Full disclosure: I'm all about self-improvement. As a lady who likes to thumb through Psychology Today for fun, I'm all about learning about the mind and how I can continually improve mine. I didn't, however, expect to get to know myself by undergoing a trans-vaginal ultrasound probing around my insides. You'd be surprised by the number of things I learned about myself from a fertility exam.
I'm not saying that every grown-ass woman needs to see what her uterus looks like in order to gain some type of self-awareness. I mean, it's not the most comfortable procedure you can endure, and talking to a relative stranger, my OB-GYN, about how frequently I have unprotected sex, in what positions, and what STDs I might have been exposed to, isn't exactly my idea of a good time. Don't even get me started on the question of whether or not I wanted to have genetic testing.
Suffice to say, a fertility exam is more stress-inducing than a yoga retreat, but, surprisingly, both can have similar outcomes. The anticipation of the exam made me sick, so a couple days before I sabotaged myself by getting drunk (something you're really not supposed to do while trying to conceive). Honestly, I was terrified that I'd exit the fertility office with alarming news and my ability to be a single mom by choice, would end before it even really began. Thankfully, that was not the case. In fact, after sitting on the results for a couple days, I felt empowered and enlightened, having learned the following things about myself:
Age Ain't Nothing But A Number
A study published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology noted that your chronological age is different from your reproductive age. Therefore, don't focus on how old you are, but rather what your egg supply is (your fertility exam will give you these results). The study emphasized that lifestyle and environmental factors played more of a part in fertility than innate genetics. So, that's extra incentive to treat your body right.
You Want To Be A Mom Badly Enough To Take A Guided Tour Of Your Uterus
As aforementioned, a trans-vaginal ultrasound with a condom covered probe isn't akin to lovemaking or even having fun with a dildo. In fact, it's one of the more uncomfortable procedures I've ever undergone. (Not to mention, there's a lab tech and physician pointing to your insides and making remarks.)
But, on the other hand, I learned that my uterine lining was quite thick, and saw what my ovaries looked like (I really do recommend every woman looks at heres at least once, because it's fascinating) and even got to see the little eggs floating around them. Pretty cool stuff. I mean, it's not everyday you get to look inside yourself like that.
You Take Everything With A Grain Of Salt
I went into the exam knowing that whatever the physician had to say is based on averages. In other words, my doctor compared my body to the bodies of women around my age, and was able to base odds of conception by how I (or my eggs, rather) lined up. But averages are just that — a guide, and not the final word. It's interesting to note that doctors themselves admit that a lot of medical tests are mandated by the managed care system, according to the Wall Street Journal, so take all results with a grain of salt.
You Have Ultimate Control Of Your Body
So your eggs might be a little sparse. Know what's cool? Because you now have intimate knowledge of your body, you can boost egg production with medication like clomiphene (Clomid) and, using assisted reproduction, know exactly when you're ovulating so that sperm meets the egg at the exact right moment.
You're More Resilient Than You Think
If life were all sunshine and roses, you'd never get to experience resilience. The power of resilience can only be experienced when you rally to pick yourself up after not-so-great news, noted Psychology Today. Although a fertility exam wasn't my idea of a good time, I'm stronger today because I faced my fears and that icky trans-vaginal probe.
No One Knows You As Well As You Know Yourself
Sure, the doctors and lab tech might know what my uterus looks like, but I've been inside myself longer than that trans-vaginal probe (even though it felt like eons). My determination, in conjunction with assisted reproduction, will help me achieve my dreams of a family.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Ultimately, I knew I was going to require assistance getting pregnant because I'm endeavoring to become a single mom by choice. I can't wait for the day when I get to raise my child in a community of people who love my little one as much as I do. Turns out, my fertility specialist is, by default, part of that community. If you build community, only good things will come out of it. This, I strongly believe.
There's A Difference Between Believing And Knowing
As my zen teacher once told me, you believe with your head; you know with your heart. No test from my fertility exam confirmed that tenet, but that's OK. Because I know, and that innate knowledge can put all the other stuff into perspective.