"I don't want to end up on that show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," I laughed two months ago, silently cursing Trojan and their weak condoms for putting me in this predicament. "I mean, my baby's only eight weeks old and my period hasn't started again, so how would I know?"
The doctor reassured me. "Well, your first clue would be that your milk supply would plummet. But it's unlikely you're pregnant, given you haven't had a post-partum period yet and you're breastfeeding. We can do an IUD insertion as a precaution if you'd like. It's 99% effective as emergency contraception and it lasts for up to five years."
I didn't need to think about it for long. All three of my pregnancies had been conceived on the first or second try, and one of them was a set of twins. No medical assistance involved. Clearly Jay just needed to breathe in my direction for my body to start whipping up a baby. After surviving a harrowing pregnancy bookended by miscarriage and a vicious bout of post-partum depression, a third child was out of the question. We'd already made a December appointment for Jay to turn off the baby faucet when the condom broke.
One emergency IUD later, I was back in the land of unfettered sex and took full advantage of it, plying Little Man with copious amounts of breast milk and formula to keep him quiet during the bed parties. After one late-night session, I slept in and nearly missed my Saturday morning zumba class. Bounding out of bed, I rushed downstairs and snapped at Jay, "Why didn't you wake me up?" before storming out the door.
At the dance studio, I stumbled through the routines, feeling strangely tired. The drive home was maddening, every idiotic driver in the city having apparently decided to take their car out for a Saturday spin. When I finally got home after wearing out the car's horn, Jay and the kids added to my irritation until I burst into tears, grabbed the breast pump and a carton of ice cream and stomped up the stairs to the master bedroom. Why did the world hate me? I took out my most relaxing book and tried to calm down.
Absorbed in Fifty Shades Darker, I was startled to look down after a half hour and discover I had pumped only one ounce of milk in between digging out scoops of ice cream. Weird, I thought before dropping the book and spoon in horror. What had the doctor said about milk supply? And why was I eating so much ice cream and being such a bitch? An hour later a negative pregnancy test eased my suspicions, but fear still crept along the back of my mind. It could be too early to detect.
The next morning I pretended my nausea wasn't there until it took over and I barely made it to the bathroom in time to throw up. I stared at my pale face in the mirror. Not a good sign. Not good at all. I called the ultrasound clinic to book an appointment confirming the IUD was positioned properly and there was no new family member incubating, but the morning of the appointment everything became clear when I went to the bathroom and discovered blood on the toilet paper.
I pelted out of the bathroom, shrieking with joy. "It's PMS!" I yelled at a wide-eyed Jay. "That's all! I'm not pregnant! I have my period!" I re-scheduled the ultrasound appointment for two weeks later and continued making up for the nine-month sex drought. My milk supply was still low, but I'd heard that could happen when your menstrual cycle returned. No worries.
Yesterday I bundled up Little Man and set off for the clinic. For the first time since I lost the twins, I was going to have a stress-free ultrasound. Hopping up on the table, I chatted away with the technician until I noticed she was no longer laughing at my jokes, but staring intently at the screen. A tremor of unease ran through me. The last time a technician was this quiet and focused on the exam, it was because she was trying to find a heartbeat that wasn't there anymore. I stared at the white ceiling tiles and pushed my anxiety away. Why did I have to be so melodramatic all the time? Everything was fine.
"I'm not supposed to tell you anything. But I'm going to tell you anyway because you need to know," said the technician abruptly, not looking at me. I tensed as my whole body went cold with shock. Oh.my.god. FUCK. That wasn't my period; it was implantation bleeding. This was it: financial ruin, the end of my sanity and my marriage. Another nine months of terror that at any moment I'd find myself on my knees in front of a toilet again, searching through the blood for a tiny body.
"Your IUD isn't in the right place, which means it's not working. So no unprotected sex!" the technician warned, shaking her finger at me. I was so relieved I could hardly speak to thank her, my legs shaking from the adrenaline rush as I hurried out of the exam room. As I walked toward my car, I started doing some basic math and my grin slowly faded. If my IUD wasn't working, that meant I'd been having unprotected sex since I got my period. Which was what, 14 days ago? Oh, shit.
Despite my best efforts, it looks like I'm on the merry-go-round again. It almost makes me want to take a vow of chastity for the next three months. Almost.