I need a place to vomit all my feelings, rants, complaints and greatest fears. I have never been good at keeping a diary or journal but I have recently been feeling like I need to process what I am going through emotionally while on this horrible infertility journey I have been on and in anticipation of pursuing more fertility treatments I certainly can't afford therapy! So here it goes. Oh, I feel I should warn you that I am a realist and a little of a "glass half empty" kind of a person so don't expect many positive, warm fuzzy musings.
I met my husband when I was 17 but we were just in the same circle of friends for 4 yrs before we started "dating"... really we went from not dating to living together within a week! I was 21 and he was 22. We went to art school together although we studied different mediums.
We got our first baby (a puppy), after being together for 7 months. A year and a half later we got another puppy. After 7 years of "shacking up" we got married in August of 2009.
I grew up with a lot of siblings and always knew I wanted to have children. Children have been a huge part of my life and now I work with kids for a living. I am surrounded by them all the time. My mother is the oldest of 12 kids, my dad the middle of 5. My dad's sister has 7 children. My mom's siblings all have a couple kids. It has been a running joke in our family that us girls better be careful because we are so fertile. Except for me.
When my husband was (finally!) ready to start trying to conceive we had been married for almost a year. It was summer of 2010 and we had just moved out of our super tiny apt. and rented a much larger house with a yard for the dogs. The plan was: when we had a house with space for an art studio and an extra room for a baby then we would get pregnant and start our family! Great plan, huh?
What really happened was nothing. And then nothing. Followed by more nothing.
A year went by. I wasn't worried or stressed out. Maybe a little annoyed. I was determined to be laid back about the whole process. I had a friend or two who had a little trouble conceiving and they were emotional wrecks every month. I was not going to be like them. They all got pregnant within a year.
We got loads of advice from our friends and family.
Here is a sampling of my favorites: Just have sex everyday!
Relax! You are too stressed out!
Stop trying to plan it, it will happen when it happens.
Stop running, you exercise too much!
Stop being vegetarian, eat some meat!
You work too much!
You are too busy!
Go on a sexcation!
Somewhere in the first year after about 6 or 7 months of trying to conceive I went in for a regular annual exam with my Dr. and talked to her about our failed efforts. I also told her that I had been experiencing some mid cycle spotting and that although my periods had always been regular it seemed to me like there was a very wide window in which they would happen. My cycle would be anywhere from 28 days to 36! She said that was normal and the mid cycle spotting could be related to a polyp but I would need to go in for an ultra sound to determine that. She also said that mid cycle spotting can happen during ovulation so it could be as simple as that. She suggested that my husband get a semen analysis to make sure everything was normal with him and encouraged me to start using the ovulation predictor kits to really nail down when I was ovulating. That way I would know if it matched up with the mid cycle spotting.
So about a year after we started trying to conceive my husband had his semen analyzed and the results were normal. The Dr. recommended what he dubbed "Carpet Bombing"....seriously, that's what he called it. Basically when we think we are ovulating we should have intercourse every other day so that we give his sperm a chance to build up and be the most potent.
That's about when I started to feel a little sinking feeling a dread creeping into the back of my mind.
Because I do have a pretty busy schedule and I am a major procrastinator it took a few more months (try like 6 ish) before I made an appt. to get an ultrasound. It was the worst experience! It sounds so dumb but I am not good at drinking water and they told me to drink A LOT!!! I was in sheer panic in the waiting room because I was so close to pissing my pants. I am sure all the other patients waiting for their ultra sounds thought I was a total tweeker from the way I was twitching and gyrating around on the couch. Twice I had to go to the bathroom and let out a little bit of pee even though the mean nurse behind the desk told me I shouldn't. I was so close to tears by the time they called my name and led me back to the room. The tech lady was much nicer and quickly did the outside ultra sound and then let me use the bathroom before continuing with the vaginal ultra sound (sorry, don't know if there is a more technical term). The Dr. came in and the first thing he said was "Wow! You have a full bladder!" This was right after I had peed for literally about 7 minutes straight. The result of the ultra sound? Inconclusive. Yep. Infuckingconclusive.
I retreated back to just trying on our own.
Luckily I had a friend who at the time was also on her own fertility quest and had begun going to a fertility clinic. I was able to commiserate with her about all the ups and downs and I got to witness the support she was experiencing at the clinic. I decided that was what I needed to do next. I really needing someone to hold my hand and walk me through this. I didn't know what the next steps were, what the next tests were....I needed someone to lead me through it.
Around March of 2012, over a year and a half of trying later, we made an appt. at the fertility clinic. I fell in love with our Dr. immediately! After looking over our history and listening to me describe my periods she broke the news that based on how painful my period was and the mid cycle spotting combined with our current state of infertility it is more than likely I have Endometriosis. She said I needed to do the ultra sound where the dye is injected through the uterus and fallopian tubes to give us a better picture of what we are dealing with. At that same time we also did blood work which alerted us to the fact that I had a very slightly low thyroid so the Dr. put me on meds to get my thyroid at the ideal level to conceive. A few weeks later I went in for the dye ultra sound. It was a completely different experience from the first ultra sound and I was totally relaxed and felt taken care of...pampered even! As soon as the dye circulated around my Dr. started pointing out spots where the dye wasn't going and explained to me that these were most likely polyps in my uterus that were preventing a fertilized embryo from implanting. The good news was my tubes were clear and I could see the dye flowing through them. The not so good news: I needed to have surgery to remove the polyps.
Finally an answer! Not what I wanted to hear but I felt vindicated that all the comments about me exercising too much, or being too stressed out and too busy, or that I should eat meat, was all a load of horse shit! I knew it was all along but now I had proof. There is a real physical reason why we haven't conceived and it has nothing to do with my lifestyle choices.
In July 2012, in the midst of dealing with our beloved dog having to go through an amputation in an attempt to save him from cancer, I went in for the surgery. I imagined it was going to be like getting my wisdom teeth removed while getting a pap smear....when I got prepped I realized quickly that even though there was no incision it wasn't as casual as that! I started to get a little freaked out as they started putting IVs in my arms, heart monitors on my fingers and suction cups all over my ribs and chest but my husband was right next to me until they wheeled me back into the surgery room and then lights out! I woke up feeling a little groggy but not nauseous and not sore. I recovered very quickly. My husband on the other hand passed out from the emotional exhaustion as soon as we got home!
We were told that the surgery was successful and they removed more than 20 polyps! We were told to go home and try again on our own for 3 months with my now "perfect uterus" and see what happens.
And nothing. And more nothing. Followed by more nothing.
Due to me ovulating while my husband was out of town and the holidays and yes, my major procrastination, we didn't go back to the clinic until February of 2013. Our Dr. moved us on to the next step which was to put me on Letrozol. We decided to do 2 months of just the drugs and then if still not pregnant by the 3rd round we would add an IUI. If that doesn't work we will try a 4th month of drugs and IUI.
That's where we are now. I am about to start the 3rd month of drugs and will schedule our first IUI for later this month. I was supposed to get my period last weekend so took a pregnancy test on Fri....honestly to find out if I could drink the really expensive Tequila my husband brought home! The test was negative. On the bright side the Tequila was fantastic!