Hypothetical Olympics

Every single time the Olympics begin, I start the exact same conversation with my husband: If you were chosen, Hunger Games style, and had to compete in one event with the skills and abilities you currently possess, what game would you choose? He knows this question is coming before I even voice it. I think this year I got out: “So…” 

My interrogative tone must have given me away, because before I could finish my thought, he said, “I don’t know, Steph.”  

With a look of derision, I informed him that he had no idea what I was going to ask. As it turns out, he did. For what it’s worth, he and I often strongly disagree with the other’s so-called “skills.” 

That Hunger Game style Olympics is exactly what infertility feels like. 

It is as if I have been plucked up and placed at the starting line of a game I only watch on TV a few times every four years. Frantically looking to my left and right, I see only confident athletes, while I mentally try to tick off the list of rules in my head before the starting gun fires into the air. 

Sheer panic. 

I worry about approximately 147 things each day–especially after last month. I have a constant mental checklist of things to Google. I am hyper aware of every single twinge inside my body. I feel like there is some hidden rule sheet that I can’t find. Rules that everyone else seems to know by heart, or maternal instinct. But here I am, not even sure I have my ice skates on the correct feet. 

You would think that in the middle of the 4th cycle (on the third trip down this road), I would be a bit more confident in my skills. But fertility is no sport. And practice does not make perfect. Just like watching triple axles does not prepare me to land one. (Don’t worry, after my living room demonstration, I have decided that figure skating will not be my game of choice.) 

I do, however, know my body significantly better than I did 5 months ago. And, even if they’re not laced correctly, I am pretty sure that I do have my skates on the proper feet. 

After last month’s disastrous crash and burn, we jumped right back up and continued the routine. Today I am 19 days post miscarriage, but after another successful round of fertility drugs, I am also 2 days post ovulation, which means I am at the beginning of yet another 2 week wait. (Now, if waiting were an Olympic sport, I could definitely medal.)

In the meantime I will spend the next fourteen days trying to pass time by obsessively learning the rules of every Winter game to see if there’s anything I could do better than Curling or being a benchwarmer backup for the women’s hockey team who spends the entire time crossing my fingers that no one gets injured, because as Justin so kindly reminded me, I’m a terrible ice skater.

While I might not be able to answer yes to any “Could you do that?” that I am asked during every frigid event, I can answer yes to “You got this?” Because I do.

(two. six. twenty-two)

Time Heals All Wounds (and Other Stupid Cliches)

Today marks a full week since my miscarriage. Seven days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. It doesn’t matter how you want to measure it, time since then feels like arbitrary numbers. In one sense, the intensity of the pain makes it feel like yesterday. Even the number seven feels too big. And in another, I feel like I have been heartbroken for so long that 10,080 doesn’t even begin to capture it. 

I want to start off by saying that I know the statistics. I know around 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. This means that, dear readers, more than a handful of you have first hand knowledge of what I am going through. I know that my story is no more special than any of yours, but as I am the author of this blog, I am going to tell it as I am living it. It may be very similar or quite different from your experience. To be honest, I hesitated to even write a post like this because I did not want it to seem like I think my loss is any more significant than anyone else’s. As I have stated from the beginning, I don’t know if I am “doing this right”. 

But since you’re here to read my story, here it goes. The last seven days have been….hell. I don’t know how else to say it. In the last week, I have successfully made it through one day without crying. It hits me at the strangest times: in the middle of dinner, when I am staring at myself in the mirror doing my makeup. Sometimes it stops as abruptly as it began, and sometimes I cry until I am dry heaving. Part of this, I know, is hormones. Within the last ten days, I have been pregnant, lost the baby, and completed another cycle of fertility drugs. I am trying to be kind to my body. I know she’s dealing with a lot and doing the best she can. 

