loss, musings, TTC after loss

A different approach.

I have mentioned before that I can sometimes be a little obsessive.

Let’s face it. I am the queen overanalyzer. And while I hate it when people say, “just relax and it’ll happen,” the truth is, I do need to relax. It’s not that I think relaxing will magically get me pregnant — it’s just that I’m not doing my own sanity, health and wellbeing any favors by getting wound so tightly.

Last cycle I attempted to relax by doing a meditation podcast series. While I did find myself able to physically relax for those 15 minute podcasts each day, I think adding more to my routine and getting me actively thinking about things on a regular basis just contributed to my obsession more than it helped me to relax, overall.

So, this cycle I’m forcing myself to take a break from everything but the “essentials” – that is, sex, vitamins and the progesterone prescribed by my doc. Caveat: since I can only start progesterone after ovulation, I do still need some way to track ovulation, so I’ll keep charting my temperature. It’s pretty much become second nature to me, at this point. I simply pop my thermometer in my mouth when the alarm goes off and then I go back to sleep. The only time temping causes me any stress is after ovulation when I overanalyze my chart looking for any signs that I might be knocked up. So, to avoid this, I’m only going to temp until I can confirm ovulation so I can start my progesterone, and then I’ll put the thermometer away.

In addition to the abbreviated temping, here’s what else I’m giving up (even though very few people read this blog, I figured making a list will help keep me accountable):

1. OPKs (ovulation predictor kits): In previous cycles, I had been using OPKs in conjunction with charting to pinpoint ovulation. You see, OPKs tell you when you’re likely to ovulate, but don’t confirm when it’s actually happened. Conversely, charting your temperature confirms ovulation after the fact, but gives very little indication when it’s about to happen. As a result, using the two together typically makes for a pretty good predictor/confirmation routine.

Problem is, you have to start peeing on these ovulation sticks twice a day several days before you expect to ovulate so you don’t miss it. This leads to awkwardly testing in the bathroom stall at work, squinting at the tests to try to determine whether they’re negative or positive (they can be a bit ambiguous), and then feeling the pressure to get busy once you see a positive (which can make things feel a bit clinical after a while). I think giving up OPKs will save me some obsession and force us to keep at least some of the spontaneity and romance alive.

2. Online message boards: This is one of the biggest things I’m giving up. After our miscarriage, I found a wonderful online support group that has been a godsend throughout this process. Not many people in my real life even know what we’ve been through, and even those who do can’t always relate or know the right things to say. This message board has been a huge source of support for me since no one there judges me for breaking down in tears just from seeing a pregnant lady on the street or wanting to punch the next preggo who says she’d give anything for a drink. The ladies on this message board have all been through what I’m going through – from the heightened emotions and “bad days” that creep up out of nowhere, to the low tolerance for those who complain about what we would quite literally give our right arm for. They know what it’s like, because they’ve been there.

Unfortunately, despite the tremendous support I get from this group, I am also fully aware that being entrenched in this community may be keeping me from moving on. Not to mention, many of these women have it so much worse than me. Some have been dealing with infertility for years and/or are on their third, fourth or even fifth miscarriage. As awful as our situation is, it’s probably only a minor setback in the grand scheme of things. Being surrounded by so much pain and struggling has left me feeling pretty gloomy about our future – to the point where I just expect to have trouble getting pregnant and/or will inevitably miscarry again. And while that’s certainly a possibility — and I’ll never be as naive or innocent as I once was — dwelling on worst case scenarios isn’t helping me to stay positive.

3. Dr. Google: Um, yeah. Hypochondriac overanalyzers like me should not be allowed to google anything medically-related, and should be banned from WebMD. From low Vitamin D, to hypothyroidism, to endometriosis, to Asherman’s Syndrome, to blood clotting disorders, I’ve run through a gazillion scenarios in my head as to why we miscarried and/or why we haven’t been able to get pregnant since. Of course, reading up on all those things just gets me all wound up unnecessarily. Is it possible that I have any of the aforementioned afflictions? Sure, anything’s possible. But more than likely, my miscarriage was a chromosomal issue (very common) and we haven’t gotten pregnant yet because it’s only been four cycles and it takes the average couple six months. In other words, at this stage in the game we’re still in the realm of normal. No need to go looking for problems. So I’m banning myself from googling anything pregnancy-related for one full cycle. This one was specifically requested by D, too. I think it upsets him to pick up the iPad and start to type something in, only to see my obsessive search history pop up.

4. “Hippie witchcraft”: This is D’s terminology and applies to things such as drinking pomegranate juice to thicken your uterine lining, drinking green tea to aid in conception, and eating pineapple core to assist in implantation. Yeah, I’ve tried all those things. As mentioned earlier, I even recently spent $40 on a meditation podcast series specifically designed for those trying to conceive. While I actually did enjoy the meditation and it certainly helped me sleep better, I know that I’ve gone off the deep end, looking for some silver bullet to help us get pregnant. None of the aforementioned things are harmful by any means – in fact pomegranate, green tea and pineapple are all good for you – but they aren’t helping me to stop obsessing either, so they’ve got to go.

I’m 11 days into this cycle, and I must say, I am obsessing quite a bit less, so hopefully this helps. I do still stare at the calendar every day and dream of how different my life might be a few weeks, a few months, a year from now. And I still think about the baby we lost and the baby we’re trying for multiple times throughout the day. But as our original due date approaches (just a week and a half away), I’m also starting to feel perhaps the beginning stages of some sort of closure? I can only hope.

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