I want to preface this post by acknowledging that our journey through infertility was much shorter with much less intervention than many couples go through; however, that does not discount the real, and oftentimes painful emotions that we faced. Everyone’s story is different, and this is ours. I have also included some hyperlink’s in this post that will take you to additional resources and information.
I have always been very motherly. I was obsessed with baby dolls as a little girl. I also started babysitting at a very young age. To me it was never a question of “if” I would become a mother, but as we would learn it would be a question of “when”.
For the first two years of our marriage I commuted from Levelland to Lubbock. I had told Chad that I did not want to be pregnant and commuting, much less have a baby and be commuting! We moved into our brand new house in Lubbock in May of 2012. We had started “trying” to get pregnant a couple of months before that in March. I am such a methodical and analytical person that I immediately started using the ovulation predictors. I wanted to believe that it would happen fast for us, but I also wanted to do everything I could to somehow feel in control of the process. I would daydream about being able to tell all of our friends and family that we were expecting right after we moved in to the new house.
I had a few months where I would be up to 2 weeks late, and yet nothing. I was particularly heartbroken after having one of those extra long cycles in July only to have a big fat negative on the test stick. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my irregular cycles. I decided to use the left over money on my flex account for that year to get the Clearblue Fertility Monitor. The monitor worked the first few months in that it did identify “peak days”. Pretty soon, though, it was not detecting any peak days during my cycle. I had to wonder if that meant that I wasn’t even ovulating anymore. The test sticks for these monitors are EXPENSIVE so I quickly began to lose faith in this method and even quit the daily testing.
In December of 2012 I noticed I was late again. I was very hesitant to take a test because your heart can only handle so many negatives! I don’t know why, but I decided to take a test on a day that Chad was out-of-town (bad idea). It did turn positive, but almost as soon as I took the test I started bleeding. I rushed to my primary care physician’s office since it is close by. They told me that I was not pregnant. After talking with my mom, and doing some research, I decided to still go ahead and contact my OB. I had read that it is really very rare to have a false positive pregnancy test. My OB’s office did a different type of pregnancy blood test and when they finally called me with the results, they simply said they were “inconclusive”. To me inconclusive is almost more painful to hear than negative! They told me to come back in a few weeks to check again, but I knew in my heart that I was not pregnant.
I hit my low point in January of 2013. It seemed like everyone around me was getting pregnant. It can be such an isolating and hopeless feeling. I did not know how to talk to my friends that were pregnant. I dreaded hearing the “news” even though I knew that I really was happy for them! At the time, I just wanted to allow myself to feel sad and depressed. I felt like I was going to get left behind because all of my friends would find new friends that also had kids. One thing that I wanted more than anything was for my child to be close to my friends’ children. I had such a special bond with my best friend because we had known each other our entire lives! I wanted my child to be able to experience that, and yet I could feel that dream slowly slipping away. While I know that it is sometimes easier to relate to people who are at the same stage of life as you, my true friends stuck around and were so gracious and patient with my emotional self! I would like to add that everyone’s advice to “just quit trying and it will happen” was less than helpful! I really think that is the worst thing you can say to anyone who is trying! I was also fully aware that I needed to trust God’s timing, but that did not necessarily take away all of the hurt that I was feeling. What I really needed during that time was for people to be honest with me, not to complain about pregnancy around me, and just be a listening ear.
I eventually called my OB’s office and asked if I could get checked out due to the inconclusive pregnancy results. They said they could not see me until my annual exam so I begged them to refer me to a fertility specialist. I knew something was wrong just based on my cycles and not having “peak days” each month. When the fertility clinic called, they said that their main physician had a 9 month waiting list. I was getting that sinking feeling of hopelessness again when they told me that there was a new physician in their office who could see me in a few weeks! They mailed out a packet with a bunch of tests that both Chad and I would need to have done before our appointment.
I will say that some of those tests were less than pleasant, but my greatest fear was that they wouldn’t find anything wrong! I wanted to feel validated somehow that there was something causing all of the pain! Ironically, I got my answer from the first set of blood work that was done prior to that appointment! My PCP’s office called with the results and said that my testosterone levels were high, but that was because of the PCOS. That was the first time I had ever heard the term PCOS, and I think my life changed in that moment! I asked the nurse for more information, and she said “oh, you have not been told you have PCOS before?” I said “no!”. So she said she would have to talk to the doctor and then later came back and told me to just wait and discuss it with the fertility specialist. So there I was, in limbo with a possible diagnosis and a possible answer to our problems. Another test I had before our appointment revealed that I also had a blocked right fallopian tube.
So March finally came and we had our big appointment! I was nervously excited! They started with an ultrasound, and just like that my diagnosis was confirmed. My ovaries were filled with cysts. I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. After reviewing all of my previous test results, he was also able to tell us that I had indeed suffered a miscarriage in December. Then he discussed the polyp that was blocking my fallopian tube.
So now that we knew a cause, we needed to decided on a treatment. The doctor laid out all of our options, including: Clomid, Metformin, surgery to fix the fallopian tube, and IUI. I think the idea of surgery was almost immediately thrown out. He did not recommend it, even though I would only be able to get pregnant every other month with it blocked. The surgery could create more scar tissue and would require some time to heal and recover before trying to get pregnant again. I personally was not ready to try the intrauterine insemination until we had looked at less invasive, less expensive options. So that left Clomid and Metformin. Clomid is a drug that increases the amount of hormones that support the growth and release of a mature egg. I had heard that you were limited to the amount of cycles that you could use Clomid on. I was hesitant to try it right off the bat and “waste our cycles”, so to speak. Metformin is a diabetes medication that can be used in women with PCOS to help process insulin and regulate menstrual cycles. So we decided to start with the Metformin until we had more time to review our options and process all of the overwhelming information!
Seeing as how it is late and this is already a long post, I will leave it at that for now! Check back tomorrow for more information on PCOS, and the crazy amazing miracle that happened next!