However, if I’m being totally honest, I’m still pretty angry with her. I still want to write a “To Whom it May Concern” letter to my uterus. I want to demand an answer to why she betrayed me. It figures that I would get the uterus that slept through class the day “fertilized egg implantation” was covered. *insert eye roll*

In addition to the soul-crushing sadness and irrational anger, I also feel weirdly responsible. I know in my hodge-podge of emotions, this is the ridiculous one. While the rational side of me sees this, it still doesn’t prevent it. This sense of responsibility has driven me insane. I have become obsessed with “what did I do?” and “what didn’t I do?” Am I taking the right supplements? Am I taking too many supplements? I recently read that you want to keep your uterus warm during the two week wait to aid in implantation. According to Eastern Medicine, in order to do this, you need to keep your feet warm. So now I’m stressing out if I wore warm enough socks. I literally cannot make this up. 

Earlier, I mentioned the 15% statistic. That’s true for normal healthy women. For my condition, the rate is closer to 50%. Enter one more emotion: FEAR. I know I wear a bracelet everyday that says “Fearless”. This week, that bracelet has been a lie. Total bullshit. I am scared to death that this could happen again. And again. 

The other bracelet says “Strength”. This one is less of a lie, because I know that even if it does happen again, I’ll survive and try again, just like I am doing now. And the last bracelet is why: Hope. 

I finished the drugs for this cycle last night. So now I wait…and hope… that they again induce ovulation so that we can try again this month. 

So, in answer to the big question: How am I doing? I am okay. And I am not okay. It depends on the minute. I do know, however, that I will be okay. At the end of this road, whenever that may be, and whatever the outcome, I will know that I gave it everything I had. Literal blood, sweat, and tears. 

I also know, I am nowhere near the end yet.

(one. twenty-six. twenty-two)

I am no poem.

I don’t even know how to start this blog post. I should preface it with the fact that I do not think I am psychic. 

I titled my very first blog post (which I wrote before I decided to make this whole thing public): “The Magic of Three”. In it, I wrote about how things, as they often do, seemed to be happening in threes. The writer in me has always thought how very poetic it would be if the third cycle was the one in which I became pregnant. 

I was right. 

However, after the devastation I felt after the last cycle, I went into this one more cautious. Honestly, I felt uneasy the entire time. So many people kept telling me, “Third time’s the charm!” Every time I heard it, I immediately thought of that first blog post and how the writer in me would pen the book exactly that way. But, something in my gut told me this cycle wouldn’t end well. 

I was right. Again. 

Yesterday I was almost 5 weeks pregnant. 

Today I am nothing. 

I have waited 12 years to say those three words: I am pregnant. I barely got 24 hours with them. They still felt foreign on my tongue. But now, like the baby, they are gone. I am miscarrying. Or is it past tense? I have miscarried. I am currently bleeding and cramping and crying so many tears I have thrown up. So, it feels pretty damn present tense. 

I don’t even know what else to say. I could tell you all about the roller coaster this cycle has been. But, honestly, the heartbreak has stolen my eloquence, so I will give you the cliff notes version. 

Last Thursday was the end of my two week wait, and my pregnancy test was negative. I was crushed. I took one again on Friday, and didn’t even look at it closely. I saw one line, threw it on the counter and asked my husband to take me out for fajitas to get my mind off of it. 

On Saturday morning, I was straightening up the house and picked up the test to put it away and noticed a faint line. (Wait?? What???) Immediately, I retested, and saw a definite line. Still faint, but it was there. I retested again on Sunday and the line had grown even darker. 

Monday morning’s test seemed to be lighter, and, since the test measures your hormone level, I immediately feared something was wrong. I called the doctor and he had me come in for blood work right away. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday morning in this pregnancy purgatory, not knowing how to feel. 

Tuesday morning my doctor called me and said I was clearly pregnant (!!!), but my numbers were low. He wanted to restest again tomorrow morning (which is today) and see if they were going up (which would be good), or down (indication of miscarriage). 

I knew a miscarriage was possible last night, but I also knew one thing for certain: I was pregnant. And in that moment, that was all that mattered. 

