Milestones & Weird Shit
August 15 - Weeks Trying to Get Pregnant: 23+ - Cycle 6
You get prescription prenatal vitamins after you’re pregnant. Before then, you take over the counter ones. Every time I have to buy a new 90 day supply, it is a reminder that I’m not pregnant yet.
But that’s not the only reminder: I flip the calendar to a new month, see an increase in the cycle count on my Getting Pregnant App™, have to order more ovulation test strips on Amazon, and worst of all, throw a new pack of tampons in the shopping cart.
I have a long-term financial planning spreadsheet which projects how much we will have saved for retirement, a down payment, etc., through the next calendar year. Our lease is up July 31, so the latest we could buy a house would be July 2018. I used to always tell people that we’d definitely have a baby before we bought a house. But each cycle I don’t get pregnant, I have to move the green border designating potential “Baby Month” one step closer to the purple border designating “Must Move Month.” Those borders are really close now — (late) May and July.
I am six months deep. And I feel the weight of science closing in. According to the best study I could find on couples who are using timed intercourse to get pregnant, 80% will conceive within six cycles. After that point, 50% of the remaining couples will not conceive in the following six cycles. (Footnote 1)
Actually, it’s insanely difficult to find real statistics and medical studies on how long it takes to get pregnant. I see all over the internet this stat that a woman has a 25% chance of getting pregnant each cycle, but I’ve never been able to locate a study to back that up. All I have found is confirmation that each cycle you don’t get pregnant after about the 3rd-4th cycle, your chances of getting pregnant naturally at all go down quite a bit. And after six cycles of trying, your odds are especially not good for getting pregnant before your mandated year of trying is over.
So the ballgame really changes if this next cycle isn’t a winner. I mean, it doesn’t actually. My body doesn’t actually know what cycle it is. But it is portending. Or maybe not. Who the heck knows?
What I do know is that I have done a lot of things for this imaginary baby:
- B-Complex vitamins (in addition to prenatals, and probably adding Vitamin C soon too)
- Red raspberry leaf tea (all tea is disgusting, especially without sweetener)
- Pineapple core after ovulation (actually discovered I liked pineapple from this though, so it’s not all bad?)
- Zero parabens or BPA…
- …Including NO nail polish or perfumes
- No retinol face cream (also known as the only thing that controls my hormonal acne which is probably in actuality another symptom that my hormones are totally out of whack)
- Taking my temperature at 6AM nearly every morning for six months
- Significant diet changes and attempts: no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, low-carb, high-fiber, no caffeine (I mean, I’ve been trying, it’s really hard)
- Pretending to do yoga (it’s mostly just stretching)
And who knows if any of this has had an effect. I keep trying to tell myself that regardless of the conception outcomes, I will not regret making changes to be healthier and lose weight. But behind the attempt to pretend like the goal is health and not pregnancy, the truth is obvious.
I feel the foolishness everywhere. I feel foolish each time I click on one more link touting some weird shit that will absolutely definitely help me get pregnant sooner. I feel foolish each time I update the spreadsheet or have to buy more vitamins. I feel foolish when I think something is wrong and that this wait is not just a normal, heart-wrenching rite of passage that many others go through seemingly without so much self-pity.
Every year at my company’s holiday party, we go around the room and share some personal success or milestone from the past year. I thought I’d be sharing my joy over an expected arrival. But I won’t be now. And while this also makes me feel so foolish for hoping and even assuming I’d be pregnant and far enough along to share it by Christmas, it mostly just makes me sad.
I really want to be pregnant and I am not. And every day I have to reckon with the fact that all the weird shit will not give me control over this process. I cannot bend this to my will like my long-term financial plan. And it totally sucks.