Big Fat Positive

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If you have ever been trying to get pregnant, I am sure you think of the pregnancy test as a nemesis of sorts. It’s you, a full bladder early in the morning, and a test that can either make all your hopes and dreams become a reality, or can shatter them yet again for another month.

The amount of nervous energy vibrating through your body is enough to power an electric car for a cross country road trip. Your heart is racing and you tell yourself that this is it, this is the test that will change everything. You’re so sure of it, you can feel it in your bones. Yet, there is that voice of doubt in the back of your mind, whispering that these thoughts are ones you’ve had before.

Taking a deep breath, you take the test. There is no use prolonging the inevitable, and for all those nerves you are feeling, your bladder could care less. It’s about to burst and if you let it, you’ll have to wait for tomorrow for another chance at the test.

Personally, I waited a whole week past my scheduled period before I took my fourth pregnancy test. There were a few reasons why. First, I was feeling more than a little defeated. After the first month, my body was changing due to the stress and anxiety that trying to conceive was causing me. All my hours were spent thinking about it, planning for it, hoping for it. Naturally the second month, I took the test the day after my expected period… or at least attempted to. As soon as I sat down on the toilet, took the wrapper off the test, I felt it and with it the immediate sadness that at the time seemed so overwhelming.

The third month I waited four days. Again, I got an unexpected visit from my dreadful Aunt.

By the time the fourth month came around, I had lost a good dose of my positive attitude. Even though I was already a week late, the negativa voice was so much louder.

I think a lot of the things we see in movies about pregnancy, a lot of the talk about pregnancy that makes it into the storybooks and onto the screen leaves out a lot of the depression and heartache that plagues you. They leave out a lot of the struggle, the dark moments that make you just want to fade away into the shadows of your mind where the shimmer of hope can’t reach you.

Why? Seeing these things would be so relatable and I feel like it would help a lot of us as women, feel like getting pregnant isn’t always easy, and it’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to tell your partner and your friends how sad it all makes you sometimes. These things don’t make you any less of a woman, and they won’t take anything away from you when you finally do become a mom.

The helplessness you feel that sometimes overcomes you, it eats away at you a little bit. It breaks you down in a way that makes you wonder if you lack the strength you will need to be a mom, and maybe that’s why you haven’t been given that YES you so desperately want.

I’m here to tell you I went through it, I experienced it all and I am still here. And I can promise you that whatever comes later, I will push through that too, just like a lot of you will.

The day will come where you get that big fat positive test result, or you get that letter telling you a baby is waiting for you. The day will come when you become a mom and no matter how small or weak you felt during the journey to get to that moment, you will never feel more strong.

Nothing worthwhile in life ever comes easy. And the joy and happiness you feel from the moment you know you are going to be a mom will be enough to make you forget all of that darkness.

No one really tells you how to get through the hard times in your life. All they really ever seem to tell you, is that eventually you will get through it. We all pretend we know what we are doing. We pretend to know the way, to hold the map of the years we have left behind us. In truth, most of us are amazed we got here in the first place.

I can’t give you any tips on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant. I’ve been through it, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you what it was that finally got us that positive test result we had been hoping for. It’s like I stumbled through it all blind and have finally broken through this thickness of trees and can see a beautiful view of what’s ahead.

Will I pretend to know what’s in store for me? Isn’t that all part of the gig?

Trying To Conceive

Alright ladies, if you are like I was when I was growing up, everyone you knew who was having babies were people who were surprised by their pregnancies. I grew up in a more low income area, and unfortunately teen pregnancy was something that happened often. I remember thinking to myself when I was in my pre-teens: “Geez, it must be really easy to get pregnant!” This, as well as many other personal reasons, is why I didn’t lose my virginity until I was nineteen years old.

If you are one of these lucky ladies that experienced an “oopsie” that later became one of the great joys of your life, CONGRATULATIONS! However, this is not the case for a lot of women. As many Fertile Myrtles that are walking around out there, many of which are in my own inner circle of friends, there are just as many, if not even more women out there who are struggling, hoping, and praying that whatever they are trying will work for them this time.