This morning I woke up with a sense of dread, but I had my blood work done at the fertility clinic and then went about my day, trying (unsuccessfully) to think of anything else. Midafternoon, I got the call. And, as if the universe planned it, I started bleeding mere minutes before the phone rang. 

And here I am three hours later, sitting at my computer writing, because it’s the only way I know how to cope with the pain I am feeling. 

I am sorry there is nothing poetic about this post. 

Justin, I am sorry my body continues to fail us. I really am trying so damn hard. 

I have had people tell me over the last few days that I should look for the glimmer of hope that at least my body is able to become pregnant now. I’m going to be honest, right now as I sit here typing this, I can’t see that ray of sunshine. It doesn’t make this one bit easier. But I know tomorrow I will wake up and it will still be there, and I hope I can see it then. I have an appointment in the morning to start the next cycle of drugs. Since I have to start them while I am still bleeding, there is (literally) no rest for the weary. 

If there is anything I have learned from life, it is that nothing works out the way you expect it. Life is not a poem. So maybe there is something about the 4th try. Maybe the “un-poetic-ness” of it will be the good luck that I need. 

(one. nineteen. twenty-two)

#TenYearChallenge

#TenYearChallenge. 

Open Facebook and tell me your news feed isn’t full of these posts. The idea behind it is beautiful. But, I am going to be honest. When this trend first started, it almost made me want to “quit the Facebook.” 

It took me a very long time to see the beauty of this trend. Every time I opened the app, here is what I saw: 

  • Here’s us as love drunk newly weds, and here we are with our 8 year old at Disney World. 
  • Here’s me living the single life. Look at me now–married with our two babies and cute Golden Retriever in the middle of a sunflower field.
  • Look how little our babies were. Now, they’re so grown up and driving! 

You get the point. Each and every post made me feel more and more…. “stuck”. Nevertheless, I started looking back at pictures, trying to find one, just in case I felt like jumping on the bandwagon. This didn’t help matters. Not only did these decade-old photos remind me of my “bang” phase, but they also served as a painful reminder that my guest rooms have never been converted to a nursery. 

I felt like nothing had changed. And I was embarrassed. 

But then I started thinking about 30-year-old Stephanie. While I love her (and those unfortunate bangs and boot-cut jeans), I am glad I am no longer her. Or no longer just her. Like Russian nesting dolls, I have added so many layers to the person I am. 

Thirty-year-old Stephanie was also going through fertility drugs (for the second time), but she was largely doing it alone. She was perpetually worried about what others thought of her, and she was far too ashamed of her inability to have children to really let anyone in. This Stephanie did A LOT of pretending. Pretending to be okay. Pretending to be happy. (Not to say that I wasn’t happy. I am not so tragic to say that I haven’t known happiness. I have. Undoubtedly. I am incredibly lucky. This fact has never been in question.)

When I look in the mirror today, two months from turning 40 (eek!), I am damn proud of who I have become. I am confident in who I am as a woman and as a human. I am more complex, but I communicate better. I am more empathetic. I am open to sharing my story. I find encouragement in the support of my family and friends. To put it simply, I let others love me and I love them right back. 

There are certain things that will never go away. I still cry in the shower. I still feel the guilt of holding the responsibility for my husband being childless. I still get my feelings hurt from callous remarks.  I still think about what it would be like to be a mother every single day. I just like to think I do it with a little more grace. 

So, I may not have a trendy social media post that spotlights a growing family. But, through the adversity that I have faced, and in the bone marrow that makes me who I am… I have grown–at least a decade’s worth.  And I’m not going to let my embarrassment make me “quit the Facebook.” 

(one. ten. twenty-two)

An Open-Ended Letter to my Nemesis

Dear 2021, 

It would be very easy for me to sit here, give you the middle finger and go to bed at 10pm, turning my back on you as you make your departure tonight. But, that’s not really fair to you, is it? You lived your mere 365 days of existence to the fullest, giving me quite the wild ride that I was NOT expecting. 

