Today I was thinking about spotting. In the craziness of trying to conceive and, more specifically the insanity that is the “two week wait”, there is really no equal for the crazy that results from spotting. It single-handedly drives me bonkers. A little back ground information: Before we decided to make babies I was on the pill for 12 years. 12 years of normal periods, 12 years of no spotting, 12 years of minimal P.M.S… So, needless to say, I was expecting more of the same when I stopped taking the pill. Wrong. Woah, SO wrong! My cycles are now fairly erratic (ranging from 26-38 days) and I always spot… seriously… Every. Single. Month. I have spotting. I was surprised by it the first few months, but because we were still new to trying and I was new to being off the pill I basically shrugged my shoulders and moved on. Not anymore.
Once you start to worry about why you aren’t getting pregnant, things take on new meaning. The amount of hours I have wasted worrying about my spotting is, frankly, laughable. In the early stages of trying spotting was a bit of a nuisance. In a “Hmm should I bring tampons with me to work or will I make it through the day with a liner?” kind of way. Now that we have been trying for so long it is a nuisance in a “Let’s take a round trip to crazy-ville” kind of way. I swan dive off my ledge of self-restraint, boot up my computer and work until I am bleary eyed and exhausted… spotting becomes a nuisance in ways I had previous not imagined. The order events typically goes like this:
1. I start spotting… usually a very short time after ovulation.
2. I analyze the colour and the amount of spotting for possible clues to origins and reasons for its existence.
3. I pour over anything I can find online for why I might be spotting. No chat-room is safe, no forum too benign to escape my onslaught.
4. If it’s the first day of spotting I am gleeful. “Could be implantation!” *eye roll* The myth and legend of implantation bleeding is a well known problem for those trying to conceive. Apparently it DOES happen. To people! Usually, to a-friend-of-a-friend’s long lost cousin living somewhere in France! But it is a possibility. And so poor saps like me are stuck clinging to hope that they might be pregnant when really they have already started their period.
5. By day two of spotting I am cautiously optimistic “ Could STILL be implantation… as long as it is lessening… is it lessening?!” Apparently, these French distantly removed cousins of your friend have been known to have full blown periods while pregnant! How on earth can we even really know that we aren’t pregnant… Ever!? If missing your period is not a per-requisite then I don’t know when to give up hope!
6. I obsessively fact check the dates of implantation against my chart. Typically implantation occurs between 9-14 days after you ovulate. But it COULD be anywhere from 5- 16 days depending on the person in question. So I look to see it I fall in that LARGE window. Who cares that the fertility guru is pretty sure I ovulate a few days before my temp rises, and so I cannot pinpoint ovulation effectively. Even though this is an unreliable experiment I am undeterred!
7. By day three I feel mildly pissed with my body. “Why the hell are you still spotting? Do I have low progesterone? Is THAT why I am not getting pregnant?!” Commence manic Googling of low progesterone causes and symptoms.
8. Followed by obsessively Googling anything one can do to fix that shit and get pregnant. Looks like Vitamin B6 works wonders. Do I have that? I don’t! I am also low on folic acid.
9. I drive to the store and buy out the entire stock of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Also chocolate, because STRESS.
10. If I make it to day four of spotting. FOUR!!! Holy Moly!! I start hoping for my period. I really wish the spotting would just end because carrying around a satchel filled with different types of feminine products is hard. And incredibly un-sexy.
11. By day five I have usually started my period. Which for a millisecond feels like relief. I know whats going on now. I don’t have to worry about miscarriages or whatever… onto the next month. I am relieved… until…
12. World ends! At least, I cry as if it has. I have my period. I am not pregnant. Again. Still. UGH!
I would be lying if I tried to convince you that I didn’t do this every, single month of the last 2 years …that means I have done this song and dance 24 times. I might try to convince you that I hadn’t, even though its a lie, because god damn that is embarrassing! Also, after doing the same thing 24 times in a row and NEVER actually being pregnant and NEVER measuring low on progesterone you’d think I could turn off this mind game! False, I can’t. Also, isn’t doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result the definition of insanity!?
That’s the thing though, isn’t it?
I might try to convince you that I hadn’t done this every month, because I desperately want to be sane, or at least to be perceived as still sane! Unfortunately, sanity after 24 months of this hell is a pretty slim chance. It means that I am probably crazy for never trusting the facts accepting that I just spot before my period. I am probably crazy for always hoping that I will be wrong. It means that I have to feel guilty and nervous sharing these things with the world because I don’t want to be “that girl”. You know… the girl that wanted a baby so bad that she went nuts? And now no one wants to be her friend or invite her over because she may dissolve into a fit of muttering and tears at any moment? No one WANTS to be “that girl”.
Infertility sucks. Because it’s hard, and scary, and crazy, and it makes you feel very very alone. You never want to share the struggles because, damn it, you’re not “THAT girl”! You’re NOT crazy!
I am starting to get to a point now where I am able to at least view the madness as objective. Though I still go through the motions of numbers 1-12 above, I am able to practice a sort of detachment. A removed grace hopefully. I know that I spot every month. I am fully aware that my progesterone measures high. So I can now look in on the scene like a friend, I can reassure myself that things are alright. Even though they feel distinctly not. However, even with the detached grace, the inevitable start of my period is a crushing blow. It hurts. Every. Single. Time. This is why spotting is the bane of my existence. It makes me feel more crazy than I want to admit I have become. It perfectly highlights all of the hardships and uncertainties of infertility. Damn you spotting! You are no fun at all!