I’ve honestly never been a very maternal person. There was a point in time where I thought that I wouldn’t be a mother because I just didn’t see myself in that light. I was the product of a mother that shouldn’t have been a mother, so I think the fear was embedded in me from a young age but after I met my now husband, that quickly changed. When we met, we both admitted that something just felt so different, good different. We wanted to spend every second together, we couldn’t stop smiling around each other, and that phase wasn’t ending after months of dating. We moved in together about six months into our relationship and have been together ever since. We’ve grown so much together, we went from a cruddy small apartment and having no money, to buying our first house and still not being the richest couple, but having some spare money to do things that we love to do. One of the things on this list was start a family. We have always had the “one day” and “when we have kids” conversations, especially when we were shopping for houses. Fast forward to July 2017, we decided that we were as ready as we could be and took the leap into trying to conceive. Little did we know that it wouldn’t be that easy.
Our first six months trying were not stressful. Of course we were disappointed when it didn’t happen but all of the research that I did online showed that some people just take longer to get pregnant. This was something that I wasn’t aware of before we actually started trying. I always thought that if you don’t use protection, boom you get pregnant. Boy, was I wrong.
We started to get concerned during my seventh cycle when my period came about 12-13 days early. I’ve been very fortunate in my life to always have a regular period, so this was just off to me. The blood was very heavy for two days, then light for a day, then non-existent, then heavy again, and this lasted on and off for a whole week. It was just the craziest thing! So, I went to a new OBGYN (I had recently changed insurance and had to change doctors around this time anyway) and she basically explained to me that our period can be late or early for no reason. It could have been stress (I swear that I wasn’t stressed) or could just be bad luck. Since we were already there, discussing our fertility concerns, she was really helpful and told me to purchase a fertility-friendly lubricant, to start using OPKs (I had only done this 2 out of the 7 months prior and felt it really stressed me out) and to just stay positive.
Once I started using OPKs, I realized that I ovulated late. Learn from my mistakes, use OPKs from the beginning! I always thought that because I had a regular cycle, that my ovulation would be timed “regular” at day 14 but I was pretty wrong. I actually ovulate anywhere from day 16-18 and my cycle is only 27 days long. That luteal phase is just too short to easily fertilize and implant an egg. It’s not impossible, but it does make it much more difficult.
I’m sure that you can relate to this, but after that appointment, I started to buy and try anything that worked for someone else. I was getting desperate to conceive because honestly, I didn’t want to make it to the year mark. I am someone who has very severe anxiety at times and I was terribly anxious about the year mark, as many couples are. I tried using a menstrual cup like SoftCup to keep the swimmers in there, I drank FertiliTea which has nutrients and herbs that doctors believe your body craves when it wants to get pregnant, I took mucinex for 5 days leading up to ovulation to thin out my cervical mucus, I used two different brands of fertility-friendly lubricant, I think it’s safe to assume that cervical mucus is not our issue.
I’m sure that you can relate to this, but after that appointment, I started to buy and try anything that worked for someone else. I was getting desperate to conceive because honestly, I didn’t want to make it to the year mark.
And during my 11th cycle of trying to conceive, I gave acupuncture a try and really enjoyed it. I continued that treatment for two cycles and through acupuncture I learned that there was a chance that I had endometriosis. My acupuncturist mainly sees patients that are trying to conceive and struggling to do so. She said that a good portion of her patients have endometriosis and she felt that my symptoms aligned with theirs. Of course I spoke with my OBGYN about this possibility and she agreed. My OBGYN actually has endometriosis and struggled to conceive herself so she not only had a medical opinion, but a personal opinion too which was something that I appreciated. Because of the potential endometriosis, I did an anti-inflammatory diet for three cycles and felt no change. Actually, my periods seemed more painful during those cycles. However, by doing this diet, I did find that a trigger for me is dairy. Dairy is what makes me feel bloated, hurts my stomach, gives me unpleasant bowel movements, you get the point.
In July 2018, we were referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist who we are currently seeing to help us figure out why we aren’t pregnant after a full year of trying. When you reach that year mark, the normal thing to do is start fertility testing. This part of the process looks different for men and women. As a woman, I had a few vials of blood taken to test my hormone levels (ovarian reserve, thyroid) and for genetic screening. I also had an HSG performed which is where the RE puts an X-ray machine over your uterus and using a catheter, injects dye into your uterine cavity and fallopian tubes to check for blockages. Luckily, this procedure was very easy for me and I experienced hardly any discomfort plus, everything looked great! Next was my husband’s turn, he also did genetic testing and then had to perform an in-office semen analysis. I felt so terrible for him because I know that was uncomfortable and he had to do it at 7:45 a.m. but he completed the task and his motility looked great, our RE was so impressed with his numbers. We received his morphology (shape and size of semen) report back a few days later and the word abnormal was on the results. We had to wait an entire month to see our RE again and find out what his results meant. We made the mistake of Googling “amorphous morphology results” and all that would show up online was “headless sperm” - my poor husband was pretty down in the dumps for a few days.
