Trying to Conceive · TTC

Ghost in the Graveyard

The sun has set and all you have to light your way is the moon and street lamps sprinkled down the block.  You’re crouched in anticipation, waiting for the moment that someone will spot you and shout, “ghost in the graveyard!”; then you’ll pump your legs in the hopes that your fingers will graze one of your neighbors before they make it to base, and then they will be ‘it’.  Have you played this game?  What about The Witch Ain’t Out Tonight, or Bloody Murder?  In my neighborhood, it was just Ghost in the Graveyard, and I was never ‘it’.  In fact, I was reduced to sulking on my front porch as I whined to my mom about how I wanted to play and it wasn’t fair (girl, you don’t know what ‘not fair’ is).    

Being the youngest of my two siblings, exclusion wasn’t anything new to me, but that didn’t mean I accepted the reasons for why I wasn’t allowed to partake in the evening game: It was getting dark.  Bedtime was approaching.  I was too young.  (Ah, to be “too young” again!)  This may be a bit of a stretch – but TTC is kind of like playing Ghost in the Graveyard (or, at least it is for my current situation).  Trade out young kids for a bunch of women in their twenties and thirties, swap the ‘ghost’ for a BFP, and you have a group bubbling with nervous excitement searching for a way to become it.  Not being able to TTC  is like watching everyone play a game that you can’t be a part of.  I’m stuck on a mental front porch, wishing that I could join in.  

I do it to myself really.  I snoop around on my app, zooming in on faint lines on pregnancy tests and distributing advice like a card dealer (it always comes with a parting line of “…but it was ectopic so now I’m in a three month wait.”)  I’m further developing my youngest-child-syndrome and working on sharing issues now (but I want a BFP!) and pondering over the unfairness that is life.  I want to squint my eyes at OPKs, I want to symptom spot, I want I want I want.  Deleting the app is too dramatic of a step for me, so I hid it on the second page of a folder in my phone, hoping that having to tap, swipe, tap (exhausting!) will keep me from going straight to it.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  And shockingly enough…it’s actually working.  There’s nothing there for me anymore – at least, not at this time.  I’m trying to embrace this break (I did say I wanted Month 7 to be my “let’s not try, try” month – I just wasn’t aware the universe would take me so seriously) and enjoy not getting worked up over symptoms or tests.  Sometimes my fingers twitch and I get the desire to see what’s going on in the TTC world, but I worry that if I go back into the threads I’ll start making mildly inappropriate comments on every post I come across.  

Poster: I’m one day late – could this be our month?!

Me: Rude.

Poster: ???

Me: …jealous.

How nice would it be to “forget” about TTC for these next six weeks?  Constantly counting days and entering data has caused me more harm than good, and I have to remind myself that I won’t be able to mentally handle keeping up with all this tracking if it ends up being a long journey.  I started blogging in the hopes that other women wouldn’t feel so alone, but maybe alone is exactly what I need at this moment.  Otherwise, all I have left is to not-so-patiently wait for November to roll around and keep my fingers crossed that I’ll finally be it!

Trying to Conceive · TTC

It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

Almost five weeks post-ectopic diagnosis and I had to fight the urge to test.  I know I cannot be and, more importantly, SHOULD NOT be (and then realistically: was not) pregnant, but it’s pure instinct now.  Cycle Day 30?!  TEST. TEST. TEST!!!  I feel so lost without my half-year hobby.  You can take the girl out of TTC but you can’t take TTC out of the girl! (or something like that).  Now that it’s the month of All Hallow’s Eve, I can pretend to be distracted by scary movies and spiced cider (I personally recommend heating apple cider with cinnamon sticks and then mixing in caramel swirl vodka – DE.LISH!)  I have to face the fact that all the glitter pumpkins and orange and purple lights around my apartment can’t distract me from my continual countdown: SEVEN more weeks.  Not so bad, but zero more weeks is my preferred amount.  I’m aware that I’ve been horrible about keeping up with this blog – it’s so hard when all your spare time is spent devoted to re-reading every possible thread about if you really have to wait three months before TTC again (you do).  Also, what’s a TTC blog sans TTConceiver?  

I suppose I do have one other thing on my mind: WITCHCRAFT.  Nope, that came off crazier than I intended.  It’s really just a party trick plus a psychic reading that is making me severely over think life  (I shouldn’t be allowed to do things like this), but I was attempting to stick with the Halloween theme a bit.  There is no way to phrase this to make it sound magical: a ring on a string told me how many kids I’m going to have and what their genders will be.

Mhm.  Read it again if you’d like.

My coworker told me about this little trick pre-ectopic (I really need to stop determining time that way) and at the moment it felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain!  My husband groaned when I told him I would be partaking in this activity, “Do you REALLY need something else to think about?”  You mean besides our future children?!  Even my coworker refused to ‘run the test’ until I repeatedly lied to her face and promised that I would not read too much into it (aaand here we are..).  It’s simple really.  You loop a gold ring through a string and hold it over the flat of your hand, like so:

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(Note: apparently you need to find a ring that’s pure gold and doesn’t have diamonds because it “might interfere with your baby gender energy” or something like that, but this is all I have!)

Once the ring is stationary, it will start to move either in a circular motion, or side to side like a pendulum.  Circular = girl.  Pendulum = boy.  After I crossed my fingers behind my back and swore for the final time I am fully aware this “doesn’t mean anything” I got to view my future!  When she first held the string-ring (or, ring-string?) over my hand, it slowly started swirling and then picked up such momentum that my first child was deemed to be a “strong girl”.  Not in a stubborn kind of way (well, let’s be honest…) but in a you’re-definitely-having-a-girl-first kind of way.  Okay, play it cool, don’t act like you’re not insanely excited but OMG the hubs DID recently say he wanted to be a Dad to a little girl!  After that decision was clear, she ‘cleaned’ the line.  (You have to run your hand down the string to make it still again before getting the next result.)  This was the moment of truth.  One baby right now sounds amazing, but isn’t exactly what we have planned for our family.  The ring began to move again, this time sashaying side to side.  A boy!  A boy!  A girl and then a boy just like we’ve always wanted!  We did it, all our dreams are coming true!  Stilled the string.  Then…a second pendulum swing.  …another boy?  How’d he sneak in there?!  It appears that, according to our current (because OH do I know how plans can change!) family goals, we will end up with a third little surprise!  

