So you spend 9 long months, nurturing and growing a human. You surrender your waistline, you eat things you swore you never would, you give up your desire for sushi, peperoni pizza and tuna fish and you switch from the Retin-A and Salicylic acid acne creams that were working for you, to some all natural store-brand crap that doesn’t work; all in the name of Motherhood.
By the time your little Bambino is ready for the outside world you have pleasantly put on 30-50 pounds, give or take.
No one tells you that most of this weight will remain attached to your body after the child is removed. Your hips are wider, you have love handles for the first time and you have to continue to wear your maternity cloths just because you have nothing else that fits.
You will do everything you can to feel like yourself faster then your body allows from crash dieting, to extreme workouts, and even using rubber bands to hold your pants together just so you can convince yourself your pre-pregnancy clothes fit.
With my first pregnancy I was introduced to the world of Spanx. The idea behind it was great; a simple undershirt or slip to hold everything in place. The downside? All that extra weight is also extra skin…..and your have nowhere to tuck that stuff in when you use Spanx. Epic Fail.
With my second pregnancy, post C-section, I felt better sooner, but not like myself again and ready to exercise until about 3 months post-birth. Started slow and eventually lost the weight running for about a year. I was actually in the best shape of my life and at my heaviest … then, pregnancy #3! Surprise!
After you have a baby, your body still does not belong to you. Your boobs are bigger then you ever dreamed they could become, although you are kind of secretly hoping to slim your waist line without effecting your cup size. Your pelvis still feels like it could snap in half, your knees buckle when you bend and your feet ache as much as they did in pregnancy.
Intimacy? Even if you wanted too, you tell yourself that if you cannot look at your own body, then you shouldn’t make your husband.
No one tells you that there will be days you look in the mirror and literally Hate Yourself; blotchy facial patches, hormonal acne and bags under your eyes.
No one tells you that it will take you an hour to pick out an outfit because 1/2 of your choices make you feel fat and frumpy and the other 1/2 make you look like you are still pregnant. You will retreat and hide in your home because you have convinced yourself that you do not fit into the socially acceptable post-baby mold.
No one tells you that you have to love yourself no matter what your dream body looks like. There is no right or wrong to it all and it is only a matter of taking it slowly and enjoying the ride. For crying out loud…You GREW A HUMAN!!! Not everyone is given that opportunity or that superpower – SO CELEBRATE!
I went out for my first run post-baby #3. Two Sports bras to hold the weight and knee braces so they didn’t give out mid-mile. I was proud of a 12 minute-mile for a 3.2.
Run 2: The additional skin of my body didn’t bounce as much which made the run feel better. 11:20 minute mile for 3.3.
Run 3: 11:50 minute mile…my toughest run this week. I wanted to give up and came home hating myself.
Run 4: 10:28 minute mile for 4.6
Ladies, it is all about encouraging each other! Love yourself first and your love for others will be pure and unconditional. Be patient with yourself and remember it took you 9 months to put on the weight…it should take you at least that long to lose it! Stop comparing yourself to others and to what you believe society thinks you should look like and try to focus on the important stuff…
You ARE A MOM and already PERFECT in your children’s eyes.
To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.
We began our 3 insurance covered rounds of gonadotropin injections –
Round 1 – Not pregnant.
Round 2 – Not pregnant.
Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….
If you have ever been in a situation which required an IUI, it is a process you do not easily forget. Something which is supposed to be done in the privacy of your own home suddenly becomes a forced, planned and a very calculated event.
Before 9am, my Prince was required to drop off a sample so that it could be tested for agility, speed and form….and No, not the kind displayed by the Broncos at the Super Bowl last night….
Then I headed into the office after 11am for the Intra-uterine insemination (IUI).
I arrive as schedule, they take me back into a room and discuss the results of the semalysis from this morning’s sample and then they make me read all the labels to make sure it is My Husband’s sample they are holding and are going to use for the insemination; Very controlled and very calculated events.
