well i’ve been putting it off but here it finally is… i’ve decided to break up the infertility posts into three more direct posts since there’s so much to say. this is just our journey in a nutshell and many details inappropriate for the internet have been glossed over. feel free to talk to me one on one if there’s anything more i can share that will help. dealing with infertility has definitely been the biggest challenge i’ve ever faced. i’ve lead quite the charmed life and was so used to everything going according to my plan that this was a total surprise/learning curve for me. this experience helped me gain a better understanding of what it means to trust in god’s timing and his plan for me. and patience. lots of patience.
we tried to get pregnant for around a year and a half before we had success. it feels like a blip of time now looking back (which everyone who had been through this said it would) and it was so worth it to get me to the point i’m at now. i’m so grateful for all i went through and learned. i also feel very blessed at how relatively short our struggles were. my heart goes out to anyone at any stage of this heartbreaking process. with every milestone that passed during that time, it felt like i was slipping further into a deep sad hole. brett’s graduation and us moving out of our first little house were definitely the most bittersweet times since my plan had been to create a nursery in that house or at least have a bun in the oven for brett’s graduation. my bah humbug post at christmas might have clued a lot of you in on my rock bottom mood as well. (a little explanation behind that, i had been an idiot and bought a baby stocking in the december 2011 after christmas sales. unpacking that in the christmas decor, along with a line in my time capsule note about baby’s first christmas – that i edited out in this post – had me in the depths of self pity over where we were vs. where i thought we’d be.) as we progressed past milestones, the frequency of friendly small talk with acquaintances that turned to questioning when we would have kids went up and i also felt it was more and more obvious to the outside world that something must be wrong. we’d always openly joked about how mean old brett was the only one stopping us from having kids. i was ready for a baby as soon as i got my degree, but brett wanted to be done with his degree before we took on that responsibility, so his graduating felt like a huge neon sign that we should have a baby by now. i found solace in talking with others who had, had infertility issues but overcome them and in commiserating with friends who were trying to get pregnant at the same time i was – although the problem there was when they each got pregnant and there i was still babyless. bittersweet.
basically, as soon as we started trying in the fall of 2011, i stopped having regular cycles, pretty ironic. i had been on the pill our whole marriage, and stopped taking it that summer. i had a couple regular cycles as i waited for the pill to “get out of my system” before we started trying. also during that time, we became vegan plus oil free and i began losing weight. i went to my gyno in january 2012 to figure out what could be going on since i was on day 90 of my cycle with no previous history of abnormal periods. she was unhappy about the veganism, but especially blamed my low fat diet so i added fats back in. my bloodwork looked fine. she gave me provera to induce a period. provera doesn’t make you ovulate, it just makes your body think it did so i was able to give myself a fresh start to try again to ovulate on my own and have a natural period (or hoping that no period would mean i was pregnant instead of just jacked! period watch 2012 was such a funny thing. who would guess you’d want to get a period when you’re trying to get pregnant!). throughout that spring i continued to have abnormally long cycles and would take provera. i gained my weight back but continued to have abnormal periods. it was such an emotional roller coaster. my lowest of lows was always when my cycle got crazy long. it was hard to have any hope of success when you are on day 63 of a cycle. that also made taking ovulation tests near impossible since i had such a large window when i could theoretically be ovulating. after a provera induced period i would feel hopeful again, but once i hit the 35 day mark i would begin to despair again. i got a second opinion about veganism being a cause from my primary care doctor and she very confidently said no, it’s not. we did more bloodwork which was fine and she also ordered a vag ultrasound to scope things out. there was one cyst on one side but that’s normal.
in the summer of 2012 i finally had two 30-something day cycles back to back on my own. oh how happy and hopeful those months were! nothing came of them though, not even continued regular cycles on my own. at my annual exam that august, my gyno gave me provera again and said since i’m so young (and still vegan) we’ll keep waiting and seeing if it happens on its own until january when we’ll test me again and test brett. after that appointment (and talks with anyone who knew about my situation and consequently wanted to punch my gyno in the face! i’ve definitely learned the importance of being an advocate for yourself in all of this! stand up to doctors! i probably would have left her sooner if drugs didn’t freak me out so much and i didn’t secretly hold on to the hope my body could figure itself out on its own), i decided to switch to a different gyno. she only saw me as someone too young to treat seriously (like i was some 19 year old who woke up and decided i needed a baby to play house one day, instead of an adult with an established marriage and career) and she continued to harp on my veganism as a cause. it made no sense to put off until january what we could try and get to the bottom of now. in october i switched to my current doctor (at the high recommendation of my sister and my friend) and he was a godsend. he used the phrase “let’s see how aggressive we can be” for the first time ever in all this! he didn’t think veganism had anything to do with it and didn’t judge me once for my age. he ordered bloodwork for me again because he noticed a couple levels in my original gyno’s bloodwork that looked fine on their own but as a ratio they were wacky and he tested my testosterone levels (which she didn’t do). he also ordered brett’s test (boy was he excited for that! hah!). from those lab results, we found out i have pcos and brett had to be further tested by the specialists in jacksonville to determine there was an issue with him as well. obviously finding out there were issues with both of us was not what we wanted, but the silver lining is that neither of us had to blame ourselves completely either.
now we knew a definite game plan. it felt good. i’m very thankful my doctor was open to testing for pcos since i do not fit most of the typical symptoms. the original gyno hadn’t mentioned it as a possibility once. it’s also ironic because veganism and the whole grain diet i was following is what they recommend for women with pcos. sucker. the plan was that we would definitely need clomid (ovulation medication) and possibly an iui to make our dream a reality. the day after christmas, i had the dye test done to check my tubes before we went for the iui. talk about painful. that test turned out to be a huge frustration because i paid $700 for them to tell me the right side was good but they could not conclusively determine anything about the left. if you’re going to only give me half of the results, can i only give you half the payment? especially when there’s supposed to be video footage you can rewatch a million times to determine if that tube is open? my doctor did make me feel more at ease that the left side was probably fine as well (the tube opening can spasm during the test which won’t allow the dye in. i buy that. my whole body was tensing with the pain. they have you do lamaze breathing during the procedure to deal with it. i know i keep saying it but… how ironic.) and we made our plan to try clomid for a month then if that wasn’t successful, we’d try clomid plus an iui.
brett was amazing throughout this whole process. so unbelievably supportive. even when i was the nutcase crying for hours then telling him he can only tell me it’s all fine because he doesn’t care like i do about it. he would just let that roll off him and he’d continue to comfort me. what a guy. anyway, when it came down to it and we had my next appointment after the clomid, the gyno gave us the option to just go for it with the iui and brett didn’t hesitate and said, “let’s just go ahead and do this! we’ve waited long enough!” his confidence felt so reassuring and contagious. and that’s where i’ll leave it until next time!