This is ludicrous, right?  And yet, after four separate run-throughs, my results remained the same.  Have I double checked this with my husband?  Of course not!  I don’t want to destroy this fantasy!  Not to mention, I’m trying to avoid the potential awkward moment when the ring-string tells us that he’s going to have four kids and we have to get into an argument about the “other woman” who doesn’t exist.  The results of my other coworkers made me a bit more wary (that’s right, not the whole fact of it simply being a ring on a string though…that’s totally legit) – one who doesn’t want children will have two, one that wants many will have one.  Sure, I know that anything could happen and what we plan for usually isn’t what we get, but it still made me question this super reliable test.  

Clinging onto this absurd seed of hope, I began to worry for that first girl of mine.  Was that my embryo that we lost last month?  My coworker, without knowing any of my background (or did the ring tell her that somehow too?!) told me a story about her sister-in-law who had a miscarriage.  Apparently, the ring swung and then stopped abruptly – that represented her loss.  My Little Sac was never going to have a gender, so it wouldn’t have shown up on the string, and therefore I did not lose out on my future baby girl – or so I keep telling myself.  What is probably even more likely is that this is simply a ring on a string and not indicative of my future.  Somehow, that thought doesn’t keep me from pondering about the three babies I’m supposed to have.  Surely that means a BFP soon cause I’m not getting any younger over here!

In a second instance of desperation (I do NOT like the unknown), I may have downloaded an app where your first text to a psychic is free….yes, for all of you cringing at what you know I’m about to say next – I asked when I’m going to be pregnant.  If they’re right – you should all expect to hear some good news from me “early next year”!  When I first received that response, I began calculating the time and thinking…months 11 and 12 are still early of next year..we could still make it!  Well, they used to be.  My months are all out of whack with the ectopic and Three Month Wait – what do I count?  Do I start back at Month 7?  Is it a new Month 1?  OH PLEASE NO.

Now I can’t help but appreciate the fact that I won’t be able to conceive until the end of November or December of this year anyway – which could result in finding out I’m pregnant in early 2018.  Would you look at that – the psychic could be right after all!  Is now a good time for me to bring up that I went to a palm reader in college and was told that I’m going to have two children in my late twenties?  DID YOU HEAR THAT UTERUS?!  I’d say we’re pretty behind schedule then!

These are the things I’m stuck thinking about as I’m trying to be hopeful for the upcoming months.  Three (or two? who’s right?!) babies – must be getting pregnant soon!  Early next year?!  That’ll be here before I know it!  Simple, unrealistic thoughts in an attempt to bat away the terrifying, “What if all of this was just the beginning?  What if I have even more months ahead of me?”  Who knew the peeing-on-a-stick days were going to be some of my more sane moments…

Ectopic Pregnancy · Methotrexate · Two Week Wait

Two Week Wait Version 2.0

In a mere two weeks, my hCG levels went back to normal (my doctor’s choice of words – I would’ve preferred a concrete number – am I at 5, or 0?!) and I’ve been given the green light to pick back up on all the can’t-dos that came along with the Methotrexate.  And honestly?  I’m finally starting to feel more than just “okay”.  Not a watch-My-Baby-Is-Gone-on-Lifetime kind of okay, but good enough for now.  Regardless of the lingering pressure in my ovaries, I’m pretending this is my ectopic-closure.  It’s over(ish).

During this two week wait, I missed TTC enough that I spent my time Side Effect Spotting, which isn’t hard to do when your ovaries are gurgling like a digesting stomach (the memory of that sound, and simultaneous feeling, still makes me shudder).  The first few days it was easy to blame everything on the Methotrexate: nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, the gurgles.  Even walking provided new challenges as going too far, or too fast, left me gripping at what felt like a runner’s-cramp in my side. I went from religiously going to the gym, to laying on an air mattress in my living room – self soothing with carbs and cookie dough.  My physical and emotional pain had to battle for my attention.  It was hard to feel so utterly…not me.  Eventually, worse side effects moved in: cracking wrists, aching bones, what felt like a bubble sitting in my tube…and bubbles BURST.  Was this just my body being weird, or something more sinister?  Is this the Dry Socket Fiasco all over again?

The Dry Socket Fiasco (formerly known as The Worst Thing Ever – until now): When I got my wisdom teeth taken out, the nurse that I had claimed as my new best friend (thanks, anesthesia) sent me away with nothing more than a wave and what I assume was a hefty bill for my parents.  I spent the first week of my sophomore year winter break lying in bed, dependent on perfectly timed painkillers, none of which actually killed my pain.  My mouth had the most unbearable ache, but I continued to tell myself this is how it’s supposed to feel.  Except it wasn’t.  When I went for my follow-up visit a week later, I discovered that I had dry socket and that I “should’ve came in a lot sooner” (sound familiar?).  I was beyond frustrated.  They pulled out two of my teeth – how was I supposed to determine what was abnormal and what wasn’t?

The results of my negligence (which is irritating to say even all these years later, because I didn’t know) were that I had to rework my jaw open to a “normal” size”…by myself…using my knuckles.  Apparently, if you’re wondering, most people can fit two to three knuckles between their teeth – after only a week of barely speaking and eating due to the pain, I could only fit one.  It was a miserable personal rehab, and to this day my jaw still clicks.

This memory left me feeling haunted, not ignoring the fact that I had already ignored all the symptoms pre-ectopic discovery.  The stars completely misaligned for me last month (believing I didn’t ovulate…negative pregnancy test…weird spotting that I thought was because of not ovulating); I didn’t want to fall into that same trap.  The day after I whimpered in the middle of the night due to my creaky bones (which I firmly believed was caused by me taking Ibuprofen without realizing I wasn’t supposed to be taking Ibuprofen because the handout they gave me did not follow the pharmacy’s instructions that specifically state NOT TO TAKE IBUPROFEN) – I decided to call my doctor’s office.  “Hi, um…my bones hurt.  I just want to know if like, this is normal, or if I should be concerned, or if I’m making this up.” *nervous laughter*  My social anxiety is always pushed to the limit when I make phone calls.  Or order at drive-thrus.  Or speak to people.  Turns out, like I already knew, Methotrexate is akin to chemo and therefore you’re expected to feel achy (though it felt more like my bones were slowly disintegrating), and I should “just take some Ibuprofen.”  

So I stopped calling.

