After being together for so long and finally making it official by saying "I do", the inevitable question comes, "When are you guys going to have a baby?!" After all, those are the rules; First comes love, then marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.
Ever since I was a little girl, my biggest dream was to be a Mom. I had every baby doll you could imagine. In high school, the project "Where do you see your self in 10 years", I was married with four kids, a house and a dog and working with babies as a nurse. (With my 27th birthday less than a week away, this makes me giggle). I love babies and children. I'm fascinated by human development, pregnancy and all that jazz. After all, I'm an OB nurse...Babies are my job! I always knew I wanted kids, and now that we're finally married, the time feels right!
(Picture collage courtesy of my Mom)
Now those of you who know me, know I'm a pretty open person. I've spoke about my irregular cycles often. However, I've been a little hesitant about sharing our struggle with infertility. It's never easy to open up about a topic that makes me feel so helpless and vulnerable. I didn't even tell my Mom or best friend we had gone to the doctor until recently. Admitting we're struggling means admitting there's a problem which means admitting that we might not be able to have kids. Whoa. Talk about the most life shattering and heartbreaking realization you can come to. After some advice from friends and strangers I've decided to share our story and struggles here on my blog. I've read some amazing blogs by women who are going through similar situations. It's hard to explain the heartache and frustration unless you've experienced it first hand. I find comfort knowing that I'm not going through this alone. If just one person reads this and knows they too are not alone, then it will be worth it.
Here is our story...
- March 1999 I got my first period the day before my 13th Birthday! (WooWhoo, I'm finally a WOMEN!)
- Went awhile before getting my period after that, but from what I remember, it become pretty regular. And boy were they bad...cramps that would wake me up from my sleep, heavy bleeding, etc.
- January 2006 at the age of 19/20, I started losing weight and running/exercising. This is also when I met Phil. This is the start of my very irregular cycles.
- Throughout nursing school I had very long gaps between periods. Spoke to a few nursing professors, and it was always attributed to sudden weigh loss (~60 pounds in 10 months), running as well as the stress of nursing school and upcoming boards. I was told to relax, take and pass boards and see what happens.
- Took the NCLEX (RN test) in May 2009 and passed! I'M A NURSE! The next month on June 4, 2009 I got my period! Those nursing professors knew what they were talking about.
- We moved to Denver and from July 2009-January 2010 I didn't get a single period.
- January 2010 I saw a doctor and she put me on a birth control pill for two months to see what would happen and to "jump start" my period. I got my period in February and again in March while on the pill.
- I stopped taking the pill and the periods stopped. Since we were not trying to conceive then, the biggest concerns was my low estrogen which could lead to poor bone health. I hated how I felt on the pill so I decided not to continue taking it. I still never had a diagnosis why I wasn't getting a period. Again, just attributed to losing weight and running.
- April 2011 I went to see a reproductive endocrinologist. Got a full work up, blood work, ovaries seen on ultrasound, physical, etc. Ultrasound and blood work showed it was not Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and as far as he was concerned, I was healthy. He had no treatment, because again at that time, we did not want to get pregnant. This is now a full year without a period.
- Fast forward to the present time. Roughly THREE YEARS without bleeding. We are married now and ready to seriously talk babies. You could say we have been "trying to conceive" for over three years as we used no form of birth control. (Sure we were playing with fire, but I was pretty certain I was not ovulating and even though we weren't married, we both knew we wanted kids).
- February 2013 we go to see a new OB/GYN here in Orlando. Dr. Chudgar. I cannot say enough about this doctor. He's only been taking care of me for about two months, but he's just wonderful! I got new blood work and another ultrasound of my ovaries done. Results: PCOS! Wait, WHAT? I was told no way, no PCOS before. Also need to rule out Premature Ovarian Failure. FAILURE!? What's going on?? First of many meltdowns occurred now.
-March 2013 we take the first step, a Progesterone challenge. Take 10mg Progesterone for 10 days, and see if I have withdrawal bleeding 1-3 days afterwords. If I do have bleeding then we know its an ovary issue, and not in the brain (Pituitary Gland). The morning of March 10th I take my last pill and later that morning at work I HAVE BLEEDING!!! Ok, more like spotting, but it was something! I felt like that 13 year old girl again, full of butterflies and excitement to ask a coworker "Can I borrow a tampon?" HAHA!
Well I only had spotting that day and a little the next day. I didn't know if this was good or bad. I finally spoke with Dr. Chudgar and he was happy that there was some bleeding. However, the diagnosis of PCOS is still kind of up in the air. The ultrasound did show that I have polycystic ovaries and I was not ovulating (annovulation), but I lacked the third component of the diagnosis which is elevated androgen levels (acne, excessive hair growth and male-pattern hairloss, all of which I have none of). So that's still in the grey zone.
Dr. Chudgar decided to consult a friend who is a reproductive endocrinologist, and he decided we need more blood work before taking the next step which would inevitably be Clomid, an ovulatory medication. I've heard my fair share of horror stories with the use of this medication, but if it's gonna help get me pregnant, I say BRING IT ON!
However, new studies show the use of Clomid has a much lower success rate with women who have certain issues. Dr. Chudgar wanted to look at my LH/FSH level, and more importantly, the ratio between the two (This will also be able to rule out Premature Ovulatory Failure) *Meltdown*. In addition to that, he also wants to look at my Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). This is a somewhat newer test, and it actually shows a women's ovarian reserve. The level is thought to show the size of the remaining egg supply. If this level is low, the chances of Clomid working are very low, and at that point I will most likely need to see a specialist (Reproductive Endocrinologist)*Meltdown*, and most likely will be looking at Invitro-fertilization.*Meltdown* This also means I might even have to use donor eggs if I want to be physically pregnant. *Meltdown*. However, if this level is normal, then the use of Clomid will have better chances of being successful and we would start the whole process in April.
I had my blood drawn on Saturday and I'm still waiting on results (AMH gets sent out and can take about a week). Waiting, and waiting and waiting. Waiting is the most frustrating part. Waiting for good news? Waiting for devastating news? Waiting for answers. Needless to say I've been an emotional wreck. Hopeful and optimistic one second, and preparing myself for the worst the next. I can't look at a baby or a pregnant women or even a pampers commercial without wanting to cry. I want answers. I want a diagnosis. I want to get this show on the road one way or another. *Meltdown*
As I wait for results I remind myself to remain optimistic. I plan on using this blog as a form of therapy. I know I'm putting myself out there and I see first hand everyday that getting pregnant is only half the battle. I see what can go wrong. I see these perfect little families struggle. I see those beautiful angels who are here for such a short time before God decides it's time from them to go home with Him far earlier for us to grasp the understanding of why. I also see those women who frankly can't afford to take care of the children they have, let alone the 4th one they're pregnant with now, the women who don't see pregnancy as a beautiful miracle but more as an inconvenience. I remind myself I cannot compare myself to any of them.
And again, through it all, I will remain optimistic!