Our Heart’s Desire

{Grab a snack, this is a long post.}

In high school I remember being afraid to have sex because everyone made it seem as if as soon as you did, you’d get pregnant. It was almost a given that if you had sex, you’d get pregnant. Maybe I’m the only one who thought that?

When Taylor and I first started talking about trying to get pregnant, it was a whirlwind of excitement and frightening feelings. This is such a huge step in a relationship and we thought we’d just see what would happen and not worry too much if it didn’t happen right away. We officially started trying in October 2015.

I can tell you firsthand that cycle apps, Google, and trying to conceive (TTC) forums are both your best friend and worst enemy while trying to conceive. Several months passed and I was obsessed with looking up every single “new” thing my body was doing throughout my cycle. I learned that often times an absence of a normal cycle symptom, such as sore breasts, could indicate pregnancy. I had many cycles when I thought “Yes, this time is it!” Only to take a test and get a negative with my period coming a couple days after.

I also learned that numerous times I tricked my own self into creating symptoms that I wanted to be there. The mind is a powerful thing and if you try hard enough, your body will literally respond in the ways you want it to.

From feeling weird twinges, to not having sore breasts, to thinking I was more emotional (crying at commercials on tv) so I must be pregnant from my increasing hormones, to having colds/congestion during my 2 week wait. I drove myself and Taylor crazy. I would get myself so worked up, then have a huge let down by getting a negative result. I cried, laid in bed for hours, and closed myself off from Taylor so I wouldn’t hurt him with my rollercoaster emotions.

A couple more months passed and I began to wonder if we were doing something wrong. I had read online (rolls eyes) that if a couple has been actively trying to conceive for a year without success, then it’s time to go to your doctor. I was almost due for my annual women’s health exam with my nurse midwife, and so I scheduled to see her in the late summer (possibly July 2016).

I was a big ball of nerves walking into the office. I got back to the room and in walks my mid wife. She turns around and I see her big pregnant belly. I start to cry. I explained to her that it had been almost a year of trying to conceive and that was why I was there, to try to figure out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. She agreed that since it had almost been a year, it was time to see what was going on.

If you’re trying to conceive and you’re a young couple, do not let the doctor tell you something to effect of “Oh you’re young, you have plenty of time to conceive. You shouldn’t worry about that right now.” As hard as it will be in that moment, advocate for yourself by telling your doctor no, that you think something is wrong. I was thankful my mid wife didn’t say that to me, but I’ve heard stories from other women whose doctors simply brushed off their concerns.

I had blood drawn to test my hormone levels and my mid wife referred my husband for a semen analysis. I got results back before he got his test done and I was told my prolactin levels were high. Since I’d never heard of that, I asked the person who gave me the results and she said it had to do with lactation. Frustration began as that still didn’t tell me how it effected me in trying to conceive. Taylor got his analysis done on August 27th, and the only reason I remember the exact date is because it’s my brother’s birthday.

When Taylor finally got the results back, my mid wife called me to explain the results. We were sitting at Frisch’s for a late dinner when she called. His results weren’t good. Low/poor numbers in all areas. She referred us back to the Institute where he got his analysis for infertility treatment.

Taylor was most upset at this point because his numbers were so poor. He felt responsible for this new problem we were facing and that he couldn’t provide his wife with something she wanted. I remained hopeful for the both of us as we still had ways to get help.

I was able to get an appointment with a fertility clinic, but not until October which was about a month away from when I scheduled it. After meeting with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE), she gave us hope by saying that our test results didn’t worry her. She ordered to have me retested, but with fasting beforehand, and another analysis for Taylor at the end of Novemeber.

I went to get my blood drawn early Saturday morning and the lab had no record of an order. I had gotten up early, fasted, and couldn’t get the test done. The staff couldn’t even find me in their system. I cried the whole way home. It probably sounds silly if you’re reading this, but the uncertainty and nervousness I felt about everything that was happening was getting higher and higher. Not to mention the appointments were taking away from work time.