There was another sleepless night where I was stuck in my own head and convinced myself that the pressure I was feeling meant that my tube was about to burst.  Is this it?  What’s it going to feel like?  Am I going to just get overwhelmed with pain and have to go to the ER?  Am I supposed to go there now?  But this really doesn’t feel THAT bad…  And it wasn’t.  Either I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, or everything I felt was as I described – pressure. discomfort. achy. bearable.  Daily I reminded myself of a favorite saying of my Mom’s, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”  She usually said that when I had a cold and would probably be horrified to realize I was applying that to what could’ve potentially been a ruptured tube, but here I am: better.  Heck, I can even walk without getting a cramp now!  

Surreal doesn’t do this experience justice.  Even when my doctor called to give me my final results, I sounded skeptical.  “So – this is it?  No followup ultrasound?  No HSG?  We’re all good here?  …I was seriously pregnant?”  She mostly wanted to remind me about not trying to conceive for the next three months – as if I could possibly forget about the time she added to my already long sentence.  At least being able to take my prenatal vitamins today felt like a small achievement.  Funny how something that once irritated me and made me feel ridiculous on AF days, now fills me with excitement and dare I say…hope.

Like with my clicking jaw though, I can’t help but wonder: what mark is this ectopic pregnancy going to leave behind?

Ectopic Pregnancy · Methotrexate

Ectopic Pregnancy

Raw.  That’s how I felt after my diagnosis – as if someone had cracked me open, scooped out all of my insides, and sewed me back up haphazardly.  I had officially been broken.

The morning of my appointment, I was greeted with red, and clots.  I again felt the fear that this was all some sort of grandiose delusion and at any moment someone would tell me that none of this was real.  Was I currently losing our baby?

The ultrasound room felt strangely dark and ominous, not a place where I expected to hear a baby’s heartbeat.  Our technician assured us that she would let us know if she saw anything, and then proceeded to remain tight lipped throughout the procedure as she paused to draw lines or circles and print pictures.  My eyes were glued to the screen as I tried to make out what she was noticing that I so clearly could not pick up on, but I had seen enough ultrasound pictures to know what I didn’t see: a sac.  After shuffling around for about ten minutes, she ended the exam and broke her silence.  “There isn’t an embryo in your uterus, but you do have a lot of fluid which is odd; and there is something on your right ovary which makes me believe that this could be an ectopic pregnancy.”  And then she left.  

The resulting silence pierced my ears as I pulled on my bottoms and repeated to myself what would become my mantra for the day: Don’t cry.  Don’t cry.  Don’t cry.  I chewed on the inside of my cheek as a nurse led us into a room to wait for my doctor, double checking that I was sure I hadn’t been experiencing any pain for those eighteen days.  “No…nothing.”  I let the staff marvel at my body’s reaction, or lack thereof, while denial flared through my veins.  It could be a cyst, my mom has cysts, everyone has cysts!  It’s probably just a cyst.  …And a chemical pregnancy.  Once we were alone, I felt cracks beginning to form inside of me.  “I’m upset,” I explained to my husband, as hot tears began to roll down my face, “because this usually means you need surgery.”  Earlier in the week, post-diagnosis-hunting, I told my husband that I stumbled upon something saying that my symptoms could be from an ectopic pregnancy.  Once I explained what exactly that entailed, he responded with, “What?  That’s not a thing.” and now we were left facing that very real thing.  

I fell into a catatonic state while my husband played with the Mirena samples on the table and pointed out the most outrageous pamphlets on the wall (the one with a sperm meeting an egg at her front door with flowers was the winner).  My condition didn’t even earn a pamphlet – guess when you’re part of the 2% it’s not worth the paper.  For all my focus on pregnancy statistics, I was really beating the odds on this one.  I was walking a fine line between denial and devastation: How silly were we all going to feel once we realized this was one big misunderstanding?  Turns out, the only misunderstanding was between me and my body.  

Finally, my doctor breezed into the room with a handful of my ultrasound pictures, and asked to hear the story from my point of view.  It was me versus the ultrasound and my recollection of “not ovulating”, endless spotting, and lack of pain still brought her to the same conclusion: it was an ectopic pregnancy.  When I mentioned my cyst theory, she quickly dismissed it by saying that due to my positive pregnancy test and my empty (typical) uterus – there was no other feasible option.  She drew a picture to help us visualize what was happening, and then proceeded to explain what was going to happen.

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She provided two options and, considering I thought my only option was surgery, I felt a surge of hope for the first time that morning.

Option One: Methotrexate – a drug that they would inject via two shots to my butt which would then act as a sort of chemo and, she cringed as she said, “kill the cells”.  The shot came with its own set of conditions.

  • I’d have to stop taking my prenatal vitamins (doable)
  • Weekly blood tests would need to be performed until my hCG levels were below 5
  • We would not be able to try to conceive for another three months

Wasn’t I supposed to be laying down while she kicked me?  Three months sounds like a small price to pay in exchange for two viable tubes, but the hits wouldn’t stop coming.  She seemed optimistic and said that, though there may be scar tissue, we shouldn’t have any problem conceiving in the future and that this “didn’t take that long” to begin with (ignoring the fact that I wouldn’t call this a successful pregnancy in any way) .  

Option Two: Surgery – this one is more self explanatory, but there are still specific qualifications to require surgery (which she revealed would occur that very day if I was unable to receive the Methotrexate – talk about a change in plans).  

  • Unstable condition (I was stable physically at least)
  • Heartbeat – we did not have a heartbeat, and the next day we talked about how that was for the best as it would’ve made this entire process that much harder
  • Size – the larger the mass, the greater the odds of it bursting, the more likely that you’ll need immediate surgery.  Our little sac was measuring in at 3.4 cm, which was a mere 0.2 cm away from requiring surgery
  • HCG levels – high levels may not respond as well to Option 1

All in all, I was a stellar candidate for the medication and just needed the results of my blood test to further confirm the next step.  After examining my abdomen to triple-check my nonexistent pain (eventually I would recall that I felt the ectopic-related pain once: it seared through my abdomen while I laid in bed, leaving me incapable of doing something as simple as rolling over – my own internal straight jacket – and then swiftly released it’s hold on me), she said, “I cannot emphasize to you enough that this is no way your fault.  There’s nothing you could’ve done to prevent this.”  One giant glitch in my system.  This was all some sort of cruel joke where I finally got the pregnancy I’ve been hoping for – just not in the right place.  Like being granted a wish from a Genie, I wasn’t quite specific enough about what I wanted.  “I wish I was pregnant.” “Aha!  But you did not say where you wanted the pregnancy to be!”  Fool me once.

