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My Journey Through Infertility

My journey through infertility…

There’s a 7-and-a-half-year age difference between my oldest and middle child.  People often make comments about it such as, “did you mean to space them out so far apart?”  or, “well at least you have a good helper” and my personal favorite, “oh wow, I don’t think I could have started all the way over!”  What these people don’t know is that my children’s difference in age was not by choice.  When my oldest son was 3, my husband and I began trying to have another baby.

I became pregnant with my first child just before our 1-year anniversary so naturally we assumed that getting pregnant again would be easy.   Ever since I can remember, I’d always had problems with my menstrual cycles being abnormal.  I’d had cyst on my ovaries and been placed on birth control as a young teen to try to regulate my cycle and prevent the cyst from growing.  I stopped my birth control after being advised by my physician that it would take at least a year for me to get pregnant based on my history.

Well 5 weeks later, I was pregnant.  So you can see how I just figured that this next go round would be the same way.  Wrong!  I was so unprepared for the emotional roller coaster that came with my failed attempts.  And that’s exactly how I looked at it, MY failure.  I mean I’m a woman.  This is what my body is supposed to do.  Besides, I’d already done it once before.  What was wrong with me?  Of course my cycle became irregular again which made the process even more emotionally draining.  I’d go as far as being 4 days late and get super excited just to be let down by numerous negative pregnancy test.

Month after month I’d beat myself up about not getting pregnant.  I was depressed, and so angry at myself.  Others’ opinions didn’t seem to help either.  People would say things like don’t you want your son to have a brother or a sister?  You aren’t getting any younger, you’d better hurry up if you want another one.  Sometimes I’d just want to scream at them in anger of their ignorance of my suffering.  Other times I’d find myself going into the nearest bathroom to cry.  I felt alone and broken.

My husband was hurting too.  He wanted another child just as much as I did.  And my son was too young to understand.  All of his friends had siblings and he wanted one too.  He often complained of being lonely and not having his own brother or sister to play with.

Everyday I got up in the morning and went to work with a smile on my face but all the while I was dying on the inside from the heartache of my infertility.  After years of money wasted on ovulation and pregnancy tests, my OBGYN suggested taking medication which would force consistent ovulation. He said he almost always saw pregnancies within a few months of use.  I began the medication and was super hopeful.  I began having stomach issues which resulted in weight loss.  While I am always happy to lose weight, I still was not pregnant.

After months of the medication with no success, he suggested a slightly invasive procedure that should also aide in fertility.  I was really apprehensive about surgery.  Outside of having my wisdom teeth pulled, I had never had anything done before.  What if it didn’t work?  What if they messed something up and made my problem worse?

I discussed it with my husband, and we prayed about it.  Neither one of us felt comfortable with this option.  But after serious prayer, I had such a peace about the entire situation that I can’t explain.  I kept hearing in my spirit that I would have another baby at the right time and when I did, it would not be because of anything that another man did but because of what God did through me.  And I believed it!  So much so that I went back to my OBGYN and told him that the next time he saw me I would certainly be pregnant but not because of anything he had done.  He just smiled and said he would believe with me but in the meantime I should strongly reconsider the option of surgery.  My mind was made up and so was my heart.

Several months later on Valentine’s Day of the following year to be exact, my husband and I were sitting in church.  They were having an alter call for people to come up if they wanted prayer.  We’d never talked about going for prayer before about having a baby.  It was embarrassing and also we didn’t want people to think we were having marital issues if we walked up to the front of the church together for prayer.  That day something changed.  We looked at each other and didn’t care what anyone else thought.  He grabbed my hand and up we went.  We told the man who was to pray with us that we’d been trying to get pregnant for 4 years with no luck.  He prayed over us and then told us to find a few scriptures regarding fertility and place them in the room where we spent the most time.  I put them on sticky notes in our bathroom and bedroom and would try to keep them in mind throughout the day.  Again, this was Valentine’s Day 2016.

On March 4, 2016 I woke up to get ready for work like any other day.  My husband was fumbling around in the bathroom and asked if I ever got my cycle?  I hadn’t realized that I was 5 days late seeing as how my cycle tended to be irregular anyway.  We agreed that I should take a test that I’d had in the drawer just to check.  Neither one of us were necessarily expecting anything.  We weren’t anxious this time either though.  We both had such a peace that no matter what the results were, we’d be ok.  I took the test and continued to get ready for work.  A few minutes later we both happened to glance at the test sitting on the bathroom counter.

It was positive!

Two rose colored lines were present.  We both cried and thanked God.  That November I gave birth to our second son.

