I wasn’t paying much attention when I took that pregnancy test last October. It was something I did every month just so I would know it was time to stop the progesterone supplements and allow my period to start, marking the end of yet another unsuccessful cycle.
I had been trying for about 2 1/2 years to have a second baby and I had no reason to think that that pregnancy test would do anything but sink my spirits yet again.
I set the test stick aside and was about to step into the shower – no real need even to look at it, right? I knew it was going to be stark white except for the blaring test line. It would say nothing and it would scream “NO!!NO!!NO!!YOU’RENOTPREGNANT!!” all at the same time and I just wasn’t in the mood to hear it.
But then … out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something.
I grabbed the stick and flew into the bedroom, where my husband was still sleeping.
“Is this a line?! IS THIS A LINE?!” I demanded of him as he lifted his head in utter confusion. He hadn’t even known I was taking a pregnancy test. It was such a routine thing for me by then that I hadn’t bothered to mention it. Why would I? I was going to glance at it, throw it in the trash, and stop taking those pills. Bah.
It was dark outside and even darker in the bedroom with those special shades that block out the light, so he switched on a lamp. Then it took a few (loooong) minutes for him to 1) figure out what I was yammering about, and 2) allow his eyes to adjust to the sudden brightness so he could actually see what I was thrusting in his face.
Eventually, he answered that yes, indeed, he did think that was a line.
That’s all I could think, really, for a good while as I showered and dressed and took Beans to preschool.
I sat in the school parking lot and called my doctor’s office. Normally, a positive pregnancy test will get you a terse congratulations (if you’re lucky) and an appointment date at eight to 10 weeks gestation. But my situation was different.
I remember when we started trying to get pregnant with a second child. (I say “with a second child” as opposed to “for the second time” because I lost my first pregnancy.) During the first cycle I could have been pregnant I was anxiety-ridden, so worried that we would be successful right away and Beans would have to grow up and share his mommy at such a tender age.
The joke was on me. Month after month we tried. And month after month we failed. I failed.
I had painful, heavy periods but as awful as they were, I would have overlooked them had it not been for this drive to bring another little person into our family.
I was confused and frustrated that it was taking so long; both my earlier pregnancies happened right away. Why wasn’t it happening that way this time?
I started charting my fertility about six months into the process, taking my basal body temperature every morning before getting out of bed, checking for other signs that ovulation was approaching or had happened, getting in tune with the rhythm of my body.
I took those charts to my doctor, and she looked at those charts and agreed that it certainly looked like I was ovulating.
She did bloodwork to ease my concern that I might have a thyroid disorder or that I might be entering early menopause and she sent me for ultrasounds that showed I had ovarian cysts – one that was larger than 4 cm – that were likely causing my horrible pain. She met with me several times just to talk, which I think almost everyone would agree makes her a rare, special and highly sought-after kind of physician.
She suggested that I give the cysts time to shrink and keep trying, and to check back in a couple of months later. She said she hoped I would be pregnant by then.
I was not.
Between doctor’s appointments, I tried herbs and supplements – everything from Vitamin B to False Unicorn Root. Still nothing.
My doctor offered to refer me to a fertility specialist, but I told her our insurance wouldn’t pay for treatments so if she did that my journey would be over.
She prescribed Clomid, a drug that can induce ovulation. I was ovulating on my own, but my doctor said it could add some oomph to the process. I didn’t enjoy Clomid, with the hot flashes and rocks-in-my-ovaries feelings it brought, but I muddled through, telling myself that if this was what it took to get pregnant, so be it.
Three rounds, and still … nothing.
My doctor and I had discussed the possibility that my horrible periods might be an indication of endometriosis. My mother had endometriosis and she had a hysterectomy because of it long before she was the age I was at the time.
It was unlikely, my doctor said, that endometriosis would cause the problems I was having so soon after I had Beans. Since nothing else was working, though, it was worth checking into. Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose endometriosis is through surgery.
To be continued …