We like to think that we are in control of our destinies; that if we want something bad enough and work hard enough for it we will be rewarded for our efforts. Unfortunately, as most of us eventually find out, this is not how life works. Infertility is a perfect example of that – no matter what lengths we go to in order to try to conceive, sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
As the months go by with no positive pregnancy result, the human response (or at least my response) is to research what more we could be doing to help things along. This research typically falls into two categories: research about what is going on in our bodies; and research about things we should be doing in order to maximize our chances of pregnancy.
So, we become hyper vigilant – taking daily temperature readings, monitoring cervical mucous, peeing on ovulation test sticks, and plotting this data against whichever cycle day we are on in an attempt to try to understand if our bodies are working as they should.
At the same time, we change our diet, modify our exercise routine, take supplements, and get in touch with our inner spirit baby in order to create the optimal environment for pregnancy to take place.
We do all of these things in an attempt to control the uncontrollable. Sure, knowledge is power and knowing when (or if) you ovulate will ensure that you are timing sex properly and should increase your chances of conceiving. Similarly, many aspects of an unhealthy lifestyle can have a direct impact on fertility.
But ultimately, there’s only so much we can do. While it can be comforting to feel that we are in control (even when deep down we admit that we aren’t) and that if we just complete all the right tasks we’ll get pregnant, it can also be a wonderful feeling to throw up your hands and admit that you are not at all in control.
At my acupuncture appointment this week, my acupuncturist asked me what cycle day I was on. I looked at her blankly because I had no idea! I’ve been on the birth control pill since the end of March. I peed on my last ovulation test strip mid March, and I stopped charting my temperatures the same day I started the pill. Since then, cycle days have lost all meaning to me.
While I’ve known it for some time, it was at that moment that it really hit home for me that I had given up any semblance of control over the procreative process. My next ovulation will be induced by a shot of hcg; my eggs will be observed as my husband’s sperm tries to fertilize them, and if nothing happens, a technician will intervene to force fertilization. Any resulting embryos will be further observed and the best one(s) will be put back into my body so they can try to implant and grow into babies. All of this will take place whether or not I know what cycle day I am on. I have relinquished control of my reproductive system to the experts to do what I could not do on my own, and I have no regrets.