I went into you knowing it would be another year of change. While your predecessor brought about a career move, I thought your change was going to be me going back to school. I bet you got a good laugh at that one, didn’t you? Stifling your snickers and biding your time as I researched graduate programs and mentally prepared myself for an onslaught of studying and essays. Did you already know that I would, in fact, be always writing, but that it would be blog posts rather than educational research papers? Sneaky. 

Your summer was riddled with uncertainty and fear. I spent most of July, August, and September worried there was something deeply wrong with me, visiting doctor after doctor with no real answers. I don’t know why, but I picture you as a soothsayer, peering into your crystal ball with a full mind and knowing eyes, but tight lips. I assume that when the doctor mentioned the C-word, you already knew it was a hormone imbalance.

I have a few more questions for you. Did you do your research on me? Did you bother flipping through my file? If so, I’m sure, as you thumbed through 39 years worth of data, you would have stumbled on the fact that Autumn is my favorite time of year. I have always felt most alive as the air crisps. I read books full of magic to match my mood. Like Anne of Green Gables, I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. 

If your existence was a roller coaster, October was the first loop. Making the decision to give fertility drugs one last try left me feeling like I was stuck upside down and wishing on every distant speckle of a body spectator that the seatbelts wouldn’t break. (Because when you’re upside down, you can’t even see the stars.) You stole the magic of October from me. Because of the uncertainty you hand delivered to me, I couldn’t even stomach reading one mystery novel this fall. Do you see what you have done? You reduced my reading to trashy romance novels and hallmark-esque love stories! 

If October was the loop-to-loop, November and December were a series of slow ascensions and long, steep plummets. This is where I take real issue with your tight lips. You sprinkled hope like confetti. You let me buy baby clothes and a tiny stocking. You allowed me to plan holiday pregnancy announcements. You convinced me that every drug side-effect was a sign of new life growing inside of me. Hell, you let me talk to a baby that didn’t exist before ripping it all away just in time to watch other people’s kids open Christmas presents. Nothing so strongly reminds you of how much you are not a mother like Christmas. 

Maybe you don’t deserve all of this. Maybe I am simply using you as my scapegoat, because it’s easier to blame you for allowing me to get my hopes up rather than taking an introspective look at myself. 

And I suppose if I’m going to so easily dish out the hate, I should also give you a little credit. Through the painful rollercoaster that was your lifetime, you taught me a thing or two. 

For starters, I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I was. End of story. Most days I feel like I am one day away from breaking. But, every morning I wake up in one piece and that feeling is still one day away. 

As an introverted control freak I process (and handle) everything inside–where I can control it. You taught me that it’s okay to let others in. And even when they say “the wrong thing” it is almost always coming from a place of love and an attempt to help. I think this was your biggest lesson, and something I am still learning to embrace. 

You ensured my tear ducts are still in working order and confirmed that my heart is still made of glass. 

And today, the very last day before you are laid to rest, you gave me the gift of a second confirmed ovulation. For that, you have my deepest gratitude. While most women get this monthly gift naturally, it is something I hold most precious. And something I don’t take for granted. 

Thanks to your parting gift, your successor is beginning her time with the dreaded TWW (two week wait). Please sit her down and have a talk with her. Tell her I’ve done everything right. Tell her I am counting on her. Remind her that all of my eggs (literally) are in her basket. 

It is with all of these thoughts, and through a mixture of happy and sad tears, that I wave goodbye. 

Thanks for nothing and thanks for everything, 

Stephanie 

(twelve. thirty-one. twenty-one)

Curtain Removal

I held off on writing anything over the weekend in anticipation of this post. I knew it would be the happiest or the hardest one I’ve yet to write. Recently, we decided there are so many people “in this with us” at this point, that if it works out, it would be cruel to keep it a secret for too long. Plus, the whole point of this blog is to tear down the curtain that keeps infertility struggles a secret. 

Well, I wish I had better news. But, I do not. 