Her parting words were to avoid any food or drink in anticipation of potentially needing surgery.  Being a creature of habit, and not knowing what else to do with myself, I headed off to work.  This continued my ever-changing mantra:

Don’t cry on the street.

Don’t cry on the bus.

Don’t cry in the elevator.

Don’t cry at work.

Seriously, don’t cry on the bus.

My results were “positive” in the sense that I was eligible for the shots (hCG was at 480 and progesterone was lingering at a low 1).  For reasons I don’t deem worthy of investigating, they had to send the prescription to the pharmacy where I would then pick it up, bring it back to their office, and get injected with a drug that had the power to kill off my cells.  Cheery.  I felt irrevocably broken, emotionally exhausted, and just plain hungry as I waited at the pharmacy.  This gave me time to revert back to my misunderstanding theory and ponder if I even needed something so horrible injected into my body.  Wasn’t I working this out on my own?  How were my low hormone levels and spotting not indicative of my body flushing everything out?  I sent my husband a series of texts while waiting.

Me: I don’t need to do this!!! Come on – it’s healing on its own!

Now I’m reading all these things saying that I don’t need it!

Husband: But you are bleeding in your abdomen…she said you were

Me: NO no I was not!

She said in my uterus!

You’re allowed to have blood there

Husband: nooo she for sure said there was a little on the outside but mainly in your uterus

Me: Barely. She said barely.

I don’t want to to put myself through some treatment I don’t need! I don’t want to wait for three months when it could’ve worked out on its own!

Husband: Babe I don’t think this is something you can really just ride out….or should

This is the first time I’ve looked back at those texts – it’s like reading something sent by a stranger.  I was so driven by my emotions, I completely ignored all the facts – and facts are usually all I hold onto.

Right before I received the prescription, the pharmacist said that they needed to conduct an “interview” with me to confirm that I’m not pregnant.  With a deadpan manner I replied, “Well.  I am pregnant, that’s technically the problem.”  And I hated everything in that moment.  

The final visit to my doctor’s office was a numbing experience.  I was a dam waiting to burst and absolutely everything nearly set me off.  I was outraged when the receptionist greeted me with a huge smile and enthusiastic, “You’re back!” as if we were old friends and she was thrilled to see me again so soon.  I was furious when, post shots, I noticed that the nurses had gotten the liquid on what I had decided that morning was my new favorite sweater.  And I nearly lost my mind when, after applying two ridiculous-looking bandaids to my bum, one of the nurses said, “And no alcohol for two weeks.”

Wound: meet salt.

No alcohol, no intercourse, no sun, no working out – no coping mechanisms.  Everything had officially been taken from me.  Once the entire ordeal was over (and after the receptionist sent me away with a peppy, “Have a great weekend!”) I had to check my list to see if coffee was allowed, and I wandered into a Starbucks.  Yes, I want an extra shot.  Yes, I want whip cream.  …Was that woman in line flaunting her baby in front of me?  I was fueled only by caffeine and misery; my pre-breakdown time was running short.  The final bus ride on the way home was excruciatingly long.  Small hiccups of sobs escaped as I reminded myself that crying wasn’t allowed on the bus.  Why didn’t I just splurge on the damn Uber home?  

Finally, after a cruel seven hours, I was back in the safety of my own apartment.  I barely closed the door before the sobs wracked my body.  The events of the entire day slammed into me all at once and left me heaving – trying to grab quick bursts of air.  Suddenly, both my hands went numb and I dropped down to all fours while gasping,, “I can’t…I can’t…”.  If that was a bizarre side effect of the Methotrexate, I did not have the emotional capacity to address it.  I just couldn’t.  


We had the best of the worst situation.  Though I generally try to avoid playing the “it could’ve been worse” (surgery) game, because it’s equally as simple to play the “it could’ve been better” (normal pregnancy) game.  It’s a matter of trying to accept what happened and move forward as best as I can.  There have been days when I’m consumed by anger, that I feel completely betrayed by my own body, but then I try to remind myself that in a way, my body saved me.  Whether it’s true or not, I like to believe that my body was breaking down the cells well before their discovery and that’s what caused me to have minimal pain and also, for it to not rupture at 7 weeks and 2 days.  I have completely succumbed to this process – never again will I make assumptions about my cycle or ignore symptoms that are out of the ordinary.  Now, I can spend the next three months perfecting my Pregnancy Wish for our next TTC cycle. 

I wish I was pregnant…and that it implants in my uterus…and that it’s a healthy baby…and while we’re at it might as well give them my eyes and my husband’s smile and…

Pregnancy Test

24 Hours

That’s how long I knew I was pregnant for.  I hate to spoil the ending for you all but: it’s not a happy one.  And it all started with a twinge in my right ovary.

The Day Before: I didn’t ovulate.  At least, that’s what I kept telling myself throughout my seventeen long days of light-heavy spotting.  It was a simple solution for my body freaking out – I figured we were both equally confused about what was going on, but I still wanted answers.  I was Google-hungry and spent my evenings self-diagnosing and searching for similar situations.  I wanted to find out that this was normal, expected, and most importantly: would end soon.  Nothing gave me any clarity.  I had resigned myself to just waiting it out (I refused to make a doctor appointment for fear that they’d tell me that exact same thing for a lot more money), when my ovary gave me an I’m-working-over-here pain.  Was I somehow ovulating through all this?  There was a new box of ovulation strips sitting in my apartment, screaming to be used.  No time like the present, right?  Except at the moment I was sitting at work, so I made a mental note to test once I got home.

Suddenly, mid-Bachelor In Paradise episode, I jumped off the couch and told my husband that I needed to take an ovulation test immediately.  He seemed wary at the idea of it showing I was ovulating, but let me entertain myself regardless.  It was BLAZING positive.  I assumed I was reading it wrong since this was my first time using the strips rather than a digital, but the results were staring me in the face.  I was…ovulating?  My husband and I looked at each other, debating if we wanted to try.  I still didn’t have any ovulation symptoms, so in the end we chalked it up to my body being wonky.  Another urge began to form inside me though – I wanted to find out what other hormones might be flaring up, so a plan unfolded.  A very basic plan that involved me taking a pregnancy test the next morning.  

