Part 2 of My Journey: How I Became a (Stay at Home) Mom – TTC Again

You can find the first part of My Journey HERE.

Then hop in the time machine and skip 19 months.

Director Quentin Tarantino at the premiere of ...

My story plays like a Tarantino film, minus the gore. And vampires.

Pretend you’re watching a Quentin Tarantino film.  Chronological order is so overrated.

Plus it’d take too long.

(Disclaimer: This does go into vague detail about conception so if you don’t wanna know, don’t read those parts.)

It was August 2008.

Shortly before The Tackler turned 18 months we hit a new milestone: he was finally weaned from nursing.  It had taken me six months (when he started drinking whole milk) to drop feedings and get to the point where my supply was low enough he no longer wanted it. By the time this occurred I was only nursing on one side every three days.. so I only nursed him twice a week.

And I still had to use cabbage leaves and Tylenol to dull the discomfort of stopping.

Evidently, that is what happens when one’s body naturally produces too much prolactin.

Already my body clock ticked away, anxious to have that second child so they could be close enough in age to play together.

In hind sight, I might have reconsidered the closeness in age… but probably not.

My cycle had only just returned several weeks before so it was finally a possibility.

I immediately called my OB-GYN. Now that I knew what my issue was in trying to conceive, I planned on going straight to the medication that had worked so well the last time.

She wanted to test my prolactin levels before giving me a prescription. To her surprise, it was more than double the normal (this is my guess anyway, as I was on the high edge of normal when I was first tested, and this was about double that).

“Well, I told you I just stopped nursing within the last week. Of course it’s high.”

“I think we need to wait for it to go down some more before you start taking the medication,” she informed me.

Well.  Shit.

This did NOT make me happy. Not only was my clock suddenly going haywire, but I had a time line I wanted to beat: Texas summer. I did NOT want to be pregnant (if I could help) during the heat of summer.

As you may have noticed from the posts involving Lil Diva the Screaming Banshee, I did not get that wish. And that is the main reason why.

So a month passed. I got another year older and my clock ticked even louder.  My blood was tested again. I think it dropped a whopping five points and was still way higher than normal.

I told my doctor, “You see, this is what it means to have high prolactin. This is why I need the meds.”

My doctor, meanwhile, was very concerned. SHE isn’t a fertility doctor, she’s my normal GYNO/OB-GYN.  I had decided against going to a fertility doctor, when all I needed were pills, no procedures. Because if you’ve ever been to a fertility doctor, they believe in testing everything.  They certainly wouldn’t write me a prescription over the phone.

But now my doctor was starting to use words, like “MRI.”  Because high prolactin levels can be a sign of a pituitary tumor.

“I know that. I also know they are typically benign and unless they are causing major issues, such as blindness, they are not operated on. All I want to do is get pregnant. Plus, it’s only been a month since I’ve stopped nursing.”

My doctor caved and gave me the prescription.

It took about a month and half of pill taking before I hit the sweet spot in my cycle.

It came. It went. And then The Curse showed up.

It was November now.

To my surprise, my luteal cycle still wasn’t a normal length based on my basal body temperature. I called my doctor. We tested my blood again.

The prolactin had dropped, but it was still above the “normal” line by several points (i.e. higher than it was when TTC The Tackler).

It was one of those forehead smacking moments.

We hadn’t altered the dosage.  Due to side effects, you started on the smallest amount. The amount that worked to conceive my son (when I had never nursed), did not kick it with my post breast feeding levels.

So we doubled the dosage.

Another month passed.

It was December now. I had a second round of dental visits (the first round in November) to fix the horrible shape my teeth were in post-Tackler.

You see:

1 bad gag reflex that prohibits you from brushing your back teeth without puking
+ 1 calcium sucking baby in-utero
= Ka-CHING for Dentist

I HATE the dentist. I FEAR the dentist on level that borders on phobia. I am unable to have my teeth cleaned without blaring music in my ears to blot out any noises of drills nearby. I cannot watch or listen to scenes on TV or in movies of a dentist doing work without cringing and regressing to a child, huddled in a ball and sucking my thumb.  So I change the channel or mute it and cover my eyes until someone gives me the all clear.

