I don’t remember the day the husband and I decided to start trying for a baby.
I don’t remember when I started thinking about somewhat foreign concepts like ovulation and cycle length.
I don’t even remember talking to the husband about having children. I just knew that we would, and that we’d probably get started right away.
We got married when we were 28. The husband’s birthday had been a few months earlier, and mine was just a couple of weeks before our wedding in December of 2008. Two of my best friends (and bridesmaids) had gotten married in the late summer of that year, and I remember them both saying that they were waiting until after my wedding to start trying for babies themselves.
Having lost my job a month before our nuptials, I was an unemployed newlywed in January of 2009. I did everything I could to keep busy, spending hours and hours each day applying and interviewing for jobs, organizing our wedding gifts, and eventually getting us moved into a larger apartment where we had more room for our new accumulation of “married people stuff”.
By the time we had moved into a two-bedroom place in February of 2009, I had started formulating thoughts about what that second bedroom could be used for, aside from crock pot storage…
And so, in March of 2009, I started getting a little more serious about baby-making. At that time, I didn’t know much more than what I’d learned in high school health class, so I figured I’d just start trying to have more sex with the husband two weeks or so after my period started. It was never easy to do, as I had all the time in the world, but the husband worked a crazy shift that saw us apart for much more time than we were together. Often he would be working while I was awake, and by the time he was home, I was fast asleep.
Two ships passing in the night – or day – and all that jazz.
We didn’t get pregnant that month, obviously, but I wasn’t discouraged. I knew that it could take a month or two, or sometimes three, to get pregnant.
My best friend, and maid of honor, got pregnant the next month. I figured I would soon too, and kept along our merry way.
I got a job working in bridal retail, and expected to be a fat little bridal consultant in no time at all.
A few more months rolled by, and nothing. My other friend and bridesmaid who had married just before me found herself pregnant as well. Our first anniversary came and went, along with the births of a niece, a nephew, and my two bridesmaids’ kiddos.
I got a kitten.
I also started doing a little online research about speeding up this darn conception process. The first step seemed to be pinpointing ovulation, so I went out and bought ovulation prediction tests. The more I researched, the deeper in I fell…
I ordered a thermometer online and started temping. I learned all about cervical mucus and started charting that. I had been keeping track of the length of my cycles for a couple of years, and found it simple enough to just punch all the data into an online program, and thus my love/hate relationship with FertilityFriend was born.
From there, things moved quickly. I realized that I was rather underweight, ovulating late in my cycle with a short luteal phase, and having quite a few digestive difficulties I thought might be IBS or a thyroid problem. I went to my primary physician first, and then to my OB; I was turned away from both with no real answers, and the OB even had the nerve to tell me to have more sex and come back in a year.
I found a new OB quickly, and by the summer of 2010, she had me tested for all of the basics that would point out an obvious reproductive issue. She started me on Clomid for two months unmonitored, and after no pregnancy occurred, she referred me to an RE.
By this time, I had started a new bridal position, and was feeling very stressed out, both in work and in life. Three years ago, after having tried unsuccessfully for a baby for just over a year, I was feeling depressed and discouraged.
(…If only I had known then that this journey could – and would – go on so much longer and get so much worse…)
My first visit with the RE was in June of 2011. The preliminary testing done by my OB helped get me on the path to medicated cycles more quickly than I had anticipated, and I started Femara with an Ovidrel trigger just a few weeks later. I was monitored, and found to have a good response, but after several cycles of that protocol, we still weren’t pregnant.
At this same time, the husband and I had also made the decision to move. I needed to get away from my stressful bridal salon management job, and we were feeling that we needed to live closer to family and friends – whether mine or his, as we lived at least an hour and a half from any major support system. We felt that we may need the support as we got further and further into the treatment game.
August of 2011 found us moving to the Toledo, Ohio, area to be closer to the husband’s family, and many of our friends. We continued with the RE, sometimes monitored and sometimes not, through the fall, and by the time the holidays rolled around, I was ready for a break. The distance to see the RE was getting to be a problem, and I had started a brand new job that I didn’t want to be affected by my failure of a reproductive system, and I really didn’t want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas all hopped up on meds.
