I mentioned it took a year for us to get knocked up.
I thought many times maybe I should blog about it...infertility that is.
I wrote many posts about it. I'll probably start posting some of these old posts for posterity sake with the original date that I wrote them. Most are from just a mere 3 months ago when we finally sought help from a specialist and when this all became really...real.
Before that it was just too hard to write about. It was easier to not think about it than to write about it and be constantly surrounded by it.
(Half of this post was written May 16, 2011, 2 weeks shy of our 1 year mark since we'd began our journey, the rest I just finished as my infertility story has just come to a close...or at least a pause until the next kid.)
Infertility is such an ugly word.
It invokes feelings of inadequacy and disease.
I prefer to think of myself as fertility challenged.
As in I think I CAN have a baby, it's just not happening as quickly as I would prefer.
To me, infertility means you CANNOT have children, ie. you have no uterus, or no sperm, or some other condition that means you CANNOT.
I feel there should be another word that means...you need help.
Subfertility is what many people have come up with. I like Fertility Challenged.
That's me. I'm Fertility Challenged.
My fertility history in a nutshell. Ok, it's a really big nutshell, put on your seatbelts, here's my story.
I was on birth control for 10 years. If there were breaks they were few and far between and they never lasted very long. My hormone of choice was the pill, but I was also on the Depo shot for a year somewhere in my early 20's.
I came off the pill in December of 2009, with the thought being in my pretty little unknowing unwordly head that if we wanted to start "trying" in June 2010 (this was the master plan!) it might be smart to let my body adjust and get back to it's own normal hormones for a bit.
If I could rewind my life and do it over again this is the one thing I would change.
I would either not go off my pills until we were ready to "try" (I'm sorry but that will always be in ""...it's a stupid term, I'm sorry I'm using it but there's no better way to say...having sex for procreation purposes, so "trying" it will be) or we would just go with it and start "trying" in December when I went off the pill.
If you are ever in a similar position, here is my advice, come off your pills and IMMEDIATELY start "trying", do not wait, do not let your body adjust. Because...
I had a few normal periods. I will forever be plagued with the thought that had I not waited I could have gotten pregnant there in those few months that I was getting a period. It felt like things were adjusting, cycles were somewhere in the 30-50 day range...irregular but they were coming and relatively normal. And it's not abnormal to have irregular periods after coming off the pill. And then June comes along, we're ready to start...one more time..."trying", that cycle I had an amazingly normal cycle, 29 days and I was convinced my body had finally done it, she had regulated herself and I was going to have normal easy to track, thus easy to tell if I was pregnant or not cycles.
We weren't pregnant that cycle but we thought nothing of it at this point, WHO GETS PREGNANT THE FIRST TIME? Oh right, just half the couples I know. But really, they're the freaks, not the ones that it takes a few months, right? So, onto the next month, and here, ladies and gen...I mean ladies, is why I've taken a million pregnancy tests, I quit getting my period. The damn thing just stopped.
I would like to blame the move to Australia, seeing as how the periods stopped in Australia...but I had that normal normal cycle right at the beginning...which when I think about it THAT is the period that should have been screwed up by the move, the crazy time difference and the ridiculous flight and all that jazz, but no, that was a normal cycle.
At the 3 month-ish mark with no period (and several pregnancy tests later, seriously guys what would you have done?!) I finally went and saw a Dr. as well as a naturopath, they both came up with the same thing.
Go ahead and google PCOS if you don't know what it is. It stands for Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome. It means you don't ovulate, have irregular periods, have cysts on your ovaries, have acne, are fat, have facial hair, etc etc. and there's an underlying insulin resistance. I do not have any of these physical symptoms. I am not overweight, I don't have acne, I don't have facial hair BUT diabetes is prevalent in my family, the majority of relatives on one side of my family have diabetes THUS it made a certain amount of sense that maybe, just maybe I had this disorder that was stopping me from ovulating. I will dive into this in another post, but I do not believe I have PCOS. I do have cystics ovaries that clog the damn things up and don't allow me to ovulate, but I believe this is some leftover aftermath of being on the pill for so long.
So, here we are in Australia, no ovulation, no periods and a diagnosis of PCOS. Because I was unwilling to go the Clomid or Metformin route that the GP recommended at this point...mostly because I was only there for a short time, Metformin is a long term remedy that requires a certain amount of monitoring and Clomid...I just wasn't ready for the Clomid yet, but I ended up seeing a naturopath that specialized in fertility.
You may remember a few posts where I mentioned her here and here and she's also the reason I was going to the gym. I cut out carbs and started hitting the gym, all in an effort to help my body rid itself of extra glucose which in turn would let me ovulate (if I had PCOS anyway). I was also on what felt like a hundred different supplements and herbs. I lost 10 lbs almost immediately (just one of many reasons I do not believe I have PCOS, PCOSers DO NOT lose weight easily) but did not ovulate. I had a 94 day cycle and a 105 day cycle back to back with no ovulation just breakthrough bleeding. I had 2 periods the whole time I was in Australia. It sucked.
Fast forward to finally back in the good ole U S of A in January 2011. My period tricked me again, I got 2 in a row in the 30 day range. Unfortunately I was temping at this point and I knew I hadn't ovulated during either of these seemingly normal cycles, BUT my period made me think that maybe it was just all the moving and traveling and now that we were back things would regulate themselves again.
This is called denial people. I did not want to admit we needed help.
BUT as soon as we had a move to San Francisco date, regardless of my denial, I made an appt to see an RE (that's Reproductive Endocrinologist for all those folks who aren't versed in infertility speak) I knew we needed help at this point (and not help from a GP or GYN, I'd seen 3 of those at this point, they weren't helpful) and that I couldn't fix my body on my own. Or if I could it was going to take A LOT longer than I was willing to give it before I sought medical help.
The RE appt was just shy of 1 year of "trying". And if I ovulated at all in that time it was that very first month when I had a 29 day cycle, the rest of the year was a bust.
But just 2 Clomid cycles later, I'm pregnant.
...just fertility challenged.