Part of a special exploration of fertility and reproduction from Romper & Radiolab.
Romper's Trying project follows five women with very different stories through a year of trying to conceive. Where discussions about fertility often focus on the end goal, they'll document what it's like emotionally, physically, and spiritually before you get there — the anxiety, the hope, the ovulation kits, the tests. How do you function when getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term isn't a given? Read on for one woman's answer to that question.
Ambreia has a 2-year-old son and has been trying for a second child for a year and a half. This is the first installment of her Trying diary. To read her second, go here.
My husband and I have been together for seven years and married for four. We decided shortly before getting married that we wanted to have a child and we weren’t really taking too many preventative measures before — we were just using the good ol' pullout method. I really wanted a girl; he was indifferent, but the son we got was better than I could imagine in my wildest dreams. In 2016, right before our second anniversary we had our son, McChubs*, and he has more personality than most adults. We’ve been using natural family planning for the majority of our relationship.
We decided we wanted to start considering a second child when McChubs was somewhere around 3-6 months old. At that time, we stopped taking precautions. We have been active and passively trying for the last one and a half years.
Although I’ve never been formally diagnosed with secondary infertility, we find it strange that we have only had one pregnancy in six years of minimal or no precautions. After several gut-wrenchingly painful postpartum periods, I was diagnosed with fibroids, which can impact fertility, and one of my next steps is to look into the possible diagnosis of endometriosis. There are many days I feel like McChubs will always be an only child.
Still, I’m felt really optimistic about this month. We were trying a slightly modified version of the sperm meets egg plan (SMEP). We started trying on cycle day eight and aimed to try every other day until cycle day 15. Of course it's never that simple. My S.O. had a work trip, which meant we could only try up to cycle day 13. It's really frustrating to feel like you finally have a plan together, but you can’t follow it through because your spouse has to go to another part of the U.S.
Everyone I know is either pregnant or had a baby in the last seven months.
Post SMEP and into the two-week wait, I had a ton of work to keep me busy, the hope being I wouldn’t spend all my time thinking about what cycle day I’m on. But then I had a runny nose and a sore throat that only lasted 24 hours — the cycle I found out I was pregnant with McChub involved a short cold also — so I got my hopes up. I knew I’d be pretty crushed if it didn’t happen this month. Plus S.O was ~engaged~ with our efforts to get pregnant despite his exhaustion, so I was hoping that was good luck.
Everyone I know is either pregnant or had a baby in the last seven months. I know I should be grateful we had McChubs, but I would really like for him to have a sibling within a three-year age gap. I think I’m going to try and redirect my time into work and fitness. I don’t like sitting around feeling sad. I don’t know if I have the heart to actively try next month. Knowing you tried your hardest and came up unsuccessful sucks.
Following a big fat nothing in the weeks after our SMEP, I officially deleted all of the sites I visit.
My husband came home, and, after six wasted pregnancy tests, a billion hours of holding them up to the light, and two days of pouting, I had finally accepted that I wasn’t pregnant. I really felt like this month would be the one but it wasn’t. I could have sworn I saw a faint line!!! If I’m honest, it had a pretty big emotional effect on me.
Following a big fat nothing in the weeks after our SMEP, I officially deleted all of the sites I visit to jealously glance at the women getting positive pregnancy tests. I deleted my period planner as well.
I told myself I was going to take it easy and keep it lighthearted this month to avoid heartbreak, but why is it so dang hard not to check the calendar every day? I spent way too much time stressing and obsessing this month.
A work trip took my mind off my cycle, but not completely. While riding in a cab, I felt extremely car-sick and nauseated. That made my curiosity get the best of me; I wondered if I felt nauseated because the people in this city are horrible drivers or because I was showing signs related to pregnancy.
I am pretty serious about taking the next three or four cycles lightly.
I'm scared that I will never be able to have another child. But I'm perhaps equally as scared about having another child. Being a parent to a child is a really big responsibility and sometimes I wonder if I would ever be able to adjust to the needs of two children. When I get really nervous about these kind of things, I speak with my friends, many of whom have multiple children, and they assure me that I'll do fine.
So I guess I’m going to worry either way.
*Not the name on his birth certificate. Who do you take me for?