Chapter 2 "Trying"
I went on the pill when I was 19 years old, a freshman in college. I had been sexually active before this, but I always used condoms. Now I was dating some guy who wanted me on the pill. He was clever about it too, we had sex and then he told me that we couldn’t have any more sex if I didn’t go on the pill. I was horny, so when I was home from school on vacation I lied to my parents and went to Planned Parenthood and was put on birth control. I paid for the appointment and the pills by myself so my parents wouldn’t know. The sex was mediocre, for the record.
Fast forward two years later and I was in a somewhat serious relationship. As serious as a relationship can be when you’re twenty years old. I was home from college and my mother and I were in the car. She started talking about sex and the pill. MORTIFYING!!! She started saying things like, “I’m a cool Mom." And, "I think it’s time we put you on The Pill.”
What is that taste in my mouth? Oh, it’s vomit, I just vomited in my mouth a little and swallowed it back down. All I heard was blah, blah, blah, I will pay for your birth control from now on. Yes please! Sign me up! She never knew that I was on The Pill prior to that. Well, until now, sorry Mom.
So, as I said, I had been on The Pill for about a decade. After a lot of conversation, and my husband pushing back, he finally gave in. We decided that we were going to stop The Pill and just see what happens (again total bullshit because the minute that we decided to start ‘trying’ to get pregnant I already wanted to be pregnant). It was July 2011. I was hoping I would get pregnant quickly because I’m a school teacher and I wanted to plan it so that I could have a spring baby, take my maternity leave, and go back to work in September without disruption.
My first real pearl of wisdom for girls trying to get pregnant is: forget the calendar. Do not try to plan what month you will give birth. It just won’t happen. It’s a pointless activity and it will only lead you to stress out when you realize that you missed your optimal birth month window. Which, by the way, there is no optimal birth month window; it will happen when it happens and totally rock the shit out of your world for both good and for not-so-good regardless of what month it happens in.
We were officially trying. We were having unprotected sex all the time. Weeks and months went by and I wasn’t getting my period. So I was pregnant right? I was having a lot of unprotected sex, putting pillows under my ass after it. Sex. Put your feet up. Sex, raise your ass. Sex, lie down and think about swimming sperm. Sex. Sex. Sex.
**Cut to Finding Nemo: Dory: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming **
I even bought one of those expensive ovulation kits where you pee on a stick every morning and it tells you when you are ovulating. One morning I got the signal I was ovulating:
No joke, that stupid smiley face told me I was ovulating and that it was a perfect time to have more sex and put my feet up. We waited; I never got my period, so naturally I thought I was pregnant.
I remember being at a Guster concert in Central Park, I wasn’t drinking because I thought I was pregnant. Did I mention that? This whole time I wasn’t drinking because I thought I was pregnant. I had two bachelorette parties that summer and didn’t drink. My friends thought the world was coming to an end or that I was dying from cancer.
Back to the Guster concert. My husband and I were enjoying the show and I started feeling some rumblings in my lower stomach. I remember looking at him and telling him that I thought I was pregnant. He had the biggest smile on his face and held me. It was such an amazing genuinely happy moment and it was all false. I wasn’t pregnant at all. It turns out I had gas.
What was happening to me? Why wasn’t I getting my period? I started tracking my menstrual cycles using an app on my phone. There’s an app for that. My cycles were totally irregular and that stupid fucking smiley face that told me I was ovulating was 100% wrong every time. Stop smiling at me asshole!
Around late October/November I dragged my husband to my ob-gyn. I brought a calendar of when I had gotten, or more accurately in my case when I had not gotten my periods. I thought this was normal. It’s probably just my body adjusting to being off the birth control, right? No. This was not normal. The doctor started me on a low dose of Clomid. Nothing happened. I didn’t ovulate, but that’s ok, it was a low dose, I tried to convince myself. Next month she increased my dosage, now it’s December, again nothing happened.
All this time my best friend Shameeka was also trying to get pregnant again after her miscarriage. We had each other to lean on, to bitch to, and to support each other. It was great. Then on December 22nd I got a call from my ob-gyn. She left me a voice mail that said that I had PCOS and that I should call her back but that she was recommending me to see a fertility doctor.
Since I am a person of little to moderate intelligence I, of course, took to Google to figure out what the fuck is PCOS. It turns out that PCOS makes you infertile. That’s the word infertile. That was the only word I could see, the only word that stood out to me. I lost my mind. I was hysterical. I called my husband sobbing and told him he had to come home right away. Four hours later he actually walked through the door, which annoyed me, but I needed him so I let it slide. I was a wreck. I called Shameeka and we talked for a long time about what this means. She was amazing, so supportive and perfect. Once my husband came home he reassured me that we would get through this and it would be ok. We had no idea what this meant. Were there different levels of severity? Would I never get pregnant? Should we just start looking into adoption? What the FUCK?
The next day at work I was better, calmer, somewhat. That’s a lie, I was still a total wreck, but I had to pretend to live life. I stopped by Shameeka’s classroom because even though I was going through a life crisis I remembered that she was due to take a pregnancy test soon. We always knew when the other was ovulating, true friends. She told me that her pregnancy test came back positive. She had spent most of the night crying to her husband because she was so happy for herself but also sad for me and she didn’t know how to tell me. I was genuinely happy for her but it was also such a shock. I was infertile and my biggest support system was pregnant. Fan-fucking-tastic. I sent her a long email about how I was sad for me, but very happy for her, which was all true. This pregnancy stuck and nine months later Shameeka and her husband welcomed their first baby into the world.
That Christmas break was hard for me. I called the fertility clinic and left a million messages, apparently they shut down the lab around Christmas so no one could help me right away. As soon as they were back open in January, I had an appointment. They told me it was because I was ‘persistent’, which is code for I annoyed the crap out of them and they finally just gave me an appointment to shut me up.