Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Fertility Issues

Pre-baby Family Photos
www.xavierandaliceanne.blogspot.com

 You know, the female body can be pretty amazing... or so people tell me.

To this day it still amazes me how little I knew about my own body, how it was supposed to work, and how complicated the reproductive system is. It wasn't until I was married for a few years and not getting pregnant (like everyone told me I should be) before I got up the courage to go to a doctor and then research infertility on my own. I think sex education failed me, yall.

It amazes me that anyone gets pregnant! It's such a delicate system of organs and hormones and cycles and timing. It's incredible.

I wasn't ready to have kids when I first got married. I was only 18. Honestly, I wasn't ready to get married... but you can't tell that to an 18-year-old who knows what she wants, ha ha! Looking back, I should've been on birth control. I was being careless. My infertility kept me from getting pregnant too young, and for that I'm grateful in a weird way. I was able to spend 5 years with my husband, getting to know him more. I was able to graduate from college, get my education and learn and grow as a person. You can do that with a child, but it would've been much harder... much more stressful.

So, for all those years... I didn't worry too much about the fact that I wasn't getting pregnant. Then, at the urging of one of my friends, I finally went to a doctor. More than ever, Zay had been talking about wanting kids. And I knew that. He's wanted kids with me since I was 16! I realized how selfish I had been by not going to get checked out earlier, since I knew how much this meant to him. He was born to be a father.

But I was nervous! I didn't know anything about how my body was supposed to work and what a fertility specialist would tell me or give me. Doctors offices are creepy and uncomfortable and I usually avoid them unless there's an emergency. This time I had to actually take the initiative and go there without any outside prompting like a broken limb or a gaping wound. It was last November (2008) when I finally got up the courage and went to see the fertility specialist at BYU's Student Health Center.

I explained that I only had 1-3 random periods a year. They ran some tests and my hormones seemed to be out of whack - I definitely had too much testosterone. I also had anovulatory menstrual cycles - meaning an egg wasn't getting released when it was supposed to. If you never ovulate, it's impossible for you to ever get pregnant. Even the periods I did have were just cleaning out my system and not doing anything reproductive-wise. I had to answer a bunch of questions about my body hair, acne, cramps, mood swings, etc. I didn't have a clue what ovulation was or what was necessary for it to occur or what fertility signs your body gives you.

My doctor started me off on my journey towards fertility by taking a Progesterone pill to force menstruation. Then he gave me Clomid, which is used to stimulate ovulation. At the time, I didn't know what the heck all this medicine was, but I had so much faith that it was gonna work the second I started taking it and that I was gonna get pregnant by Christmas! Heh. I had no idea my body would be so stubborn.

I faithfully took my basal body temperature every morning and tried to find the pattern the doctor told me about that would show when ovulation occurred, but all I saw was a bunch of zig zags. It wasn't working! All the way through the end of school in April 2009, I took increasing doses of Clomid trying to find the right dose that would make me ovulate regularly and have normal cycles. My doctor was really conservative about increasing my doses. Looking back, I think he was just this little old man that maybe had too much faith in the reproductive system working on its own. He seemed worried about increasing it too fast because of the risk of having multiples - twins, triplets, etc. I don't know if that should have been a genuine concern or not, but he dragged out these small doses and never mentioned any other options. I followed his lead. He diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, although I had never had any cysts on my ovaries that I knew of and they never did an ultrasound on me to check. It was just a generic diagnosis based on my other symptoms.

After I graduated, my insurance ended with the SHC and I had to go out and find another fertility specialist. I had a friend at Church who was going to the Mt. Timpanogas Women's Health Center, and since I had no clue what I was doing or where I was supposed to go... I called and set up an appointment there. This new doctor increased my doses of Clomid much faster than my old doctor AND he put me on Metformin as well... which is usually used for diabetics, but I also had an insulin-resistance that was also affecting my ability to ovulate and get pregnant. And... surprise! Eventually it worked! Sort of. We found the right dosage of both medications so that I've ovulated THREE TIMES IN A ROW. How cool is that? Theoretically, if nothing else is wrong - we should get pregnant within a year of unprotected sex if I continue to ovulate each month.

Currently I'm waiting to find out if that 3rd time was a charm. There's a two-week wait after ovulation before most pregnancy tests will give an accurate reading. This entire year of fertility meds could have a happy ending, buuuuut I don't like to get my hopes up. I've done that too many times.

So, how will this affect our plans to adopt? Hopefully not at all. Even if I'm pregnant right this second (and if I am - wow! almost 5 1/2 years of trying! hallelujah!), I've never thought of adoption as being something that we would do instead of having biological children or vice versa. I know there will be a baby out there somewhere who is meant to be a part of our family. I can feel it. And they don't have to come from my womb to be a part of my heart and soul. Adoption feels right and I know it is the path we should take, but I guess right now we are not putting all of our eggs (ha ha) in one basket. I'm not ready to give up on trying to get pregnant just yet.





4 comments:

  1. best of luck! thanks for letting me know about your blog. I will definitley be better about keeping in touch now!

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  2. I had no idea, I wish I could help, I have the opposite problem, I get pregnant way too easily, look at me the wrong way and.... here we go again. I would love to swap problems. I could not live on any less sleep than I already get. I want another baby but in 3-5 yrs. I told my husband that if i get pregnant any time soon that someone was going to die... and it would probably be him. But i wish you all the luck in the world. I think you would make a great mom. You were always smart in school, but I see you now and feel that you have come a long way and are going a lot farther that.

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  3. I love Mount Timpanogos, just so you know. They are able to take care of me w/ my high risk (pre-term labor) pregnancies by themselves. Dr. Saunders delivered both my kiddos. What a roller coaster this parenting thingy is! I hope so much the best for you.

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  4. ecometrochic - Thanks for that info! I didn't know Dr. Saunders actually delivered babies... Hmmm...that's interesting. I'll have to remember that.

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