April 23, 2015

My fertility story

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  Obviously I have three kids so I am not infertile, but I did struggle to get pregnant the first time.  It was stressful, emotional and something that I didn't really talk to people about.  I always thought it was kind of strange that people didn't talk about it.  It's an important issue that so many people struggle with and it's important to have support.  My heart goes out to anyone out there who is struggling to get pregnant.  We were lucky to have great doctors that helped us figure out what the problem was so we could fulfill our dreams of having a family.  I decided to share our story on this little blog because in the two years that we were trying, I liked reading other women's stories.  Every story is different and I don't think it's something that has to be kept quiet.  So here is my story.

Tyler and I are planners.  When we were dating, we would separately sit down and write what we wanted in our lives.  When we wanted to get engaged, get married, buy a house, have kids, etc.  Then we'd compare.  We were usually pretty spot on with our plans.  We both agreed that we wanted to wait a few years to have kids after we got married, to take time to enjoy each other (and sleeping in on the weekends).

We got married in 2006.  We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon, were lucky enough to go to Italy and Greece in 2007, bought our first house later in 2007.  We enjoyed going out with friends, playing in several volleyball leagues, sleeping in, and all those other things that kind of lose importance once you have kids.

Then we both agreed, it was time for a baby!  We'd stop birth control and get pregnant.  Isn't that how it works?  For some people, yes it does.  For others, it's not that easy.

We tried for a year and nothing.  I took so many pregnancy tests and was just as devastated with every single negative.  This wasn't how it was supposed to work.

After that year, I made an appointment with some doctors that I had a few friends recommend.  They were wonderful and very positive.  They assured us that they had no doubt that we would get pregnant.

The first easy step was some blood work.  My prolactin level came back high (which can cause infertility) so they put me on some medicine to lower it.  They also had me do an MRI of my brain because one cause of high prolactin is a tumor on the pituitary gland.  Thankfully, that came back fine.  So I took the medicine and had to go in every other week to have my blood drawn to see if it was going down.  I honestly can't remember how long it took, but eventually it was down to an acceptable level.  But after several more months of trying to get pregnant...nothing.  They had no reason to believe there was something wrong on Tyler's end, but they checked everything, and it was fine.

In April of 2010 my doctors decided to do a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which is basically an x-ray to see if there is blockage in the fallopian tubes.  I won't get into details, but this test was extremely painful.  They said there was some minor blockage, but they didn't think enough to require surgery.  The doctor told us that sometimes the dye that they use is enough to clear the blockage so they wanted us to try for a few more months and then move on to the next step.

I'm actually not sure what the next step was.  The very next month, on May 17th, 2010, I got my first positive pregnancy test!  I was at work and just had this weird feeling so I ran to Walgreens for a test and took it in the work bathroom.  I was in complete shock.  This "story" may not seem like a big deal since it was pretty short.  But when you want to get pregnant so bad and literally take a test every month for two years, not understanding why it isn't happening, it is exhausting.  I know a lot of people struggle for a lot longer so I'm very grateful, but it was a very hard time for us.

My doctors said they believe the HSG is what allowed us to get pregnant and that minor blockage was enough to cause my infertility.  That awful procedure that Tyler almost passed out during (he might kill me for putting that in there), was obviously SO worth it!

Luckily when we were ready to have more babies, we didn't have any issues.  We are so blessed!

1 in 8 people live with infertility.  We all probably have a family member or friend who is living with it.  We likely don't know it though because people just don't talk about it.  It's not something people should feel ashamed of.  Share your story.  You are not alone.

1 comment:

  1. This article really is a great read for younger women who are struggling with fertility issues, and provides a lot of valuable information. The HSG is really painful! had to get one myself, but it's nice for women to know that there are many reasons you can't get pregnant, and to not worry too much right away.

    Margie Day @ Reproductive Wellness