in letters, like “OPK=+. DH & I BD but BFN 14DPO?”  Like WTF?
My secret identity is much more mundane, and much more common.  I am a woman who struggles to get pregnant.
We’re easy to identify if you pay enough attention.  We keep ourselves under tight control at baby showers, weddings, family events, sometimes slipping away before someone asks us if we want to hold the baby.  When you start a conversation with “So, are you thinking about having a baby (adding to your family)?”  We say something vague like “Oh, we aren’t quite ready yet,” rather than tell you the exact number of months we have been trying to conceive, which we know like we know our own birthdays.  We’ll be the ones trying to be sure to publicly drink a glass of wine so you don’t come up and ask us if we are avoiding alcohol because we are pregnant, but sipping just a little so it doesn’t throw off our temperatures for the next morning, or dilute our urine because we need desperately to use an ovulation strip and see if we can get the timing down properly.
In the public eye, we don’t look any different from the rest of the women you see.  But in private, we have a stockpile of secrets that we’re afraid to tell anyone.

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It started out innocently enough for me.  When we decided we wanted a baby, I stopped taking contraceptives.  Time passed.  Cycles passed.  We went from trying to not have a baby, to “not” not trying, to sort of trying, to trying very hard.  As each month passed we’d try a little harder, adding something new into the regime.  Basal body temping was a no go, ovulation prediction kits (OPK’s) never showed a positive, every other day just didn’t seem to be working. Relax: “just relax and it’ll happen” – funnily enough this always comes from someone who only took 5 minutes to get knocked.  How the heck can you relax when you’ve been TTC for so long, and anybody in the same situation will never utter the word “relax” because they know it doesn’t happen no matter how hard you try.

We don’t talk openly about infertility, even though one out of every ten women experience it.  We don’t talk about miscarriage even though up to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in one.  And we most definitely don’t talk about trying to get pregnant after miscarriage — the fear that it was our last shot at having a baby, that if we do get pregnant that we will have to suffer through it all again.  The complete loss of innocence that comes from believing that your baby will be fat and healthy and nestled in your arms after nine uneventful months. First it becomes a routine marker, then slowly a compulsion develops.  What was once a daily prenatal vitamin morphed into a vitamin, additional folic acid, vitamin c, and, depending on the day in my cycle a growing  additional supplements that may or may not regulate my ovulation, give me more mucus, strengthen a potential egg, or just cost me lots of money per month.  I wake up in a panic, glancing at the clock to see if I’ve been asleep long enough to take my temperature.  I jokingly admit to the numerous OPKs and home pregnancy tests that I take, sometimes multiple times per day. I know more shades of purple, pink, gray and white lines than an artist.  The "Pillow under the bum: after baby dancing, whilst you’re laying there in post coital bliss, getting Dear Hubby to pop a pillow or two under the bottom for 15 minutes, which supposedly helps to keep the swimmers in and helps them on their journey or alternatively lay back and hold legs in the air!! Remain lying down for at least 15 minutes after sex"

These things I can admit openly, although somewhat abashedly, with a sheepish grin that reinforces my image as the caricature of the woman trying to conceive, a cartoon version of the real, rational self. I don’t tell people about the real secrets.  About the pregnancy test I take a week after my period in case it wasn’t the end of the cycle. I know that getting pregnant is just the beginning of the journey.  I didn’t expect the beginning to be so long.  I didn’t expect the beginning to be so lonely.  And I definitely didn’t expect the beginning to be so quiet.

....Fingers crossed