We’ve successfully not gotten pregnant for a year (how’s THAT for positivity?!)…and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s a strange sensation to hit the year mark and be left saying, “Sooooo – let’s just keep doing this!”
To kick start us taking this trying to conceive journey full circle, I received one negative pregnancy test, followed by one HSG rejection call. My HSG! The one thing that I was looking forward to at the year mark (looking forward to an HSG? What is this life?) I was told that I could schedule a “consult” to discuss the procedure (which was already previously discussed) and that we had a date scheduled for Valentine’s Day. One year, and I’ve booked a conversation.
Every woman who struggles to conceive has their 12th month marked on her mental calendar, an end goal that no one wants to reach. One year should hold the start of answers – the beginning of a new process, new frustrations (clomid makes me dry! The IUI didn’t take! Turns out his count is zero…), but I haven’t gained anything with this time. Instead of a baby, I’ve spent the past year becoming fluent in TTC acronyms and memorizing conceiving stats, even occasionally beefing up my vocabulary with a new potential diagnosis. There’s a world of facts and terms that I wouldn’t even be aware of if this wasn’t my story; I crave to be anything other than a walking TTC encyclopedia – wrapped up in a soft cloud of ignorance. I’ve had to explain chemical pregnancies, HSGs, and how OPKs work through gritted teeth, my undesired education in (in)fertility expertise. One of my first-trier friends didn’t even know what the two week wait is. The bane of my existence, the monthly sanity-sucking Dementor that has plagued me for an entire year, and she hadn’t even heard of it.
I pour fear down the throats of my childless friends with the tales of my experience: what if that happens to me? And dole out small doses of affirmations to those with babies; as they go home to wrestle toddlers to bed and awake to screaming newborns they think: at least that isn’t happening to me. Because, whether my baby-blessed friends want to admit it or not, I make them appreciate what they have by sniveling over what I lack. I’m the car accident you drive by that fills you with sympathetic relief. My husband is incredible (an extreme understatement) – I have him, but then you pair that with the knowledge that he’d be the most amazing dad, and suddenly the World’s Best Husband isn’t enough. Our relationship has adjusted to make room for conversations on ovulation dates and spotting – it’s been brought to a level that I never wished to reach. This must be how oversharing starts in marriages. Are we only a few years shy of throwing open the bathroom door and crying out, “Honey, come look at this!” – and it’s not a pregnancy test? We’ve become the couple who can’t stop talking about their kids – and we don’t even have them yet.
Yet. This is the word that I try to imprint in my mind as I attempt to kill the vision of my last negative test with moscato. The endless hope that these last twelve months – the counting, the waiting, the heartache – haven’t all been for nothing.
Each month feels longer than the last, but still I’m left with a shock of cold water – a year passed in a blink. It’s only when I think about how according to Plan Me I should’ve had a complete pregnancy by now – baby and all, that I realize how long a year really is. I’ve watched countless announcements bloom into births, only children promoted to big siblings – all while I’m playing a mental game of frogger, trying to duck and dodge my way out of prying questions. The desire to open up about my struggle becomes stronger every day, word vomit burning it’s way up my throat. “We’ve been trying for a year and all I got was this ectopic!” – not the best souvenir. I’ve moved on from planning baby announcements to planning infertility announcements. What will I say? When will I say it? What happens when I rip off the bandaid, only to reveal a gaping, oozing wound beneath?
There’s still a little voice begging me to try to do this on our own. Once you enter the world of fertility treatments, that’s it. You’re never going au naturale again. At the same time, I feel cheated, wronged by this process that promised if I saw a second February, I’d be welcomed into a fertility clinic with open arms. “Twelve months, you made it! Can we interest you in some blood work?” My body’s version of the statue of liberty – give me your tests, your needles, your ultrasounds! Give me a piece of hope.
Constant disappointment is my normal – negative tests are becoming commonplace. The calendar is resetting in my mind. One year down. Round Two: Begin.