I rescheduled the blood test and was told the order didn’t send when the nurse sent it. I also scheduled a water-guided ultrasound (it has a more fancy name) right after the blood draw. More nerves. I was told to take either 600 or 800 milligrams of ibuprofen beforehand so I wouldn’t experience much pain from the test afterwards. The test involved putting sterile water into my uterus to blow it up like a balloon in order to check my uterus for cysts or other abnormalities. I was alone for the test, but really could have used Tay’s hand to squeeze. The pain was so much worse than typical period cramps and my pain tolerance is low to begin with. All I could do was take deep breaths and wait for it to be over. I thought to myself, “If I’m going to give birth one day I need to suck it up.”

The RE said everything was fine with my organs and we would now wait for the blood test results. When those came back everything was actually perfect. Except for my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. It was slightly elevated to indicate hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a funny thing because if it’s underactive, your TSH level is high and if it’s overactive, you TSH level is low. I’ve been taking a low dose of levothyroxine to keep the level where it needs to be so when I do get pregnant, the hormone doesn’t rise to a harmful level.

Around this point I started to get frustration from the fertility clinic as the nurses weren’t talking to each other about the plan for us. It was a big mess of miscommunication and long story short, it further stressed us out during an already stressful enough situation.

Taylor was tested again and his numbers were better except for his actual count. They look at sperm count, how they’re shaped (morphology) and which direction they’re moving (grade).

Throughout all of this he had been taking vitamins called Fertilaid for men, vitamins meant to improve all the issues he was having. So it could have been the timing of the test at the current life cycle of his sperm and that the vitamins were possibly helping too. I recently bought a count boost vitamin for him to take along with the other one. He’s been taking that for about a month now. For a little while I was taking the fertilaid for women vitamins, but the RE said they had too much Vitamin A. I reduced my vitamins to simply taking iron and folic acid.

There was a month when we had sex every other day for the entire month to try to increase our chances. Still nothing. I pushed for the RE to do an intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure to help increase our chances. It just wasnt happening on our own. An IUI isn’t in vitro, but simply bypasses a lot of the travel the sperm have to make. The sperm are inserted with a catheter past the cervix.

Before the IUI I had to take medicine to mature an ovary.  Their goal was to time everything just right to increase our chances of conceiving. They looked at my ovaries via ultrasound and saw only one mature one. I was then supposed to take a “trigger shot” to trigger ovulation. I had to do it on myself at home, so I had Tay do it for me. I definitely should have been sitting down. Immediately after he gave it to me I felt it hit my system and my knees buckled. I almost passed out and felt woosey/sore the rest of the day. Not my favorite experience in the world.

I had the actual IUI the next morning on Sunday December 11th. The procedure was completely painless and I rested for a few minutes afterwards. I could test the day after Christmas (so my Christmas wouldn’t be ruined if I got a negative). I got a negative result.

To say we were defeated is an understatement. The RE referred us to a male fertility doctor who just so happens to work out of network with insurance. I had to search for other providers within our insurance network and it saddens me there aren’t more male fertility doctors. Most clinics only serve women. I scheduled an appointment about 2 months ago where a urologist can see him. The appointment is coming up on March 6th.

Our faith has been tested and our love for each other has grown stronger. I’m not stressing about every little thing my body does anymore and I’ve stopped looking at my Fertility friend app, TTC forums, and Google searching all possible symptoms of pregnancy. I’m also limiting my time on instagram as all I see are babies, pregnant women, or pregnancy announcements. Throughout this journey I found it helpful to journal about what was happening, lean on my spouse, and cry when I felt the need. This is something we’re experiencing together and it will only make us stronger.

We pray constantly for God’s will to be done and for patience while we wait for the right time to start our family. Resting in that faith is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a woman, but I know it will be worth it in the end. I pray for our future baby and that he/she will know how much he/she was wanted.

My hope is that by telling our journey so far that it instills hope in whoever else may be experiencing infertility. We haven’t gotten pregnant yet, but we’re continuing to keep our faith and support each other daily.

xoxo

via Daily Prompt: Baby

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One thought on “Our Heart’s Desire

  1. Pingback: Unanswered Questions | Faith, Love, & Dreams

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