Try and Try Again
So ever since I started becoming sexually active I’ve had a heightened sense of panic each month about unplanned pregnancy. I have pretty much taken some form of birth control pill for 10+ years, but regardless my period was very irregular. I would only menstruate every few months and when I did, it was super light. Most girls would be jealous but I had to become very familiar with pregnancy tests to keep myself sane.
When I shared this information with my OBGYN in my teens and early 20’s he didn’t seem concerned. At one point I insisted on trying a different pill; however, unfortunately that didn’t change my regularity.
After dealing with this drama for years and years, I would make the joke that by the time I finally wanted to see a positive pregnancy test result, I wouldn’t even be fertile and all of my past stress will have been for nothing. Although I joked about it, it was always an underlying fear that would creep into my mind on occasion because I felt guilty for taking so many tests hoping for a negative result, knowing that someday I would want children.
After about a year of marriage to my husband I started to pressure him to have kids. I couldn’t really put my finger on a rational reason but I kept saying that if we waited until after 30 I would have declined fertility on top of my existing nerves that the odds were against me. He and I disagreed on timing for months but I finally stopped taking my pill and after a couple of months without a goalie I made an appointment with a new OBGYN to talk about officially starting to try and tapering off of my SSRI.
I told the doctor that I’d been trying to proactively track my ovulation but was having a hard time. After looking at the information that I had written down and discussing my past menstrual cycles, he warned me that he was fairly confident that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. He also pointed out the unfortunate reality that since quitting my birth control a couple of months back, I had gained 30 lbs (apparently a symptom of not having the pills to regulate hormones) and I had irregular or absent cycles for 10+ years (likely meaning I wasn’t ovulating on a monthly basis) which all was common in PCOS. He shared that I would likely have a difficult time getting pregnant without introducing medication. Although the medication would be effective, it had a very high chance of producing multiples.I told him that both mine and my husband’s families had recent history of multiples and I was not willing to take that chance without trying naturally for awhile. So that’s where we left it.
As soon as I told be husband the news I think he realized that this was a fear that I’d had for years and now it was like a nightmare becoming reality. He became very supportive and ready to do whatever we needed to do to make this baby.
As optimistic as I felt in the doctor's office about trying naturally, that attitude didn’t last long when I realized that nearly all tracking methods to help with fertility and conception wouldn’t work with PCOS. So we essentially just had to do the deed and periodically take pregnancy tests because I wouldn’t know when to expect my period or when to know it was missed.
After a month my husband started to preach that conception would happen when it’s supposed to and I should stop trying to control the situation and be so planful. I couldn’t just have that mentality though…since I was “officially” trying to get pregnant I was abstaining from drinking or eating foods that a pregnant woman shouldn’t, taking a super low dose of my SSRI, not getting on the back of his motorcycle (along with any other risky activities), etc. These were all major inconveniences and the SSRI could be an issue if the drama of infertility were to kick me into a funk -- which I was terrified of. So my lackadaisy attitude was nowhere to be found. Please tell me you can sympathize?
Additionally, it’s a bitch to not be able to vent about this major life challenge. I’d told a few people but it confirmed for me quickly that I couldn’t tell anyone else because the optimism that everyone else had wasn’t helpful (no offense to them). The positivity just seemed unrealistic and belittling to what I was actually experiencing. I could only imagine that if I told my parents or in-laws they would be asking for updates all of the time and giving unsubstantiated advice). It was just challenging enough to run through the million scenarios in my own head, let alone add in more opinions.
Speaking of scenarios, I googled and read books like a lunatic and although I felt very informed, I think it became an OCD issue. I feel like since I couldn’t control the situation (which I clearly dislike as a type A personality), the least I could do is be as informed as possible. I figured that by the time I did get pregnant I would be super prepared and know exactly what to expect (not to mention how to raise my child up through age 18 in the most perfectly educated, researched, thorough, detailed way).
When you’re in the thick of it, even one month can feel like an eternity to wait while trying to get pregnant. As each month passes by your hopes get so much bigger before you take the test and your heart just breaks harder with each negative result. There is no good advice for this situation because no one can guarantee you anything in the end- it’s just a matter of having faith and trying to keep sane while you wait.
Best of luck to all of the women who long for that perfect moment of looking down and seeing a positive test result. I’m sending hugs your way!