Jan 24, 2008

Bottoms of Pits & Smelly Drugs

Have I mentioned peeing on a stick yet? The proper term is POAS, and it gets very costly when you’ve convinced yourself that the Dollar Tree pregnancy tests just are not as effective as the digital ones with smiley faces and options to refinance your mortgage. Having irregular periods only adds to the cost. Each cycle seemed to get longer and longer, convincing me each time that this must be it; I must be pregnant! Finally I would break down and POAS…Big Fat Negative (BFN). Frowny face on the digital stick and only one line on all the cheap-o’s. Most months I expected the usual let-down, but there were months scattered here and there where I felt more positive than usual, and genuinely expected to see two lines on those sticks. Those were the months that my body would trick me. My breast would feel tender…or would they? I would feel a little cramping around 7 days past ovulation (DPO) which indicated possible attachment of the fertilized egg in my womb…or would I? I was more emotional than usual…no, I guess I wasn’t. Each two-week wait (2WW), the time between ovulation (O) and test time was torture. I over-analyzed each and every symptom and tried to decide if I was really feeling that particular one, or if I just really wanted to feel it. The mystery was always solved by 14DPO; when I finally buckled down to ruin another pregnancy test. AF was not without her own sense of irony as well, choosing about exactly the time it took to figure out again that one line means “not pregnant” and wiping to show up – three minutes. For as spot on as her arrival was, I am amazed I did not catch on sooner and delay POAS just in case it was actually POAS that was making her come. Maybe if I never used any sticks she would stay away for a blissful nine months?

Touché, it doesn’t work that way of course.

Metformin is a smelly drug. It is also packaged with such loving care that it makes you break a sweat and actively lose weight just trying to remove the smelly pill from it’s home. I started out on 500mg, the lowest dose. My cats and I created a love-hate relationship with each other over my daily ritual of drugging myself. The smell is so enticing to them that it brings all five of them rushing from their various cubby-holes, excited and salivating at the anticipation of treats. Imagine their surprise to see Mommy eating their “treats”! Never have I been held in such contempt as to see ten fully dilated sets of pupils glaring at me. I admit I was tempted on more than one occasion to see what Metformin would do to a cat, but figured curing hirsutism was not tops on their lists of things to do. So in the end, it was down the hatch with the fish-pill, disappointing all involved.

Again, the first cycle of Metformin I was not expecting any miracles. It was new to my system and I was skeptical to begin with. When AF showed up, I expected her and didn’t even waste any tests that cycle. I began my second cycle on Metformin in the middle of October 2005. It was more than two years after our wedding, and we had passed the one-year mark of actively TTC. My old frustrations returned even though I had expected the Witch to show and I could feel the darkness of depression beginning to form. Bitterness, a new feeling for me, was consuming me, and it was difficult for me to see pregnant women or small children without tearing up. I was confused; I prayed and prayed for a child, why wasn’t God giving me one? I must be failing some heavenly test for Him to have so strongly put the desire for children in my heart, and then choose not to provide me with them. Still, I believed that Ty and I were meant to be parents, and I tried to stay positive.

Towards the end of that cycle in the middle of November I had another appointment with my GP. I expressed my frustrations, and explained that I was not content to keep hoping every month. I wanted to try fertility drugs. I still was not positive that I was even ovulating, and my cycles were still irregular. Dr. suggested Clomid. I thought about it for 60 seconds and said yes. She asked if I thought I could be pregnant right now. I pondered that for a moment, thinking back to see if any of the trick symptoms had plagued me and realized that there weren’t even any trick symptoms. “No,” I said sadly, “I don’t think I am pregnant.” With that, Dr. wrote out a prescription for Clomid and gave me instructions on how to use it. I left her office feeling surprisingly down-hearted. I was disappointed in my body, and in my patience. I felt apprehensive about Clomid and reluctant to “give in” to fertility drugs. Most of all, I felt like God had abandoned me, and left me with no other choice than to depend on myself. My depression lasted all day, its sadness relieved only slightly by Ty’s understanding and comforting hugs. We were meeting some friends for dinner that night, so I tried to shrug it off and feel hopeful for my first cycle on Clomid.

Dinner didn’t go very well. They were fairly new friends that we’d met through church in our new Bible study and we were eager to make a good impression. My parents own the restaurant we were at, and the servers were all familiar with Ty and I. Our server greeted us and as she handed out our menus she said to me, “Chelsea, did you hear that I’m pregnant?” No, of course I had not heard that. It gets worse, “I think the stinker poked a hole in the condom, we just got back together, I sure as heck wasn’t ready to have kids together!” (Laughs) and walks away after I sputtered out something sounding like a strangled ‘congratulations’. I sat back hard in my chair, aware that Ty was looking at me concernedly. I gaped at him. How can this be fair? She isn’t even married, in fact, wasn’t even in a committed relationship with this man! I did things right, I got married first, I had a great relationship with a man who was more than capable to be a father! (Yes, my snobbery ran deep back then). I could feel tears of anger and hurt working their way up my throat, grabbed the next server who walked by and requested a bottle of Shiraz. Our new friends gamely went along and raised their hands for glasses of wine as well, not realizing that my intent was less than sociable. We had not discussed children with them yet, so they had no way of knowing what our server’s announcement did to me. A bottle of wine later they may have guessed, but never mentioned it. Ty cut our evening short and escorted me to the car immediately after dessert. When the car door closed, I burst into tears. He listened patiently with understanding while I raged the entire way home. I slept fitfully that night, jealousy burning into my dreams causing me to toss and turn. In the morning my pillow was still damp from my tears. It was rock bottom for me and as I lay there in the rumpled sheets I prayed. I asked God for forgiveness for thinking I could do it without Him, for feeling anger that He would bless someone who wasn’t trying to have a child and not me, and for not believing that He would take care of me. I asked Him to help me be patient until He said “Yes”, and wiped the dried crusts of sorrow from the corners of my eyes and got out of bed.

I was shaky, as anyone who tried to replace their natural personality with alcohol would feel the next morning, and made my way to the bathroom. An unopened box of E.P.T.’s stared at me from the back of the toilet. I glared at them long and hard until I realized that I was on CD 38 or something absurd, and AF hadn’t shown up yet. I sighed, knowing the surest way to start a new cycle was to test. “Let’s get this over with” was my glum thought. With a practiced fingernail I deftly sliced through the shrink wrap and pulled out the test. Three minutes later I looked at the results, hope finding it’s way through my resignation. The test said +. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t remember suddenly what it was supposed to say. I set the test back down and reached for the instructions. Apparently a + sign equals pregnant. I picked the test back up. There was a definite positive sign in the window. As I sat there with my pajama pants still around my ankles I cried. The moment was too romantic and beautiful for the setting, but all I could think was…I’m PREGNANT!

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