I wrote this about three months ago. Again, still a work in progress.
Everything you ever wanted to know about sex, but were never told.
Over the past ten months, I’ve come to a surprising conclusion—Everything I was told about getting pregnant was a total lie. Okay, I know it wasn’t REALLY a lie, but I definitely feel duped.
I was a good student. I paid attention in sex-ed class. I took the messages to heart. It was clear to me, that unless you used protection, sex equals pregnancy. End of story. But, after ten months of unprotected sex and no pregnancy, I am learning that it really isn’t that simple.
Turns out that the time, environmental conditions, position, temperature, and other cosmic forces have to be just so before one of my husband’s little swimmers can make it to my seemingly hermit-like eggs. In essence, all the stars and moons have to be perfectly aligned for conception to even take place.
I almost feel like we needed a new form of sex-ed, a “how to get pregnant” course, if you will. After our first few months of “trying,” I turned to numerous books and Web sites for more information on the whole process. What I learned is that conception is a complicated dance where timing and rhythm (so to speak) are crucial.
Sperm are resilient little guys. They can survive within a woman’s system for up to six days. But they have to be “deposited” at least 12 hours before ovulation takes place. But even if you time things perfectly and all the conditions are optimal, there is only a 33% chance that the little swimmers and egg will meet, shake hands, start the conception dance, and then build a comfortable home and begin growing.
Now, I am inclined to suspect that if we had nothing else to do but lie around waiting for the perfect moment to conceive our child, we would have gotten pregnant right away. However, I know this isn’t true, and besides, we have lives to live as well. We both work full-time. There are chores to do. Family crises develop. Friends come to visit. There are many everyday things that can get in the way of us hitting our target on time. The sources tell you to figure out when you are ovulating, and have sex everyday during your most fertile period. That is anywhere from four to seven days. Who has the time or energy to have sex everyday for seven days?!?! Maybe when we first met and our “I can’t be without you for one second” hormones were raging we could have accomplished such a love-making feat, but now in our comfortable “been together for four years, I’m tired, let’s just cuddle” routine the idea seems astounding.
Our difficulty conceiving comes as an even bigger shock to us when it seems like nearly everyone we know got pregnant with little or no difficulty or completely by accident. (We do know a few couples that either needed medical help or decided not to seek further treatment, but somehow they seem like the extreme exception to the rule in our circle of friends and family.) One couple we know got pregnant on a drunken night when they forgot to use a condom for the first time ever. Another got pregnant just by missing one day of her birth-control pills. And yet another (actually trying to get pregnant), who hadn’t had sex in over six months, timed everything so perfectly that she got pregnant with her second child with one try. Most others took only a handful of months once going off birth control.
We are fast approaching that “been trying for a year” mark when you officially cross the border from fertile to infertile and the doctors will finally see you to determine if there is something wrong or if you just aren’t doing it right and need a Sex Ed refresher course. Right now, I’m hoping for the latter. Until then, I hope every month that the stars are aligned, the swimming conditions are optimal, my cycles are regular, and we’ve crossed all our t’s and dotted all our i’s.