every time i think about writing a new blog post about trying to get knocked up, i imagine my readership (such as it is). i imagine a mix of people who used to read my zines or order from my distro reading about my adventures in pre-conception & thinking, “wow, that hateful witch wants to be a mom? that’s a scary thought.” i imagine my tight zine bros reading along & thinking, “man, whenever ciara gets in the family way, she is going to be BORRRR-ING!” i imagine about half of my real life friends & acquaintances thinking, “wow, i am second-hand embarrassed at how much ciara has started talking about periods & sex,” & i imagine the other half of my real life friends thinking, “go, ciara! make that baby! yaaaaaay!” & then i imagine all of the randos who stumble across my blog every day while google searching topics like “kathleen hanna pregnant” (i get so many hits for that, it’s crazy) or “ANTM when tyra spins 360 without moving feet” (another real search term; that happened in cycle six, guys) & wondering what weird rabbit hole they fell down.
anyway, here’s the current update: if i was a normal lady with a normal 14-day luteal phase, my period would be two days late as of today. i am an abnormal lady with a significantly shorter luteal phase, so it is in fact much, much later than that. & yet, every pregnancy test i take (& i have taken at least a dozen) is negative. i was prescribed a progesterone supplement called prometrium in order to support my luteal phase. maybe i have explained this before, but bear with me while i offer up another crash course on lady hormones: ovulation is when the mature egg bursts free of its follicular prison & travels down the fallopian tube. if it meets a handsome sperm along the way, they might get together & make a blastocyst. when the blastocyst arrives in the uterus, it will try to burrow in & blossom into a screaming drooling poop machine, more commonly known as a baby. while the blastocyst is traveling around, dividing, the follicle that released the egg produces a corpus luteum, which produces progesterone to nourish the blastocyst along its journey. if the blastocyst successfully implants & begins to turn into a zygote & eventually a fetus, the corpus luteum continues to create progesterone to feed the parasitical vampire creature maxing & relaxing in the uterus. a placenta develops after about twelve weeks of pregnancy, which takes over care & feeding duties until that fetus is ready to get born & put on pants like the rest of us.
my super-short luteal phase might be caused by a progesterone deficiency. this is just a theory, because i’ve never had my progesterone tested while i am not on supplements. but it’s not a bad theory–it’s not a terribly uncommon situation. last cycle was my first time supplementing, with this crazy expensive bullshit called crinone. it’s pretty gross & costs nearly $20 a day. when that cycle didn’t work (my luteal phase was only twelve days long–the average is fourteen days, & the goal is nine months!), my doctor prescribed prometrium, which is a different brand name with a different application method, but still the same principle: progesterone support. i started taking it once i confirmed ovulation &…well, the jury is out as to whether or not it delays people’s periods even when they are not pregnant. some people say they won’t get a period until they stop taking it; other people say they got their periods right on time as normal if they were not knocked up.
i seem to be in the first group, even though the crinone didn’t delay a damn thing. i ovulated 17 days ago. i mean, this is just getting out of control. this is twice as long as my usual luteal phase! & yet, every test i take is as negative as my crusty black soul.
i finally called my doctor a few days ago to request a blood test. most home pregnancy tests will provide accurate results no later than the first day of a missed period, which was yesterday at the absolute LATEST for me. blood tests can provide accurate results even earlier. the prometrium is more economical than the crinone, but it’s still cost me almost $10 a day. it’s a small price to pay if it’s keeping an embryo healthy, but if it’s not doing a goddamn thing except making money for some pharmaceutical company somewhere, why should i keep taking it? i figured i’d get a blood test, it would come back negative, i’d quit the progesterone, my period would show up & we can start this whole damn dog & pony show all over again. FOR THE NINTH TIME.
instead, my doctor called me back & said, “let’s give it a week. if you’re still getting negatives & your period hasn’t shown by next wednesday, we’ll order a blood test for you. until then, keep taking the prog.”
it was a real HULK SMASH moment. i don’t think i cried, but i did sit down a smoke a cigarette, which i haven’t done in nearly six months. by next wednesday, i’ll be 22DPO. if i’m still getting negative tests then…um, hello, i’m probably not pregnant! yes, you hear about people who kept getting negative results until they were like six months along & they just couldn’t understand why they were all bloated & nauseated & wearing a t-shirt that said “baby on board”. but it’s pretty unusual. maybe i am one of those lucky ladies, but i think it is far more likely that the prometrium is just delaying my period for no good reason.
so i’m going to stop taking it. if there is a zygote in there, hopefully it can live off the fat of the land until wednesday when a blood test confirms its presence. & if (more likely) there is nothing in there except for a really bored uterus that has spent the last week flipping through magazines & tapping its foot, waiting to perform its once a month job…well, let’s put that lazy bastard to work.