I can’t speak for everyone, I don’t know personally what it is like to get knocked up without even having to think about it, or the stress, heartbreak, and long road of fertility treatments, or even about the new sciences that are involved in IVF. What I do know is that after my husband and I got married this summer, the thought of a baby was on my mind more prominently than ever, and I had this thought that without the birth control, all I had to do was let nature run it’s course.

To be fair, we didn’t try for very long. From the time I got it in my mind that we would get pregnant to the time we did was four months. For those who have been trying for years, you are probably rolling your eyes at me. I am not saying it’s really long, but as many women know who are trying, every day feels like an eternity. I had lived most of my life with this idea in my head that all it really took was one time, because for most of the people I knew, that’s all it really did take. I never thought I would have to try to get pregnant. I think for a lot of women, that’s a sad realization.

So this is the narrative of someone who got pregnant naturally after a few months of trying. The apps are super helpful. If someone were to ask me before I got married how long my cycle was, or the state of my vaginal discharge, I would have raised a brow at them and wondered how in the world any of that mattered. When you are trying to get pregnant, not only do you need to figure those things out, but you need to keep track of these things every day. Discharge, basal temperature, weight, diet, these are all things that impact your fertility. Certain apps are better than others at this, and what I ended up doing was downloading all the free apps the Apple Store had to offer and using them all for the first month to determine which was more accurate. In the end, I ended up sticking with OVIA.

There are truly too many things to keep track of and the apps help minimize the stress a little bit.

Trying To Conceive forums are both a blessing and a curse. After my first month of trying and still getting a visit from my awful Aunt Flo, I quickly flocked to the forums to see if there were any tips to make sure the next month, my Aunt would stay elsewhere. The plus side of the forums is there are thousands upon thousands of women in these blogs that give you reassurances. It makes you feel a little better to know you are not the only one and that helps you feel normal in your struggle. On the downside, it is a little bit like falling into a rabbit hole. I would find I would go to post a single question and look up at the clock to see an hour and a half had passed and instead of getting my answer, I had a dozen new fears and worries.

Having sex every day isn’t ideal. The common consensus is that you should have sex every other day or every three days. Sperm can live inside you for up to five days, and your partner will need time to replenish. This was probably our biggest mistake.

Having sex on a schedule removes the intimacy and maximizes on the stress for both you and your partner. Sometimes the need for a baby is so desperate and the idea, that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you it may not happen gets louder and louder every day. The louder that voice gets, the more you think about the schedule and sex becomes less and less about you and your partner and more about the end game. There was a time when I forgot he was the love of my life and not just a donor. Although sex is necessary to make it all happen, it’s important to keep the intimacy present and even add a little more fun to your nights when sex is on the calendar.

A negative test doesn’t mean NO forever. You pee on the stick and wait, practically holding your breath for the full three minutes it takes you give you your yes or no. It’s a miracle you don’t pass out from lack of oxygen. The whole time you are trying to tell yourself it’s no big deal, and that no matter what the test says, you will be fine. Yet, once it says no, you can’t help but be crushed. The first time I got my negative test, I felt like I wanted to draw the shades, climb back into bed and sleep until someone magically brought a baby into my life. I would love to tell you it gets easier as time goes on, and by the second or third negative test, you will be seeing things a little differently.

Sorry ladies, no such luck, at least not for me anyways. However, I would like to think it’s yet another way life is toughening us up, preparing us for the time when we actually do get pregnant and later, when we get our bundles of joy.

There are probably about a hundred other things involved in trying to conceive, especially because I am just skimming the surface of conceiving naturally. I’ll stop here though, as I hope there are some women reading this who are just starting their journey and I don’t want to make it seem like it’s daunting.

I will leave you with this thought though. Do you remember back in High School in health class? How they went over the reproductive organs and basically told us that if we had unprotected sex we would either get an STD or end up with a baby? All it takes is one time. That is what they used to tell us. I wish they had been a little more honest with us and prepared us a little better for adulthood. Maybe had they gone over all the scenarios, I would have been better prepared in my own.

No matter how you are going about all of this, just know that a journey is not a sprint. Anything worthwhile in life takes time, energy, and commitment. Whether you conceive naturally, with a donor, with fertility treatments, with IVF, or if you get your bundle of joy through adoption, just know that if you really and truly want to be a mom, put your whole heart into it and it will happen.

Until then, just pretend you know what you are doing.