Round two failed. And, I’m working really hard at saying “this round” failed, because as I sit here this afternoon, it feels an awful lot like I failed

I went in for blood work yesterday, and this morning my doctor’s sweet nurse called with the  results. I wish I could put into words the feeling you get when you’re sitting in a meeting and see the fertility clinic’s number pop up on your phone. Excusing myself, I ducked into the nearest empty classroom and prepared to meet my fate. 

“Hey Stephanie, it’s Beverly. So, I have your lab results …(long pause)… and it’s negative. You’re not pregnant. I’m so sorry.”

What do you say to that? Thank you? Okay? Are you sure? But why not; I did everything right

To be honest, I don’t really know what I said. I think it was some jarring combination of “okay”, “it’s fine”, and those weird hiccupy tears that hit when you try too hard to fight them back. You know the ones that sit at the back of your throat with the sole purpose of disrupting the cadence of your voice giving away that you are not, in fact, “okay” or “fine.” 

There was some more information and numbers shared, I agreed I wanted to continue, and then we hung up and I just sat in that empty classroom and cried until the bell rang. 

The cruelest twist of fate is that the side effects of fertility hormones (coupled with stress) present themself in your body VERY similarly to pregnancy symptoms. And, in my heart of hearts, I knew I was pregnant. So much so, I would have bet the house on it. Over the course of the last week or so I have purchased five (gender neutral) baby onesies, the most precious little booties you have ever seen, and a tiny baby stocking. (Because how cute would that be to surprise people with an extra stocking on the mantle?) 

It’s a good thing I’m not a gambling woman, because I kinda like having a roof over my head. While I may be emotionally tough… physically, I am a wimp and totally wouldn’t survive in the wild. (Also, don’t ask me why if I bet my house and lose it, I go straight to the wild, Naked and Afraid style. That’s just the way my mind works.)

Turns out, 2021 just didn’t have it in the cards for me. I hope 2022 is more agreeable. 

Thank you to everyone who continues to read my words week after week. And whether you believe in prayer, positive energy, or the kindness of an encouraging word or a smile, I appreciate it all. More than you’ll probably ever know. 

I feel like this post lacked the eloquence of its predecessors, but that’s what happens when you tear down the curtain. It’s not always pretty.

(twelve. fourteen. twenty twenty-one)

Don’t Judge Me, Google.

How did we do things before Google? No, this is a genuine question. Maybe, as a society, we “wondered” more? Who was that one guy in that movie where he had a baboon heart? (Answer: Christian Slater) I know I did it–survived on gaining knowledge through card catalogs and an encyclopedia set purchased at a garage sale. I am part of the Xennial generation- a micro-generation of those born between 1977 and 1983 that, trait-wise, doesn’t fit with either GenX or Millennials.  We grew up analog and were the first generation to get computers in our houses “as kids”. We are the generation adept in both worlds. 

I say all this because I find myself Googling EVERYTHING. I am in the infamous and dreaded TWW. 

Every community has their own lingo recognizable only to those who are a part of it. The infertility, or TTC*,  community is no different. I don’t remember online support groups through Facebook being “a thing” the last two times we went through all of this. Maybe they were and I was trying too hard just to handle it all on my own. This time, I am embracing everything throughout this entire process. I am talking about it, writing about it, and accepting help and support. When I joined these online groups, I felt like they were speaking a different language. These ladies conversed almost entirely with acronyms and colloquial slangs which left me Googling every other word in an attempt to translate. At first, I thought that these people must be “more infertile” than me. They’re knee-deep in it, and they know how to talk the talk. I didn’t. 

I’m a quick learner, though. I found charts of the acronyms, read them repeatedly, and kept them for reference. I now can read the posts without assistance and I realize that infertility, though different for everyone, is not measured on a Richter scale. We’re all stuck in the same bucket of suck together. 

Have you figured out what the TWW is yet? No? Let me help you out. The TWW is the Two Week Wait. Among those in the TTC community, this is basically purgatory. During this part of each round, there is nothing to do but wait. There is nothing scientifically proven that I can do to increase chances of conception. Nothing. I am, admittedly, a bit of a control freak, and this is a tough pill to swallow. 