The Day Of: I quietly slid open the linen closet door, as if the mere sound of the wood creaking would cause my husband to run out of the bedroom and exclaim, “Are you taking a pregnancy test?!”  I felt ridiculous sneaking around my own apartment as I pulled out the thin pink package.  “So, we’re just going to pretend it wasn’t severely negative when you tested the day you expected your period to be?  Okay…”  I called myself ridiculous and warned about the disappointment I was about to experience while gazing at the slightly-fogged strip.  Was it faulty?  Did that even matter?  It was going to be negative after all.  Once I dipped it and the fog began moving across the strip, I nodded to myself when a second line didn’t pop up.  See, you mad woman, you’re still not pregnant.  

But then the three minutes were up and….there was another line.  I muttered out loud, “Wait.  But, that’s not supposed to be there.”  Now I was imagining lines on pregnancy tests?!  Confusion and excitement and fear hit me all at once as I tried to make sense of what was surely a false positive.

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I mentally ran through all the symptoms (or lack thereof) that I had experienced, along with the neverending spotting, and couldn’t make sense of what was happening.  But I didn’t ovulate!!  I was so sure I had an anovulatory cycle (which, when I later brought this up to my doctor, she said, “You mean an ovulatory cycle?” which blew my mind and I still can’t figure out if I’ve been either pronouncing it wrong or if I somehow completely made up that term).  During several of my internet-perusing sessions I had read that, eventually, your body will try to ovulate again – had I just missed it and unknowingly became pregnant?  And then…if I was pregnant, why was the second line so light?  My next mental checklist ran through everything I had done the past few weeks: Ambien. Wine. Xanax. Advil. Advil. Advil. (I had been experiencing back pain almost the entire time that I had been spotting – yes, I realize that was probably a sign that I had thoroughly ignored, but you forget that I believed I didn’t ovulate) I ate deli meat and did everything that you shouldn’t do while pregnant, short of riding on a rollercoaster (not including the emotional rollercoaster I was currently on).  I had been treating my body like a tomb, not a temple, and feared that my possible unborn child was facing the consequences of my actions.

Where is my husband during all this, you ask?  Just living in blissful ignorance as I didn’t want him to witness what was surely a mental breakdown – besides, this wasn’t how I had planned to announce to him (number one lesson learned while TTC: life doesn’t care about your plans).  I threw out the test and told myself I’d check with a First Response the next morning.  Before even leaving for work I decided I’d test again in the evening, or…should I just put a test in my bag to check later today?  I managed to convince myself that I have some form of self control and went to work pregnancy test-less.  

I made it through an hour and a half at work before I decided I needed to call my doctor’s office – surely they’d tell me that this wasn’t real and that they know the trying to conceive process can be difficult but that I needed to stop pretending I was pregnant.  I stood in the hallway outside my office and attempted to discreetly describe the faint (I over-enunciated the word) positive I saw today, what my spotting was like, and that my last confirmed period was in July, waiting for them to say, “But, didn’t you not ovulate?”  Instead, they asked me to come in that afternoon for an ultrasound and blood test.  I began to mumble about insurance and not being totally sure and again, faint line, and must’ve sounded so erratic that the nurse eventually asked, “Was this a planned pregnancy?”  Planned, sure.  Expected?  Absolutely not.  

The call ended with me booking an appointment for the next day at 8:00 AM, but not before I confirmed that I could cancel it if I took another test and it was negative, and also without incurring the “late cancellation” fee.  Priorities.  

Are you angry with me yet?  Can you believe I waited those seventeen (now eighteen) days and wasn’t rushing over to get checked out?  It all seemed so surreal – I’m still struggling to mentally digest everything that happened.  What I do know is that if I had made an appointment that same day, I would’ve gone alone, and I don’t think I would have been able to emotionally process everything without my husband by my side.

A new plan.  I needed confirmation and I needed it now.  Digital results don’t lie and I needed the comfort of words spelling out exactly what was going on with me.  So, I ended up buying a test during my lunch hour to end things once and for all.  Doesn’t every woman dream of finding out she’s pregnant while in the bathroom stall at work?  No?  Not the ideal situation for me either.  It didn’t matter though – I had started to see the bright red spotting that they warn you about (apparently spotting can be totally normal, albeit confusing and scary when you’re pregnant, as long as it’s not pink/red) and convinced myself that my morning test had been wrong and I wasn’t pregnant.  

Instead, the digital test told me that I was wrong about being wrong.  Well, actually, it just said: Pregnant

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Pregnant?  Pregnant.  PREGNANT?!  

Dread rushed through me.  Something wasn’t right.

A half hour later, I was back on the phone with my doctor’s office.  “I just confirmed with a digital – should I come in today after all?  I’m now spotting red.  This is all a very bad sign, yes?  Is there anything I can even do right now if there is something wrong?”  The nurse calmly explained that at this point, I wouldn’t get all of my results back until tomorrow regardless, so it was best to keep my appointment the next morning and to “just relax”.  

The hours that followed were anything but relaxing – they were filled with internal questions (Am I losing this baby?  Is it all my fault?  How could I be so wrong about everything?) and the cruel hope that this little bean would be safe.  Once we were both at home, I finally told my husband.  I simply said, “You know how I’ve been really confused about what’s been going on with me?  Well, things just got a lot more confusing” as I showed him the digital test (which is now forever sealed in my nightstand – at least until I’m sure the battery has run out so that I don’t have to see the word ‘pregnant’).  I used words like possibly and maybe and this isn’t for sure, but his eyes still shone with happy tears and he couldn’t stop smiling.  His happiness was contagious and I asked, “How did we even pull this off?!” as we laughed and hugged and tried to remain cautiously optimistic.  I was as honest as I possibly could have been about everything that I was going through, and how I was more sure that it could be a chemical pregnancy if anything, but he’s impossible to strip of hope so I let him hang onto the thought that maybe we were going to have a baby.  

Sleep was impossible as I thought about the next day’s appointment.  Were we going to see our baby for the first time?  Was it going to have a heartbeat?  Were they going to give me creams or medicines to help me to thicken my uterine lining or increase progesterone or anything to help this little bean stick?

It wasn’t a chemical pregnancy though.  It turned out to be, in my mind, something much worse.

