I have wanted another child for a few years and have been taking active steps for the past 9 months to welcome a new life into our family including doctor’s appointments, medication changes, ovulation tracking and of course specifically intended sex with no success. Every month during my fertile week, I expect a character from the Hunger Games to appear behind me and say, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Each month that passes without conception breaks my heart. Every cycle, I actively tell myself not to get my hopes up so I’m not so disappointed if Aunt Flo rears her ugly head, yet again, to identify my lack of pregnancy like a big red highlighter. When I am in that period of time where I am waiting to discover my parental fate, like a contestant on The Bachelor waiting to see if she will get a rose, I scold myself for thinking that every single turn of the stomach or yawn or mood swing could be “a sign” because PMS symptoms and early pregnancy symptoms are alarmingly similar. Not one of these things stops the fact that I full on cry my eyes out for more than a few minutes every time I get a negative pregnancy test.
It‘s no secret from anyone that I am trying to get pregnant but many people don’t understand why I have been down about it lately as they try to remind me that it really hasn’t been that long that I have been “really trying”. Apparently, I’m crazy for even getting worked up about it. Those people say, “You’re stressing. Just relax and it will happen.” To those people, let me lay out the last 9 months of my life for you:
December: Hunting for a new OB/Gyn to have my IUD removed. I finally find one that I want to go with and they can’t even get me on their schedule until January 29 at the earliest. Fine, I’ll take it.
January: Oh crap… I can’t even go to that appointment because I will be out of town hosting a baby shower for someone else. Next available appointment is mid-February. Meanwhile, I get to be present when someone else close to me finds out she is pregnant. She tried for 2 months. I am truly excited for her and ready to get my ball rolling too!
February: I meet my new OB/Gyn and hate him. He spent the entirety of my pelvic exam cracking racially inappropriate jokes about Native Americans. For example, “Did you hear the one about Minnehaha? She drank 20 cups of tea per day. Wanna know how she died? She drowned in her tea pee. Get it? Like tee-pee!” This man spent several minutes staring into my Hello Kitty and saying things like that and then refused to remove my IUD while I was there because the insurance company needs to give them pre-authorization. Uhhh… You knew exactly why I was coming for this appointment and I made that clear when I MADE the appointment so why not get the authorization before I came here? You’re cracking jokes into my vagina for absolutely nothing. My twat is not your microphone. Better yet, when I left and called the insurance company they inform me that removal of an IUD does not require any pre-authorization and they have no idea what he’s talking about. I immediately get on the hunt for a new doctor while simultaneously researching the possibility of removing my IUD myself.
March: Finally! A doctor that I like and he removed my IUD in seconds. This was kind of a big deal for me since I was THIS close to yanking the thing out in the shower myself, but with my luck I would accidentally rip my cervix or lose an ovary. I’d be really embarrassed explaining that in the Emergency Room. It’s a good thing too, because by the end of the month, I discovered I had gotten pregnant! My husband and I couldn’t have been happier!
April: We discover the fetus is not viable due to an ectopic pregnancy at about six weeks along. Injections of methotrexate to break down the fetal tissue and have it pass from my body aren’t working and surgery is my only option. My heart is broken that this will not be my baby, but I am accepting of the hand we have been dealt. We are told to wait a few months before trying again.
June: We get the OK from the doctor to start trying again! I am sooooo ready. Not one day has passed that I didn’t think about trying again. Not one morning and evening has gone by when I see those surgery scars when I dress and undress that I am not reminded of the joy I had, and how quickly it was snatched away. Not one night passed where I don’t lie in bed imagining the feel of a child in my womb again and longing to meet the person that I know is missing from our family. When I close my eyes, I still see the image that I was shown after surgery of the gnarled, blackened, miniscule person that will never fully exist. I desperately need to replace or supplement that image with the sight of my healthy future child on the ultrasound, growing and thriving.
Nothing but unsuccessful months follow. Some people that I have divulged my feelings to during these months have reprimanded me about being upset because afterall, I have only REALLY been trying for a couple of months. They don’t count any of the time I have spent preparing for this baby before July. They don’t count the loss of the first pregnancy, as if it never happened. They invalidate my hurt. They nullify my frustration. They tell me to RELAX. That is the number one most unhelpful thing that anyone can say. Relax? Oh really? You don’t say. I’m going to get right on it because I didn’t even think about trying that. Go ahead, tell another woman who you know is trying to conceive to “just relax”. She hates you now. I promise. The intensity and duration of her hatred toward you increases depending on how long she has been planning for this. I realize some people say it because they don’t know what else to say. They see someone they care about hurting and they don’t want that to be, so they dismiss it so it doesn’t exist. FALSE! Not only does it exist, but it is beyond my control to be discouraged and now I feel alone because you cannot empathize. Would you like another option of what you can say in such a conversation? Here’s a suggestion: “That sucks. I’m sorry that this isn’t going well.” That’s it. Simple. If that’s too difficult for you, let’s just not talk about it at all anymore.
What I need right now is to give a big resounding FUCK YOU into the universe. Fuck you, people who tell me I just need to relax. Fuck you, every article that says to reduce stress, as if it’s as simple as putting less fabric softener into the washing machine. Fuck you, anyone who doesn’t get why I am not in a good space. Fuck you prenatal vitamins that make me nauseous, convincing me that maybe it’s a pregnancy sign only to be let down. Fuck you zika virus which caused me to cancel my trip to St Lucia at the urging of my doctor because there was a chance I could be pregnant, but I wasn’t and lost all of my money for nothing. Fuck you to my child who likes to blurt out in front of people “Are you EVER going to finally have another baby? I’m ready for a sibling” after we have already discussed this a number of times in private. Guess what, kid? Even though each month I have done everything “right”, I can’t make it happen any faster.
I realize there are many women who have been at this Trying-To-Conceive thing much longer than I. Some of them are far more relaxed than I will ever be, and sometimes I feel ashamed for my disappointment when they have been disappointed far longer. I spoke with a woman who has been trying for over 2 years and she told me that everyone has their own limits of what they can take so it’s perfectly fine that I feel upset at this stage. So fuck that ashamed feeling too. My limits may be lower than many people and higher than others. I have always been a naturally anxious person and if relaxing about challenging things has never come easy to me before, why in the hell would anyone expect me to be able to do that now? Some days are better than others, but frankly, I believe I have the right to be a little crazy right now. Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That might as well also be the definition of trying to get pregnant.