When the husband and I first started trying to conceive (TTC; yes, I will cite the first abbreviation for all things TTC, at least in this post; it’s a habit), I figured I needed to leverage as much knowledge as possible in order to get a kid in my belly ASAP. So I did the thing that all us TTCers do—I bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility; I got myself a basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer; I signed up for Fertility Friend; I started taking prenatals; I cut down on alcohol and tried (valiantly) to scale back my caffeine consumption; and I waited breathlessly to see what my body would do after years on birth control.
Nothing too extraordinary, actually, unless you count getting back to a 28-day cycle within the first couple of months extraordinary. My cycles are ridiculously regular, and my body is way obvious when it comes to ovulating. It’s also too obvious when it comes to not being pregnant, as my uterus happily starts shedding its lining a mere 10 days after ovulation. Not full-on flow, mind you, but spotting. OMG, the fucking spotting. How I hate 10 days post-ovulation (DPO). It’s worse than Cycle Day (CD) 1 for me.
But I still thought we’d get this done soon (this is a mistake all TTC newbs make, right?). When I was interviewing for my present (and much-hated) job, I thought I was knocked up. I figured I’d be in office for nine months, have my baby and come back because I’d be so happy in my new job. Oh, the joy! A fulfilling career, a bundle soon to come, my life perfect in my mid-30s!
Dream on, kitty cat.
The first five months, I was diligent about taking my temperature as soon as I got up. On weekends, my body would wake itself up precisely at 6:15am, whereupon I would take my temp, jot it down, then go back to sleep. My husband came to know the beeping noise of the thermometer well, and hinted that it sort of drove him crazy. No matter, I thought. This is important. This is US TRYING TO HAVE A BABY.
Well, over time, I came to hate that thermometer, too.
Oh, it was so purple and cute. Oh, it read my relatively stable temperatures so well. Oh, it beeped to let me know it was doing its job. Oh, it crushed my hopes with big dips, raised them once more with stratospheric temperatures in the two-week wait (TWW). Oh, it was a devilish little fucker.
The last month I took my temperature, my temps were skyrocketing in the TWW, to unseen levels. I was convinced I was pregnant. And whaddya know, my test date would coincide with my husband’s birthday. My husband despises his birthday. Wouldn’t it be great to make it a positive day by telling him that Baby Writer was on his or her way?
Then came the spotting. Then came the full-on flow. And I was a teary mess in a hotel room, crying in my husband’s arms as we got ready to go to my dad’s surgery (that’s another story, but the good news is that my dad’s fine; better than fine, he’s back to his old self again). Combined with some flak I got at work for taking a week off for my dad’s surgery (how DARE I leave them to attend to the man who helped give me life!?) and some nibbles on new positions that turned into nothing, I was a wreck.
And that’s when I decided: fuck this shit. Temping isn’t empowering. It’s fucking demoralizing. And I had too many things going on to willingly add to my angst.
So the month after, I relied solely on my Clearblue Fertility Monitor. No luck, but it was less upsetting because it was SO nice to not know what was going on during the TWW. And when the spotting did start, I kind of just sighed, shook my head and sallied forth. Sure, I choked up a bit. But I got over it because I didn’t have high hopes, generated by high temperatures, to begin with.
Last week, when I was cleaning the bathroom, I saw my BBT thermometer sitting in the medicine cabinet. Looking innocent, but I knew it was full of hellfire and wrath and demons and it was trying its best to call me back. C’mon, it seemed to say. The monitor’s not enough. The monitor only tells you part of the story. You’re a writer. Don’t you like to know the full story?
No, you fucking twit, I’m a writer and I like to have a little mystery in my stories. So I plucked the thermometer from my medicine cabinet and dumped it in the trash. Au revoir, motherfucker.
This month, I’m still relying only on my body’s cues and on the monitor. I actually don’t have much enthusiasm this month, honestly, to have procreative sex. I just want to jump my husband with no expectations except what’s guaranteed: a good, hard orgasm for us both and lots of fun while we get there.
By now, my BBT thermometer has been hauled away by the trash dudes, never to be seen again. My husband once classified the thermometer and Fertility Friend as “the signal and the noise.” I already knew the signal; why was I tuning in to hear all the noise?
So I repeat: au revoir, motherfucker. Au revoir.