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The Start of it All
It’s funny, once I learned where babies come from, I was under the impression that sex led to babies. And if I had unprotected sex, I was bound to get pregnant. So it really caught me off guard when I got married and stopped taking my birth control and found that after months upon months of unprotected sex, that I was not pregnant. My immediate response was to talk to my doctor, which was fairly unhelpful. I was basically told unless I had been trying for a year, there wasn’t much she was going to do.
With that, I decided to learn a bit more about trying to conceive. I found myself teaching myself all that I could about the menstrual cycle, Taking Charge of Your Fertility was immensely helpful. The most important thing I found was that there are only a few days each cycle that you can actually get pregnant and that even then, it’s not that high of a percentage. This made me feel better but also want to know more, to better my chances.
Tracking My Cycle
I learned how to track ovulation, which is crucial! There are several apps out there, that can assist you with tracking your cycle (Glow and Kindara are my favorite!). Tracking your cycle is something I think all women should be able to, whether they are trying to conceive or not. If you are aware of your cycle, you will be able to find if there are any issues to bring up to your health care provider.
I personally found that something was wrong with me by tracking my cycle, which ended up being the source of my infertility. It was exponentially helpful to track my cycle on an app that I could bring to the doctor’s office, because initially when I pointed out issues in my cycle I was turned away and told to lose weight. However, when I brought my actual data, a doctor finally agreed that something more than just my weight was affecting my cycle.
I was referred to an endocrinologist who specializes in infertility who ran a series of tests. I had blood work done, I had an ultrasound, my husband had his sperm tested, I had an xray of my ovaries and tubes to check for blockages and doctor appointment after appointment. My lab work showed higher levels of androgen, and my ultrasound showed that I had several cysts on my ovary; along with my rapid sporadic weight gain, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). My husband’s sperm was fine, and my tubes did not show any blockages.
Getting diagnosed with PCOS was definitely painful. I felt like my body had betrayed me, since puberty and it was hard to handle. But my doctor assured me that it was one of the easier fixes, as far as fertility issues go. The first thing we had to address were my cysts, I could not safely begin a fertility treatment with the cysts I had at the time.
My doctor told me to come back in eight weeks and we would see if the cysts were better. I returned and they had barely shrunk, and so she suggested I go on a low dose birth control (sometimes it helps). I decided that it couldn’t hurt, every though it felt counter productive to use birth control while trying to conceive. In addition to trying the lose dose birth control to shrink my cysts, I decided to give castor oil packs a try.
Because I didn’t try each of them individually I am not sure which one was effective or if it was a combination. By the time I went back 8 weeks later, my cysts were 100% gone and I finally began my journey to conception. I was prescribed femara and began it at the beginning of my next cycle. My doctor told me to take it at night to avoid the side effects, and so the only one I can remember bothering me would be hot flashes.
I used the Ovulation Predictor Kits that my endocrinologist suggested and I honestly thought I would not ovulate the first cycle on femara. Especially when the first few tests I only got negatives. It wasn’t until my husband used the bathroom, maybe an hour after I forgot to check a test and he was the one who noticed that it was positive. We had intercourse that night and again the next morning and that night again. But again, I had seen so many negative pregnancy tests that I wasn’t convinced I still would not be getting a positive any time soon.
11 days post ovulation I took a test and it was negative. 11 days is a bit early, I like this website for the chances of an accurate test based on the days past ovulation. The next day I took another test and, expecting nothing, walked away and forgot about it. When I came back later, I saw a faint line without squinting. I couldn’t believe it. My mom was visiting and so I asked her opinion, she saw the line as well, however she seemed hesitant as I hadn’t read it right after taking the test in the appropriate time frame. So I tried my best to put it out of my mind until the next day.
The following morning I took a First Response and a Clearblue Digital Test, and both were positive. I was so excited, I rushed to tell my husband. He was so happy, however he expected the news which felt like it took away from the moment. I wanted it to be unexpected, to catch him off guard but our journey to conception was not effortless nor thoughtless; it was a science and overly planned, as it needed to be with my condition. And so our journey began!