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That Time I Lost My Mind Trying to Conceive at Almost 40

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I was 40 years old when I gave birth to my daughter. I don't remember ever making a conscious choice to become a mother later in life. It's just the way things worked out.

I met my husband at 36. Got married at 38. Shortly after the wedding I landed in the operating room having female-related surgery. Once healed and given the OK, we started trying to conceive.

And that's when I became a crazy, emotional, obsessed woman I barely recognized. Trying to conceive consumed my every thought. It sapped all of my energy. My life revolved around it. And my sanity was thrown out the window.

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To say I was frantic about my fertility would be an understatement. It didn't help that my ob-gyn had told me, "You don't have much time left."

She wasn't wrong. Once a woman reaches 35, her chances of being able to conceive naturally decreases significantly and rapidly. It is recommended women wait only six months without success before consulting with fertility specialists. Even then, your chances of getting pregnant with intervention decline as well.

My husband and I talked about our options and how far we were prepared to go to have a family. We discussed the various methods available. We considered adoption.

I read about charting and began to take my temperature with a basal fertility monitor every morning before getting out of bed. I noted my cervical mucus on my chart. I tried like crazy to calculate the exact perfect time to have sex. Our efforts to conceive took over our lives.

This? Is totally how I was:

For the record, my husband did not have any issues. I know, because I had insisted he get tested before we even started trying. I did not want to waste valuable time only to discover months later he was shooting blanks. I forced him to go and provide a sample, even though his own doctor said there was no cause at that point.

Everything checked out great. Still, I made him switch to boxer shorts, just like Kevin Bacon in the movie, because I had read they were better for trying to conceive.

I did not want to waste valuable time only to discover months later he was shooting blanks.

Sex? Not even a little bit fun. It became a chore. For both of us. And we were newlyweds.

The two weeks of my cycle after ovulation was when I was the most insane. I honestly think my husband worked late on purpose to limit his interaction with me as I waited to see if my period would come.

If I was drinking when he arrived home, he knew it was bad news. And that I would be inconsolable. And even before the tears had dried, I would be looking at charts and calendars and counting the time when I would be fertile again.

My husband so did not get it. He wanted a baby, too. He just didn't feel the urgency I did. His biological clock was not ticking. Mine was.

It was all his fault, really. Before he came along, I was fine with not having a child. I had come to a place where I truly was at peace with it. Motherhood did not appear to be in the cards for me, and I had accepted it.

And then I met him. I loved him almost instantly. And from that love grew an amazing desire to become the mother of his child. Once we were married, that desire went into overdrive. I was overcome by it.

Six months after we had started trying, I was pregnant. I got to record a positive pregnancy test on my chart. And another. And another. We were elated.

But early on I miscarried. It was devastating.

I found no solace in the fact I had been able to get pregnant naturally. In addition to my grief over our loss, I was even more anxious. That damn clock was still ticking. I went on a special fertility diet I had read about. And gained almost 20 pounds.

I was more obsessed than ever.

Then, one morning as I reached for the basal thermometer, something inside me said, "Enough."

I had made the first year of our marriage a living hell.

I did not like who I had become. I had sworn I wasn't going to be that person. I was just going to go off the pill, relax and have fun. See what happened. If it was meant to be, it would be. Somewhere along the way, I lost that attitude—and my mind.

I had made the first year of our marriage a living hell. I nearly ruined our one year anniversary celebration, because I took an ovulation test and got a positive at a point in my cycle when I shouldn't have. I went nuts over why I would be ovulating so early, staring at my chart and obsessing over my temperatures the last several days. I started crying, because I was convinced the window for that month had already closed.

Not long after that weekend, I changed my attitude and approach. Tossed the thermometers and charts. Ditched the special diet. We had sex for fun whenever we felt like it.

Life slowly returned to normal.

Six months after my miscarriage, I was pregnant again. And while there were complications during my pregnancy, I delivered a healthy baby girl at 37 weeks.

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Today, nearly seven years after our daughter's birth, my husband and I are able to laugh about that time in our marriage. It is true what they say, "All's well that ends well."

We have the family we wanted. That has caused me to lose my sanity in entirely different ways. I've lost and found myself again more times than I can recall. That's motherhood.

And I will never stop being grateful I am able to experience it.

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