After Christmas, I had intended to transfer to an RE that was actually in the area, and even had an appointment set up, which I cancelled twice. I think my heart just wasn’t in it, and our insurance wasn’t covering a dime of these treatments or any of the monitoring.
In January of 2012, I heard a radio ad asking for women in my age group with unexplained infertility to call if they wanted to inquire about a clinical study… Which I did. I started the AMIGOS study in February 2012, and had four medicated IUIs with a blind medication (it was Clomid), Novarel trigger, and monitoring. By June 2012, I was done with the study, and still not knocked up.
Obviously frustrated at this point, I called the local RE again and set up an appointment I would keep this time. In mid July, I met Dr. K and he was very confident that injectable meds were the way to go. I started Femara and injects that same week, and found myself pregnant for the first time just a couple weeks after.
I was impressed, and my faith in the process was restored. I still felt uneasy, however…
Nothing was exactly right with the pregnancy from the very beginning. My beta numbers were very low, and though they doubled, that wasn’t an encouraging sign. I had what I think was an anxiety attack one day at about five-and-a-half weeks, and was sent for an ultrasound. The nurses couldn’t see anything, but I was assured that it was too early. My subsequent betas came back lowish as well, and weren’t really doubling, though I was also assured that was normal.
By late August of 2012, I was feeling somewhat pregnant. I didn’t exactly have morning sickness, but I did have a mad case of the baby-bloat. The husband and I had some wonderful pregnancy announcement photos taken by some friends of ours who were also going through their own conception woes. We planned to announce our baby on board at 8 weeks, in mid September…
Our first ultrasound just before 7 weeks was not a pleasant one. There was little growth, no real formation of the sac, and no heartbeat to be seen. I was seen again four days later or so, and there was no acceleration…
We would miscarry two weeks later.
I spent most of the fall of 2012 devastated by the loss of our Gummy Bear, the baby that never got to be. By December though, I was ready to start trying again, even if I wasn’t very enthusiastic about our odds.
After unsuccessful injects cycles in December 2012 and January 2013, I broke.
There were no answers as to why I couldn’t get pregnant, why we had lost our only pregnancy to date, and why we had perfect test results all around. I spiraled into an anxiety-ridden state of frustration and panic, wherein I was on the phone with Dr. K’s office just about every day asking for further testing, and trying to pinpoint just WHY I don’t have a baby.
All of that brings us to today.
March 4th, 2009, is the first day of the first cycle I entered into FertilityFriend after our wedding. As previously stated, I don’t remember the exact date we officially hopped on the baby-train, but I suppose the first day of the cycle that I know we started getting serious about it is official enough.
Today marks four long years of trying to conceive.
Four years of hope built up, and hope dashed.
Four years of desperation, frustration, elation, and devastation.
Four years of watching the world go by without us.
Four years of engagements, weddings, first and second babies being born to people who didn’t even know each other when we started down this path.
Four years of being stuck.
Four years of picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off for the next round of pills, injections, and ultrasounds.
Fours years of somehow managing to have a shred of hope every single month.
Four years of dreaming of our take-home baby.
Four years of getting stronger every day, even on days we feel the weakest.
Four years of trying to conceive.
Four years of trying.
I never expected to be 32 and to be still trying to have my first child. I never thought it would take this long, be this hard, or cost so much, both financially and psychologically.
I also never expected to feel as though I’m coming through the darkness…
Every day is better than the one before, and while Year Four had its share of extreme highs and lows, I feel that it showed me how to focus on what I really want, and how I should go about getting it.
I feel more emotionally sound today than I have in three years. I feel strong. I feel like I can handle this.
I feel like there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.
I’m hopeful, but not in such a cautious way as I have been in the past.
Yes, we’re entering our fifth year of this journey to parenthood, and yes, we’ve seen some awful days come and go, but we’re still standing, and we’re still strong.
Bring on Year Five.
We’re ready, we’re tough, and we know this is our year.