Lately, I’ve been getting serious about having a second child — really serious. Lurking forums and taking prenatal vitamins for nearly two months-serious. So serious I’ve joined the ranks of women who’ve bought pregnancy test and ovulation predictor kits ("OPKs" to those of us in the know) in bulk online. Trying to conceive ("TTC," you know) is a war, and those tools are our arsenal. All of TTC is stressful, but there are some days during the two-week-wait (TWW) that are super stressful — the days between ovulation and your expected period are a high-wire walk. You don’t wanna mess with me around that time.
The TWW gives us superpowers — hypervigilance, hypersensitivity, and hyperirritability as we look for signs we might be pregnant. Don’t screw with me during cycle days 15 through 28. And yes, we do that. We spend time discussing where we are by cycle day. You think I’m being dramatic, don’t you? I'm not. I have a dare for you, try to give a woman who's TTC helpful tips or suggestions. You’ll get a death glare so powerful that it will curse not only you but generations past as well as generations to come. You don't want to do that to your lineage, just keep your mouth closed. Chances are, if it’s googlable we’ve already done that sh*t anyway. QUIET, I AM CALCULATING THE PROBABILITY OF CONCEPTION ON EACH OF MY CYCLE DAYS.
In hopes of shaving a life or a friendship, I’m going to take you on a walk through TWW land. Note that we are counting in cycle days, as TWW warriors do.
Day 15: The Day Of Doubt
The first day of the TWW is probably the hardest, because it’s nearly impossible to know when you ovulated. Since I have a 26- to 28-day cycle, it’s typically around day 14. So day 15 is the day of doubt. I’ll spend the next few days evaluating everything I’ve done up to this point. And it drives me absolutely nuts.
Did I really feel cramps over the last few days because I was ovulating? Are we sure that we had sex enough for a constant stream of sperm to meet the egg since it only lives for 24 hours? Heck, how do we even know if I indeed ovulated? What if all that middle pain or the ovulation prediction kits were wrong?
The day of doubt lasts anywhere from two to three days and leads me to the next stage of the TWW.
Day 19: The Fun Times
On day 19 I'm optimistic. By now, I know if I was going to ovulate it has likely already happened. I like to spend this day googling things like, “What is the earliest anyone has ever gotten a positive pregnancy test along,” while scrolling through pregnancy chat rooms and looking to see who got lucky this cycle. The way I feel on days 19-22 are in no way reflective of my authentic TWW personality. I might even have sex for fun or invite you to catch a movie. Please don’t let it fool you. As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And within a few days, my confidence in my body fades, and I’ve turned into an irritable nightmare.
Day 23: The Day Of The Scientist
By day 23, I’m more in tune with my body than anyone has been in the history of ever. I feel every cramp, interpret every cervical position, and examine every drop of mucus. I’m also emotionally sensitive. The first round of positives have started rolling in from those who were two or three cycle days ahead of me. Thanks to the anticipation of the approaching finish line and the jealousy of those who’ve gotten positives, I’m likely emotionally distrustful. Social media interactions add more fuel to the fire. My favorite forums are probably hostile thanks to the influx of “OMG, I had sex one time and never intended to have a kid” posts. Because apparently, a site full of daily test-taking, baby-obsessed women is the best place to share your reluctant new pregnancy. I never comment, but it’s possible I may have woken hubby in the middle of the night to complain about the fairness of life. I’ve started taking pregnancy tests by now, and each negative is crushing a piece of my soul.
Day 27: The Day Of Rocking Back & Forth
As day 27 starts, I’m holding on by a string. It wouldn't be abnormal to see me wrapped in a giant comforter, rocking back and forth with my knees to my chest. I’m not religious, but I might be praying to the period gods by now.
Deep down, I know the cramps and boob tingles are signs of Aunt Flo coming to crush my dreams. But a gleam of hope, which we’ll call denial, keeps a joker-like smile on my face. I use that hope/denial combo for all it’s worth. “Que sera sera,” I remind myself, heartbroken as my toilet paper reveals a red dot. I’m angry as I tell my husband the news. “I’m never doing this again! I’ll stop as soon as I use whats left of my test.
But neither of us believe me. By the end of my period, I’m ready to start again.
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