I've debated writing this post for months now. I just wasn't sure I wanted to share this part of my private life. But as this pregnancy gets closer and closer to the end (eeek!), I decided I do want to share my story, in hopes that it might help someone else silently struggling to have a baby.
2011 was one of the worst years for me emotionally and mentally. It actually started in 2010, but by 2011, I had reached a new level of emotional distress. The reason - infertility. I actually really hate that word. It sounds so definite and finite and as evidenced by my growing belly, we obviously overcame our diagnosis. So I'm sharing our story of trying to have a baby. We were extremely lucky in that our journey was much shorter and less invasive than many couples and we are very grateful for that.
I had been on birth control pills since age 17. I never had a problem with them and they obviously worked for me. After J and I got married in September 2009, we discussed when we wanted to start having kids. We decided that I should go off the pill right after we got married and maybe start officially "trying" right around the 6 month mark of being married - we weren't getting any younger!
I went off the pill in October 2009 and my cycles regulated pretty quickly - I started getting my period within 2 months. We officially started trying in May 2010 - basically just not preventing and just seeing what happens. I figured we would just have a bunch of sex and I would probably be pregnant within 3 months. July 2010 rolled around and I got a little bit anxious (yes, I realize that I'm OCD and anal!). This led me to buy the bible aka "Taking Charge of your Fertility" to try and understand my cycles a little bit better for good timing. This book seriously opened my eyes and taught me so much about my own body.
So I bought myself a nifty little thermometer and started temping/charting. It was fascinating to me to watch my temperature over the month to see my spike with ovulation, count the days of my luteal phase and then be able to tell when I would get my period (or hopefully, NOT get my period!).
I noticed that I was ovulating every month, which was very reassuring. By September 2010, I had added in ovulation predictor kits (where you pee on a stick and it tells you the best 2-3 days to conceive). I'm not sure if it was the nerd in me, but I found it sort of like a personal challenge to chart my cycles and make sure that we had great timing. There's only about a 5 day window a woman can conceive every month and we were always making sure our timing fell in this window. I figured I would be pregnant by Christmas - how could I not be with my normal cycles and our perfect timing?!?
Of course, this does take a lot of the romance out of "baby making". Even on nights when we were tired, sick or stressed, if it was a "peak day", then we needed to be trying. I could tell J was getting a little bothered by this slight obsession, but we both wanted a baby so we were committed to keep trying. I told him that I just wanted to try as best as we could for a year and if it didn't happen, we could step back and re-evaluate.
So Christmas and New Years came and went and there was no positive pregnancy tests. In March 2011, I went to my annual well women check up with my OB/GYN. I decided I would just bring my 7 months of charts (printed out in color and labeled by month by my OCD self) and talk to her about it. I'm not going to lie, I had a breakdown in her office. Maybe we were trying too hard? Maybe I was too stressed about it? Did I need to "relax and see what happens". My OB/GYN did not think I needed to relax. She was impressed by my charts and called my cycles "textbook". She saw our timing and agreed we were definitely doing everything we could.
Obviously it can take up to a year for a healthy couple to conceive - we were still 2 months away from the year mark. But after looking at my charts, she recommended that J get a semen analysis done, since it was easy, quick and could possibly identify a problem. This was a bit of a shock - I didn't know if I was ready for us to start this sort of testing and it seemed like we were admitting that something was wrong. After a lot of discussion, J agreed to get the test and he got down to business (ha!). I have to admit, deep down, I was convinced that the results of his test were going to be abnormal. There had to be something wrong with him, since my body seemed to be "textbook", right?
Well his results came back 100% normal. Again, I had another breakdown. Here we were, two young, healthy adults and nothing we were doing to have a baby was working. I went back to my OB/GYN and she wrote me a referral for a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). There's only 1 in our town and they have a long waiting list, so she suggested we call and try to get an appointment since they probably couldn't see us for a few months. They couldn't get us in until June 1st, so past our 1 year of trying mark. I crossed my fingers that we would conceive in the 2 month waiting period and we would get to cancel that appointment. That didn't happen.
To be continued...