I then am asked to get into a gown and so happily toss my feet into the stirrups at the end of the office bed before draping my lower extremities with a cloth piece of fabric which was obviously supposed to make me feel more comfortable with the whole naked thing. Fail.
The nurse walked in.
Now to her credit, she was an APRN, very sweet and incredibly talented. However, she was unwed, single, no children and very emotionless when tending to my bedside…none of this made the process any easier.
The drape was lifted and she tried for the first time, to insert the catheter.
Now men, feel free to shy away at this point as you might get queasy.
For an IUI, there is a flexible catheter threaded through the woman’s cervix. This requires that there is room between these pieces of cartilage which means there must be slight force used. For a women trying to conceive, never been pregnant or has never had her cervix altered, this can be painful…as one could imagine.
Her first attempt, she hit a wall. “Oh,” She stated like a Head Cheerleader trying to let you down easy that you did Not get on the squad, “Your cervix is tilted.”
My first though? What the crap does that even mean? But I did not speak aloud.
Attempt #2 = Wall
“Ok, honey.” She placed a hand on one of my knees at this point, forcing gravity to take hold of the metal speculum and instantly creating a pain and discomfort to my now full bladder. “I am going to try one more time, but your cervix is J-shaped and tilted so I am having a hard time getting the catheter through.”
After grabbing hold of the speculum again, obviously not thinking of the fact there was a human attached to it, she shoved the catheter in again.
The sensation was no different from the first two failed attempts, but she said she got it through….so in goes the sample.
Now the standard process for an IUI is to lay with your hips elevated for 10 minutes after the process is complete in order to keep the chances higher that something from the Sample will do what it was supposed to.
She removed the catheter and with it, what felt like the entire specimen sample, exited as well.
I immediately knew, she did NOT make it through my deformed and confidence-shaken cervix and we just wasted an ENTIRE CYCLE trying to conceive; but I was too intimidated to say anything.
I lay there, for 10 minutes more, praying that just 1 sperm would stay behind and help us to have a baby. I prayed that the Nurse would come back in and tell me she messed up. I prayed that my cervix was a better performer. I prayed for the baby we never got to meet. I prayed for my now bruised bladder to hang in there so this didn’t become one of the most embarrassing events. I prayed this would be the fastest wasted 10 minutes of my life.
“You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.”
We started our Gonadotropin injections as soon as we were allowed too, having passed the injectable class. It required a daily injection in the abdomen, a trigger shot, an IUI (Intra-uterine insemination) and the usual blood work and ultrasounds. The schedule looked something like this-
Day 2- Blood work/Ultrasound
Day 3 through 11 – Injections + 3xs Blood work
Day 12 – Ultrasound, Blood work and an injection
Day 13 – Blood work, Ultrasound, Trigger Shot
Day 14 – A physical break
Day 15 – Specimen Collation, IUI, Blood work
Day 17 – Progesterone Inserts 1-2xs daily as the doctor checks blood work very 5-7 Days
A side note about progesterone Inserts; They are disgusting. Stop reading and move to next paragraph if you are easily grossed out. The are a cream filled tampon you must insert to which gravity applies. Think about it. They are gross and required everyday after an IUI during an injectable cycle. Invest in some panty liners!
Now, the Prince and I had been through the general process 3 times before this cycle and used to do every step together. Things changed after the miscarriage. We became very determined and goal orientated. instead of taking it step by step.
I no longer walked to the dungeon of shame with him and instead, I sent him on the 1 hour drive alone to give a sample before 8 am, as required, while I waited back at home for the scheduled IUI the same afternoon. It became routine; no longer enjoyable.
To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.
Getting a shot in my gut was a tough transition from simply swallowing pill. Even though I took the class, there was still the mental challenge of sticking myself with a needle, on purpose. I envisioned myself trying to fall onto it, or sticking my finger or my husband instead of my love-handle. I knew that the greater purpose for this was a baby and that helped when my husband did the shots, but it was so different when I had to do it myself.
