Chasing the Surge and Smiling Face

Baby Making… How Hard Can It Be?

When I started thinking seriously about having a baby, I knew nothing short of the obvious mechanism by which conception occurred. I was woefully ignorant of the integral role things such as “egg white” cervical mucus, luteinizing hormone surges, luteal phases, progesterone levels, and thyroid function played. In those days, I couldn’t even tell you with any certainty the number of days in my menstrual cycle. I just knew that my period came around regularly and usually brought a single, monolithic zit along with it.

In taking the first steps in my at times treacherous journey to baby, I wasn’t a complete fool. I had no illusions that my chances of conceiving would be the same as if I were let’s say 25, but I was by no means a pessimist. It was apparent to me that women were somehow having babies later and later in life, through modern medical science or otherwise, so why not me? I even figured that if the meth zombies that I passed in the Hall of Justice on a daily basis were popping out kids like crazy, how hard could it be for someone like me who lived a healthy lifestyle, exercised, ate almost exclusively organic, and had no apparent medical impediments? Quelle naïveté!

Chasing the “Smiley Face”

For my husband and I, something that is so seemingly easy, remained elusive. At first we figured we would let nature take it’s course. After a few months, my Type A personality got sick of looking at her calendar, and gave nature a hearty shove. It was time to get serious–time to start charting my basal body temperature and peeing on sticks! I went to every reputable website I could to find in search of the winning formula for detecting the exact moment when my body was ready for baby making prime time. I quickly became obsessed, watching and waiting for the Holy Grail “smiley face,” on my ovulation predictor wand, indicating my LH was surging. Smiley face = show time!

Soon thereafter though, the ugly, bucked tooth cousin of my ovulation obsession, aptly named Self Doubt, moved in. If the connected dots on my BBT grid did not exactly match those I had seen online, I could feel my chest tightening. If I didn’t see the smiley face exactly according to the directions, the tightness in my chest seemed more like a sack of concrete. What was wrong with me? Was I peeing too soon? Too late? Should I pee on the stick twice a day? Was I taking my temperature wrong? How old is that thermometer? Was I putting the probe in the right place under my tongue? That is just a tiny sampling of what was swirling in the wake of the torturous thoughts that sailed through my mind.

How I Made It Worse

An overachiever and recovering perfectionist by nature, I beat myself up more than my worst enemy ever could on this journey, even in these “salad days.” The blows were lower and the cuts deeper, because I was the one dealing them. Even when the smiley face came along and my BBT chart indicated that my body had finally cooperated, there was always something new to freak out about. Was my temperature staying elevated long enough? Was my luteal phase too short? Will my temperature stay up indicating that all my efforts had finally paid off and that my baby was on it’s way? Suffice it to say that as I began my fertility journey, I was already emotionally exhausted. The self inflicted torture I endured was unfortunately merely a grim foreshadowing of what was to come.

I look back upon the me that stumbled through those first steps with compassion. I was armed with the wee bit of information I had, a cautiously optimistic spirit, and my husband’s patient, unwavering support. The me I knew back then had yet to be at peace with my body’s unique idiosyncrasies and labored under the ludicrous notion that something like conception could be sheparded into compliance like a wayward sheep. I had a lot to learn.

Have you been here and done this? Are you peeing on sticks and watching your temperature like a hawk? I’d love to hear your stories! Leave me a comment!

7 thoughts on “Chasing the Surge and Smiling Face”

  1. I was so blessed with quick pregnancies. But I know that I would have been going crazy peeing on sticks if I hadn’t. I can’t imagine the pressure and frustration…

    1. Peeing on sticks was actually as funny as it was ridiculous. I often caught myself wondering how in the heck I ended up in that position! You’ve got to love the fertility journey…

  2. I did a pregnancy test once for the hell of it because it was a $1 and I was curious to see if it would work. Safe to say I wasn’t haven’t sex at the time plus on the pill and the dollar store pregnancy test came back position. Scared the crap out of my mom she didn’t like the joke.

  3. I had completely forgotten about the worry that accompanied tracking. I commented on your other post about how it empowered me and made me feel I had control. However this post reminded me of all the other worries tracking brought on. It almost brought the pain of it back fresh while reading this. Mostly because I knew exactly how you felt/feel and I started feeling it for you. Such a tough thing to work through. There are not words to express the sympathy I feel for anyone going through this.

  4. I can vaguely remember being there and spending too much money on ovulation kits and pregnacy tests as well as wondering about every little sign with my body.

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