Kymberli's Second Pregnancy Diary
When trying to get pregnant, most women begin to divide their perception of time into two sharp halves- the two weeks (or sometimes longer) between the first day of the cycle and ovulation, and the agonizing period of two weeks AFTER ovulation has occurred. I have determined that women caught in the throes of reproduction really do suffer from a type of mental instability which heretofore has been completely overlooked. I have termed this instability Preconceptia Dementia.
The usually progressive deterioration of intellectual functions such as memory that occurs as a result of attempting to generate human life. Women with this condition may exhibit mood swings that are directly proportional to the events of any given cycle day. Significant others of women with this condition will fare well if they learn to say, "Yes, ma'am" and keep their heads low.
Below, I have outlined contributing factors and symptoms of this mental flux. I have also shared a few of my experiences with Preconceptia Dementia, because I KNOW that I am not the only reproductive nutcase in the world.
It's been nearly five years since I've read Toni Weschler's informative book and took charge of my fertility by charting. I remember that when I was trying to conceive the first time, that book was sacred to me. The cover was worn, the pages were dog-eared, lines were highlighted, and there were neon sticky notes plastered throughout. I charted for more than a year when trying to conceive the first time, and unfortunately, all it told me was that my cycles were seriously messed up. Around the 13th month or so of charting, I got one big fat negative too many, and in a fit of wild anger, I chucked the book clear across the room and into the trash along with that blank, one-lined pregnancy test. No, it wasn't Dr. Weschler's fault that I wasn't pregnant, but I do admit to having felt a sort of sick, vindictive satisfaction after that infantile temper tantrum.
The good thing that did come from the initial charting was that it was those months of charts that let my first obstetrician detect my anovulation. He prescribed Clomid, and BOOM--two cycles later I was pregnant with the twins. I didn't chart that cycle, but I did take my basal temperature here and there. By then I knew enough about my cycles to not temp everyday, and my post-ovulatory temps were so high that they were one of my first positive signs that maybe that cycle had really worked. I charted the cycle I conceived Jordan, and it was wonderful to finally see what a preggo chart looked like for me.
This time around, charting has taken on a whole new level of obsession for me. I'm charting on not one, but two different software programs, as if one will tell me something that the other won't. I find that I'm spending entirely too much time analyzing my chart, like the mysteries of my ovaries and uterus will be revealed if only I stare hard enough at all the dots and connecting lines.
Does anyone else get this? You're so anxious to see what the next temperature brings that you wake up at the buttcrack of dawn, well before your usual temp time. Then you worry that you screwed up your temp by waking early, so you try to lay still and will yourself to fall back asleep so you can get a decent reading. Who ever thought that even taking your temperature would be such a stressful thing?
Before the sperm has even met the egg, some women have baby names chosen, bedding and nursery themes picked out, and maybe even a birth plan in the works. In each of my cycles of preconceptia dementia, I had my baby names picked out well before ovulation was even detected. There is no exception this time. I even know what bedding I'll get, depending on whether I have a boy or a girl. The most extreme case of presumptive planning that I've seen came from my best friend, Becky. When she and her husband decided that they were going to start a family, within the week they went to Babies R' Us and not only picked out, but purchased the entire nursery, right down to the Noah's Ark diaper stacker.
Symptom Searching:When I first read that analyzing the quality of cervical mucous can indicate ovulation, I admit that I was initially and sufficiently grossed out. Then when I got to the part about checking cervical mucous internally, I thought that maybe certain obstetric researchers had maybe just a little too much time on their hands. Then after a few cycles of charting, I realized that I wanted to know every clue into my fertility as possible -- and began making "the checks." Morning checks, midday checks, evening checks, middle of the night checks, all in looking for the ever-elusive egg white cervical mucous and waiting for the SHOW (soft, high, open, and wet) cervical positioning.
