This is the post that has been the hardest to write and the scariest to share. I’m about to get a bit more serious and talk about something very personal; our journey through infertility. Because we have gone through a lot, I have decided to do a series of our experience thus far. I hope sharing our journey touches at least one person. And for those who may not have gone thru this, I’m sure you have gone thru something equally hard. It’s so important that we all support one another on our individual journeys.
I’ll start off by telling you that I have always known that motherhood was a path I wanted to go down. Not to a point where I planned my life around it, but it’s a calling that has always been in my heart. So…first things first, I needed to find the right partner. And I did!
As soon as Trent and I were married, November of 2015, we knew we’d start trying to get pregnant. I was 35 at the time and he was 39. I made jokes about it- as soon as we say “I DO” we’d be off to start trying (like in the bathroom of our wedding venue). Don’t worry; we didn’t go have sex in the bathroom after our wedding. I did seriously think about it though. LOL!
For the next six months, we actively attempted to get pregnant. We tried everything from reading books on fertility, to checking my basal body temperature, to ovulation tests, to standing on my head (but not really that part). I soon realized that this was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and my body wasn’t exactly doing what it was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t ovulating at the same time every month, and some months, I wasn’t ovulating at all. Having hypothyroidism (that’s a whole other post) was also an important factor. It was extremely frustrating and discouraging. I can remember taking pregnancy tests and being in tears after reading the big, fat negative. I thought it would be so easy (cue the tears)…So then, that’s when we made the decision to see a fertility specialist.
I recall being so excited, yet so nervous for our first appointment. Maybe I would finally get some answers. Why is my body not doing what it is meant to do? Why is it so easy for other women? My mom had me late, doesn’t that matter? Is my body damaged? Am I infertile? Why am I failing at this? Should I be eating different foods? Do I need to exercise more? Less? Am I too old? I totally blamed myself, which is absurd, but it really plays with your head. More though, your heart.
When we first walked into the clinic, I remember feeling relieved and a bit surprised. The waiting room was full of women (and men) who were all going thru the same thing. I guess it makes sense, as 1 in every 8 couples suffer from infertility. Just for formalities, infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year of unprotected sex. Women who do not have regular menstrual cycles, or are older than 35 years and have not conceived during a 6-month period. Couples don’t typically talk about this, as it does give you a sense of failure and complete defeat.
“Melanie Coy” the nurse called. Trent and I proceeded to Dr. K’s office. As soon as we met him, my mind was at ease. He discussed all of our anatomy and how things work. Not the birds and the bee’s, but the ins and outs of what our bodies go through when trying to conceive. He then got to the good part, how he was going to help us have a baby.
The first step was to have blood work done. They want to have a baseline of hormones and overall health both for me and for Trent. The next step for me was to have HSG. This shows whether the Fallopian tubes are open or blocked and whether a blockage is at the junction of the tube and uterus. It is done by your OB/GYN. Some women may have a saline infusion which shows the health of your uterus. I will tell you…this procedure sucked. It’s super invasive, you are on zero drugs, and it is quite uncomfortable. But, if I can’t handle that then how will I handle labor…so suck it up, buttercup.
Don’t worry, Trent wasn’t off the hook. He had the fun of getting his swimmers analyzed. Male infertility is actually very common. We didn’t think there would be any issues since he already has two kiddos, but wanted to make sure.
All of this helped Dr. K know what our treatment plan/options would look like based on our situation. My challenges include, 36 year old eggs, one of two Fallopian tubes with a blockage and hypothyroidism. Trent’s swimmers seemed to be swimming slow. This can come from age, medications, and alcohol consumption. He made some healthier lifestyle choices and was re-tested. Now, all is going swimmingly in that department as of today.
Based on what was happening in my body, our options included IUI and then on to IVF. There are other options such as surrogacy, egg donors, sperm donors, etc. We have been fortunate to not have to consider those. However, it is wonderful to have those options out there.
This is all so technical, right? I feel like I understand my body so. much. more.
Well, this is how it all started and we are still going through it. So far, the road has been long and it’s an emotional roller coaster. Something that is so easy to some is so hard for me. It really messes with me some days, but I know it will all be worth it in the end. I hope you’ll continue to read as I share more.
Stay tuned for part 2 in the series. Feel free to reach out to me…I am happy to chat about any and all of my experience.