While I know this isn’t every women’s story, it is mine and it matters.  It’s one of trial and faith.  It’s one of perseverance and self-criticism.   It’s one of hopelessness and healing.  I learned so much about myself, my marriage and God’s love throughout those 4 years.  I now understand that whether I have a baby or not, I am still complete and whole.  I know that my husband loves me no matter how many children we do or don’t have.  And I know that God is faithful beyond comprehension and will give you peace in the midst of your situation.  As previously stated, I know this won’t be everyone’s story and some won’t necessarily have the endings that they’d hoped and prayed for. However, I hope that this does leave someone out there knowing that you are not alone, you are not damaged goods or incomplete as a woman, and most importantly, you are loved.

 

~1spentmom~

The Truth About Infertility

I’ve just recently started opening up about my miscarriage and infertility. I think it’s extremely important to to talk about these things and shine a light on a topic that can sometimes seemingly seem “taboo”.

Not all of us are built to conceive or carry a child. Infertility does NOT discriminate. Personally, I have no trouble “getting pregnant”- staying pregnant that has been a problem for me.

My issues tend to start early on when the baby is still a teeny tiny tadpole alien. Most people have heard of the pregnancy hormone HCG. Well if you’ve ever had a baby before, then you know that in early pregnancy your HCG levels double every 24-48 hours in a healthy pregnancy. It’s also the hormone that causes your home pregnancy test to turn positive. But the other less talked about hormone needed to have a successful pregnancy is Progesterone.

If you’re like me, then you had probably never heard of it before becoming pregnant. Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It’s produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month. It’s a crucial part of the menstrual cycle and for the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. So in other words- it’s super important, and like the HCG hormone it’s number needs to be going up and doubling as well.

Remember when I said I don’t have a problem getting pregnant? Well once a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, progesterone helps maintain the uterine lining throughout pregnancy. Basically it keeps the lining thick enough for the baby implant and grow…or as my doctor so delicately put it “favorable conditions.”

For whatever reason, my body just doesn’t make enough progesterone on it’s own to maintain a pregnancy. My number stopped going up which resulted in miscarriage at 6 weeks and an almost miscarriage this pregnancy at 6 weeks as well. Fortunately, my doctor monitored my levels weekly starting at 4 weeks pregnant. She caught the progesterone early on and put me on suppositories twice a day until I reached 10 weeks, which was supposed to be the safe zone.

That’s when it got super fun..

When I went into my 12 week check up, I was feeling pretty good. Any mom who has suffered a miscarriage knows that the 12 week mark is a biggie! Chances of miscarriage drop tremendously at this point…in a normal pregnancy. She did a couple routine tests and broke the news to me that I still wasn’t making enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.

As frustrated as I was, she dove right into an action plan. She prescribed me a progesterone injection once a week in my hip to keep my levels high enough to carry the baby to term. Attachment.png

With my first pregnancy I had the hardest time not delivering early. I had a different doctor back then, who never thought to check my progesterone levels- so I was constantly in the labor and delivery room having my labor stopped. At 28 weeks I started dilating. By 33 weeks I was at 4cm. By 35 weeks I was at a 6. I was placed on bed rest and a contraction stalling medication for the last month of my pregnancy, ultimately delivering her at 36 weeks. She was healthy- but the whole ordeal was a bit stressful for me and Brett.

This time around is proving no different. My doctor has been super proactive and covered everything preparing for a premature baby..it doesn’t take my fear away..but it helps a ton. This week I had a serious of steroid shots that are designed to mature the babies lungs and get her ready to breathe on the outside. As painful as they were to actually get- I’m so relieved to not have to worry about my baby having breathing troubles if she decides to come early. Along with those shots, they gave me a shot to boost the baby’s immune system- since premies tend to be more susceptible to infections.

So now we are in a waiting game. Hoping she cooks for another 7 weeks at least, but prepared if she decides to come sooner. This whole experience has been so humbling. I’ve had a great support system, and a ton of support from family and friends. Attachment_1.png

Before I went through this, I never realized how common issues like mine are. Why isn’t it talked about more? I’ve spent countless hours online trying to find information and testimonials from other women who’ve gone through this, only to discover it’s fairly common…yet unheard of at the same time!? This needs to change. Early miscarriages, and premature births could go down tremendously if more women knew to ask their doctors to check for low progesterone. Remember, 1 in 4 women will suffer from a miscarriage. That number is way to high. Especially when its something like I have that is treatable if caught early enough. Attachment_2.png

Start talking. If you’re planning on trying for a baby, have your progesterone level checked, most women go their whole adult life not even knowing where they stand. Low progesterone levels cause irregular or heavy periods. I suffered for years, thinking it was normal. So if you’re suffering from either of those- get checked out! It’s a simple blood test, and like I’ve stated before, it’s treatable.

If this helps even one baby or mamma, I’ll be satisfied. Everything starts with a a conversation.

~Andrea