After ovulation, symptom searching is magnified infinitely. Women with Preconceptia Dementia read into every twitch their bodies give off -- achy boobs, uterine cramping, hunger, nausea, lack of appetite, exhaustion, restlessness � all can be possible signs of pregnancy. The sad thing is that women with Preconceptia Dementia often psyche themselves out into thinking that they feel these symptoms. As of now, I'm seven days past ovulation and I don't feel SQUAT, which leads me to believe that maybe this cycle didn't work since it seems I felt every symptom in the book immediately after conception.
Some women suffer from an addition to the standard PD:
Preconceptia Dementia with Obsessive Compulsive Peestickitis:
The usually progressive deterioration of intellectual functions such as memory that occurs as a result of attempting to generate human life with the compulsion to use reproductive diagnostic tests.
This affliction is even worse than standard Preconceptia Dementia. You prepare for each cycle by getting stocked up on the assortment of pre- and post-ovulatory pee sticks needed to diagnose cycling milestones. Aiding in this effort is the plethora of "fertility" websites where affected reproducers can buy dozens of ovulation prediction and home pregnancy test for just cents each. I too, have spent far more money than I care to admit on these tests. The beginning of the testing phase starts a few days before suspected ovulation with the use of ovulation prediction kits or OPK's. We dip these sticks once, maybe two or three times a day in the hopes of seeing the LH test lines either as dark as or darker than the control line. Those of us who have peestickitis OCD really bad won't throw away the negative tests; we'll line them up day after day so we can be sure the test line is getting darker, and we'll do the same with home pregnancy tests or HPT's should we be so lucky to actually get a second line. By the end of a cycle, some women's bathrooms look like laboratories, with days and days of OPK and HPT strips, cassettes, and midstream sticks lying around. I've been there and done that, too. I recognized that I had a serious problem this cycle when I caught little Jordan running around with a used OPK strip hanging out of his mouth.
Testing for pregnancy can get quite technical. Some women begin testing as early as two days past ovulation, even though it's impossible to get any sort of a line at that point. I admit it; I've done it. Around eight days past ovulation, the testing can get really psychotic. I've been known to test with several different brands using the same sample so that I can compare which tests caught the line first and which ones gave the darkest lines.
Around the Internet, there are several Websites with message boards solely dedicated to helping women with Preconceptia Dementia with obsessive compulsive peestickitis. They actually post pictures of their tests, with subject lines like "CAN YOU SEE THIS LINE" or "IS THIS AN EVAP LINE?" Only women afflicted with this problem can be so bold as to share pictures of something they've peed on with perfect strangers.
Adding to my peestickitis is the fact that I've had an hCG trigger to force ovulation. I had an ultrasound on cycle day 14 to check for follicle growth. Thankfully, I had two mature follicles on the right side this time, after the last two cycles on lower dosages of Clomid produced nothing. I was given the hCG trigger during that same appointment. Even with my past Clomid cycles I've never needed the trigger, so I'm going particularly bonkers in this two week wait. With my last two pregnancies, I got my two pink lines on the eighth day past ovulation. The hCG trigger can stay in a woman's system for up to ten days, so it is recommended that women who've had triggers don't test for pregnancy until 14 days past the trigger, since any tests taken before then can possibly give false positives. When my OB suggested that I wait that long, I nodded obediently, knowing full well that I had 25 HPT strips waiting on me at home. My plan is to test every morning so that I can watch the hCG leave my system and pray that it doesn't hang around for the full ten days. Now today at 8 days past the trigger and 7 days past ovulation, the line on my HPT was very faint, just barely visible. Tomorrow I'm pretty sure that there will be no line to speak of, judging by how fast the lines have faded. I have all of my tests line up from the past few days, and like the dutiful woman suffering from the dementia, I scanned them and emailed them to my friends for further analysis.
There is another symptom of Preconceptia Dementia with Obsessive Compulsive peestickitis, but I'll include that in my week 3 entry, as that entails the hunt for the second pink line. Women searching for that second line go to extreme measures � that's worthy of an entry all to itself, and that's where I'll be in a couple of days � as if I'm not crazy enough as it is in the two week wait!
To all the other pre-conception crazies out there, Kym