Photo by Stephanie Dennis
It seems a bit ironic that this journey, which consumes so much time, energy and emotional angst, can be reduced to a snazzy little acronym. TTC! LOL! (For those new to this, that stands for Trying to Conceive.)
My own TTC journey began two years ago. I was 39, and while I recognized I was a tad mature, I felt optimistic about our prospects. My optimism was rewarded with a pregnancy after just two months of trying. Yeah, baby! Fertile Myrtle! No problemo!
Except at 10 weeks, we discovered during an ultrasound that we had miscarried.
All that excitement evaporated at my doctor's words: "I'm not seeing what I want to be seeing," he said, studying the monitor. On my back, legs in stirrups, I felt ambushed. I was on the verge of feeling devastated but was still too dazed. My husband's looked baffled and worried.
We spent the next couple of months alternately grieving, consoling, and pep-talking. If we did it once, we can do it again, right? This time around we got more strategic. Peeing on ovulation sticks, hoisting legs in the air, etc.
About eight long months later, we were pregnant again. But this time I worried. I was on full time physical symptom analysis (PSA). Was I nauseous? Did I just feel a cramp? Were my breasts still as tender? Did I still feel pregnant? Unfortunately, at six weeks, my fears were realized. I had a spontaneous miscarriage.
That was a year ago. A full 12 months of TTC, this time with some fertility testing thrown in for good measure. While all tests have been normal, I've been told about 142 times now that both me and my ova are old. About 140 of those times the message was delivered by someone with furrowed eyebrows and pursed lips.
People often mistake me for a spry 30-something, but there's no fooling these folks. While I'm sure she meant well, I recently had a fertility nurse tell me, "Don't get your hopes up." Well, if I don't have them up, just where, exactly, should they be?
It's been a difficult year where both my husband I have felt increasingly defeated. You realize you are living your life in two week increments; first building up to the big O, having target sex, then hunkering down to await Day 28. There's endless PSA, and unless you wait it out or take an EPT, you don't know if your swollen breasts and icky stomach are good news or PMS. In the meantime, at least five close friends have delivered healthy, adorable babies. And I swear every time I round a corner, I see another PWT (pregnant with toddler).
And so now, at 42, it has started to feel abundantly clear to us that we need all the help we can get. The monthly yo-yo of positive thinking followed by disappointment has taken its toll.
It's time to embrace our biggest acronym yet: IVF.