Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Below is a copy of the post I shared with Facebook and Instagram in October 2020, sharing some of the details of my struggle with infertility:
Long, personal, TMI post alert!
I thought I’d share my struggles, so that other women that are experiencing similar situations don’t feel like they’re doing so alone. This is something I’ve wanted to share many times, but I worried what people would think, and I certainly didn’t want anyone to pity me.
However, I know I’m not alone in this struggle, and I want people to feel free to reach out to me if they need a confidant or someone to talk with.
So here goes...
Infertility can feel lonely and scary, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I wanted to share my story in case just one person could gain some insights and to know they have a friend in me. I wanted to shed some light on the women who are trying to conceive (TTC) but haven’t had an easy time doing so. And how we are truly tired of being asked when we’re going to have kids, and why we haven’t had kids yet.
When I got married in 2017, I thought I could simply quit taking birth control and we’d get pregnant within the typical 6-12 months. But that didn’t happen... In fact, once I went off BC, I started realizing that my cycles were out of whack and even experienced pretty fast weight gain within a year’s time. Turns out, the hormones in BC regulate a lot more than just preventing pregnancy. And when you quit BC, things can get pretty out of whack.
In 2019, after a couple of years of not being able to conceive, plus a lot of hormonal warning signs, such as weight gain and missed cycles, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). If you’ve never heard of PCOS, I encourage you to look it up. 1 in 10 women have it. The diagnosis brought some relief, because I finally knew what the issue was. But once that battle was won, it was on to the next one: treatment.
The thing that was crazy to me is how little the scientific community knows about the condition. And there is no cure. They don’t know the cause, and it affects every woman differently. Some women have excessive hair growth, some have no menstrual cycles, some have weight problems, some have extreme fatigue, some have insulin resistance, some have painful cramping, insomnia, acne, hair loss, decreased libido, increased libido, headaches, hot flashes... the list goes on. Most women in the USA take hormonal birth control, which can regulate hormones and mask the symptoms. But BC does not treat the condition.
While we lived in Nashville, I found a doctor who was said to be an expert on PCOS, but she told me that every case is unique and it is very unpredictable (how frustrating). I’ve seen a few doctors since then and they’ve all had completely different courses of treatment.
Fast forward to March of this year, after all the traveling, as well as starting a new job, and getting settled in South Florida. I was finally able to take the time to see a fertility specialist. I had a consultation and they ordered tons of tests, labwork, ultrasounds, radiology, and other procedures.
Nearly everything was perfect on paper!! But my body just does not ovulate regularly or predictably (which as we know, makes it hard to try to conceive). So they suggested hormone treatment to force ovulation— 5 days of letrozole, which is actually a breast cancer chemo drug.
Then they upped my dosage because it didn’t work at first, and then added an Ovidrel injection to boost my HCG (a pregnancy hormone). We did that for a few months and they said I was “responding beautifully” to treatment. Only I still wasn’t getting pregnant...
A few months ago we moved on to the IUI procedure (Interuterine Insamination), alongside continued hormone treatment. In July, after the procedure, I felt pregnant within about 10 days. I had extreme fatigue, breast soreness, and just knew it was a success. I took a home pregnancy test and got a very faint line, then it was a little darker the next day. Yay! The next day we received confirmation of a positive blood test from my doctors office. I finally got that “Congratulations” I’ve been waiting to hear, for over three years.
After my follow up pregnancy blood test, the nurses told me the numbers weren’t going in the right direction. I asked what that meant and they said it was likely a chemical pregnancy. Chemical pregnancy is when the egg is fertilized, and it implants in the uterus, but it doesn’t stay implanted. It is extremely common and most women would never know they experienced this unless they were doing all the early testing like I was. The silver lining is that I got pregnant, and that means it can (hopefully) happen again. So I took this as a good sign, although it also felt like quite a blow.
I am writing this post today, after my third IUI. I’m currently in the dreaded two week wait (TWW). For anyone who has gone through all of this, you know during this time you just have to be kind to yourself, try not to stress, and to think happy thoughts. And I will do just that, but will also be anxiously awaiting my results. Fingers crossed, and prayers welcome.
If it doesn’t happen this time, we will continue to try and try again. Adoption is also on our minds as of late... but ultimately I believe that one day I’ll look back on all the injections, dollars spent, appointments, bloodwork, tears, pee sticks and pills— and I’ll smile because everything fell right into place.
If you made it this far down, I’m impressed! Thank you for taking the time to understand someone else’s struggle, and for being a part of my journey. If you’ve experienced infertility, YOU’RE NOT ALONE, and please feel free to reach out to connect.
And to all my other friends and fam please, please try to be careful when asking when other people will be having children. Outside of the fact that it’s an invasive question, and some people simply don’t want children, there are many who struggle with infertility. It is an invisbile disease and you’d often never know what someone else is going through. Love to all.