Stomach aches. Ovary pings. An extra day of spotting. These are a few of my biggest fears (bonus points if you sung that to the tune of ‘my favorite things’ in your head). Ovaries are supposed to take turns each month on who releases the egg, and according to the cramping and pressure on my right side, it must be righty’s time to shine. And it doesn’t feel great. There is no manual on What To Expect When You’re No Longer Expecting: A Guide to Surviving Ectopic Pregnancies, so I was blindsided when it felt like something was actually shifting. Ovulation, yeah? I figured I was being thrown a bone – now I get an extra sign that I’m actually working! Except when I took an ovulation test (expecting to see a shining positive and smile in triumph that I’m beating the system) it was negative. I crinkled my forehead as I stared at the strip daring to tell me that I was not currently fertile. Do I ovulate earlier because of the ectopic now? Later? NOT AT ALL?! I’m back to my anovulatory cycle theory, completely disregarding the stress and anxiety and total wrongness this caused me in August. So much for succumbing to the process. I tried to pull the same stunt last month – had all these symptoms that I thought meant I was ovulating like crazy and then…negative. Took an at-home progesterone test in an attempt to put my mind at ease – negative. Pregnancy test (I knooow….) – negative. Can’t catch a break with the BFNs.
Why couldn’t I just let it be?
I will admit, I felt more (dare I say) calm during my days when I was completely free of the TTC mindset. There was a tickle of pleasure when I first realized I had no idea what cycle day I was on, but that realization lit a fire inside me and drove me to start counting dates and making notes of my symptoms. It’s like my anxiety synced up with my Two Week Wait and symptom spotting is inevitable. After I caved and tested, I looked up progression lines and tried to determine if it’s possible I just ovulated, which caused the negative tests, or maybe it was going to be positive soon? (The additional super negative test the next day said that was not the case.) This is a prime example of why you start testing a few days before expected ovulation. Or, why if you’re supposed to not get pregnant for twelve weeks, that you don’t test at all. I couldn’t outsmart the toxic combination of curiosity and fear – the movement in my right side (and, I’ll be honest, an evening before when we were a little “forgetful”), left me unable to ride out the rest of these weeks in peace. A day later my left ovary decided to speak up – a small lightning bolt of fury at what I can only assume is directed at picking up righty’s slack. I started imagining an assembly line of eggs struggling to push through a web of scar tissue on my right side, and instead being shot over like a pinball to my left in an attempt to keep up with the timeline.
When is a pinch in my ovaries, or a simple stomach ache, going to go back to being just an annoyance rather than a paralyzing fear that an egg is trying to burst through my tube? How do I train myself to avoid that gut-punch thought of: Am I ectopicing again?! There are moments where I have a sharp pain and turn to my husband, wide-eyed, demanding that he remind me I would have known by now if I was bleeding internally. On a bad day, my thoughts get reduced to two simple words: why me? And then the parrot-like reminder chimes in, “Could be worse! Could be worse!” Am I supposed to be glad that this is all that happened to me? The best of the worse case scenario, yes, but grateful I am not. It’s like a scab I keep picking. One blip in all these months and I’m left walking through an exhibit of this moment forever.
Ectopic Tour Guide: On your left, you can see the spot where she told her husband this could be an ectopic pregnancy, and can you believe it – they laughed. Ah, straight ahead is the hallway where she continuously called her doctor’s office in a panic. And if you squeeze in here, you can be in the actual stall where she confirmed both that she was pregnant, and that there was something seriously wrong happening.
Can’t I go back to being just plain ol’ bitter, instead of ectopic-bitter?
This is my fear talking. Cycle #2 is fast approaching and through my weekly, “Happy (insert number here) weeks!” greeting to my husband, there’s a hint of dread. Because if we aren’t successful next month, I no longer have my crutch of an excuse that we weren’t allowed to be trying. Not to mention that if anything seems off, I’ll have the dreaded E-word looming over me, threatening to make it’s 15% chance of appearing again. Doesn’t seem fair considering I only have a 20% chance of becoming “regular” pregnant, but I’ll let that one go for now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to jump back into TTC, I just don’t know if I’m ready for the familiar stench of disappointment that has latched onto it. You never do know though, maybe – just maybe, I have two pink lines in my future. Optimism, where are you?