To add a little pressure, all of these medications were scheduled and needed to be given within an hour of the same time which they were given the day previous.
I recall one time in particular; I was on work travel and it was the first time I had to give myself a shot alone. At dinner, I snuck a piece of ice into my cheek thinking I could numb my gut in the bathroom. When I finally arrived to my stall, the ice was gone and I was faced with sucking it up and sticking it to my gut, all alone, or quitting.
I am Not. A. Quitter.
At the risk of being found, passed out on the floor of a public rest room, with a syringe in hand, I took a deep breath, grabbed as much skin on my abdomen as possible and shoved that need in, like a butter knife into a well-done sirloin. As my hands trembled, I pressed the back of the syringe into the front and injected the meds into wherever the tip of the needle had landed (I could only imagine).
The only obstacle now was to exit the bathroom stall with an expression that explained the fact that my feet were no where near the usual ‘sitting on the toilet’ position and my skin tone had gone from a nice fuchsia to a translucent cream.I smiled at the first person in the long line that made eye-contact.
I watched the tiles pass my feet on the floor, to pass the rest.
Round 1 – Not pregnant.
Round 2 – Not pregnant.
Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….
My first miscarriage was more painful both physically and emotionally then I ever could have imagined it would be. I realized very quickly that those who knew what had happened didn’t know what to do or to say so, I didn’t talk about it. Instead, I avoided the topic and secretly cried myself to sleep for many nights.
Every time another friend announced a pregnancy secretly hated them.
I build a wall; an emotional barrier that I refused to cross as a means to protect myself and my little angel.
In March, about 8 weeks after the miscarriage, we decided to try a new treatment; Gonadotropin Injections.
A side note: You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.
“Gonadotropins are hormones (LH and FSH) that can be given in an injection to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce follicles, which contain an oocyte (egg). Women who have not been able to become pregnant with clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) may be encouraged to try gonadotropins as a next step” (www.uptodate.comcontents/infertility-treatment-with-gonadotropins-beyond-the-basics).
“Gonadotropins are two hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which are normally produced by the pituitary gland. These hormones stimulate the ovaries to produce a follicle, which contain an egg (oocyte).
Most gonadotropin preparations used for infertility treatment are created in a laboratory (called recombinant preparations) and must be injected under the skin to be effective. For most women, a preparation containing only FSH injections is recommended. Women who do not have regular menstrual periods and who have very low levels of LH and FSH require a preparation containing both LH and FSH” ( www.uptodate.comcontents/infertility-treatment-with-gonadotropins-beyond-the-basics).
In elementary terms, it was Clomid in a liquid form that had to be injected in the abdomen once, daily. It was supposed to increase the number of follicles I developed so that upon HCG injection (trigger shot) I would be able to conceive (35% chance I was told) when combined with yet another IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination).
We had to take a class for this round. From what I was told by my trusty Google searches, I should expect in this class, to use a syringe in a citrus fruit.
We showed up at the class to sit for 2 hours and listen to how to inject yourself in the gut and then sent home. No example, no practice, not even a fruit in the room. Awesome.
For someone who was afraid of needles her whole life, this girl had some major overcoming to get through – but nothing compared to what I had just gone through.
We picked up our mound of needles, vials and booklets of instructions and went home to get prepared….
When suffering from infertility and trying to find away to ‘make things work’ there is a lot of stamina required . You cannot turn away from events you once ran from. You truly have to be able to face all these challenges head-on if you want to get through it. So many couples feel unsupported that they surrender and decide it wasn’t meant to be.
If this is you – Don’t Quit.
Take a break, take a vacation or have a cold glass of wine in a warm and bubbly bath; but don’t quit. If there is a desire, a need, to feel a child grow within your womb, then follow your heart and try anything and everything you can. If that desire is there, it will come. Maybe not in our timing, but it will come.