Basal Body Temperature · BBT · Trying to Conceive · TTC

An Insomniac and A Thermometer Walk Into A Bar…

Tracking your BBT (Basal Body Temperature) is no joke.  I felt like I was Basically Being Tortured (see what I did there?) while I was charting my lowest body temperature each morning.  The goal was to have official confirmation that I am (usually) ovulating, and I was going to achieve that by trying to catch a temperature rise the days following my next positive OPK.  I honestly had zero interest in introducing a new way to monitor ovulation into my life, but after the persistent comments of, “You have to track your BBT!  There’s no other way to know that you definitely ovulated!”, and my never-ending anovulatory cycle, I decided to give it a shot.

I stumbled upon a bluetooth BBT thermometer (keep in mind – you can’t use just any ole thermometer) that happened to come with a BOGO box of LH/hCG strips – score!  I would’ve gladly gotten an Ava bracelet instead so that it could track my temps throughout the night, but from how many times my husband said, “Two hundred dollars?????” I got the impression that an Ava bracelet was not in my future.  So, I settled for a slightly-less-expensive thermometer instead.  I thought I’d be able to exclaim, “AHA!” once he got annoyed of it beeping every single morning, but since this comes with an app, my phone vibrated once my temp was taken and he was none the wiser.  (Thank goodness, because I’d hate to wake my sleeping-like-the-dead husband.)  Another perk of charting via bluetooth was that I didn’t have to make any sort of effort to track my results – which is my favorite kind of tracking.  I could do the entire process without opening my eyes – turn on thermometer, unlock phone (where app was already up and waiting), lay still until phone buzzes in 3 minutes, turn off thermometer, “go back to sleep”.  It seemed luxurious and totally doable…and then I immediately regretted everything.

I was already turned off by the BBT number one rule: take your temperature at the same time everyday after at least four hours of sleep.  It sounds easy, it should be easy (like TTC, right?!) but my insomnia and I are lifelong friends and it was not about to let a thermometer get between us.  I told myself I was going to take things slow – there was no need to pressure myself to temp at times that I didn’t feel comfortable temping, but then my OCD chimed in and reminded me that there’s no point in doing something if you’re not going to do it right.  Casually tracking my BBT the minute that my alarm went off in the morning was no longer an option.  Most days I’m up before my alarm even is, and there are usually only a few hours of sleep preceding my final wakeup .  I needed to find a way to make this work with my already sleepless nights, so I searched for answers.

The advice that I found online for all the temping insomniacs out there: Set an alarm for 3:30 AM when you are most likely to have gotten four hours of sleep.

Uh, what?  Hard pass on that…but my mind already locked in on the time.  I didn’t need to set an alarm.  Every morning between 2:00 and 3:00 AM I snapped awake with my own internal alarm blaring, “You have to temp right this second or everything will be ruined forever!”  The anxiety of temping each morning rooted itself firmly into my system and no matter how many times I told myself, “It’s not a big deal, you’re just trying to see a pattern, if this doesn’t work it’s okay” I still ended up jolting awake as if from a nightmare.  I even made a deal with myself that I only had to do this for three weeks – that as soon as I confirmed ovulation, I’d never have to put myself through this again; but remember the last time I tried to do something for “only” three weeks?  (I’m looking at you 21-turned-3-day sugar detox.)  

I lasted one week.

I was left with headaches and fatigue from forcing myself awake, and it was my husband who finally told me I had to stop.  The risk of getting another BFN and thinking it could’ve been from all the stress of temping far outweighed my desire to confirm ovulation.  This wasn’t my shortest relationship by any means, but it was still harder than I expected to break up with my thermometer.  I’m currently sitting here gazing at it – wondering if we can pick up where we left off, but knowing it’s too late.  Things will never change between us.  Now it’s back to it being just me, myself, and Insomnia.

Contrary to what you may think – I’m not totally anti-temping.  If you’re a heavy sleeper and don’t normally wake up until your alarm goes off, I’d say give it a try!  I think it’s a great way to gain additional insight into what your body’s doing, but keep in mind there are still other things that can affect your readings.  If you decide to temp – be aware that you’ll need to avoid the following:

  • Drinking – well, I’m out (again)!  I started worrying about drinks with friends while I was temping, didn’t they realize how selfish they were being by inviting me out?!
  • Breathing With Your Mouth Open – I use a mouthguard (very attractive) most nights because clenching my teeth is another favorite stress reliever of mine.  I ended up getting stressed about being stressed because I didn’t want to use my mouthguard for fear of it popping my mouth open.  Vicious cycle.  
  • Being Too Hot – Anyone else wake up with the sweats in the middle of the night?  No?  Maybe it’s just me because I’m SO FREAKED OUT ABOUT MISSING MY TEMP TIME!
  • Being Too Cold – …was that fan always blowing directly on me?  Uuuugggghhhh.
  • Movement – Seriously?  So, should I have been sleeping with the thermometer propped in my mouth and my phone slipped under my pillow for immediate access?
  • Stress – I feel like this one’s an oxymoron.

Like all things in TTC – temping comes with rules, and even though rules are my favorite, I couldn’t follow them.  I suppose peeing on sticks really must be my strong suit after all!  Good luck to all you tempers out there – I hope you’re having a much easier go with charting your results than I was!

PS – here’s the thermometer that managed to wreak havoc on my sleep in one measly week.  It doesn’t look like the Destroyer of Dreams, but don’t let its size fool you!  

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Trying to Conceive · TTC

Halfway to Hopeless

I feel stripped of my experience.  I’ve been thinking about Month 6 ever since Month 3 was unsuccessful – because this month was my next step in the ladder of stats (80% of couples are pregnant within 6 cycles).  Well, here I am at the halfway point, and instead of the overwhelming sadness I had been prepared for, I’m flooded with anger.  I’m angry that I experienced an anovulatory cycle when I was finally starting to think I was getting somewhere, angry that I was forced to waste an entire month, angry that I still held onto that sliver of hope that maybe it somehow worked.  And…I’m afraid.  What if it happens again?  What if it has always been happening?  Struggling to conceive has been a fear of mine since I swallowed down my first birth control pill at the ripe old age of fourteen.  Any time I brought it up, I felt like a weight settled at the bottom of my stomach as a warning of what was to come.  I used to think it would be my decade+ of BC to blame, but instead other worries have begun to plague my mind: Endometriosis.  PCOS.  Short luteal phase.  Thin lining.  Tilted uterus.  And then you come upon the forbidden words: Years.  IVF.  Infertile.  Am I strong enough for that?  For any of it?  I know I’m getting ahead of myself – but most of the announcements I see are after 1, 2, 3 months or….1, 2, 3 years.  Where does that leave me?     

