National Infertility Awareness Week during Autism Awareness Month. Somehow I was forced into these two clubs and I wish there was a exit clause...
So anywho, the people over at RESOLVE.org started this "BUST A MYTH" blog discussion in honor of Infertility Awareness Week. I could seriously write an entire blog on this subject. There is so much people don't know about this subject, but think that they do- it's almost funny. As soon as you say you are having trouble getting pregnant, everyone and their mother has a suggestion for you. Most are hurtful, laughable and just plain stupid. But before I get to that, I want to share a little about what our journey has been like.
Dave and I got married in June of 2006 and we started trying immediately. From the very beginning, I just had a feeling there was going to be a problem. I didn't have any proof but just that feeling. After a couple months, still nothing and I realized that my cramps were getting really bad. I would feel so awful during my period that I was missing work and spending the day popping Advil and curled up on the couch with my cornbag (heat pack).
One night, I had a sudden and extreme pain in my abdomen that brought me to the ground. A few weeks later I went in to see a family practice doctor. After hearing my story, she sent me for an ultrasound that same day. A couple days later the Dr called to tell me that I had at least six cysts and the largest was the size of a plum! No wonder I felt awful! She recommended I see an OB/GYN surgical doctor. So I made an appointment and when I arrived I saw I had a man. I'm sorry, but no man can ever understand these issues. After talking and a horrible exam, he told me I needed surgery to remove the cysts. I asked him about my ovaries. He said, "Well, we won't know until we get in there, if they look bad, we'll just whip them out."
Whip them out?? I don't freakin' think so. I was only 24 and was actively trying to have kids, I kinda need my ovaries. So after crying to a few people, I saw specialist and a woman. And I am so thankful I found her. She has been amazing.
During my first appointment, she told me that the first priority was to get me pregnant and she would never "whip out" some one's ovaries while they were sedated and completely unaware. Two months later, I had my first surgery to remove cysts, clean up endometriosis scarring and check my tubes (both were open). After surgery, she told us to try again for a couple months. A few months later, still nothing except for increased irritation. An ultrasound showed that the cysts were appearing again. We knew we had to do something because my endometriosis was getting out of control.
We did one month of just Clomid and follicle monitoring. Followed by two months of Clomid and IUIs. I don't know about anyone else who has been on Clomid, but holy hell, was I crazy. That stuff was evil. It gave me awful hot flashes, headaches, leg tingling, insomnia and complete fatigue at the same time, and the worst mood swings anyone has ever seen. I was so mean. And I thought I was losing my mind. It's hard to describe, but it wasn't good.
I couldn't take it anymore, and I knew Clomid wouldn't work. We were referred to a Reproductive Specialist, also an amazing doctor! She was very confident she would get me knocked up, did an ultrasound that day and saw a lot of new, fairly large cysts. She wanted another surgery before we could start IVF. So we did another surgery, found that I had ruptured several cysts and that now, one tube was blocked.
On Christmas Eve day of 2007, I started Lupron. And it knocked me on my ass. I spent Christmas Day dry heaving into a bucket and wishing that someone would kill me. I missed almost two weeks of work because I was so sick. But once I started on my stim. meds (to stimulate egg production) I felt better. This cycle went pretty well, I had minimal side effects (well minimal for me- normally I get every side effect...) and we showed up at transfer day greeted by two pretty healthy embryos and one so-so embryo. My doctor only wanted to transfer two and so that's what we did. The third wasn't good enough quality to freeze. After two horribly long weeks, we found out it worked and nine months later, Max entered the world! Truly, truly amazing.
After having Max I started having really bad cramps again so I was put on continuous birth control pills to prevent cysts. We were advised not to wait too long before having a second child. So when Max was five months old, we went back. Our doctor was thrilled, she said, I was her "ideal patient." In early April 2009 we started another round of IVF. This time, my stim. meds had to be doubled from the first time. I got a mild case of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Which means that my ovaries were on overdrive which is sort of the point, but we crossed over into the excess side. I had excess fluid in my abdomen, my stomach was very swollen and was so tender, I could hardly hold Max. I was put on a high protein diet and had to down many nasty protein shakes, which is hard when the meds ruin your appetite. The progesterone made me so itchy, I thought I would lose my mind. It was a rough course.
We found out we were pregnant and the high HCG indicated twins, which was confirmed at seven weeks. We learned two weeks later, that our Baby Bee hadn't survived. Bee stayed in until the day our perfect Ellie was delivered on Jan. 15, 2010. As soon as I was done nursing Ellie, I started on continuous birth control again. But several months of excess hormones, followed by two back to back pregnancies has left my body very confused. My hormones are all out of whack and extremely hard to regulate. I hope the next time we do IVF, it will go well again and we will be blessed with another miracle.
That was a lot longer than I anticipated, but necessary to bust my....
Myth #1: "Why don't you just go do IVF?"
To all well-meaning morons- you just don't DO IVF. You have to try everything else first. And it's expensive. It comes with no guarantees. And you might feel miserable. AND it isn't even an option for some women. It's complicated.
On to the other myths that drive me absolutely INSANE!
Myth #2: Get a dog, then you'll get pregnant!
Really?! Did no one ever have the birds and the bees talk with you? What exactly are you proposing that I do with the dog? Because I'm NOT into that.
Myth #3: Adopt. Then you'll get pregnant.
This is stupid too. Too stupid for a response actually.
Myth #4: "Well, my cousin's friend's maid's sister, went to this doctor and she got pregnant right away..."
Just because so-and-so got knocked up one way, because of one doctor, because they were on a certain unheard of herb, because they stood on their head and sang ancient hymns, doesn't mean I will be pregnant that way. I know people mean well, but don't waste your breath. Everyone is different, every one's body is different. Let's leave the plan of attack to the doctors.
And my favorite.....
Myth #5: Just relax.
So not possible. When you have to obsessively track your period, your sex, your temperature, your tenderness, your other disgusting unmentionable signs of ovulation, there is no relaxation. When you have to eliminate most alcohol, crappy foods and pain reducing meds, there is no relaxation. When you have to pee on a stick first thing every morning, there is no relaxation. When you have to establish a more than personal relationship with an ultrasound machine, you can't relax. When you spend more time at the doctor's office than you do with your friends or your arms are black and blue from blood draws- you aren't relaxed. When you have to go to Target, Cub, the pharmacy, work, family gatherings, appointments and see every pregnant person and newborn baby on the face of the earth, you can't relax. And when every idiot is telling your their opinion, you cannot relax. There is no relaxing in infertility. None.
Remembering April 28th, 2010
Even though it wasn't easy getting them, I wouldn't trade the whole process for anything. They are truly our little miracles!
"God bless the broken road, that led me straight to you..."