Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When You Have Tried For A Year

Rarely do couples go into trying to conceive thinking that they will hit that year mark.  Rarely do they think that they will have issues or will just be unable to get pregnant.

But, for 15-20% of couples, that year mark comes and goes without a pregnancy, or without a baby.

Next month we have been trying to conceive (or rather trying to keep a pregnancy) for three years.  There are a lot of bad days and a lot of days where nothing seems to go right.  There are some milestones that are harder and some that are easier, but one that stands out is the year mark.

My year mark was also the one year anniversary of my first miscarriage.  A lot of those days I don't remember, but I do remember the pain upon hitting one year.  Most of my friends were pregnant or just had babies, and I wanted desperately for it to be me too.  I was so bitter and so angry.  We had had two miscarriages in that time, and I was just so fed up with all the advice.

Every other time I talked to someone that knew we were trying gave me their "foolproof method to getting pregnant."  Some of it had to do with my husband drinking mountain dew to help his sperm swim faster (HAH) and others had to do with us relaxing and we would magically wind up pregnant.

Not only are you now in a the new category of "infertile", you have to deal with people telling you that you are doing something wrong and need to try their method.  As if you haven't already lost completely faith in your body.

Even two years after this, I am still tired of the advice and well meaning words.  I know why we have trouble conceiving and keeping a pregnancy, but knowing isn't half the battle.  Knowing just means that you have an answer that you can't change.

For a lot of women that have tried for a year, most of them have never heard of cycle charting.  Even if they go to their OB and Urologist to get the "necessary" tests, a lot will tell you to chart your cycles and come back in six months.  They can't help if they don't have some idea of what is going on with a woman's body.

Just having a regular cycle isn't enough.

(I know this won't help everyone, but it is a great place to start).

For me, the year mark revitalized me.  It helped me realize that having sex with my husband a few times a week wasn't enough.  I needed to know when I was ovulating, how long my luteal phase (time from ovulation to my period) was, and any other information I could gleam.  I needed to know if it was just a timing thing, or if there was something that needed to be fixed or worked on.

I found a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (INCREDIBLE BOOK, a *must* have for any woman, regardless of whether you aren't having kids, want to have kids, or are done having kids).  I devoured it.

I learned that I didn't ovulate on day 14, and it was okay to not have a 28 day cycle.  I learned that I could track when I ovulate by just checking my temperature before I got out of bed every morning.  I learned that not only was I not having sex on the right days, but that I could tell what days I was the most fertile just from wiping when I went to the bathroom to check my cervical mucus.

I was so angry and so bitter, but I was able to turn that into something that helped me.  I was able to take charge of my fertility (see what I did there ;) ) and not just be a passive bystander.

The year mark hurts in more ways than one.  I would never assume that I am able to understand what it means to different women.  Every person feels things differently.  The year mark for you could just be another cycle, or it could be a crippling blow that makes you completely lose hope.

The one thing I do know is that the year mark doesn't have to be the final blow.  The year mark is hard.  However, the year mark is just the beginning.  I learned more about myself and what I was capable of because of the trouble we have had getting and staying pregnant.  I am able to better appreciate the daughter I do have because of what we have been through.

The year mark sucks, a lot, but it doesn't have to be the end.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and this will make you stronger than you have ever known.

You will be amazed at what you can handle without quitting.

Take the time to grieve, to feel what you need to.

But always remember that you can weather any storm and come up swinging.


Shawna said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for writing this. I know so many people who have tried for a long time period without getting pregnant and everyone always thinks they are alone! Also, "Take Charge of Your Fertility" is the most important book I have ever read about my body pre-labor and I really think every woman needs a copy!

mamapoekie said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for this article... My husband and I have been trying for a second child for over a year too... it is at times frustrating, sad it makes me angry. Being in the birth community doesn't make it any better...
And I think I might kill if I get another "do we need to buy you a manual or draw a picture"

Brenda said... [Reply to comment]

Very powerful Kayce. It's good to remember that the sun will come up tomorrow. :)

Marisa said... [Reply to comment]

I wish you'd written this earlier while we were still TTC. It took us almost 2 years (20 months) to conceive and I can totally relate to the feelings you describe. I would love to have another one or two kids, but a part of me is terrified of trying, for fear that I'll end up almost losing my mind again. It's so so hard to not get right what so many other people just take for granted, ie falling pregnant.

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