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My doctor’s appointment this week was uneventful.  I knew that it would be.

Before Bear, I struggled for a long time in my attempts to convince a previous doctor that four periods in a year and a half was not related to the after-effects of birth control.  Eventually, that doctor found a small pituitary tumor and sent me to an endocrinologist, who was more interested in helping me.  However, after a year of treatment and still no periods, he tacked me with a PCOS label and handed me back to my OB (a new one at this point).  She promised me that they would not waste my time, and fortunately, I got pregnant the first time I ovulated.

My OB was wonderful throughout my pregnancy, except for one little issue that she never seemed fully to grasp.  Along our trying to conceive journey, my husband went through some common testing.  Although he is not generally prone to embarrassment, he found the concept of semen analysis daunting.  Since I was used to having every nook and cranny of body examined, I assumed that semen analysis would be no big deal and without a lot of sympathy, sent him off with an order from my doctor.

When he returned, I asked him how it went.  “Not well” was the reply.  I pressed him to expand on his two-word explanation, but all he would say was that he didn’t do it right, turned in his cup, and left.  He would share no further details, almost as though he were too traumatized to talk.

At my next appointment, my doctor shared the news that my husband had no swimmers.  Not one.  Instead of the response that she expected, I looked at her and laughed.  I explained what I knew about his experience, and told her that I didn’t think that the results were accurate.  A second semen analysis was ordered, but my husband put it off and fortunately, I got pregnant before I could cajole him into returning.

Minutes after Bear was born, my doctor jokingly told me that she looked just like her daddy, almost as though her existence was some sort of perverse inside joke.  One, I might say, that I didn’t find very funny.

At my appointment this week, my doctor kept telling me that with a male factor, it just takes longer.  But, according to her, “it only takes one.”  Again, I repeated my husband’s funny little story, and again, she repeated her joke about how Bear looks just like my husband and added “so we know that she is his.” I replied that my daughter now looks just like me, and with this news, my doctor jovially hit me on the shoulder and pulled another much-used phrase from her repertoire and said, “Well, good for you.  You deserve it.”

I left that appointment shaking my head and with an order to have my progesterone tested.  If the spotting continues, my doctor suggested an HSG to look for fibroids or polyps that could be causing the spotting and another semen analysis for my husband.  But hopefully, I’ll be pregnant first.

Since I posted this a few days ago, something has been weighing on my mind.  There are several reasons I have hesitated to discuss our efforts to conceive a second child on this blog.  The first, which I alluded to in my last post, is that I have been afraid to open the flood-gates to this topic for fear that it will become all I write about.  However, there is more to this thought.  By acknowledging our efforts here, I give this thing more control in my life.  I haven’t wanted to discuss its power over me, because I don’t want to acknowledge that it has a life of its own, and one that threatens to control mine again.

For this reason, initially, I refused to take my temperature for the first several months of trying.  I refused to log onto Babycenter or any of the other online community groups that feed this fire.  I refused to acknowledge that little glimmer of sadness that creeps in every time I hear that a friend is pregnant.  And, I still refuse to use ovulation predictor kits.  Refuse.  Refuse.  Refuse.

However, one by one, these things that I have run far away from have come back to find me.

The other issue is this – and I am trying to say this carefully so as to be mindful of everyone – I am not infertile.  I do not have a great story of infertility.  I cannot wear that badge.

I have a child.  I was able to become pregnant with – and stay pregnant with – a beautiful, wonderful child.  As I have heard others say, if this is the only child I have, I will be sad about it, but I have a child.  I will never go back to the place where I fear that I won’t have a child.  If you are there, please know that I am writing from the other side.  I remember those feelings, and for what it is worth, my heart is with any of you who read this from that place right now.

Although we struggled to conceive our child, and she did not come easily, I did not experience years upon years of waiting and trying.  I have friends who have, and I know two couples right now who eventually used IVF to conceive.  The last of these two couples is expecting their first child in May, and this is a child who they had good reason to believe that they would never have.  Before I knew this couple’s story, I must have unintentionally injured this future mom simply by talking about my little baby.  It had to be so difficult for her to listen to me, and I didn’t even know.  I do not want to be unmindful again.

I am writing this post so that anyone who might read what I have written or what I may write in the future on this topic will understand.  I have struggled in the past.  I am struggling now.  But I have a child.  We worked hard to have her, and I still battle several hormonal issues that continue to complicate our efforts now.  But, I am not the story of infertility.  I do not claim to have walked the roughest road nor waited the longest wait.  I have not cried unimaginable tears over the loss of a child, nor have I endured countless invasive medical attempts to conceive one.  Conceiving my first child was not easy, but it was when compared to what I know others have experienced.  Furthermore, my daughter is here, and I know this makes all the difference.  I want you to understand where I am coming from and where I hope to go.  We are simply trying again.

I ran out of optimism last weekend.

I generally am not a “cup is half-full” kind of girl, but I honestly believed that it would be easier this time.

I have hesitated to blog about this, because I’ve been worried that once I opened the flood-gates, that this is all I will ever blog about.  But, once again, it is quickly becoming all that I think about, so I might as well go ahead and blog.

We have been trying to get pregnant again since late summer.  At first, we were only casually trying.  After going through the process to conceive Bear (which admittedly when compared to that of several of my friends was not that arduous), we had hoped that it would just “happen.”  I remembered all too well fearful nights praying that I would just ovulate.  I remembered all too well going through pack after pack of ovulation predictor kits and never seeing anything resembling a positive.  I remembered all too well crying in the middle of the night certain that I would never have a child.  Honestly, I was not eager to go back that place.  If pregnancy would just “happen” then I could avoid it altogether.

The idea seemed plausible enough.  Before Bear, I did not ovulate at all.  We went through all of the standard testing for doctors to tell me what I already knew.  I wasn’t having periods.  I wasn’t ovulating, and I wouldn’t get pregnant if I didn’t ovulate.  First they told me it was caused by a prolactinoma on my pituitary gland.  We treated that, but I still didn’t ovulate.  They all agreed that I had hormone issues, but no one could find the solution to fix them.  Finally, by default it seemed to me, they told me that it was PCOS.  Fortunately, before we had to go too far into the doctor’s bag of magic tricks, I ovulated.

Maybe it was more of a miracle, though, because that first and only time that I had ovulated in two years, we got pregnant with Bear.

I spotted and bled mysteriously through my entire pregnancy with Bear, but she was born healthy.  I struggled to produce milk to breastfeed her, but finally I managed to maintain a small supply and combo-feed.  After Bear was a year old and I had mostly weaned her, I began having long cycles.  I rejoiced!  They were cycles with a beginning and end!  Over the next six months, they became a little shorter and a little more predictable.  And so, we came to the conclusion that it could just “happen” for us.  My doctor even left me with the advice, “Come back and see me when you are pregnant.”

Instead, I’ll be visiting her again on March 7th.  And I’m not pregnant.  Even though I seem to be having semi-regular cycles, and I know that I am ovulating, I have started spotting for about a week before my period inevitably starts.  Every time I see that first spot, I think, “Implantation!”  A week later, after many foolish negative pregnancy tests, I am proven wrong.  And, I am devastated.

I am hoping that whatever my problem is has an easy fix.  A luteal phase defect, perhaps?  But, I know that it is not going to just “happen” for us like I had hoped.  Until I see that positive test, I am afraid that I’ll be seeing that cup as half-empty once again.


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