My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for nearly two years before we finally conceived. It was incredibly frustrating to have spent approximately ten years on birth control trying to avoid pregnancy and then suddenly not be able get pregnant when we wanted to.
My cycles were never regular to begin with. I had trouble both on and off the pill with spotting. Off the pill, my periods were often heavy and full of monstrous cramps. On the pill, I spotted spontaneously throughout the month. I went off of the pill for a while when I was not in a relationship, but came back to it when I had two heavy periods in a single month. When the pill didn’t seem to help, I complained. Planned Parenthood told me to hang in there and give them a chance to work. After a while, I complained again and finally they changed my prescription. They changed it again unexpectedly and made it worse. Finally, they put me on Ortho Novum and there I stayed for nearly four years. On the high dosage of estrogen, I stopped having periods all together, which was fine with me.
The side effect of all of this high estrogen was hypoglycemia and weight gain. I couldn’t go long with out eating, and when I did, I became cranky. In fact, it was like PMS everyday of the week! I craved sugar and became tired easily. I was addicted to caffeinated soft drinks and couldn’t bear to live without them. If I couldn’t drink pop, I drank orange juice by the gallons.
My goal had been to get through high school and college and not have children to deal with. I knew that going to school and having kids did not mix well. It looked to be extremely stressful and it made it next to impossible to get ahead in life. I wanted to have a stable income and a somewhat stable life before I even considered having a baby. Originally, I wanted to wait until I was out of graduate school, but my biological clock started ticking and I couldn’t wait.
When I moved to go to graduate school, I had to change Planned Parenthoods. My new doctor didn’t like my high blood pressure and decided to take me off Ortho Novum. She decided to put me back on Ortho Cyclin. I tried it for a short time before making the decision to go off the pill entirely. I was tired of the side effects. I was twenty-five and married. Getting pregnant wasn’t going to be that huge of a problem at this point. My husband wasn’t quite ready to become a father, so we tried other methods of birth control. Neither one of us were fond of condoms. Spermicide irritated us both. I didn’t want to be fitted for any of the other barrier methods. Eventually he gave up and let nature take her course.
Things began to get a little crazy. I had a period at two weeks and wouldn’t have one again for nearly two months. Then I would have two close together again. I desperately wanted things to even out, but without health insurance, I couldn’t get the medical attention I felt I needed. Three months, then six months and then nearly a year had passed and still nothing. I bought pregnancy test every couple of months regardless of what my period was doing at the time, but all of them were negative.
I consulted one doctor outside of Planned Parenthood, hoping for a referral to a fertility specialist. The idiot told me that I should go on the pill again for the irregularity. I reminded him I wanted to get pregnant and that taking the pill would prevent this. He shrugged it off and I never saw him again. After doing some research on my own I concluded that a fertility doctor would cost too much anyway. I was on my own in my quest in conceiving.
I took the homeopathic path because it was really my only option. I decided to cut down on stress and cut back my hours at the bookstore. I did yoga poses designed to enhance my chances of conceiving. Then I bought the herbal supplements of Vitex and False Unicorn’s root. This gave me a natural boost of both estrogen and progesterone without causing the body to shut down ovulation. I also used progesterone cream, which my mother bought for me, and got free massages from my friend who was training to get her massage license. I babied myself as much as possible on my shoestring budget. I was unsure of why I was unable to get pregnant, but I thought that the things I tried certainly couldn’t hurt.
It was October and I was in the middle of one of my many bouts with Urinary Tract Infections. I had gone to the doctor, but the antibiotic wasn’t helping. A week later, I was in a great deal of pain. The morning before my follow-up appointment, I spotted and later vomited up my breakfast. I went to work, barely able to function due to the intense pain in my side. I knew something wasn’t right. No UTI had ever hurt like that. When I mentioned this fact at my appointment, the doctor then decided to not only test me for the urinary tract infections, but for pregnancy as well.
When he came back into the room, he informed me that both tests had been positive! He prescribed a pregnancy-safe antibiotic and congratulated us on the news about becoming parents. Being a Rapid Response establishment, they did not deal with prenatal care. He recommended that I set up an appointment with one of the many ob-gyns in the area. We were stunned at the news. For once, I hadn’t been obsessing over being pregnant and it boom, it happened.
Exited about finally being pregnant, I told my mother, grandmother and couple of people I worked with. I came to regret that. That weekend the spotting turned into a heavier flow. I debated on rather to go to the ER or not. I opted to wait until Monday to visit the Health Clinic, where I had planned to set up my prenatal appointments. I didn’t have health care still and that was the cheapest place I could afford.
On Monday, I feared the worst. I knew that if I was indeed miscarrying, there was little anyone could do to stop it. Still, I had to know what was going on. My husband drove me to the clinic early that morning. I was turned away since I had failed to make an appointment. They told me to go to the Women’s Hospital. They had a walk-in ER for such things. Frustrated, we left and went to the Hospital.
The receptionist took my information and we waited for a while in the waiting room. Then we were moved to a private exam room. I gave a urine sample and waited. It took the doctor hours to get to us. When she made an appearance some three hours later, it was to tell me the pregnancy test was negative. I was crushed.
“Are you sure? The test was positive just three days ago,” I insisted.
“A home test?” she asked.
“No, at the doctor’s office.”
“Those are usually pretty accurate. They know how to read them. It must have been a defective test.”
“Can we get a blood test to be sure?”
“Sure,” she said, skeptical it would turn out a different result.
We waited another half and hour for the lab tech to come down and draw the blood and yet another hour for the results. That too was negative. After over four hours of waiting and wondering, I was told that the bleeding was my period. I was not pregnant. The doctor never once suggested it was a miscarriage or that it was possible I had been pregnant just a few days ago.
On the way back out to the car, I balled my eyes out. Sobbing, I grieved over the pregnancy and the child I was not going to have. I thought I was pregnant only for a short time, but already I had become attached to the idea. My husband wondered aloud why were having such trouble conceiving. He was frustrated and disappointed too, although he refused to talk about his feelings.
I called my mother in tears. The next day at work, I burst into tears when telling my boss about why I had missed work the day before. Despite the fact that no one had called it a miscarriage, it affected me like one. I had been overjoyed at the news of a new arrival and crushed at the news of not expecting any longer.