Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

A hummingbird lives an average of 3-4 years. Contrary to popular belief to the tune of 24 hours, the average housefly can live 8 days to 2 months. The average life expectancy of a glass thermometer in my house ran about 3 weeks. Those of you who have ever lived or died by squinting at a tiny glass cylinder and counting hash marks know what I am talking about. One of the first and simplest things I ever did in regards to trying to have a baby (beyond the other easy and first thing you should try of course) was sticking a thermometer in my mouth every morning without fail before rising and recording the results on graph paper. Sometimes this helped me to feel like I was in control of something at least - but most of the time, it really just frustrated me further. My chart not looking the way it should. Oh I had plenty of peaks and valleys - but there comes a point where you should get one big valley and one big peak and that peak needs to at the very least plateau or peak higher for at least a couple weeks. Mine never did that. Mine just meandered all over the graph like some deranged squirrel trying to remember where he stashed all his nuts. A little clomid and some more charting and I finally started to see something a little more like I should expect. The low dose worked for about 2 months and then they bumped me up to a double dose because my temperature chart started looking squirrely again. During this time though, I still wasn't conceiving. The thermometer that supplied me with my only idea of how any given cycle was going or not going, often bore the brunt of my frustrations. They were often flung. One I shook down so hard I smacked it against the sink and it of course shattered. One flew out of my hand while I was shaking it down and landed in the toilet - while it did not break, there was no way I was fishing that one out and hanging onto it for further use. About that time, it felt a fitting analogy for how my baby making plans were going - completely and irrevocably into the proverbial toilet. Several months of clomid and charting and still no positive pregnancy. This led us to look into (cue dramatic music) male factor infertility. Yes, it does exist! I had the problem of not ovulating on my own, though this was remedied fairly easily with quantities of fertility drugs - in the beginning, clomid and eventually, Follistim. My husband was discovered to have what is called a varicocele. Literally a varicose vein in the right spot to elevate body temperature and drive down sperm production. Urologists often suggest surgery to correct this problem. We discovered that by holding off and waiting a while, it gave production more time to increase and in conjunction with my clomid induced ovulation and charting abilities, we timed things almost to the minute and finally got our first ever positive pregnancy test. Most women's doctors will tell you every other night, our urologist said wait 4 days at least. Urologist wins coach of the year! Score one, finally, for the home team.

I never, ever in a million years entertained the thought that I would have trouble beyond conceiving. Either that, or I was too sick throwing up breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between for the first 6 months that I was too distracted to contemplate the idea I should have something to worry about. I did get hospitalized at one point for puking too much. Yes, you can have too much morning sickness, and had to have shots to try and keep me from having too much. Eventually though, things started staying down and shortly after that, I finally delivered - or rather, had surgically removed from my body, our first child. I affectionately called him my nine month eating disorder. Delivery itself was a sadly comedic event - me turning into a quivering mass of wimpy mushy goo, a csection delivery after 3.5 hours of nonproductive pushing, a post-op hospital grade infection, 9 days on a catheter and seeing my baby discharged almost a week before I was. Though, frankly, I was in the mindset of "who cares?" I had my baby - the much longed for, dreamed of and worked for baby.

The thermometer to survive the basal body temperature charting catastrophe found a nice cozy spot in the bathroom cabinet and began accumulating dust.

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