If I am having work done on my teeth, I need nitrous. And lots of it.

You can’t have nitrous if you’re pregnant.

Which is why in November I’d had the “danger” teeth fixed. I had one tooth pulled to avoid a root canal (I figured one more pregnancy would kill it off anyway – plus i didn’t have the TIME to wait for that.. I wanted a baby dammit!). December was round 2 to fix all the smaller spots.

Scheduling the appointments was a major pain. Because I couldn’t schedule them when I might be ovulating or during the 2-3 week time frame after that (in case I was late). And when your cycle isn’t regular to begin with…

(SKIP to January if you fear TMI)

Shortly after Dental Torture week, we flew to Iowa to visit family for Christmas. And upon arrival I could tell…..

The drugs were working. My body was singing the “It’s Baby Making Time” tune. I knew the signs. And it was earlier than I’d expected it to be, which was a good sign of having a “normal” ovulation time. I was ecstatic.

Then within hours of arriving in Iowa, Computer God came down with a stomach virus.

It was the Curse Before Christmas. I’m happy to say it broke last year, when NO ONE was sick at Christmas. But it had been an ongoing thing for the 3 previous years to have CG sick just before.  Let’s hope it stays away….

To say the timing was bad, would be a gross understatement.

This virus had CG looking green for days. He was lethargic, he spent half the time in bed, the other half worshiping the porcelain goddess, and he rarely popped out until Christmas Eve.

Thank goodness my family was around to help distract The Tackler from Daddy Is SICK.  If it had happened at home, I would’ve been the sole caregiver of both of my boys. And face it, men are big babies when sick.  Sorry to any males reading this, but it’s so true.

The Tackler was in heaven with all the attention, particularly my brother. He was also fascinated by the snow which he had NOT appreciated the year prior.

Meanwhile, I was climbing the walls.  I knew our window of time was slowly shrinking. If we missed it, it would be another month on pills, and they don’t like you to take them for very long.

I no longer cared about the basic math that said:

Conception Now = Third Trimester ALL of Texas Summer

Which shows you how powerful a woman’s hormones can be.

Finally CG started eating solid foods. His color returned to normal. He could walk down the stairs without falling over.

He even joined us for Christmas Eve.

What happened next, was not something I ever anticipated saying or doing, it being blunt even for my standards. But as it is already a well known tale in my family, I figure I can say it here.

Because nothing else can truly show the powerful drive I had to get pregnant RIGHT NOW.

It  had been 4 days since the signs of “BABY TIME” had appeared. I knew the window was about to slam shut. After asking CG every day “Are you feeling ok?” and getting a negative answer, finally FINALLY the answer was “Yes.”

Now I had to solve my other problem.

The Tackler napped in our bedroom in my parents house (and yes, it was the very same bedroom that was mine growing up). Thus the only time the bedroom was free for vicarious baby making activities, was when he was awake.

I needed a sitter.

About 5.2 seconds after CG told me he was feeling OK, I turned to my mother.  “CG and I are going to ‘take a shower’ and we’ll be gone for about an hour. Can you please watch your grandson?”

My mother, being her typical difficult self (yes, you were Mom), pretended this was a great challenge I had just put forth, akin to rollerskating butt naked a mile to the grocery store through three foot snow drifts.

“I’m busy right now.” I think she was reading a book. Or playing free cell on her laptop.

“Mom, could you PLEASE watch him for an hour. CG is finally feeling better.”“What, are you going to have sex or something?” She said it sarcastically, as though she truly thought Dave and I were going to spend the time soaking in a bubble bath and give each other his and her pedicures, all while cackling maniacally about my brilliance in having her sucked into baby-sitting the grandchild she adores.

I sighed.  “YES, Mom. And if you want another grandchild, you’ll watch The Tackler for an hour.”

