This post is a follow up to an earlier post I wrote about at Self Magazine article on how isolating infertility can be. I was blessed to have a circle of friends who had experienced similar situations. NO ONE should feel alone in the infertility process.
photo © 2009 Marty Bonner | more info (via: Wylio) I knew I wanted kids, plural. I always told my husband, if there was one, there would be two. I was open to discussing no children, but I was an only child and I really wanted my own kids to have a sibling.
I’d been on and off the pill since I was 17. Basically when I had insurance or was in a relationship, I was on the pill. Even on the pill I could go months without a period. I was young and didn’t think much about it. On occasion, I discussed my lack of menses with my doctors, but none seemed overly concerned, so neither did I.
Fast forward, I’m married to a wonderful man, we have purchased our own home and are looking to start a family. Suddenly, my lack of periods was an issue. We “tried” in earnest for while, but it wasn’t long before I started researching fertility issues. What can I say, I am an impatient control freak. I purchased Taking Charge of Your Fertility and set about educating myself. I tracked my basel temperatures and there was no discernible pattern. There was no jump in the graph, the temps were all over the place, seemingly random.
I had friends who were facing similar challenges. One had suffered an ectopic pregnancy that all but ended her hopes of conceiving. She adopted domestically. Another had a family history of infertility. She did some initial testing and knew treatment was a futile course. She adopted from Internationally. I was so blessed to have their counsel.
I sought out an infertility evaluation. We lived in Massachusetts and were fortunate that insurance covered all the testing. We ruled out male factor immediately so, the problems were mine (Oh, the self imposed guilt!). The first specialist I saw was a male with a very heavy accent (I can’t even remember where he was from). He planned a course of treatment that went almost directly to IVF. I felt intimidated and pulled back sharply. I opted for a second opinion and was glad I did. This doctor was in the same practice, but a different office. Her excellent reputation manifested itself in a ridiculously long wait for an office visit. A wait that let me get very clear about what I wanted and how far we were willing to go to get it. My husband was awesomely supportive throughout this.
When we did finally see her, she had a much calmer manor and measured approach. She did some blood work and ruled out PCOS (this is relevant later), but still there was no cause for my irregular periods that were making it hard to predict ovulation. She also ordered a hyserosalpingogram or (HSG). Here is where having the support of friends who have been through the process is invaluable. My friend J, told me to take ibuprofen before the test. I got the go ahead and took 800mg about an hour a head of time. An HSG is NEVER fun, but it really didn’t bother me that much. J took me to the test and was stunned that I wanted to go out shopping afterwards. “I just wanted to curl up in a ball after mine”. The HSG revealed no blockages, so, we kept on.
We “practiced” regularly, but apparently not at the right time because I still wasn’t pregnant and I was growing more frustrated by the month. I felt like I was failing. Failing the most basic task for a woman. I couldn’t even BLEED right for cripes sakes. My husband was my rock assuring me that he loved me despite my challenges. My friends were there to lament the arrival of my period AGAIN. Still, it sucked.
By this time, I was taking Clomid and due to my lack of conception, we progressed on to injections. At one time, I knew this process cold and could have told you want I was injecting, and the dosage, but in the chaos of the last 10 years, that information has completely evaporated from my brain.
So, I went for my daily ultrasounds, the one’s where they stick their “magic wand” in your nether regions and take a peek and what is going on down there. It was during these fishing expeditions that a cyst was discovered on my left ovary. They were pretty sure it was the left side that was growing the egg, but the cyst made it hard to determine the size of the ovary which made it hard to determine when it was going to expel its precious cargo.
The ultrasound staff and the nursing staff were just amazing. I rarely spoke with the doctor. Word came down from on high that this month was a scratch and we’d use it as a practice month for the injections and we’d try again next month.
For the uninitiated, your partner administers the injection in your abdomen. It is sub-dermal, so it is more of a pinch than a stab. Then you and your partner *ahem*, practice, do the deed, bump uglys, you get the point. The injection is supposed to encourage ovulation and once ovulation takes place, you want to have the little swimmers in place to greet the freshly hatched egg.
It is such a process it can take the fun out of intimacy. Bless my husband for doing his part to keep things light. On the occasion of my first injection, he came to our bed room with one of my lipsticks. He then proceeded to use it to draw a target on my abdomen. “I don’t want to miss.”
I went in for my a blood test 7 days later, and it turns out his aim was dead on. Much to everyone’s surprise, I was pregnant.
I’ve read so many great stories about how women told their spouses they were pregnant, mine is very utilitarian. I picked up the phone and called him at work and blurted out the news. His aim was true. Ahem, a little too true. The next day the nurse called again. My numbers were so high, they were convinced I was pregnant with twins.
OH MAH GOD!!! Anyone who ventures down the road of infertility treatment thinking they are guaranteed a single, healthy birth is naive, but still when you work so hard to get pregnant, you never think you’ll be the one who conceives two at the same time.
In a show of cosmic sense of humor, the second sac, self-terminated, and by 10 days later, we were back to just one baby. WHEW!
I was fortunate, my pregnancy was uneventful. I even traveled to Australia three months pregnant. The delivery was another story, but that’s not tied to my infertility.
Next up, conceiving a second, or not.