…. When all you want to be is Knocked Up!
Hehe. Excuse the slang. It’s not very pretty is it? But someone out there is feeling this like I did, and girl, I am SO here for you.
Infertility came swooping down out of nowhere for us. We had discussed before we were married how we would give ourselves about 2 years alone together before we’d add to our family… Well, 1 1/2 years came along and we thought, “Hey, it takes 9 months to bake that bun in the oven. Let’s start baking now!”
It seemed fitting with the New Year of 2015 to throw out the condoms and get to work– though we didn’t expect it to feel at all like work 😉
The story I’m about to tell lays the background for a whole lot of posts to come helping out all the sistas who are in the throes of infertility, like I was for the last 3 longest years of my life (even realizing that 3 years is NOTHING compared to what some of you are enduring…). So for anyone who is not on that journey and can’t stomach talking about periods and reproductive cycles and all that jazz, turn back now. Or if you just have to stick your fingers in your ears and sing “lalalalala” to yourself off and on throughout this post, that’s cool too. But for anyone who is in the position I was not too long ago, and is desperate to find ways to help you and your hubs conceive a baby and just finally get pregnant already, this backdrop story is probably for you.
So, we stopped using condoms to officially start off our journey on New Year’s Day
So when January 2015 didn’t bring a period at all, we were pretty stoked. We DID expect it to take a couple of months because we’d done our homework and knew that the average couple takes 3-6 months to get the timing just right when they’re first starting. Especially because most of us don’t go into it with our fertility charts, taking our temps, and timing sex, right? Nor do we often do much to prepare our bodes for conception. You know, we’re young and naive and terribly green… and so un-jaded.
The jading came for us that first month. My period didn’t arrive– yippee! Only, the pregnancy test was negative. How in the world could that be? Why else wouldn’t I have a period, as I have had every 31 days since I was 12? And especially the FIRST MONTH we go without using contraception? Ever. In my life.
It didn’t add up.
So I went to the gyno and she checked everything out and said I was all healthy, explained how the chemical balance in our heads controls our periods, and sometimes it just goes a bit loopy as it’s all very delicate, and said she thought we’d be pregnant within the year.
Only, we weren’t.
And though my period finally came 2 months after my last, the next month it skipped again. My cycles that year were hopping from sixty-some days to forty-some days, to my normal thirty-one (hurrah!!) and then off wacky again. I never realized how much I appreciated getting a period (um, seriously, there’s not a lot to appreciate when you’re experiencing all the period cramps, though, am I right, girls?) until it went psycho. Whenever it was due and wouldn’t come, I FELT psycho. Like everything was off in the world, and everything was off in my head.
And it kind of was, as I’d learned the day after returning from my honeymoon that my whole life my dad had been cheating on my family, and my mom was preparing to finally leave him. But we weren’t allowed to talk about it with anyone and I was starting to implode with the grief and confusion. Hence, the chemical imbalance in me that the gyno had explained, which eventually culminated in an unshakable depression, and had, like the gyno said, thrown off my periods. Ahh, that delicate hormonal balance dictated by chemical signals in our crazy complicated brains…
However, knowing all that wasn’t getting us pregnant. So after a few more months of just waiting on my period to sort itself out, I opted to see another doctor. So, for those of you counting, we’re at two different doctors now. Before this journey finishes, we’ll have seen five different doctors regarding our fertility; six if you count the one the hubs saw by himself.
Anyway, where were we. Ah yes, so the second doctor practiced a bit of a mix between allopathic (mainstream, regular, pharmaceutical) medicine, and naturopathic medicine. Which was awesome, because she ran far more tests than the gyno had, and could prescribe both pharmaceutical medicines to treat the outcomes of those tests, AND natural alternatives. Score! Plus, she was super familiar with Young Living Essential Oils which was a HUGE benefit as she was able to give advice on how to use them for my specific medical needs. And oh boy, I love my oils!
