I truly apologize for disappearing from the blog for so long. I hate excuses, but I have one. I have a few, actually. I could blame our 10-month home renovation, work/job-security issues and taking on a new opportunity, typical busy married life, being late to the game in getting our photos back from our photographer and, of course, plain old laziness. All are the truth, but the biggest, most honest reason is that some things got sucky and revisiting our happy wedding day just didn’t seem too enticing. While I think our start of married life has been pretty awesome overall, not everything has been sunshine and roses.
Thankfully, the part that sucked was not my relationship with my husband. Despite the curveballs thrown our way, we’ve been rock solid and I think we’ve learned so much and grown closer.
Unfortunately, the sucky part has everything to do with infertility. The big IF. And it has a way of invading and bringing down just about every aspect of your life.
Putting this post together has been tough, but I do believe that infertility needs every voice it can get. While I’m well aware that Weddingbee isn’t supposed to be about babies, I do think all aspects of marriage are fair game. And since (for most couples, anyway) children are part of the marriage equation at some point, I’m going to continue with this post. (Sorry in advance for any TMI content.)
Like many couples, we want to have children. Personally, I’ve always wanted to start a family sooner rather than later. My husband wasn’t quite on the same track, but on board with having children in the near future. We think we’d be good parents. We know it won’t be easy. We’ve talked about how we would raise our children and agree on what we would and wouldn’t do. We are homeowners and both have steady jobs. We feel financially stable. We talked about how we thought our lives would change and we are OK with it.
So, we decided to just see what happens for a while. We did the “not trying to avoid” thing, and then got a little serious with daily temperature checks and charting. I wasn’t discouraged right away. Sometimes, things take a while, right? But, my chart never did what it was supposed to do. There weren’t consistent rises and falls in my temps and it didn’t look anything like normal, textbook charts. It was just kind of flat lined one cycle or completely all over the place the next. And then, I didn’t have a menstrual cycle-for well over 150 days.
Irregular cycles aren’t really anything new to me. I’ve always been one of those 4-6 times a year girls who was told it’s hereditary (my grandmother was the same) or that it was because I played sports or that my body just hasn’t regulated itself yet. Attempts to obtain consistently through birth control made me feel a little crazy, so I didn’t stick with that route. I just learned to live with it during my teen and college years. But I had never gone over 100 days and the pressure of trying to conceive sent me into a little bit of a panic. I went to my gynecologist to talk about it. He diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), told me it wouldn’t really be an issue when it came to getting pregnant, wrote me a prescription for Provera (to induce a period) and Clomid (to ovulate), then sent me on my way.
The Clomid didn’t work at all. After two cycles of the medication, I decided to move on to a specialist.
I feel very fortunate to have found a very thorough, caring and helpful reproductive endocrinologist. Everyone in his office has been great. After an initial consult, he ordered a battery of tests and bloodwork for me and a couple for my husband to pinpoint the problem. He also encouraged me to speak with their in-office counselor, and she was helpful, too. Based on my bloodwork, he said he wasn’t sold on the PCOS and it wasn’t a thyroid issue. My hormone levels were OK and I wasn’t insulin resistant. All of the other screenings, some of which were very painful and awkward, came back clean as well. While most people would probably be thrilled to hear that everything was OK, I was devastated. I was hoping they would find something wrong so it could be fixed.
He suggested we try the Clomid again, but this time with regular ultrasounds to monitor its effectiveness and enlist the help of additional drugs to trigger ovulation if necessary. Clomid is a powerful drug with all kinds of fun side effects. (Hot flashes at 30-awesome.) Most doctors recommend you only try 3-6 cycles on it before moving on to other options, so our window of opportunity with this drug is closed. No luck, Chuck. We are now doing a more aggressive approach, which involves injectable medications. For someone who comes close to passing out at the thought of giving blood, this has been a nightmare.
The deeper we get into this process (over two years now), the more difficult it becomes. But, I’m not giving up hope. We’re not giving up hope. I don’t know how far down the treatment path we’ll go. Until we’ve exhausted the options in our comfort zone, I’ll hold out hope. We’ve briefly discussed alternatives, mainly adoption, but I’m not really ready to go down that path yet, either. There is a lot to consider and take on as adoptive parents. There is also a significant financial burden. (Although, fertility treatments are costly, too.) I think the hardest part is the grieving process that comes with the possibility of never having a child that is of your own blood. And it’s a struggle to know that the path we take will most likely cost us thousands of dollars when it’s all said and done (baby or not), while others can conceive naturally, for free, and with little effort. And my bitter, judgmental side comes out when I hear someone announce a pregnancy when they do not appear, to me, to be in a good place, either age-wise, in their relationship, financially or otherwise. It’s pretty easy for infertility to turn you into a miserable, bitter person.
And when you are at a certain age and so many of your friends are married, it seems that someone is announcing a pregnancy just about everyday. Right now, I think more of my friends and family are expecting than not, and when it’s not happening for you after, it’s really, really hard to accept.
I’m not really sure if this post has a point, but it does feel good to get it all out there. My one wish for this is that it motivates you to educate yourself on fertility issues. Chances are that someone you know is or will be struggling with infertility. It’s said to affect one in six couples and it’s often times something that is suffered in silence, because it is very personal and can make for uncomfortable conversations. It’s pretty easy to say hurtful things to someone who is infertile while not intending to be hurtful at all. A great post on infertility etiquette can be found here on the website for the National Infertility Association.
But, life goes on. When I first started blogging for Weddingbee, I made a commitment to share our wedding. The good news is that I have been working diligently on completing my recaps. I am happy to report that I’m just about finished with all of them and they will start showing up on here very soon. So, if you are interested in seeing what happened with the rest of our wedding day, stay tuned! Better late than never, right?