Try not to despise those around you who seem to get whatever they want. Try not to push them away because they have what You want. Try to understand that they truly are no more deserved then you, it is just in the timing.
You Cannot experience True Joy Unless you have suffered Great loss.
So there I was, New Years Eve, and 2 hours from the start of 40 friends and family coming for a party and I was curled up on the cold, damp garage floor sobbing because of the news the Fertility Clinic just called with; our baby was dying.
Everything no one tells you:
although there is a high chance of conception with fertility assistance there is also a higher chance of miscarriage
every pregnancy conceived under ‘normal’ circumstances has a 31% chance of miscarriage (about.miscarriage.com)
each miscarriage you have increases your chances of future miscarriage
No One, not even your doctor can give you the actual reason you miscarry. They don’t really know
I had to pull it together and muster the strength to get through the evening. I went into the house, freshened up and did exactly that. As friends and family shouted Happy New Year with smiles and laughter I faked a grin and tipped my glass (of water) to theirs.
I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt as though God was taunting me with things I wanted but wasn’t ready to have. I wanted someone to blame and the only option seemed to be myself.
January 4th – in for more blood work. This afternoon phone call was different then all the others had been in the last 8 months; I didn’t want it to come. When, ultimately it did – the results were the same- our numbers were too low to sustain a pregnancy but not low enough to confirm a miscarriage.
This meant – that even though the Doctors said we were losing our baby, my body wasn’t ‘doing that correctly either.’ My body was hanging on to hope. My body was continuing as if the pregnancy was ‘viable’ and all numbers were where they needed to be. It was on this cold day in January that I decided to stop listening to the Doctors and start listening to my body.
I gained Hope. I gained Faith that my Child might be able to pull through. That maybe I could beat the odds. I even went as far as to talk to my son. Tell him to ‘Hang in there’ and ‘Don’t give up yet.’
Somewhere in my mind I knew he couldn’t hear me, but it made the pain more tolerable to think he could.
January 8th – More Blood work.
January 11th – Blood work and ultrasound for confirmation of pregnancy loss.
On the Evening of January 11th the spotting began; a sure sign that I was going to miscarry. The Doctors celebrated – I mourned.
Spotting January 11th – 17th with no pain.
January 18th – more blood work and another ultrasound.
If you have not been tracking the time line I was about 8 weeks pregnant. I had developed an image, relationship, status for this pregnancy that the doctors said never existed. They did photos of my empty uterus other than what they referred to as a Yolk Sac….as if the word ‘baby’ made them ill. After a second ultrasound with no visual change they told me I needed a DNC.
The last thing a woman needs when she is mourning the loss of a baby is to be told she needs surgery to ‘get it out.’ That she needs to go through physical pain in order to heal the emotional. That her body, yet again, isn’t doing what it should, and it needs medical assistance to ‘move things along.’ To be told she needs to ‘get on with this and move forward.’
After a lengthy and private conversation with the office’s Nurse Practitioner Staff the Doctor begrudgingly offered a secondary option; Misoprostol.
“Misoprostol is a medication used to start labor, induce abortions, prevent and treat stomach ulcers, and treat postpartum bleeding due to insufficient contraction of the uterus” (Drugs.com)
It can also be inserted vaginally for inducing abortions – which just happened to by my doctors recommended. Punishment I guess for refusing the DNC. I was to insert 4 tablets for 2 days in the evening. Nothing other than that was discussed, no side effects other than passing the ‘yolk sac’ and bleeding precautions.
I followed instructions for two days until in the middle of the night, day two, I woke to empty my bladder and felt some of the most horrifying pain I have ever felt in my life. I was less than half way between my bed and the bathroom and it hit instantaneously. The pain was so furious I lost control of my entire body and fell to the hardwood floor. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t catch my breath, I couldn’t muster the strength to make it all the way to the bathroom…so I stayed in the middle of the hallway shaking in pain. My husband was about 20 feet away from me and I couldn’t even call him for help. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I woke, in a cold sweat, still in the hallway and in disbelief at what had happened. The pain was still present, but tolerable.