I’m at the point now where I’m starting to dole out advice to all the beginners out there who are feeling the anxiety after their first few months, just like women did for me.  “That’s not that much time….it can take up to a year…have you tried this method?”  When really all I want to say is, “I know, isn’t this horrible?”  Because it is horrible.  We’re consumed with this overwhelming desire to create something extraordinary with our SO’s and we just. can’t.  We’re sitting here thinking that maybe we’ll make a January baby…okay February…how about March….October???….how old am I going to be?  I can barely grasp the fact that we’re already halfway to the year mark when every week feels like it’s dragging.   Six long months of dodging the dreaded question, “When are you going to have kids?”  Sometimes I feel like I’m going to shatter into a million pieces unless I scream out, “I’m TRYING!  Can’t you see?  Isn’t it obvious how much I’m hurting?”  

I’m just waiting for the day that someone says something at the wrong time and I burst open.  Like, when I went to a barbeque at my brother’s place the same day I confirmed I didn’t ovulate, and I had a mini breakdown (what is it with me crying over burgers?).  He teased that I was pregnant because I wasn’t drinking and I finally snapped, “No, actually I’m not and we’ve been trying since before you found out you’re having your second and my ovaries decided not to work this cycle so I’m having a pretty rough day, okay?!”  Stunned silence followed.  Or, at least I imagine it would have if I actually said that.  Instead, I awkwardly laughed and took a sip of his beer to prove him wrong, when the only horribly funny thing is how badly I wish he were right.  Everyone was fawning over my nephew, because he is the most amazing two year old, and they kept asking my sister-in-law about her second we-weren’t-really-trying baby that’s on the way.  I slipped inside and found my husband alone in the kitchen as I choked out, “I’d give anything to be in her place.” and I couldn’t stop the tears from crawling  down my face.  What would it be like if they did know?  It’s not as if I can say, “Please tell your son to stop being so adorable, and also I’d prefer if you refrained from discussing your second to-be-born while I’m present.”  I don’t want people to tiptoe around me for fear of offending my uterus.  So, I went with my only option: I  wiped my tears away, shoved my sadness deep inside, and walked back out with a fake smile.  

I wanted Month 7 to be my “let’s not actually try” month, but instead I have to temp and use OPKs and test my progesterone to make sure I’m fully up and running.  I felt nauseous with anxiety when I purchased my BBT thermometer – I didn’t want to do this, but the not knowing would be far worse than confirming whether or not I’m “working”.  I know I’ll find my optimism within a week, there’s always a hint of it lingering, but at the moment all I can think is: this lost month is all my fault.  My body completely gave up on me – how do I keep myself from giving up on it?

Bromelain · Pineapple Core · Trying to Conceive · TTC

If You Like Pina Core-ladas

Just kidding, this is raw pineapple here folks, not to be confused with its chilled foamy sister drink.  I’ve heard enough about the wonders of pineapple core that I figured I have to try it out myself.   If you haven’t joined the pineapple craze yet, here’s the jist: pineapple core contains Bromelain which is a natural anti-inflammatory (think: aspirin) and is supposed to help with implantation.  You simply cut up a pineapple into even pieces and have a slice a day to keep AF away!  (Well, really only a slice for every 1-5 days after confirmed ovulation – bring out those OPKs!)  

My original plan for this cycle didn’t actually work out (because, why would it?)  I was going to try a 21 day sugar detox in an effort to keep a tidy uterus this time around (no processed foods, no coffee, no WINE), but this failed almost immediately.  I wasn’t expecting to feel so low on energy, so stressed out about meal prep, and so utterly dependent on my usual sugar intake.  I also struggled because half the recipes I found for the detox involved eggs and (the irony is not lost on me): I’m allergic to eggs.  No wonder implantation hasn’t occurred! *cue comedic drum roll*

Anyway,  I came up with the genius idea that the pineapple (and its core) would be my only treat during those three weeks – until I noticed that my ovulation symptoms completely disappeared after just three days of the detox.  I panicked and stopped being so strict on what I ate and focused on just being healthy (still no alcohol until this cycle ends – I can almost see the wine at the end of the tunnel!)  CD 24 and the only sign I’ve had is a positive OPK – which, apparently, doesn’t mean you’re actually ovulating.  So, that’s fun.  Due to my lack of symptoms, I’m 99.9% sure I had an anovulatory cycle this month – which is another way of saying that my ovaries went on strike.  I don’t care if they need a break, I thought we were in this together!  (Side note: when I searched anovulatory cycle, the first definition that popped up included the line, “In the absence of ovulation, there will be infertility.”  Which is the last word I ever want to hear while TTC.)  Still, there’s my 0.01% sliver of hope that pricks at me each morning and motivates me to grab a bite of pineapple core.  

So, without further adieu, see below for the steps and amateur photos of pineapple cutting for implantation!

Step One is the easiest step of them all (unless it’s winter, then I presume it might prove to be a bit more difficult, but I’m no expert on the Pineapple Cycle): Buy a Pineapple

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Most things I read said to use an organic pineapple, but my wallet said that the non-organic will get the job done just as well.

Step Two: Remove the stalk

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This is when I immediately realized I had my work cutout for me (which is one of my least favorite sayings of all time, because to me that sounds like it’s actually easy).

Step Three: Cut the top and bottom off of your pineapple

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Shake your head at the atrocious angled ends you’ve created.

Step Four: Start slicing the skin off vertically as you go around the pineapple

This part is easier since you’re mostly cutting through the soft flesh (I’ve seen some people refer to that section as ‘the ovaries’ which is a little too close to home for me).

Step Five: Use a melon scooper (or potato peeler) to take out the rest of the “tough spots” you have remaining

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Please don’t mistake my shoddy cutting for my actual skills in the kitchen!  

Step Six: Slice the pineapple into equal sized pieces

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Step Seven: Enjoy a slice per day for 1-5 DPO (which, according to my app, actually starts two days after you get a positive OPK – probably due to the fact that you can ovulate 12-48 hours after a positive result)

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I got a little nervous about the freshness of my pineapple since it had been sitting on my counter for a week (thanks late pos OPK…), so I cut out the core to eat and froze the rest for a “does this help with implantation too?” smoothie.  Maybe it’s just the aftereffects of my three day detox talking, but besides it being a little tougher than the flesh, I enjoyed my morning core!  If pineapple isn’t your fav, there are Bromelain tablets that you can buy, or some women take baby aspirin for the five days, but there’s something about going straight to the source that made me feel like I was getting the most benefits (again, pretending that I did ovulate this month).  Like anything, I’m sure that eating it each cycle could get a bit boring, but I think it’s worth the try if you enjoy pineapple.  After all – what could it hurt?  (Answer: sperm, actually!  I’ve read enough articles that say consuming too much pineapple can cause a hostile environment, so be sure to use OPKS so you know exactly when to start!)