Shouldn’t that be easier, Stephanie? You’re not having to chart and graph every spike in temperature, dose of medication, and BD*. First of all, tell that to my mind. Second of all, look at you using the lingo already. You’re obviously a quick learner too. 

I would be embarrassed to show you my Google search history, but let me just give you a small sampling of the types of things I have Googled this week:

  • What are the earliest signs of pregnancy?
  • Can the sniffles be an early sign of pregnancy?
  • Does constipation post ovulation mean I’m pregnant?
  • Are vivid dreams a sign of pregnancy?

And those are just some of the least embarrassing things I have Googled. 

I know all I can do is wait. Think positive thoughts. Continue with my life and don’t stress. I am no Hallmark card though, and I am never not thinking about it. And while I’m not stressed, per se, I am anxious. I am wondering how two weeks could possibly be passing this slowly. But I am also relishing this time that I can be positive and hopeful. Those moments are hard to come by. In the meantime, I am crossing every finger and hoping every hope for a BFP* while trying to prepare my heart for another BFN*. 

Key:
*TTC: Trying to Conceive
*TWW: Two Week Wait
*BD: “Baby Dance”…also used to mean “Baby Dust” when wishing someone good luck
*BFP: Big Fat Positive
*BFN: Big Fat Negative

(twelve. four. twenty twenty-one.) 

Synonyms and Pumpkin Pie

I sat down at my computer this morning, cup of coffee in hand, intent on writing a motivational(ish) Thanksgiving-related post. I even began with a Google search for: Thanksgiving Quotes, saving a few aesthetically pleasing images to my desktop. But, I opened this document to begin typing and, I’m not going to lie…it felt fake. Forced. And, the most important thing to me, as far as this blog is concerned, is authenticity. 

I am an appreciator. Honestly, I think it is in the marrow of my bones. I appreciate everything: a smile from a stranger I pass repeatedly in the grocery store because we are walking opposite, but the same, paths, a kind word left on a post-it note, the simple piano melody of Clair de Lune (my favorite song), the way lobster bisque, sourdough bread, and a dry red wine create the absolute perfect flavor combination (this is fact, and you cannot change my mind). 

I am pretty sure any thesaurus would list appreciative as a synonym for thankful–two combinations of letters to be used interchangeably. But, that’s like a sixth grader writing: I walked outside to find the sun shining and it felt prodigious. *Insert mini-lesson on the nuances of the English language, and why, just because prodigious is listed as a synonym for amazing (and you’ve already used amazing in your story thirteen times), we can’t just pick it because it “sounds the fanciest”. 

With the onslaught of motivational posts as I scrolled through Facebook this morning, I realized that appreciative and thankful, though not quite as divergent as amazing and prodigious, are not always synonymous. 

Sometimes being thankful is complicated. And, I think that’s okay. This isn’t to say I am not grateful for the life I have. I am. Unquestionably. But sometimes, that which is immediately in front of us casts such a large shadow, it makes it hard to see anything else. And sometimes the beginning of a shadowy journey falls at the time of year that “being thankful” (and even more so–being publicly thankful on social media) is apropos. The holidays seem to be a subliminal reminder that family is everything. I am incredibly lucky to have one of the best. But also…I want one of my own. And honestly, the holiday season can make it hard to think of little else. 

Fertility drugs don’t play. I have had a headache that hasn’t taken a break in two solid weeks. Most nights, when I am trying to fall asleep, I get what I can only describe as restless legs…of my entire body. These are just a few of the physical by-products of the (hopefully) miraculous medicines. I’ll admit, they are not the worst side effects I could possibly have, and the more difficult ones are undoubtedly mental and emotional. Even those are, by no means, permanent roadblocks to my thanksgiving. But, they’re there. And, in the spirit of candid authenticity, I can’t pretend they’re not. 

I am not so naive to assume that infertility is the only cause of holiday stress. So, I am writing today to say this: if being publicly thankful feels like a prodigious feat (see what I did there?) for you, for whatever reason. I see you. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a cheesy casserole and a slice of pumpkin pie together. Cheers. 