So, with all of her medical tests, despite beginning to feel a bit like a pincushion with all the blood drawing, she was able to ascertain that my levels of extrogen were THROUGH THE ROOF, my progesterone then, as it’s balanced by etsrogen, was not optimal for conceiving a baby, and my thyroid wasn’t quite operating up to snuff either. So, armed with some actual information about what was going on in my body, I was able to start working out what to do to create the best possible environment for our little one to come into.
And this, my friends, began our journey to getting pregnant.
In the weeks that follow, I’d like to share some of the practical side of the journey to parenthood for us, in case it may help anyone else who’s on the journey we’ve been walking the past 3 years.
You can take whatever you want from these posts, and forget whatever you want to. It’s just where all of our research and discussions and seeking treatment and answers took us over the years. The following list isn’t exhaustive, but just a sampling of some of the things I will post about in more detail in weeks to come. If you’d like to follow along and glean what you can from our journey to get pregnant, make sure to subscribe!
When Getting Pregnant Gets Hard: All the things we changed in our lives to Increase our Fertility
- Never used hormone-altering birth controls to begin with!!
- Committed to taking AM Temps (BBT) to track fertility
- Invested in classes on The Creighton Model (tracking cervical mucus along with taking temps)
- Did blood tests to look at my hormone levels, and worked to balance them
- Gave up coffee & alcohol
- Adjusted to a new hot drink of choice: raw, organic Cacao
- Limited dairy and started making my own coconut milk
- Limited sugar, and discovered Stevia
- Took a bazillion vitamins & supplements for Fertility: So many, I’ll need to write more than one post!
- Invested in new Essential Oils for Fertility, and trained myself in how to use them
- Invested in Acupuncture for fertility
- After our first cycle on Clomid failed, I started using organic Caster Oil Packs for Fertility before we tried it again 4 months later.
- Discovered MTHFR Gene Deficiency in my family, and learned what to do to aid my cells in methylation. This was HUGE. And 50% of Americans have this gene deficiency, and most of us don’t even know it…
- Vitamin B12 & Methylfolate. Oh. my.word. This was a game-changer for me, ladies & gents!
- Did liver detoxing
- Learned how to support my Thyroid for fertility
- Learned and committed to the right kind of exercise for optimal fertility
- Learned and tried to implement specific Foods for optimal fertility, and went organic as much as possible!
- Implemented as many low-glycemic meals as possible
- Started doing Magnesium Salt & Baking Soda Baths for fertility
- Got the toxins out of my home! I changed my cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, dish soap, hand soap, lotions, toothpaste, and even my make-up
- Changed my feminine hygiene products out for less toxic alternatives
- Read ‘Every Bitter Thing is Sweet’ by Sara Haggerty and felt God change my aching heart…
- Laughed and cried my way through ‘It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life you Didn’t Choose’ by Melanie Dale
- Hubby made some changes too, just in case, even though we knew my hormone levels were the problem. I’ll tell you about them in a post.
- Looked at the Emotional blocks behind infertility. Again, huge…
- Learned to utilize EFT to combat anxiety, and trauma, and help my brain heal from the last few years of chaos in my life, after reading the incredible book, ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Psychiatrist Bessel Van Der Kolk
- Worked with God. Grieved with God. Shouted at God. Learned from God. SO. MUCH. PRAYER…
- Learned to ask people to pray for us, even when it felt awkward and personal and private. I learned to listen out for who God was pointing out to ask, and over and over again, those people blessed me with so much more than their prayers.
- Started holding babies again, even when it ripped my heart wide open, knowing that there was something of His heart in each of them, and I needed to find my way back to that home that His heart was to me…
Goodness, that’s probably enough to get us started, hey? I’m really excited you’re here, have stuck it out to the end of this thing, and will maybe come along on the journey to unpack it in the weeks and months to come! I so hope something in my journey might help someone else along the way.
Walking beside you, friends.