40 weeks {and 1 year} later

When I first had the motivation to start this blog it was about a year ago. I had just completed a {long} series of fertility testing and we were preparing for our first round of IUI (Intrauterine insemination). I wanted to share my journey as I knew many who were also going through something similar. The infertility community has become more vocal, and it should continue to be even more. As one could have noticed from this only recently “published” blog/post… the last 50 weeks were anything but productive in terms of a website and blogging go.

Here I am – 40 weeks pregnant. Did the IUI last August work? Sure didn’t. And it overwhelmed the heck out of me. But, I do want to share a little background, as I know several with similar stories of that overwhelmed, panicked, stressed feeling, and hopefully reading about someone else who has been there will help just ONE person reduce their noise.

I’ll share more on my history at some point, but to briefly summarize I spend most of my teens and twenties eating as little as possible, working out and running as much as possible and trying to be teeny tiny. I battled with insomnia and anxiety, therapy described mild bipolar depression, and after going off birth control around age 29/30, I had a total of 3 natural menstrual cycles in 2 years. None of that sounds healthy… especially when you compress it into two sentences 😊 You can read about “things to do” until your eyes fall out, but unless you know what’s really going on under there, it’s a wild goose chase to drive yourself insane.

After over a year off birth control and about 9 months of trying to conceive (but knowing I’d have hormonal imbalances) I wanted to get everything checked and just know what we were dealing with. I got an HSG (Hysterosalpingography – in English, an x-ray of my uterus), ultrasounds and about 6 vials of blood work for hormone testing, which all needed to be done on day 2 of a period… periods that I don’t get. So, they pumped me with progesterone for 5 days, and then coming off progesterone triggers your body to have a period. Just what you want on day two: to be poked and prodded.

We did my husbands semen analysis, too, but this isn’t his blog… plus those are pretty self-explanatory and basically his stuff was good to go. I just didn’t want anyone to think we wouldn’t go through all of this testing to only check on ½ of the equation. Plenty of males are the half that have the issue, and it’s just as stressful and shouldn’t be overlooked.

In all, when the results came back, majority of my workup looked great… except for my estrogen (which was an 8… and normally should be around/under 50). My AMH, which shows your ovarian reserve. In someone my age they’d like to see it higher that 1.5, and I believe mine was around 1.15, which tells them that I had a diminishing chance. I’m a “search for the natural way” kind of person – so when the action plan was to pump me with hormones, go in for testing every couple of days, give yourself and injection and then we’ll do an IUI was presented all over one phone call… it was… overwhelming to say the least. But we assumed based on their recap that was really our best chance.

Simultaneously I was trying to educate myself on natural ways to help with some of these things. Doctors are great and have ways to fix said problem, however I learned long ago they aren’t necessarily equipped with the tools need to get to the root of the problem and heal it. I found a podcast called How to get Healthy and Pregnant, which is a Chinese medicine acupuncturists podcast. From this, I stopped working out, literally altogether except for taking walks, and maybe (emphasis on the maybe) would lift some light weights 1 day a week. I also started to see my favorite acupuncturist in the Twin Cities – Carey and Sunu Wellness in Minnetonka. She is so calming and understanding, I honestly feel like I’m getting a mini therapy session with each acupuncture session. I also see their massage therapists, and saw a chiropractor as well. I had never done shiatsu massage, which is basically acupressure, but it works in a similar way to acupuncture. Basically a major take-away from the podcast I learned was to make sure I was prioritizing s e l f – c a r e.

When we did the IUI procedure, which meant taking estrogen and progesterone, giving myself a “trigger shot”, and then going in to have the whole procedure tracked and monitored, it was a lot. In addition, we found out in August that it did not work. The doctor was ready to up the meds and doses and do another back to back, but I went with my gut and feelings of sadness and overwhelmed, and said I’d get back to them. Really, I needed time. For a facility that does this hundreds of times a day, I was another number and another statistic. While I do know their goals was to get me pregnant, I still felt like there was more I could do on my own and I just hadn’t gotten there.

I had done some seed cycling in the past, and started to incorporate that a little more. To be honest it is a touch confusing when you don’t get a cycle at all. Another friend recommended the book “It Starts with the Egg” so because I was willing to try one more natural thing, I decided to pick up CoQ10. Took that for about a month. We took a break from ovulation strips and doctors. I kept up with my no working out, continued walks, acupuncture and massage, and CoQ10. And at the end of October, the day before our annual Halloween party, I found out I was pregnant.

I want to be CLEAR that I do not think it was any ONE thing that got me pregnant. I do think that stress plays a major factor in your body’s ability to procreate. Think about it, if you’re stressed, or your body is in a state of stress, it’s hard to 1) lose weight, 2) you get sick more 3) getting a cycle or ovulating even if you do have a period is near impossible. Your body can simply not drop an egg one month because it is in fight or flight mode. There’s no way you can get pregnant if you’re not dropping an egg! So, when people tell you “just relax! It will happen!” it’s okay to want to punch that person in the face… because do I think it’s the month that we “stopped trying” that’s the reason I got pregnant? Heck NO! GOSH NO! There were so many factors. I do think that I did a lot of things correctly, though, to get us to this point. And I do think that following my gut was the best thing for me. The process can be so stressful, and if you’re like me and you’re an anxious person by nature, hearing people tell you to relax only causes more stress.

To everyone, in each part of this process and journey, I pray for calm and a sense of peace. Whether you’ve miscarried, had babies, or are still waiting on your first miracle, it can make you feel alone and like something is wrong with you. The human body, especially the female body, is complex and can be completely overwhelming.

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