There came a point when our daughter was walking and talking and following directions (praise God!), probably around 18-20 months old. My partner and I would look at each other and say aloud: We can totally handle one more! I was struck that we both agreed our family was ready to expand at the same time.
So we looked at our calendars, which for us every winter includes a lot of skiing. Our shared love for skiing is the reason we picked up our lives in the South and moved to Denver almost four years ago. I had a winter baby before and I missed a whole season and it wasn’t cool. In my mind, if I could try and prevent that from happening again, at least I was going to try. Note: this was totally at odds with my faith which tells me that these things happen when they are meant to happen!
In any case, I embraced the Pre-Conception phase wholeheartedly. I brushed up on Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the ‘bible’ of fertility awareness and learning your body’s signs. We had successfully prevented pregnancy for 2 years and conceived our first quickly using these methods. I had a fertility acupuncture session. I went to have my IUD removed and told the nurse midwife our ideal timeline for conceiving #2.
With best intentions, she told me that if I was so specific about when I wanted to be pregnant, I should probably get some ovulation strips to pair with tracking fertility signs. I thought this was good advice and ordered a box of 60 strips on Amazon. The reviews from other women using these strips intimidated me. They spoke of interpreting faint lines, testing multiple times a day, taping each strip down next to the other so they could see variation in hormone shifts.
Within a few days of receiving the strips, I too, was peeing in cups twice a day and comparing these results with the signs I knew to be true about my body. For 12 days I did this, convinced that this test was going to have two solid lines and I could sound the alarm and insist that my partner impregnate me immediately.
It didn’t happen.
I never got two solid lines.
I saw my acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health and she suggested maybe I was ovulating really late and next cycle she could treat me to try and move up the point of ovulation so the egg would be more viable.
My period came and I was devastated. How come my body didn’t work like it was supposed to? I felt like I couldn’t trust the process. I doubted myself.
I’ve been transparent about the maintenance marriage counseling that we’ve been doing since we became parents. These 1-2 sessions a month keep us grounded and on track and our therapist is now on our Christmas card list. She’s just part of our team.
So when I told her that I was really feeling disconnected from my body and that I was scared this was going to take us a long time to conceive, she urged me to ditch the ovulation tests. She said these were warning signs of a potentially long and painful journey.
She reminded me I had no reason to suspect we’d have issues, no real history that showed it would be harder this time around. She reminded me that babies are born out of love. And you know what makes babies? Acts of love. Our homework? To love each other and have sex because of our love and not because the strip said to.
The next cycle we did our homework. I tracked nothing and we had sex every other day because we love each other. Because we love our family and the idea of one more person to love.
Maybe I had to learn to let go. Maybe I had to trust the process and the body I am blessed with. Maybe I had to stop overcomplicating. I’m relieved I got this lesson now when all I hear about life with two is that you have even less control than you ever thought you had before!
Have you ever gotten advice that you discovered you had to ignore? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!