58 Periods I Didn’t Want/Part 2-What’s Wrong With Me?
When all of that wasn’t working to get pregnant (see part 1), I decided to ask my midwife for some help (yup, I already had her lined up and was seeing her for my gynecology exams).
She referred me to an OB/GYN who could run some tests on both me and the hubby to see if we could get some answers:
Blood work to check my hormonal levels.
Transvaginal ultrasound. (Yup IN the vagina)
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) Test. X-ray procedure to view inside the uterus and fallopian tubes to check for any blockages. This was my least favorite because it was very uncomfortable and the doctor had no personality.
Sperm test for hubby.
Everything seemed pretty normal according to the doctor. He prescribed me Clomid, a medication to stimulate ovulation. He told me I should be pregnant within the next 3 months. (This was October of 2015.) I was definitely apprehensive of medication since I'm holistic-minded, but I thought we could use some assistance.
That pill gave me some pretty intense mood swings. After the second month, I said I couldn’t do it anymore and we saw him again. We scheduled an Intrauterine insemination (IUI) for February. This is a fertility treatment that involves placing the sperm right inside the uterus to help increase the chance of fertilization.
We felt hopeful and excited. I had to track my ovulation, which I now knew how to do with ovulation test strips and by tracking body temperature, cervical mucus and light cramping. (I knew that I ovulated every month, but it seemed late, around the 18-24 day range, compared to the average 10-14 day range.)
I also continued with acupuncture, herbs, yoga, meditation and other holistic ideas throughout this time. I checked my ovulation daily and remembered the moment the test was positive, meaning I would ovulate within the next 12 to 36 hours based on the luteinizing hormone (LH) level in my urine. It was after 4 pm on a weekday, so I called to speak with the on-call-doctor about the plan for the next day’s IUI procedure. She was not happy that I called. She was extremely rude and not helpful. This should have been a sign…
The next day we show up nervous and hubby does his duty. (Why do guys get pleasure through all of this? Still my big question!)
The lab tells us to take the sperm in an envelope to the doctor’s office next door. We then get yelled at by the nurse because we didn’t keep the envelope under a sweatshirt to keep it warm. Seriously?! Another sign…
The doctor barely spoke with us. He seemed like we were interrupting his day. My blood pressure was the highest I’ve ever seen it. The procedure was uncomfortable and I was told my cervix was “curved”.
It lasted a few moments and then we left. The waiting began and about 10 days later, my period started right on time. Bummer. We were heartbroken to say the least.
What was WRONG with me?! We had the working “parts and pieces”. But didn’t seem any closer to our dream of having a baby.
I decided I needed time to grieve and take care of myself. The doctor’s office never even called to check on us. I think they should stick with OB/GYN care and away from fertility procedures...
A week later, we went on vacation to California with my family. I packed my conception tea, healthy snacks, and supplements. Just because it was vacation, didn’t mean I needed to ruin my progress. We had a beautiful time driving down the coast and it took my mind off of things a bit. I got lots of fresh air, rest, exercise and laughter, which was what my mind and body needed. However, I remember being super bloated and uncomfortable the entire trip. I knew there was more I needed to learn about my digestive issues...
That year I focused more on my health and trying to get answers about my late ovulation and digestion. At that time, some of my closest friendships were growing apart, my marriage was going through a rough patch and my Nana was dying from cancer. I used yoga as an “escape”, but then my yoga teacher became pregnant and watching her belly grow every week made things even more difficult...
I had times of confusion, frustration, heartache and pain. I felt like my life was spiraling and I couldn’t control much of it. I felt the most intense grief I have ever experienced.
Grief every time my period came.
Grief witnessing my dear grandmother become so frail and pass away.
Grief losing friends that used to be so significant in my life.
I cried. A lot.
However, I didn’t give up hope. (This is actually the year I created my first product, HOPE Candle. It was to give others hope, but I also needed it myself.)
I always got out of bed and did the best I could every day. I didn’t let depression overcome me. I kept working on my business goals and putting on a smile for others.
I kept researching and attempting new things.
I practiced having faith; trusting that I would be a mom one day and it would be the perfect timing.
There were times when my cycle would be shorter and I would get excited. But then another negative pregnancy test would appear. Month after month.
Sometimes I felt like all of that hard work was getting me absolutely nowhere. I was so hesitant to get another fertility treatment after our negative experience the year before. Deep down, I knew something was going on with my health and I needed to get some answers. I decided it was time to check into a fertility specialist and made an appointment with Boston IVF. We met with a kind doctor and he told me the in-depth blood panel they would run, another internal ultrasound and another sperm test for hubby.
We did everything we were supposed to and at our next appointment, we finally got some answers! I was diagnosed with mild PCOS in January of 2017, right before my 30th birthday.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is very common in women, affecting about 1 in 10. When you look up PCOS, you will see that women suffering are typically overweight, have cystic acne and really irregular or no periods. It took so long to find out because I had “skinny/mild PCOS”. On the outside, you would never have known, but my blood-sugar issues, long cycles, cysts found on my ovaries and slightly elevated levels of anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) and testosterone were my symptoms.
I had a sense of relief to finally get some answers that I could work with. We also found out hubby’s sperm was good, but the motility could have been better.
From there, I was prescribed Metformin, a diabetic medication that helps women with PCOS ovulate. I started an eating challenge with less carbs/sugar and with more protein and fat.
We then discussed scheduling another IUI but with a different approach than my previous one. We felt very supported and Boston IVF was extremely organized with the scheduling, medications and answering my questions. March came and it was time for us to begin this next procedure. Instead of us having to take ovulation tests, they had me go in for daily blood work and internal ultrasounds to watch my developing follicles. Once they reached a certain size, it was go-time. They told us to come in the next day. Hubby did his duty once again and I had an acupuncture session. They then brought us back and I spread my legs (something I used to be modest about, but have done many times now!) They had a little trouble getting it placed in the right spot, so it was uncomfortable and took awhile, but they finally did it. We left feeling more positive than our last experience the year before.
Well, 10 days later and that period came right on time again. They still made me go in for a pregnancy test, which was negative.
Again, we were devastated. I was frustrated because I didn’t know what to do next. The nurse called me right away to make our plan for next month and I said “no, thank you”. I needed time to grieve again. I didn’t feel like jumping right back into it all. I’m too sensitive for that and wanted time to heal and have a break.
During this time, I want to share that I had incredible support from my parents, sister and a few close girlfriends. I cried to them more than once. I knew they were also so sad for us and it made me devastated that we were struggling to make our parents grandparents. And I of course hated seeing John’s disappointment since he has always wanted to be a dad. It was so overwhelming and heart-wrenching for all of us to want something so badly and not getting it after all of the effort. I felt the most “responsible” and at times like there was more I could be doing, when I knew that wasn’t necessarily true.
Thanks again for reading. Part 3 and 4 are below.
Any advice or recommendations shared here is for informational purposes only. I am not a doctor and each person is very unique so this is not to diagnose or treat you. However, if you would like to connect one on one, I offer a free phone consultation to give you a sense of hope and some tools to help you move forward on your journey.
P.P.S. Continue reading:
Part 3: Light at the End of the Tunnel