Thursday, December 5, 2013

Patty and Selma

When I think about my ovaries, I imagine they look like this:
Yes, my ovaries look a lot like Patty and Selma Bouvier from The Simpsons. They are crabby, chain-smoking old maids. 

In reality, I know very little about my ovaries. I went to a Christian high school where they didn't teach sex ed. All of our biology teachers skipped the chapters on reproduction because they were too embarrassed to teach. I literally didn't know the science behind conception (beyond sperm + egg = baby) until college. I didn't know much about ovulation cycles until it had been a year and I still wasn't pregnant.
A lot of my friends did "natural family planning" when they got married, and all of them ended up pregnant within a year. So my strategy when we decided to start trying for a baby after I went off the pill was to have lots of sex. My friends who were natural family planning couldn't keep themselves from getting pregnant using thermometers, calendars, and apps, I didn't imagine I'd need anything high tech to get me pregnant (interestingly, two of my high school classmates got pregnant in high school--even with no sex hard could it be?).

Science is not my thing. Not even a little. All of my report cards in elementary school came back with the same note from the teachers: Lilee is a bright student. Although she struggles in math and science, she is extremely hard working and creative.
Every. single. one. contains the word "creative." I talked to my former advisor from college after she'd given me a recommendation for my current job. She told me she was worried about the things she said--they were all good, but she kept using the word "creative" to describe me, and hoped my prospective employer didn't take that the wrong way. So yes, I'm more creative than analytical. But in my infertility, I've found myself taking an analytical approach--despite how unnatural it feels.

I tried charting my cycles. It was worthless. I tried OPKs. Also worthless. I've tried having sex every day, every other day, every three days for an entire month (okay, the every day thing didn't work out. Husband wore out). Nothing was helping.

I googled. Oh, how I googled. I read everything I could on women's health. I read over and over again how exactly conception happens. I studied like I was going to be tested (I felt like I was...after all this work, the next BFN would definitely be a failing grade). I was sure that if I could just understand the science, then I could control it.

And then I felt stupid. Like that third grade girl whose teacher's only comment on her science fair project was that it was "creative." Like that senior in high school, desperately making up songs to memorize all the muscles for an upcoming health quiz. Like the college sophomore who managed to scrape a C- in Earth Science. Earth freaking Science. Like about rocks and stuff. Like the girl who got two (2!) answers correct on the entire fetal pig dissection test. I can't get pregnant because I'm dumb.

Part of me is pretty sure we haven't conceived because we can't get the timing right. And we can't get the timing right because my ovaries are Patty and Selma. They do whatever they want. What my cycle will look like is a big giant question mark trailing from their cigarettes. I have no freaking idea when I ovulate. My side hurts, my face breaks out, I leak cervical mucous, and get negative OPKs. We have lots of sex. My period doesn't start for six more weeks. The next month, not a single symptom the entire month, no positive OPK, we have lots of sex anyway, period starts after a perfect 30 days. WTF, Patty and Selma? What are you doing?

I have to say, I was incredibly reassured when I found jAllen's blog Mine to Command. Not only is she an awesome writer and storyteller, she works in women's health. She's intelligent and she knows science. She's never specifically said this, but I'm pretty sure she got better than a 5% on her fetal pig dissection. She's super smart and educated in all things fertility. And she's infertile. Reading her blog finally allowed me to cut myself a little slack...maybe I'm not infertile because I'm dumb. Maybe I'm just infertile.

I'm seeing my doctor in January. She's my primary, and I haven't gone because last time I asked her about fertility she pretty much shrugged me off. I was 24, and she told me not to worry. We'd been trying for about six months, and she basically assured me I'd be pregnant by the time I saw her for my next physical. The problem is, I don't really have any other options for doctors. I live in Minnesota...and not in Minneapolis/St. Paul. My clinic is small. There is no RE care available within several hours.

When I go in, I suspect my doctor will do some blood work and prescribe Clomid. However, that's about the extent that my fertility "treatments" will go.

So right now, I'm trying to reign in Patty and Selma, learn my ovulation schedule--which at the moment appears to be falling when my husband's dad, step-mom, and two pre-teen brothers will be staying with us. Errrmmmm (Marge Simpson noise).


  1. Lol at Patty and Selma. That is so crazy that you have so little choice for an OB/GYN. We drove about an hour to our RE, but it sounds like your have even further to go!

    1. Wow I didn't realize you had to drive that far for appointments. How did you work that with your coaching schedule? Both Bobby and I have said we'd give up coaching if we got pregnant/had kids, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up coaching just to TRY to get pregnant.

    2. Oh, I didn't put in my coaching resignation until I reached the second trimester. All the appointments were scheduled in the morning, so I didn't miss any coaching at all, but did miss some work time. However, my work is half way between our house and the clinic, so it wasn't too bad. I was able to reschedule my training clients as needed. It was definitely a challenge doing the injections and stuff during the softball season, emotionally, but I managed!

  2. I'm so excite to discover that you have a blog! I think I clicked on your name once and google couldn't locate it. You are an excellent writer and I love the Patty and Selma analogy. Thank you so much for your compliment. I was very frustrated in the begining, as it was humbling to discover that my knowledge held no advantage. It took a while before I was finally able to get over myself. Oh, I also can't identify when I ovulate. Some months I have mucus, sometimes none. When you have uncooperative ovaries, they just don't give you much to work with!