Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Doing It Like It is Your Job

From the "Looking Back" Series...

Well, I never set out to get pregnant with twins. Let me say that first. We tried the old fashioned way thinking that in a couple months we would have a positive pregnancy test and all would be well. It didn't happen that way. We went a year without birth control never trying to be careful. If it would have happened during this time we would have been happy, but we weren't "actively" trying. Try asking a couple if they are going to have a baby. You will probably hear, "Yes, we want one, but we aren't "actively" trying. " One definition of actively trying is that we have decided this is the time to have a baby and now we are fooling around with a goal instead of just fooling around. Well, once we decided that we were ready to start actively trying, things changed. My version of actively trying is we have decided this is the time to have a baby and now I am charting my temperature, peeing on ovulation test sticks, abstaining from alcohol, caffeine and anything else that could be dangerous just in case I am pregnant, taking prenatal vitamins and obsessing over the multiple ways that cervical fluid could look throughout the month. I read a million websites and postings from other TTC-ers (Trying To Conceivers) and even paid money on one website to enter my morning temperature so that a pretty graph would spit out so I could take it to the doctor with me. (I do know how to use Excel, but what the heck, right?) It was my job. I would READ my journal of temperatures, scouring over every number trying to figure out a pattern to them like I was trying to unlock a secret code into the world of motherhood. After months of doing this and having no luck and very sporadic periods every three to four months, we needed help...we needed to bring a third person into this process.

I went to my midwife with my charts in hand ready to show all the work that I had put into it. I took three months of temperature readings with me, knew when my last period was and how long we had been trying. (If you are trying to get pregnant and are having problems, having this information with you when you go to the doctor is extremely helpful to them.) My midwife in the spirit of midwifery and all things natural (I love her) suggested we wait a couple more months. Sounded like a plan. So, I went home and resumed my job of obsessing over fertilization. After a few more months of nothing, we went back in to the office and one of the doctor's in the practice suggested we try Clomid. Oh no, the "C" word! Doesn't this stuff make you crazy? I want to do things natural. Maybe just a few more months and then I will figure out the algorithm to my menstrual cycle...

We decided to go for it. I went on the lowest dosage of Clomid which is 50 mcg for the first month. Most doctors will start their patients on this dosage and continue to increase if needed by 50 mcg. I used it on days 5-9 of my menstrual cycle (day one is the first day of your period) and then stopped. I noticed that I had a few mild hotflashes, but really nothing else. I certainly didn't feel crazy, but maybe my heightened level of craziness over the past year cancelled it out. I took ovulation tests and it took several weeks for a positive test to show up. Once we had a positive ovulation test, we tried. And we were successful.

We were overjoyed a couple weeks later to find out we were pregnant. It had been a long time coming and we couldn't believe it was finally here. But our joy didn't last too long. A couple days after my positive pregnancy test, I started spotting. I called my midwife to find out what we should do and they brought me in that day to take blood work. When they take blood work, they are looking for an increase in the hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) level. It should double every two to three days. Once I took the blood test, I went in for a second blood test 48 hours later. My levels didn't look good, so they performed an ultrasound. Two ultrasounds later, there was no heartbeat. It was called a blighted ovum. A blighted ovum is when there is a gestational sac, but no embryo. It has been explained as possibly being caused by chromosomal issues. My midwife suggested a D & C (dilatation & curettage) and so we had that done and waited three months before trying again.

I was devastated and it took a lot out of me. But a strange thing happened during those three months while we weren't trying. I got to take a break. I mean, I stopped reading my temperature journal, didn't pee on any sticks and enjoyed my husband for the man that I love him to be and not the sperm donor that I was starting to see him as. And he is great...I mean, I was CRAZY and he stuck with it. He was going through the same thing that I was and he stayed strong for me. He encouraged us and he stayed positive when I was weak. So, finally, I got to enjoy him again.

Three months came and went. I called the doctor ready to get back to work...I need another round of Clomid, here is my temperature chart from the last month I took Clomid, it took awhile to ovulate on 50 mcg, should I try 100 mcg?...The doctor prescribed the 100 mcg and off I went. I took it days 5-9 of my cycle and this time, whoa the the hotflashes, but again there were no other symptoms. I had read that Clomid can dry you up (back to the cervical fluid), but one suggestion was to drink green tea before ovulation. I did this and I have to say it worked for me. No kidding. Plus I decided to go high tech this time. I bought a digital ovulation test kit so instead of comparing lines, I would see a smiley face. I was ready.

One Saturday I was going through my usual routine of ovulation testing. I had been testing that week and was close to running out of tests. I took the test and went about doing housework waiting for the results. When I went it to check, it was blank. Nothing. There wasn't even a circle where the smiley face lived. I was quite frustrated because as you recall I was running quite low on these, so angrily I smacked the side of the test with my hand and suddenly the little smiley face guy appeared. I remember running in and telling my husband, "I got a smiley face! I got a smiley face!" Puzzled looking, my husband stared at me wondering what I was talking about so I added, "I am getting ready to ovulate! We have to try now!" "Right now?" he asked. "Yes!!" I remember being frantic as if I was going to miss the bus or something. So we dropped what we were doing and tried again.

This time we hit the jackpot. Twice.

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