I obviously inherited my bluntness from her.

That shut her up instantly as the teasing stopped and she left us to go about making her wish come true.

I was teased about this moment repeatedly over the next few days.

I didn’t care.  Because within 48 hours of this, my temperature had risen again, meaning I’d already ovulated and the time of conception had passed.  It truly had been a “now or not gonna happen this cycle” moment.

Sometimes it’s good to be stubborn.

Our week in Iowa ended with many of our plans unfulfilled. We’d planned to see old friends but thanks to Dave’s stomach virus and then an ice storm turning the roads hazardous, we weren’t able to reconnect with everyone.

And then began The Waiting Period (those squeamish can read again).

Anyone who has been trying to conceive knows this is the nail biting part of TTC. You can’t do anything at this point but take prenatal vitamins and hope for the best. It’s out of your hands.

I still took my basal body temp. I didn’t feel any different. With The Tackler, almost from the moment of conception, my Pamela Anderson’s (minus about 10 sizes) hurt.

But breast feeding could affect that, right?

I asked my doctor to take a blood test 10 DPO (days past ovulation). They gave me a yes/no test (versus a level test).

It was negative. They also checked my prolactin levels (while the vampire was sucking the blood away anyway), and those were Normal, just as I’d suspected.

I was disheartened. It meant another month of pills. Another month of wanting that baby so badly (by now it was four months from when I’d wanted to start trying).

We bought a minivan off of Craigslist instead. I’d been looking for months and this was exactly what we’d been waiting for. Our Accords would not hold two car seats (we hoped we’d need once I finally got pregnant) and three adults comfortably (oh yeah, CG’s mother moved here in December to be near us, but she’s on disability and can’t drive: we are her wheels).

We drove our “new” van home on Friday.

Saturday I walked into our pantry. And gagged.

“That’s odd,” I remember thinking.  “It doesn’t stink in here, it’s just the smell of multiple scents mingling together. I only do that when pregnant. But I’m not. My test was negative. My cycle should be here shortly.”

Most likely that day, but I wasn’t sure. I’d never been able to temp a Normal luteal phase (which, fyi, is typically always the same for a person; it’s the time before ovulation that can vary), because my prolactin levels messed it up.  The last time my prolactin levels were Normal, I was pregnant with Chase.

Two more days passed and still no cycle. I began obsessing….

I’m late. Late. But the test was negative. Maybe I took it too early. But it’s a blood test, it should’ve detected something. Maybe it was just one day too early. By this point, there would be SOMETHING detectable…

So early that morning, I went hunting for a pregnancy test. I’d been doing the doctor blood tests as they can detect earlier and are more reliable (the reason being so I could stop the drugs I was taking as early as possible after conception). The only test I had left was from trying for The Tackler.

It was expired.

NO!

I used it anyway. It was supposed to say “pregnant” or “not pregnant”, but instead, it just had an error message. Evidently that part was broken.

AGH!

Frustrated I removed the stick itself from the “interpreter.” It very clearly had two blue lines. And I knew two = pregnant.

But it was an expired test! Could those give you two lines where there were none?

I informed CG that he needed to watch our son while I went to the grocery store to get another test, because I HAD TO KNOW.

He didn’t argue. Wise man.

I obsessed with my friend Bobbi on the phone, who was on her way to work. I went over all the things I’ve just typed.

Juno in Juno *--*

I didn't have to drink quite that much to test it.

Because the blood test was negative.

I arrived home and re-enacted the scene from Juno where she’s downing a ton of fluid so she can pee.

I didn’t have to wait long.

It was positive.

I was going to be a mommy… Again.

—————————

**Note **

This was intended to be brief and lead into Lil Diva’s birth story, as that was what I was going through precisely 1 year ago.

I do not know how be brief. I got rather carried away and the desire to log these details while still so fresh was too strong.

Hopefully with my mom in town, I can get through the pregnancy and birth part of my journey tomorrow.

Or I can always blog about Poopapalooza. 🙂

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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