(eleven. twenty-four. twenty twenty-one)

Plastic Snowflakes Don’t Melt With Time

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say, and sometimes I stare at a blank document and type and delete 47 different opening sentences because nothing sounds right. At this exact moment, my blog is sitting at 618 views. I can barely comprehend that number. I’ve said before, this whole thing started as something I didn’t really intend to share. As I wrote my second entry, a small part of me started thinking that it could be something big. I don’t mean “big” as in reaching a lot of people; but rather reaching some people in “big” ways. I think my tiny piece of the internet is doing a little of both. There are so many people following my story now, and when I say I can feel you in my corner, I mean it. 

Infertility is damn lonely. It makes you feel stuck in time, like that Christmas snow globe that you unbox every holiday season. You give it a shake and watch plastic snowflakes rise and fall over the same scene–year after year. In the beginning, you watch your friends and (close-in-age) family members begin families of their own. For a while, you tell yourself: There’s still time for me. If I have a baby in a year or two, our kids can grow up together. You stomach the baby showers. You listen to all the woes of pregnancy with a sympathetic look on your face. You convince yourself there’s still time. 

Then time, being the cold-hearted bitch that she is, keeps going without looking back. Not even for a second does she bother to glance in her rearview mirror. So, you peer out of your frozen-in-time snow globe and keep telling yourself there’s still time; just maybe with a little less confidence now. With plastic snowflakes on your eyelashes you fake a thousand smiles. Then, the generation behind you starts having babies and you can’t attend a baby shower without triggering a full blown panic attack, and you find yourself begging to be put back in the box of Christmas decorations and stored in the attic. 

I tell you this story, though, to say thank you. Thank you for making it less lonely. Thank you for every kind comment and word of support. I could not do this alone.

So, just a little update for those that are interested: today was the last day of the fertility drugs for round two. It was a much stronger dose and taken earlier in my cycle. So now I wait, stomach the side effects, and continue to monitor and test and cross every finger on my hand that it actually triggers ovulation this time. I tested too early last cycle and the false positives did a number on my spirt. This time I am being patient. You see, in addition to all the testing, there’s also a lot of waiting in infertility. 

Once again, thank you for reading my words. And thank you for shaking my snow globe and reminding me how beautiful the snowflakes can actually be. 

(eleven. seventeen. twenty twenty-one)

Here we go again.

Sometimes you can follow all the rules and things still don’t work out. Sometimes the only words you can think of have four letters.

I did everything right. I have the charts and graphs to prove it. I took the correct medications and supplements at the precisely right times. I used color coordinated pens to make sure I kept track of 6AM temperatures, results of every stick I peed on, every pill I took, and every time my husband so much as looked at me for longer than 3 seconds. (Okay, maybe that last one is a slight exaggeration, even though it feels about right.) I ate the right foods. I drastically cut sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. I did all the positive thinking a girl could possibly do. 

I did all those things (and more), and it still didn’t work. 

I know you’re probably thinking: But wait, didn’t you just start? How do you already know? You’re not wrong. I did just start. Today was supposed to be day 12 of my cycle–the official day to start watching for ovulation. This is the day that has been circled on my calendar. It was supposed to be the turning point. Instead, it is day one of a new cycle. 

I woke up to minor bleeding yesterday. While the logical side of me knew it wasn’t a good sign, there was a tiny part of me that thought it might indicate actual ovulation. According to my trusty friend, the internet, this does happen for 3% of fertile women. Today proved otherwise when I awoke at 2am with intense cramps and more bleeding. 

I can’t speak highly enough of my doctor. They were able to see me this afternoon and we are jumping right into round 2. I have stronger drugs and we’re moving the timeline up. 

I received a fresh clean chart. My colored pens are ready. I’m still following all the rules. (Could I sound any more like a teacher?!) I’m doing all the right things as best as I can and trying to only think of one four letter word: hope. 

(eleven. eleven. twenty twenty-one)