Writing about this subject has been on my heart for awhile.
I have opened my computer several times with the intention and haven’t been able to find the words to express exactly what I am feeling.
Within the past 3 months or so, I have come in contact with many different women who have gone through similar struggles. We all have been on slightly different journeys–everything ranging from irregular cycles to miscarriages, PCOS, endometriosis, hormone therapy, anovulation, IUIs, IVF, etc. The one commonality I have seen is that we all feel like we are alone.
At least I did, until these women were carefully weaved into my life at a time where their stories helped to show me otherwise.
I want to share my story in hope that it will give somebody else encouragement.
My husband and I have been trying to conceive for two years. Soon after Cody and I were married, I went off my birth control. After that, I never got my period back. The doctor said it “takes awhile” for some women to become regular after being on birth control for many years. Fast forward nine months and still no period. From the day I stopped my birth control until now, I have never ovulated on my own. I have had pelvic ultrasounds done with negative results. I had an HSG procedure done where they inject die into your uterus to check to see if your tubes are open–that came back negative. It was actually ironic that I had an HSG done because I use to work as a radiology technologist and would assist doctors when they would perform these exams on women–I never imagined I would have to be in the patient position.
After feeling somewhat (ok, maybe a lot) frustrated with my regular OB-GYN I made an appointment to see a holistic OB-GYN. After running extensive blood work and piecing together my symptoms, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). There is more to PCOS that just cysts on your ovaries–it is an imbalance of your hormones too. Having PCOS makes it more difficult to conceive and you are more prone to insulin resistance, irregular cycles and anovulation. The diagnosis was confirmed by a pelvic ultrasound done at the holistic office. I saw the cysts on my ovaries with my own eyes–why wasn’t this diagnosis determined before? Annoying.
It sounds crazy but I was actually relieved to have this diagnosis–I could at least have a reason WHY.
I have gone through rounds of Clomid and Femara, medicines that are suppose to help you ovulate. I would get excited with anticipation thinking that “this was it” only to be let down by no ovulation. Each time you do a round of Clomid, you have to have a pelvic ultrasound done to check for progress. Each time I go, things aren’t “quite where they are suppose to be.” I always have to go back for a second ultrasound and the results aren’t that much better. A few times I got glimmers of hope like “this is promising” but never actually tested positive for ovulation–that is a whole other fun thing–peeing on an ovulation stick every morning only to see a big fat nothing. Honestly, it’s a let down. Sometimes it is easier just to forget about it for a few months than giving yourself hope.
One round of Clomid, I was put on was such a high dose that I had vision changes. It was so scary–it felt like I was on drugs. (Oh wait, I guess I was–they are just legal ones.) I did read that this can be a side effect but I never believed that would actually happen. It scared Cody too.
Putting hormones into my body isn’t something I would normally want to do. I have felt this internal struggle between using medicine/hormones to help us have children vs. doing everything all-natural and allowing my body to self-heal. It is so hard to have this inner conflict. I get scared thinking that my reproductive system won’t regulate itself. Taking the hormones and having a chance of conceiving is better than not having the chance at all.
I have tried to live as clean and natural of a life as possible. This of course, for us all, is a work in progress. There is always room to improve and make small changes towards a healthier life. I eat well (90% of the time!), have eliminated a lot of cardio from my workouts, focused on incorporating healing forms of exercises like yoga into my life, and have tried meditating and manifesting my wishes of becoming a mom.
I have also tried acupuncture twice. I believe in alternative forms of treatment and I would still experiment with acupuncture, however, I didn’t have immediate results with it. To me, immediate results would have been ovulating with the cycle that I tried it with.
My husband remains positive and supportive. He wants us to be able to conceive as well but also doesn’t want to put any harm onto my body. He gives a shoulder to lean on but also gently reminds me that positivity kills negativity in all circumstances.
Although I haven’t ovulated or conceived by using these alternative forms of self-healing, I have become more confident that this situation is FOR me rather than against me. By that, I mean that God and the universe are teaching both my husband and I something. What it is I don’t know, but someday we will find out. At that moment, I know all our struggles will be worth it and we will become stronger because of it.
The next step for us is to see a fertility specialist.
I recently made an appointment but I had been stalling for awhile. I didn’t want to admit that we would need more intense forms of help. In the back of my mind, I was also hoping that it would “just happen” and we wouldn’t need the appointment. In the next few months, we will learn about our options with IUI and IVF. We will have to decide what is too much and when is when. We will make decisions on whether or not we should set up a home evaluation for adoption. There are a lot of big decisions ahead of us.
We are both open to adoption, but between you and me, it makes me sad to think about not being able to hold a child that is naturally ours. I want to see Cody and I in our baby’s face. I want to complain about being pregnant. I want to pee on a stick and see a positive line. I want to have the choice to breast feed. I want to nourish my child. I want to see the look in my husband’s eyes when I tell him I am pregnant. I want to surprise my parents with the news. I want all of those things–it makes me cry just saying it.
Growing up, you never think that you won’t be able to have kids. Struggling with this has made me feel like less of a woman. I have racked my brain on trying to figure out WHY. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out an answer to something that is unanswerable.
Last fall, I think I went through a little bit of a depression. I would cry and cry and cry. I was having a hard time being happy for pregnant people. I would get annoyed by my news feed seeing all of the “my baby is the size of a melon” posts. I was jealous. I was angry. This is not a good feeling to have. I am embarrassed to admit I felt that way but I am being completely honest. I wanted to share those feelings because I believe there are others who have experienced the same. It may not be with pregnancy–it could be with wanting to be married or wanting a career you love or wanting to be in shape. Jealously and envy can come up with all of those things, especially since we constantly see and compare ourselves to others through social media.
I would be lying if I said those feelings didn’t still creep up once in awhile. With the help of my husband and being intentional on finding the positive in this situation, I am in a much better place. There are just certain things you can’t control and learning to give up that control has been hard but it has also been liberating. I truly believe we are suppose to endure what is put in front of us–one day it will be our biggest teachers.
I do believe that Cody and I are experiencing this for a reason and one day we will understand why. We have grown closer and are learning how to navigate difficult situations as a married couple. Who is to say we will never have our own kids, but just the thought of not, makes me sad.
I realize women have been through MUCH worse but that doesn’t discount my own feelings. Like I mentioned before, I just feel so blessed that certain women have come into my life when I needed them the most. They may not even realize that they have helped me to not feel so isolated in my thoughts and feelings.
Infertility isn’t something that is commonly talked about. For the person experiencing it, it is uncomfortable to share honest feelings and I think it is uncomfortable for the person on the receiving end because they aren’t sure how to respond. I am lucky to have friends that just straight up ask me how everything is going with it. I would much rather talk about it than ignore the fact that we are struggling to get pregnant.
I have thought about trying to organize a group for women that have had struggles–infertility, miscarriage, etc. just so we could all have a safe and comfortable place to share our stories. Maybe one of these days.
It feels good to get all of those feelings out. If you have dealt with a similar situation or feelings of sadness, I encourage you to get out a journal and just start writing. Share your story with a pen and paper. You will feel a release. You will feel better.
Thank you for hearing me out.