I slowly stood and made my way to the bathroom and then back into bed. I was too embarrassed to call my husband to help; I mean I wasn’t even woman enough to keep a baby safely growing within me so I didn’t feel like it was his responsibility to feel sorry for me.
I cried. I cried until my body ached and finally I fell back to sleep.
My baby died. I will carry that with me for the rest of my life with the wonder of what he looked like, whose eyes he would have had and whose sense of humor he would have inherited. I will never know.
There was only ONE thing that was said to me through the entire ordeal that felt helpful or supportive. My mother, who suffered miscarriage herself told me, “At least you know they will be there to greet you when you get to Heaven.”
Something to look forward too. That is what I needed. Thanks Mom.
It was Christmas morning, Day 14 Post IUI and I was determined to deliver good news to myself and my husband on this day. I knew that I could get a false + if I took an at Home Pregnancy Test, especially because we took the HCG (trigger shot) injection, but after a trusty ‘google search,’ I decided it was worth the risk. It was 6:00am and although I had to squint, I finally saw that vertical line. I remember distinctly, placing my left hand over my dropped jaw and my eyes welled with tears as my stomach turned and heart skipped a beat.
It was positive.
I cannot explain to you the innate feeling you get when you want something or have wanted something for so long and it is finally right in front of you. The physiological reaction is inexplicable other than through emotional correlations such as happy, excited, terrified, nervous, shocked, scared, and in awe.
I had told my husband after we exchanged gifts that morning and he walked around all of Christmas Day checking on me more often than usual. His protective instincts kicked in immediately at the thought of being a father.
As with any fertility process we still needed to go for blood work on Day 16 post IUI and we did to confirm our already confirmed news. The blood test was also positive and we started to ‘settle down’ with the thought of becoming parents.
When receiving a positive pregnancy test via blood work they look at 2 specific numbers (among others of less importance). They look at Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG = the pregnancy hormone) as well as the Progesterone level (helps build and support lining of the uterus in order to sustain pregnancy after embryo attachment).
According to www.AmericanPregnancy.org there are a few important factors to keep in mind in regards to HCG levels in early pregnancy:
Key things to remember about hCG levels
In 85% of normal pregnancies, the hCG level will double every 48 – 72 hours. As you get further along in pregnancy and the hCG level gets higher, the time it takes to double can increase to about every 96 hours. Caution must be used in making too much of hCG numbers. A normal pregnancy may have low hCG levels and result in a perfectly healthy baby. The results from an ultrasound after 5 -6 weeks gestation are much more accurate than using hCG numbers.
An hCG level of less than 5mIU/ml is considered negative for pregnancy, and anything above 25mIU/ml is considered positive for pregnancy.
The hCG hormone is measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml).
A transvaginal ultrasound should be able to show at least a gestational sac once the hCG levels have reached between 1,000 – 2,000mIU/ml. Because levels can differentiate so much and conception dating can be wrong, a diagnosis should not be made by ultrasound findings until the hCG level has reached at least 2,000.
A single hCG reading is not enough information for most diagnoses. When there is a question regarding the health of the pregnancy, multiple testings of hCG done a couple of days apart give a more accurate assessment of the situation.
The hCG levels should not be used to date a pregnancy, since these numbers can vary so widely.
There are two common types of hCG tests. A qualitative hCG test detects if hCG is present in the blood. A quantitative hCG test (or beta hCG) measures the amount of hCG actually present in the blood.
Our first blood test revealed to have HCG levels within the normal range of 5 – 426 mIU/ml.We were roughly at 325 mIU/ml. It was December 27th.
As usual, we needed to return for More blood work in 4 days to confirm everything was going and growing normally. We wanted to see our HCG levels grow right along side our Progesterone levels. We had been directed by the Doctor to continue our ‘progesterone inserts’ as a precautionary measure, as there is no specific research to support or to disprove their ability to aid the progression of a pregnancy.