Luckily, when we met with our RE in July to discuss everything, he said that he wasn’t worried about the morphology results because my husband had enough of a percentage of normal sperm. Needless to say, my husband was so happy to hear that! At that same appointment, we came up with a game plan for our next cycle, cycle 15. Our plan was to induce ovulation using Femara/Letrozole and using a trigger shot of Ovidrel, which is basically the pregnancy hormone, and timed intercourse (in place of an IUI). My RE felt really positive about this plan and thought that we would get pregnant (hopefully) with the first medicated cycle. So now, I just had to wait on my period to come that way I can call and schedule a baseline ultrasound (to check my lining) and get started! Little did I know that my period wouldn’t come at all.
My RE felt really positive about this plan and thought that we would get pregnant (hopefully) with the first medicated cycle. So now, I just had to wait on my period to come that way I can call and schedule a baseline ultrasound (to check my lining) and get started! Little did I know that my period wouldn’t come at all.
Two days before my expected period, I had cramping that was getting painful but not as painful as my “normal” period cramps. I kept thinking that it would happen that day or the next day and I was just so excited for this period because I knew that we had a plan in place. When my expected period date came and went, I was really annoyed. I was annoyed with my body because I thought that it was messing with me. It knew how bad I wanted it to come, so it wouldn’t. Let’s be real, we all have a love/hate relationship with our body at this point.
At three days late, I was more than annoyed. In fact, I had a pretty painful headache, I couldn’t sleep at night, my stomach was cramping, I was just so fed up with my body. That same day, while I was at work, I felt like I was going to throw up all day. I just felt so nauseous and when I got in the car, it got a lot worse. I thought that this was odd for me and decided to take a pregnancy test. I had never waited for a late period today and I was trying NOT to buy pregnancy tests this cycle. I went to Walmart and bought a 2-pack of Clear Blue Digital and two cheapies that were store brand, and only 88 cents. When I got home, I peed in a cup and dipped the test in the urine. Anxious isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I felt. I had only seen negative pregnancy tests so I was thinking why would this time be any different? Then, I look down at the test and it read “PREGNANT” and I just started crying, crying so hard.
I couldn’t believe it. I took the test all around the house and even outside on the porch to look at it in different lights because I thought that I just wasn’t reading it correctly. So then I took a second one, and it read the same thing, “PREGNANT” and then I took the two cheapies and that second line appeared so quick and so dark. I couldn’t believe it. My husband was on his way home from work and had no idea that I was taking a pregnancy test. He thought that we would go to the store later to buy one and I would test that next morning. So I went back to Walmart (I really don’t even like Walmart that much, it’s just close by) and bought a few onesies and I arranged the pregnancy tests, onesies and my letter board that read “we are finally pregnant” and had it waiting for him on our bed. When he walked in the door, I told him that our dog tore something up in the bedroom and I didn’t feel like cleaning it so I asked him to get it, like the sucker he is, he bought it! He walked in and looked around and it took him a second to see the announcement that I put on the bed. I watched as he walked over to the pregnancy test and just stared at it. He was totally in shock. Then, crying, he turned around and hugged me so tight. It was such an unbelievable moment that we truly didn’t expect.
I have always heard stories of women getting pregnant after months and months of trying, right before IVF, or some other infertility treatment but I never thought that would be me. I have the worst luck, or I used to. I’ve never been lucky enough to win Bingo or even a dollar off a scratch off lottery ticket. I’ve never found a random hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk. That’s just never been me. But this? This is the luckiest I could ever be.
My hope is that someone will read my story and feel inspired to believe that it could happen when you least expect it. I’m living proof. I was mentally prepared all month, for our next cycle. I ordered my medications, I didn’t buy groceries on the off chance that I wouldn’t feel good, I told family what was going on, and honestly i don’t think we gave it our best shot during my fertile window. We didn’t even use OPKs. I hate, hate, hate, the advice to “just relax” and I will never tell another woman to do that, but instead of relaxing, have faith in your body. Even though your body has been bad to you for quite some time, when you truly least expect it, everything will turn around.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed hearing my story. I often feel guilty that it’s not as tragic as others but it is my story and I want to share it. Infertility looks different on everyone, but we are all in this together. Sending so much baby dust to each and everyone of you!
Dreaming of Diapers & Dimples can be found on Instagram @Diapersanddimples
She also has a blog where she shares her journey with infertility and now pregnancy: diapersanddimples.com