Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Conception: Round 1

I had decided, long before we started trying to get pregnant, that I didn’t want to become one of those women who are obsessed with counting days and peeing on sticks in order to get pregnant. Instead, I wanted to conceive my child in an atmosphere of relaxation and let nature take its course. While this all sounds naïve to me now, there was a reason behind my thought process.

Out of the people I knew who had been pregnant, I was only aware of one person who had any difficulties. Apparently, everyone else just fell down pregnant. Except, of course, for my mom and sister – they didn’t even need to fall down. They just needed to be in the vicinity of their husbands and boom – a baby. In fact, there were even some people I knew who had a surprise pregnancy (which Brian hates when people say because if you are having sex without birth control, he feels you shouldn’t be surprised – sorry rhythm method, you are not considered birth control). And so, it made complete sense to me that all Brian and I needed to do was have sex (sorry if that was too graphic for you, but we are married).

And that is what we did. Month 1 came and went and I got my period. Month 2 came and went and I got my period. Month 3 – still nothing. I know all the recommendations out there say nothing is wrong until 6 months, but sometimes you just know things aren’t right. So, I went on to, bought a bunch of ovulation kits and became that woman who counted days and peed on sticks. Starting a week after my period I peed on a stick a day waiting for the ovulation indicator.

And let’s just take a second, before moving on, to discuss the stress these tests create. Every morning, I peed on a stick (well, to be honest, I peed in a cup and then dipped because apparently peeing on a stick was beyond my abilities) and then walked away from it for 3 minutes. If I was ovulating, a smiley face would show in the digital window, as if the whole world was excited about my ability to ovulate. However, if I wasn’t ovulating, the digital window showed an empty circle. No facial expression at all. What did that mean? How was I supposed to feel about not ovulating – anything? By week 3, I missed the simple one line or two line concept that made no judgment or even wished for an “ovulating” or “not ovulating” digital window. Instead, that damn smiley face was what was beyond my grasp. And, by week 4, I knew there was a problem.

By now, I’m sure most of the ladies have figured out the problem with the fact that by week 4 I had still not seen the smiley face, but let me make it clear for everyone. No smiley face meant I wasn’t ovulating. And as you might remember from the minimal biology we all had in high school or by looking at, ovulation means “to produce and discharge eggs from an ovary or ovarian follicle.” Now, let’s take this one step further. Pregnancy occurs when the egg, discharged from the ovary or ovarian follicle, meets the sperm. So, for pregnancy to occur, a woman needs to ovulate and according to the blank circle… I wasn’t. It was time to figure out what was going on.

My first stop was I queried about not ovulating, read over a lot of articles, and diagnosed myself with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) and took it one step further to decide that mine was probably weight related. I also read lots of posts where women who had PCOS still were able to get pregnant so I was okay at this point. Brian, however, wanted a medical opinion and so we made an appointment with our OB.

Let me take a minute to let you know how much I love my OB. I chose her specifically for her belief that in general pregnancy is not a medical condition, but instead a natural event. I also chose her because she is wicked smart and I am just smart enough to surround myself with smart people.

So, we went to the OB and guess what… I wasn’t ovulating, I had PCOS, and it was probably weight-related. But, she had a solution. Apparently there were studies that recently concluded that women who had PCOS reacted well to taking Metformin and were able to get pregnant.

I left the appointment with a few different things:

1. A prescription for Metformin and advice not to start trying again for 6 weeks until the Metformin starts to work
2. Optimism that I could get pregnant
3. A supportive and optimistic husband
4. A nagging feeling that my body had betrayed me

At the moment, the feeling in #4 was just in the back of my mind. I was able to control it with the rational side of my mind, but it was there… waiting.

We went home, waited 6 weeks, I peed on more sticks and one day I screamed in the bathroom. Brian came running in… and I showed him the smiley face. I was ovulating, it was amazing. And so I continued counting days, peeing on sticks, and trying.

Then one month, I didn’t get my period. It was time for me to pee on another kind of stick. After 5 minutes, this one came back and said “pregnant.” We called tons of people, made our OB appointment, and knew this was as good as it gets.

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