Clear Blue Digital · OPKs · Ovulation Predictor Kits · Trying to Conceive · TTC

Your OPKs and You

When I met with my doctor for my preconception appointment (something that I had hoped would have been comparable to an experience with a psychic rather than a physician, “Here’s all my money, when am I going to get pregnant?!”), she basically told me I could go with two options: take on the “whatever happens, happens” approach for the first time in my life, or start using OPKs to figure out when I’ll be most likely to conceive.  Once we both had a good laugh over the thought of me actually going with the flow (pun very much intended) she recommended that I use the digital ovulation tests, and I never looked back.   

I use the Clearblue Digital OPKS – and yes to all you women hissing and booing  – I know, I use blue dye.  

I take the blue risk so that I can see a smiley face once a month – I need a little pick me up during these dark days.  I’m also not interested in joining in on the experience of making a scrapbook (titled my Wondfol Journey) of daily ovulation strips and comparing them until I go cross eyed to figure out which day was correct.  I get anxiety just seeing other women posting, “Is this my peak? What day did I ovulate? Am I pregnant?” and I’m over here like giiiirl I don’t know, but now we’re both stressed out.  The instructions may seem confusing if you’re not familiar with cycle days, and you’re kind of going in blind guessing on dates if you start right after stopping birth control (CD10 is recommended!), but it’s a huge improvement from comparing the color of two lines on a strip (says the woman who has never tried that herself).

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Here’s a few things I’ve learned after six  months gone digital:

  1. Peeing on sticks is, apparently, a hidden talent of mine.
  2. Trying to hide an applicator and test in the sleeve of your sweater, or waistband of your jeggings, as you walk to the bathroom at work is even more awkward than it sounds.
  3. Three minutes feels like a very, very long time to be sitting in a public bathroom stall (especially when all you’re doing is staring at a stick).
  4. A smiley is exciting for two reasons: one being that you are officially ovulating (get it girl!) and the second being that you can stop testing and SAVE THE REST OF YOUR STICKS FOR THE NEXT MONTH – two month supply turned five month supply over here!
  5. If someone tells me not to pee for four hours, all I’m going to think about for the next four hours is how badly I have to pee.

Believe it or not, but timed urination (bleh) is even less fun than timed sex – and this is coming from a girl who lists “making schedules” as one of her hobbies. There is one major game changer that comes with the advanced version of these OPKS (contrary to the negative reviews): F.M.U.  HALLELUJAH!  These tests were the upgrade that I didn’t even know I needed!  I failed at trying to turn a one month supply into two, so they’re not as wallet-friendly as the pink version, but again: we’re talking about FMU people!  Obviously, the only real con I have with these OPKs are that they’re expensive and I’m what my friends politely refer to as “frugal”, but I’ve found a way to beat the system by only testing a day or two before I’m expecting my smiley to show up (WARNING: only works with the basic digital version!).  Also, I personally don’t recommend these OPKs for anyone who wants to test multiple times a day (just from a dollar perspective), and I don’t believe they work for PCOS, but (especially for you newbies out there) I can’t help but love something that’s actually straight-forward during this process!  

Okay.  I suppose my one other con is that I’m not pregnant yet…and I need something to blame for that….

BFN · First Response · FRER · Pregnancy Test · Trying to Conceive · TTC

One Pink Line

I woke up on Test Day like a kid on Christmas morning – that is, a kid who doesn’t want Santa to visit, but hopes they still manage to get everything on their list.  I imitated self control by going to the kitchen instead of running to the bathroom when I woke up…no such luck avoiding the topic: my husband was literally making buns in the oven.  I didn’t have any, mostly because he used old almond milk in the batter, but partially out of principle  as well – we didn’t even know if my oven was bunless or not!  So insensitive.  After a week of pregnancy dreams and telling myself I’m not  symptom spotting (but really, why else would I be so emotional and irritable?!) test day was finally here.  And I couldn’t ignore it anymore because the reality was, I really had to pee.

You ladies know the drill: open the test, drop the pants, count to five, set a timer and pretend that you’re not going to look at the test until it goes off.

Well: my timer went off.

Bone white.  Stark white.  White-out white.  It was white.  Like any sensible woman I rotated the test around in the light and squinted to try to make one line split into two, but it wouldn’t turn positive for me.  My husband, the eternal optimist, managed to say, “There’s still a chance!” after his face fell at the news.  He makes optimism look so easy.  I, at least, managed to not cry until we went to the Burger Festival (a sentence I never quite expected to say).  I couldn’t blink without seeing a baby or a woman with an adorable bump, and eventually found myself standing off to the side silently crying behind my sunglasses (like an adult) as the band played a crappy version of “Hallelujah”.  All I could see was the image of the one-lined test flashing in my head.

But then – the days passed and…nothing happened.  Hope crept in slowly and cautiously and invaded my mind when I wasn’t paying attention.  I didn’t say a word to my husband because, you know, jinxing. I fell into the trap of thinking about when would I test again, would I announce to him right before work, how am I going to avoid drinking at that Bachelorette party?!  I broke my own rules and continuously searched “negative test at 11 DPO, positive days later” and ignored everything that says you should be able to see a positive on a First Response by that time.  I chugged camomile tea and thought wistfully of Xanax while trying to pretend this wasn’t a huge deal (as a part of my mind kept whispering but the negative test…). Turns out, it was all a cruel joke where my body simply wanted to remind me who was in charge.

When I found out for the second time in one week that I wasn’t pregnant, I greeted my husband with a friendly, “You know what sucks?”  I stood in the doorway and told him all about my “one day late” emotions while he insisted that he had to go to the bathroom, as if there was anything more important than discussing my cycle at 7:30 in the morning.  The conversation was over, we had already been defeated.  I’ve tried to convince myself that the only thing holding me together was that negative test, that it was a good thing.  If I hadn’t tested, I would’ve been ecstatic at the thought of being late, only to be crushed the very next morning.  But if testing early was such a good thing, then why am I still radiating disappointment?