the perils of progesterone

I hate taking pregnancy tests.

I get heart palpitations just thinking about taking a pregnancy test. The build up, the anxiety, the potential let down. It all becomes too much for me.

This probably puts me in the minority, but I’d rather just wait to see if my period shows up. I find that easier to face than a stark “not pregnant” message staring at me. I also tend to rely on symptom spotting and my temperatures to gauge whether I think the test will be a yay or nay. I use it to mentally prepare myself. 

As a result, I’ve only taken three pregnancy tests in the last 18 months. 

The first test happened the first month we started trying. And it was negative. It was only our first month, so it was more of a mild bummer than anything else. But I still found it to be such a let down, my husband and I so eager to see the result, so excited in our naivety, only to be quickly disappointed. After that test I vowed not to test early anymore. The next two times I took pregnancy tests they were positive, and happened when I was already 95% sure I was pregnant. 

This month, my doctor started me on a regimen of baby aspirin and progesterone. Baby aspirin every day, progesterone after ovulation. Seems to be standard after a few losses, and my doctor’s attitude is very much, “it can’t hurt, and maybe it will help.”

The progesterone is just another icky, uncomfortable thing to contend with during this fertility battle. But my real issue with them is the way they cause you to experience pregnancy symptoms. Fatigue that causes me to do a face plant before dinner is even over. Slight lower abdomen cramping that keeps me thinking about my uterus at all times. The hormonal emotional roller coaster that causes my husband to cower every time I walk in the room. Basal body temperatures that stay elevated.

Then after 14 days of the progesterone, I have to take a pregnancy test. 

I won’t get a period while on the progesterone. I have to take the test to know whether to stop the pills or not. And I won’t get any clues either. Any “pregnancy” symptoms I get will be from the pills. My temps won’t clue me in. I have no way to mentally prepare for the result because I will no idea what it will be.

I know I’m being a wimp, but I just don’t want to face that test cold. 

After seven months of waiting to try again, the build up for this first cycle is big, causing even more anxiety and anticipation for what will happen. I know it’s unrealistic to expect a positive on the first go. But knowing that there’s any chance at all keeps me hoping, obsessing, and anticipating. 

And meanwhile, I am trying not to be tricked by these phantom symptoms, which are continually taunting me. Every twinge, tug, and pull I feel in my stomach gives me hope, before I start repeating the mantra, “it’s just the pills, it’s just the pills” in my head. 

It’s just the pills….