My ovaries are holding my eggs hostage. That’s what the doctor called to tell me last week. She didn’t say those exact words – that’s just my spin. What she actually said was, “Based on your blood work, it doesn’t look as if you are ovulating. I’d like for you to come in to talk about taking Clomid.”
I said, “Yeah. I figured as much. Twenty dollars, twenty ovulation predictors sticks, and lots of squatting over a cup with no positive result led me to the same conclusion.” OK, OK, I didn’t say those exact words, but that’s what I was thinking.
I have a routine down for dealing with bad news. It’s just happened so often during the past few months that I realized it’s an established protocol.
First, I call my mom. This is usually because I want to be dramatic and download. I spill a crescendo of conclusions, she (as a nurse) points out all the flaws in my logic and my misinterpretations of clinical possibilities (or impossibilities). I cry and ask her why she can’t just listen and validate my feelings. And then I hang up and call a girlfriend.
The girlfriend is great for validating the emotion. She will eventually get to logic and talk me off the ledge, but first, she wholeheartedly encourages the drama because she knows that to try to talk logic to a woman who is hormonal and unpredictable will do no good. She offers to come over and break dishes with me and knows that when I say, “No, don’t worry about it,” she can tread lightly on to the terrain of sense and sensibility. By the time I hang up, I’m ready to call my husband.
These are usually very short conversations because to try to explain how my ovaries and other girly bits are not functioning without a diagram and hand motions is pointless. We agree to talk at home later and hang up to return to our normally scheduled work programming as if nothing has happened.
All up, this takes about 26 minutes of phone time and is entirely necessary for me to go on functioning. From connecting with people who have experienced what I have, I can confidently say that behind every woman coping with and healing from a pregnancy loss is a strong cast of characters. They are the people who answer the phone, endure verbal abuse, sympathize and empathize, and simply show up when it matters.
I am so grateful to my supporting cast because they have carried me. To them, I say: Thank You for dancing in my ballet of grief and hope. You are the best in my worst of times.
We have an empty room upstairs. It’s supposed to be the nursery but I’m seriously thinking about converting it to war room and calling it Operation Conceive. I’ll hang wall-sized basal body temperature charts and dry erase boards to track the changes in my cervical mucus. I’ll set up a computer and several monitors that will show my most fertile times of the month based on complex algorithms that take into account the date of my last menstrual cycle plus the variables of progesterone pills, consumption of conception friendly foods, and my desire to conceive. Think about the Mission Control Center at NASA. That’s what I have in mind.
I’ll arrange to have a police escort on standby so that the moment the stars align, I can whisk my husband into the bedroom and we can get down to business.
I shared this plan with a girlfriend who doesn’t have children and has no desire to do so. She said, “Gee Em. Conceiving doesn’t sound very romantic.” Uhh. No. This is a science. In fact, I can’t imagine anything less romantic than calling my husband and saying “My cervical mucus looks like egg-whites. Get home now!” Sex is definitely not recreational anymore.
After having success with the progesterone pills, I decided to buy my first ovulation predictor kit (OPK). I actually have no clue IF I’m ovulating. My body is giving me mixed signals. My cervical mucus is all over the place. So is my basal body temperature. I’ve had random pain around my ovaries for the past five months so I can’t rely on that as an indicator of anything. Sigh.
The good news is, I will go back to my doctor on Cycle Day 21. She’ll blood draw that will tell me if I’m actually ovulating. In the meantime, I don’t want to miss my fertile window so I thought an OPK would be a good idea. I didn’t however, take into account how depressing a negative result would result would be.
Every afternoon I sneak away around 2:00 to pee on a stick and wait an agonizing five minutes to see if a line will appear giving me the green light to shave my legs and pretend I really want to have sex. So far, it hasn’t. I’m depressed and my legs are hairy. How long can a girl live like this?
I’ve been taking my progesterone pills for a week now. My face looks like a war zone, my bowels are in distress, and I’m pretty sure that a nitroglycerin plant could explode just outside my bedroom and I wouldn’t notice. I have a window of about 45 minutes between taking the pill and entering into a coma. On the plus side, I’m getting some great sleep.
Waking up the next day is a bit of a challenge and I think the extra hormones are eating brain cells because I left the pill bottle in my gym bag and left the gym bag in my car. If you want to know what I found when I opened the bottle that night, put a few jellybeans in the microwave for thirty seconds.
The next day, I sheepishly showed the pharmacist my ‘whoops.’ Her eyes popped out of her head and she said, “Wow. Oh. Hmmm.” Thanks lady. Yeah. I know I’m supposed to keep the pills in a cool dark place.
I watched her put the melted, rubbery yellow hunk in the palm of her hand and take it to the back to find out if they could replace the prescription with the ‘damaged’ feature of my insurance plan. You would have though she was carrying a tiny rhinoceros in the palm of her hand by the reactions of the staff in the back. Through the glass, I saw raised eyebrows and confused faces. Seriously guys. I can’t be the first person to have done this. I’ve been really careful with my replacement pills, especially since I had to pay full price for half the pills.
I have three more days with this round. Then we wait for the magic to happen. Supposedly, my body will recognize the rapid decline in the hormone and Aunt Flo will show up. From there, we wait until cycle day 21. On that day, I run to the doctor without passing go and get my blood drawn. The results will tell us whether I am ovulating.
If I am, then I’ll continue taking the progesterone and hope that our routine — I mean our every-other -day romantic rendezvous’, result in a pregnancy. If I’m not ovulating, then we have to make a decision about whether to start a course of egg-releasing pills.
Thanks a lot body. This is so much fun.