No, I'm not pregnant. But...
John and I are trying to conceive. And we have been for seven months now. Seven long months.
We knew when we decided to try to have another child that the process would likely be difficult and full of anxiety - and take a long time. My body is not exactly awesome at bearing children. But, wow, my heart sure does love being a mother.
It took several months to conceive Becca, and you all know how that journey turned out...long (with a short pregnancy), difficult, tiring, stressful, heartbreaking, and very much entirely worth every second of it. I mean, really, who wouldn't go to hell and back to be mommy or daddy to this little girl?
I've mentioned before that according to the specialists, I have about a 55% chance of developing pre-eclampsia again, with a 20% chance that it will develop as early (or earlier) and be as severe (or more severe). And we are well aware of the implications of these potential complications. We've decided that these are risks that we are willing to take. If my body delivers us another precious little preemie (though hopefully not AS little!), we will love and take care of that little baby just like we have Becca. And if that little baby doesn't make it, we will be absolutely heartbroken. But there's also a 45% chance that we will have a perfectly normal pregnancy (albeit with lots of extra monitoring and appointments). We've taken steps to try to reduce our risks, too, like reducing my stress and beginning aspirin therapy (one baby aspirin a day). But those steps don't really reduce the anxiety that is inevitable when we think about the possibility of a repeat performance (which, again, would be totally worth it).
But first there's the getting pregnant. [Warning: this is where I start talking about ovaries and periods and such.]
My ovaries are lazy. Kind of. I have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. The simple explanation is that my hormones are out of whack, which causes me not to ovulate (you know, release the requisite egg). With Becca, I took a medicine called Metformin (which is actually a diabetes medicine, but since PCOS can cause insulin resistance, it has a lot in common with diabetes - and women with PCOS are at an increased risk of developing Type II Diabetes). We conceived the first month I was on the medicine (month 5 of trying to conceive, or, as it is known in the infertility blogosphere, "TTC"). If we hadn't, we were going to add a medicine called...dum dum dum...Clomid.
This time around, my doctor (regular OB at Vandy - I won't see the high-risk folks until I conceive) thought that we should skip the Metformin, even though it worked last time. According to him, we basically lucked out because it's not even really considered effective. So we started on Clomid...5 months ago. That's 5 months of running back and forth to Vanderbilt on certain cycle days, getting poked and prodded in unfortunate places, becoming friends with the phlebotomists, dealing with very unhelpful nurses and receptionists, and hoping that insurance doesn't catch on to the fact that these visits regarding menstrual irregularity have anything to do with infertility, since we have zero coverage for that. Oh, and 5 months of being insane.
Those of you who have taken Clomid are probably sympathy cringing right now. Or at least some of you are. Some women take Clomid, and it doesn't phase them. Other women take Clomid, and it turns them into a raving beast. I am one of these women.
Normally, I'm a perfectly calm, rational person. I am always kind and genteel and greet my husband with a smile, a kiss on the cheek, and a home-cooked meal. My house is perfectly organized, and my garden is immaculately landscaped and thriving.
Wonder what Clomid Nancy is like?
Well, take the normal disorganized, frenetic, spastic, sassy, and every so slightly crotchety Nancy and multiple her x 100 or so. Clomid Nancy does fun things like yell at John for chewing his dinner because he makes too much noise. And burst into tears thinking about they hypothetical woman that John would marry if I died. And then get mad at him for marrying her and replacing me as Becca's mom. And wear the same pajama pants for 10 days straight because nothing else feels right. And run out of the room screaming, "This shirt is choking me!" while stripping down and changing into the aforementioned pajama pants and a comfier t-shirt. (That last one might have happened tonight. Maybe.) Clomid Nancy is awesome.
Remember, though, that Clomid Nancy is one and the same as SuperMom Nancy who has a child with special needs and as Terrified-That-I'm-Going-To-Get-Very-Sick-And-Have-A-Sick-Baby Nancy. Most days it's a wonder that our family and our house make it through the day without visible scars. Let's just say that Clomid Nancy is awfully glad that she's paired with Zoloft Nancy.
The hardest part, though, is waiting...and waiting...and waiting. The Clomid has worked only about 1/2 the months that I've taken it. (And by "worked," I mean that it stimulated ovulation.) And one of those times it probably wasn't actually the Clomid, but my body actually kicking in on its own eventually, since it was actually outside the forecasted time frame of the medicine. Because my cycle is so irregular, even on the drugs, at any given point (well, just about any given point), I could, theoretically be pregnant. I'm constantly assessing my fertility and checking my chart. (I'll spare you the details of this obsessing for now.) Have I ovulated? Am I tired because Becca woke up last night or because my progesterone levels are high? Are my boobs bigger? Do I need to, ahem, spend some time with my husband tonight? Or tomorrow? Or both? (He usually votes for both.) Am I b*tchy because of the Clomid? Does that mean it's working? Or am I just a b*tch?
And what if I am pregnant? When will I go on bedrest? (I have found that I generally think in terms of when bedrest will hit. John thinks in terms of if bedrest will hit. That about sums up the difference in our personalities.) Who will take care of Becca if I can't play with her and change her and feed her and be her mommy? How long with the new baby be in the hospital? Will s/he be okay? (Mind you, this is before s/he is even conceived...maybe.) Will I get to enjoy a pregnancy and not be waiting for the unthinkable to happen like I was last time around? Will we ever have another baby? Does New Baby Hill (as s/he is already affectionately known) exist? What if s/he doesn't and never will? Who will Becca complain about her parents to? Who will help her pick out our nursing home? And one question that was somewhat settled last night: will John demand that our hypothetical son be named John (which, though I love John, is one of my least-favorite boy names). Thankfully, John said that he's not going to filibuster the naming process. Phew. Dodged that bullet.
As any of you intimately involved with a pregnancy know, once you conceive, you are automatically 2 weeks pregnant. The first 2 weeks are gimmes, since you measure from your last menstrual period (or when it should have been). I feel like these past 7 months have been our 2 weeks. Two very long weeks. Two long weeks in which I have been almost pregnant. But not quite. And not at all.
Here's hoping that month eight, just a couple of days away, begins the third week of a new, healthy pregnancy. I'll keep you posted.