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!