December 31 came quickly as we had company in town and were expecting about 40 people over that evening for a New Year’s Eve Party. I ran out of the house as early as possible as I didn’t want our family in town to question where I was headed. The last thing I needed was questions or gossip about a process no one knew we were going through.
A side note – with every listening ear, comes a running mouth. If you decide to be open about your fertility process then understand that you WILL be questioned. Even when you specifically ask family members to reserve conversation about it with you and only with you – you will discover that ‘they had questions’ and as a result went to people uninvolved in your life and rambled about your fertility problems to have them answered. Do not be fooled by the label of ‘family’ or ‘friend’ as with many of those that fall into this class there is NO respect for your privacy OR your pain. (Yes – I learned this lesson the hard way and am slighted because of this experience).
I went in as planned and expected a call later that day.
The lasagna was in the oven and my husband not yet home from work when the phone rang. I took the cell phone and ran into the garage, avoiding our house guests who were in the kitchen and TV room.
“I am afraid your numbers have dropped significantly since last week.”
Silence. You know that feeling when you know someone delivers bad news but you haven’t yet wrapped your brain around what it was they said. Sweaty palms, heart pounding, knees weak, vision blurry…..
“What does that even mean?” I was stunned at this awkward conversation and beginning to get angry at the poor Nurse Practitioner on the other line as if she was at fault for this in any way.
“It is not good news.” Pause. “We do not believe, at this time, that this is a viable pregnancy, due to where your levels have dropped too.” Pause. “We need you to come in for more blood work in 4 days.”
“Ok. Thank you.” I didn’t know what else to say….or what to do. So I hung up.
With my mind still racing and not knowing what to do, I called my mother who had struggled with fertility issues multiple times. When I relayed the news to her and she went momentarily silent and then started crying…..I knew all hope was gone.
Our baby was going to die. Before we get to meet her, see her or hear her heart beat she was going to die.
It was 3 hours before 40 guests showed up for New Years Eve and I had company upstairs that had no idea we were suffering from infertility or, at this point, miscarriage and I was more than overwhelmed. The level of emotional strain on my body was too much to handle all at once so I fell. I dropped onto the cold, damp, cement garage floor and I wept.
I wept for a time long enough for people to start wondering where I was. I wept till my stomach hurt and my eyes were puffy.
I watched the snow fall through the garage door window while I caught my breath and wept even more.
No one prepares you for what I was feeling. No one tells you that there was a higher chance of miscarriage when you use fertility drugs. No one tells you how bad it would hurt when you have the best news of your life taken back. No one tells you how bad it would hurt. No one tells you that you carry that lost baby with you emotionally forever. No one tells you that you would start to despise those around you who are pregnant.
What do they say? Everything you don’t want to hear; The Baby wasn’t strong enough. There was something wrong so your body got rid of it. It wasn’t meant to be. It will happen again. At least you know you CAN get pregnant.
I had, in my womb, a baby. Everything in my heart was telling me to protect my child and everything in my blood stream was telling doctors she was going to die. All we could do was wait.
Sometimes the path you have laid out for yourself is not the path He has chosen for you.
Looking back on my previous decades of life, I have decided that personally and as a society, we readily take the ‘steps in life’ for granted. We are born, grow up, go to college, get married and have a family. I know I assumed that when my husband and I wanted to start a family it would come to us quickly and easily. Oh, how I was wrong. A journey that is supposed to be a fun, spontaneous and energetic between two people in love, quickly resulted in the biggest battle we had to face together. We start our journey, in this series “Everything No One Tells You” here, because there are SO many couples out there suffering from what sometimes feels like a shameful disease. In the United states alone, there are more then 6.7 million couples (about 2 in every 10) who face some kind of fertility issues (CDC.gov). That is not meant to scare those of you who are about to start this amazing journey, but instead to give you comfort that you are not alone.
