I’m not totally sure how to start this post, but I'm about to get really real, y'all.
Usually, I consider myself a pretty private person. I don’t need or want the world to know every detail of my life, but I have felt so compelled to share what has been going on for the last 2+ years.
I want to share our personal journey with infertility in the hopes of encouraging others who are struggling with fertility issues. I know during our 2+ year struggle, it was so helpful to hear other people's stories and know that we were not alone.
When we first started trying to conceive, we were both naive and thought it was going to happen the first month. Well, month after month after month went by and it wasn’t happening. I felt so alone and like I was the only one having these troubles. I watched all of our friends get pregnant with no problem. It left me constantly asking what was wrong with me?
At first, I kept quiet about what was going on and pretended everything was ok, but that only made me feel worse. Once I slowly decided I would start sharing and letting people in, I learned that I am not even close to the only one going through this. To hear other peoples stories with infertility and miscarriage really helped me get through a lot of difficult times. I feel like by sharing my story, I can help someone else. Hopefully others that are going through this journey can know that they are not alone. So with that being said, here’s my story…
My husband Mark and I started trying to have a baby over two years ago. Our plan had always been to travel as much as we could before having babies and just do us for a while. After two years, we were both ready to start a family and excited about starting this new chapter in our lives.
My mom and her siblings had always said they just thought about getting pregnant and it happened for them. So we thought for sure I would be the same. HA! That was silly of me. The first few months I saw a lot of negative pregnancy tests. I didn't think too much of those negative results at first, but after 4 months feelings of worry and concern were creeping in. I thought, well, gosh, I've been on birth control for so long that my cycle is probably super screwed up and it's just taking a few months to get adjusted! No biggie! I just knew month 4 was going to be the month! Well, it wasn't.
I decided to call my doctor and just talk with her about it. I was supposed to be going to the Olympics in Rio in August 2016 so my husband and I gave ourselves about a 6 month time line to make it happen; this way I wasn't too pregnant to go, or just popped out a baby and couldn't go.
Six months of trying go by and 6 negative pregnancy tests later, we decide to put this on hold for a few months in hopes that I would be able to travel to Rio.
It didn't seem like a big deal because we weren't in any hurry and we were young and healthy. I thought this would help us relax and not think about it and we would get pregnant as soon as we started trying again. Wrong, again!
Mark and I both had some tests done just to rule out possible reasons why we might not be conceiving.
Being a former elite gymnast, I've dealt with my share of pain. I have competed on a broken elbow, had bloody rips and blisters all over my hands and I consider myself to be a pretty tough chick with a high pain tolerance. I went in for an HSG test and the doctor told me it would be about a 7 or 8 out of 10 on the pain/uncomfortable scale. He lied. It was more like a 20! That was the worst pain I think I've ever felt. It only lasts for about 10 seconds and I'm telling you I don't think I would have lasted 1 more second. For those of you who don't know what an HSG test is, let me inform you. They stick a very long wand like thing inside you and then shoot dye into your tubes to see if they are clear and to make sure there's nothing blocking the little swimmers from getting through!
Turns out my tubes are clear and Mark was good to go as well. So why isn't this happening for us? Taking a hiatus of trying to have a baby helped to take the pressure I was putting on myself off and my cycles actually became somewhat regulated. It was always hard to know when or if I was even ovulating each month.
It was really hard to watch all my friends get pregnant on their first try and have their babies. Don't get me wrong, I was over the moon excited for them. I know everyone else's life doesn't get put on hold just because of our infertility issues. With that being said, it didn't change the fact that every time I saw a pregnancy announcement, gender reveal or baby announcement I felt like I was getting punched in the gut.
When was this going to happen for us? Finally our break from not trying had come to an end. I started off super hopeful thinking ok this is our time now, but month after month after month: more negative pregnancy tests. I started to despise pregnancy tests and their stupid "NOT PREGNANT" reminder. I get it! I decided to stop wasting money on them. I think it was more of my own personal way to protest and it made me feel a tiny bit better. Another 6 months of trying had come and gone and can you guess what I'm going to say next?! Not pregnant!
We decided, hey it's been a year, let's talk to the doctor and see what our next steps are. I told my doctor everything from all my friends getting pregnant to the roller coaster of emotions that I went through every single month trying to make this happen.
I literally felt like a human emotional roller coaster. Each month started as:
happy and hopeful!
then, anxious and nervous
trying to get pregnant sucks
it's not ever going to happen
pissed off. livid. crying.
throwing myself a pity party
and back to hopeful and happy starting off the next month!
Sounds like the roller coaster you want to be on, huh?!
I learned that my OB/GYN also has PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome) like myself and that it took them a while to concieve by using some of the same fertility drug that I was prescribed. She knew exactly how I was feeling and we made a plan that day and that made me feel better. Clomid came next.
Once again, I was feeling hopeful. I knew this was going to work. You gotta hand it to me, at least I was positive at the beginning of every month! The first round of clomid did not work and neither did the second. I thought big surprise. All it left me with were some moments of feeling like I was baking in an oven or like I was a total crazy person. I had no idea why these emotions would just happen to me all of the sudden.
Luckily, I have a super supportive husband that totally gets it and wanted this baby as badly as I did! With all of that being said, he totally deserves a shout out. Without Mark's support and all of the times that he had to talk me off the ledge and bring me back to reality during this process, he has absolutely been my rock. We've grown even closer and stronger through this, even though it's been extremely stressful emotionally and physically. Thank you my love, there's no other person I'd want to be on this journey with!
The next month we started fertility treatments with Dallas IVF and another round of Clomid, oh goody! This time we got to add a "trigger shot" and I thought that this sounded really promising! I had to go into the doctor to get ultrasounds to make sure I didn't have cysts developing on my ovaries (a side effect of Clomid) and also to see how my ovaries were progressing with the drugs. I had my blood drawn every few days to monitor my progesterone levels. By the end of all this, I knew I would know all the nurses by name ;)
The day comes where it's time for another ultrasound to see if I can do the trigger shot that will send my body into ovulation. It's on a Sunday so my husband was able to accompany me.
So many people were in the waiting room on who knows what part of their fertility journey. I couldn't help but wonder what exactly everyone's story was. Would it have been too forward of me to ask?! It helps me so much talking to people that have had trouble getting pregnant like us.
I've had so many supportive friends and family to go through this with and I'm so grateful. If all of this has taught me one thing, it's to have sensitivity. I would have never been offended by someone saying "Oh gosh, we just look at each other and get pregnant" or "Just relax, don't think about it, it will all happen when it's supposed to". They think it's funny or think they are trying to help, but honestly it hurts.
I am so thankful to my family during this whole process and especially my mom because I have been able to vent to her too many times to count. She always listens with an open ear open heart with no judgment. That has been the best medicine I could ask for. She doesn't try to sugar coat anything or make promises she can't keep or pretend like she knows what I’m going through. My mom stays strong and she lets me be upset or sad or even just silent and cry on her shoulder. I know she wants this as bad as I do and I can't wait to make her a "Nana"! She's going to be the best! I know I'm going to be a great mom because of all she has taught me! To be continued.....
Follow along with us on our journey to parenthood as this blog series continues!