Mumbling Mommy

In the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about my family’s struggles with infertility. Today I want to talk about the steps it took between being told about our reproductive challenges to finding out we had finally conceived.

“There was basically no privacy or intimacy anymore in our marriage. The entire thing felt very scientific.”
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After the conversation with the nurse, our lives flipped. It took 7 weeks to get a new patient consultation to discuss our infertility. Looking back now, everything about infertility involved waiting. Those 7 weeks were miserable. We played the “what if” game over and over again. My husband couldn’t get over the guilt. He knew how much we wanted to be parents, and he constantly felt he was letting me down.

Then the tables turned. The first thing the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) did was repeat dozens of tests. He ran a new sperm analysis. He had me make appointments on various specific days of my cycle for blood work and ultrasounds. A month later, we met again. The sperm analysis came back clear. They couldn’t find any of the issues found in the prior sample (morphed sperm, low count, hostile surroundings). We were in shock.

It was great; our prayers were answered, until the “but” came. It turned out that my husband’s tests came back perfect but instead my tests were now a cause for concern. Specifically I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. My periods would be anywhere for 40 to 90 days apart. I simply wasn’t ovulating regularly. On top of that, when I did actually ovulate, my body wasn’t releasing the follicles so instead, cysts formed on my ovaries. I even had one cyst surgically removed because it grew to the size of a grapefruit. The cysts were excruciatingly painful. Every month, my period would be late raising my hopes only to get negative after negative results on the pregnancy tests.

We worked with the RE for 6 months. The first month was tests as I mentioned above. The second and third months, I used Clomid. The first attempt with Clomid, I was prescribed 50 mg pills. I had to take them starting the 3rd day of my monthly cycle. It only helped produce 3 follicles, but none large enough to lead to pregnancy. For my second attempt, the dose was upped to 100 mg pills. We got 4 good sized follicles this time. We chose to use timed intercourse instead of IUI or IVF treatments. Once I finished the Clomid, I took ovulation predictor tests to determine when I was most fertile. And then we waited.

In the infertility world, everyone talks about the “two week wait.” This is the worst, longest, most depressingly exciting two weeks of your life. You hold on to every ounce of hope that it worked this time but you prepare yourself for the disappointment because if you get too hopeful, you’ll be crushed. I was crushed many times over.

After two months of Clomid alone with no babies, the doctor added a prescription for Prometrium to help prepare my uterus. We also added injections of HCG to be given only after having a mid-cycle ultrasound to be sure the follicles were ready. If there were too many follicles, we could risk higher order multiples. If there were too little follicles, the month would be a waste. Again, we stuck with timed intercourse. Our doctor placed a lot of pressure on how unsuccessful this method was and that we were prime candidates for IUI. He insisted that we’d get pregnant right away. I was determined to avoid that kind of intervention. It was not covered by our insurance and we simply didn’t have the finances to force something that I still believed could happen on its own.

Month four and five went by and still nothing. Our friends and family knew each step of our journey. They knew what day of my cycle I was on. They knew when my period was expected. They knew what day I was testing for pregnancy. There was basically no privacy or intimacy anymore in our marriage. The entire thing felt very scientific. So on the sixth month, we tried in secret. It was hard not having anyone to talk to during the stressful parts of the month (the mid-cycle ultrasound and two week wait are definitely two biggest stressors). 30 days later, bright and early on a Thursday morning, I peed on a stick. I had done this dozens of times before and knew not to get excited. I whispered to myself “It’s okay if it’s negative. It’s okay if it’s negative.” I knew I’d be in tears if the second line didn’t turn up but I just couldn’t help trying to convince myself.

This wasn’t just another month. This was the one year mark. One year that we’d been trying to conceive and one year that we’d failed over and over again. I casually tossed the test aside to wait the allotted time, started washing my hands and just so happened to glance back towards the test. It was that moment that I realized it wasn’t negative. IT WASN’T NEGATIVE! I sat on the toilet and dug the instructions out of the trash can. I knew something had gone wrong. I frantically went into the living room and started searching “false positives” on the Internet. I simply wasn’t convinced that I could possibly get pregnant after all that time.

Sure enough though, once daylight broke, I called my RE who sent me immediately for blood work. And less than an hour later, I got the phone call. I was pregnant!


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Category: Pregnancy

Tags: Clomid