I sure felt alone in my 7 year journey to parenthood; Partial Complex Epilepsy, clomid, intra-uterine insemination, gonadotropin injections, in-vitro fertilization, multiple miscarriage. I felt alone, embarrassed, frustrated, depressed and useless- among many other hormone induced emotions. My Husband became married to Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde – unpredictability became the norm in our household.
For clarification purposes it is important that you know the generalization for infertility is “not being able to get pregnant after 1 year of trying or 6 months if the woman is 35 or older. Woman who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant” (medicine.net).
So how did it all begin? Well, since I had been diagnosed with Partial Complex Epilepsy (due to doctor error in prescription medication I had been given), I was actually told I should not get pregnant because the stress of pregnancy may induce a seizure. We tried to start a family for 2 years before beginning seizure medications and then after one of the worst seizures I had we decided to call it quits for the baby making stuff and get my health and well being in order first.
Fast Forward 2 years – I had just weaned myself off Kepler and Lamictal, which I had been taking to address the seizures, only to discover that a common side effect with these types of medications was amenorrhea. Right out of the gate, we faced our first challenge in fertility. In short, I stopped all seizure medications, got a ‘normal’ cycle going and still, 2 years later…..nothing. No pregnancy, no inkling of a pregnancy…nothing. My Prince and I decided it was time to get help. Well, lets face it ladies, we decide when it is time to get help because most men have too much pride to ask for help, ever….even if it is 2 am, you are lost with no cell phone signal and you hit a deer so badly your car won’t start….
So, at my physical that year I asked for a referral to a fertility specialist. We made our ‘consult’ appointment and began what I felt at the time, was an embarrassing and shameful, journey to parenthood. My Prince and I both met with the fertility doctor, Dr. O, no pun intended. No, I am not kidding. His office was a fancy corner office, with wall to wall windows. His office space that wasn’t transparent was covered in awards, certifications and degrees. He seemed like a wonderful candidate, professionally, to get us pregnant – right? We sat there, red-faced, as he asked us questions we were not prepared for. He probed for information on our ‘romantic life’ to include frequency, positioning, locations etc. No joke…it felt like my father was interviewing me which made it more awkward and uncomfortable. This setting was NOT helping the shame I felt walking into this clinic.
After a lip biting hour he discussed tests we must go through in order to pinpoint what was going wrong. I distinctly remember having an out of body experience during this portion of the consult. Dr. O was rambling on about the different tests we needed and I only heard words here and there; x-ray, water, histogram, dye in the ovaries, catheter, internal ultrasound etc. I had no clue what any of this meant but I kept nodding as if I were in a job interview I knew I wasn’t qualified for.
I was terrified.
The thought of adoption came to mind.
When my mind and body eventually reunited, Dr. O asked me to give blood work as a baseline for comparison throughout this process. He also told my husband they would need a sample from him. No, not a blood sample, and yes, a story for another blog post.
Our journey had officially begun with the Fertility Specialists. We made necessary appointments and were silenced by fear the entire 50 minute drive home.
Next Blog Post: Routine Fertility Testing for Men and Woman
We are starting a segment on this blog in the coming weeks called ‘Everything no one tells you.’
It will start with a segment on conception; the truth, insane as it may be, on what we do and do not truly know about the conception, growth and birth of a baby. It will then move into Everything No One Tells You about Pregnancy and Birth. We will laugh as fellow mothers, cry as friends in loss and rejoice in holding our children for the very first time.
It will walk you through a 7 year journey to parenthood. A mother’s first pregnancy loss as well as first successful pregnancy and birth. You will endure the physical and emotional struggle with her as she journals the events.
The Blog is going to cover what no one tells you about these events in life, both medical and emotional as well as open your eyes to the honest, and yet sometimes raw, truths about becoming a parent.
Please share with anyone you know who is struggling to get pregnant, or maybe a friend who just suffered a miscarriage because we will work our way through these events in laughter, tears and joy. Healing is on the horizon my friends!