My Struggle with Possible Infertility
As I’ve thought about blogging while I’ve been home from work, it has been difficult for me to think about publishing an entry that I can’t put a positive spin on. I’ve come to realize that I like to present everything to the world outside of me in a pretty little package so people will accept it and like me. I am a people puh-leaser and frightfully insecure at the root of it all.
I have realized that the only way I can authentically blog right now is to write for myself, not for an audience.
A few weeks ago, I went to a new gynecologist who diagnosed me with possible endometriosis and/or PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Neither of these are easy to conclusively diagnose, but my symptoms and medical history pointed to the possibility of both. Since coming off of birth control in April, I got a period at the beginning of May and nothing since. I’ve had daily (though not constant) pelvic pain, discomfort, and nausea that mimics morning sickness for over 3 months.
I’ve been through some pretty painful doctor’s visits and test check-ins where it was strongly suggested that I may be pregnant – and then getting those big fat negatives became a huge letdown.
I’ve never really wanted a period in and of itself, but I found myself jealous of women who have predictable cycles where their periods come every month like clockwork. My body couldn’t do that. Not even after 13 years of “training” on the Pill. I’m back to being 13/14 years old and wondering where my period is for months. But on top of that, now I have intermittent pain, discomfort, and nausea that prevent me from being a normal functioning adult.
Truth be told, the whole situation is making me frustrated and angry. So getting a diagnosis was a relief in the sense that I can name what I’m going through, but it led to even bigger questions and problems because neither one of those conditions has a clear diagnosis or a clear answer. My gynecologist literally told me to either get back on birth control pills or get pregnant. Kind of weird because birth control pills just mask some symptoms (although it positively prevents the growth of endometriosis if that’s what I have) and it will be pretty hard to get pregnant when I’m not ovulating. So I asked her about fertility and she told me not to worry about it because I’m “only 27”. Okay, I get it – logically I have at least 13 years left of “childbearing years” – but what about my life? What if raising children is what I wanted to be doing for the next 13+ years, not waiting to get started?
The day that Dayne and I went to see her, I was VERY resistant to going back on birth control pills because of my last experience with them, so I told her I didn’t want to go back on them and she told me to just monitor my (lack of a) cycle. We also discussed the Progesterone Challenge my previous gynecologist recommended, and she thought I should go through with it (with natural progesterone instead of the synthetic because it carries less risk of side effects) and then continue to do it every 3 months if I don’t get a period in between. That was that.
After we came home, that night was filled with arguing and LOTS of tears. One of the worst nights ever. Dayne called me out on being terrified that I might not be able to have children, and I am. It’s not that we wouldn’t try to adopt, but, from what I understand, that process can be excruciating (and incredibly expensive) and I know I’ll experience some emotional devastation if we’re not able to biologically have our own child(ren). Plus the fact that either route – trying to get pregnant naturally and then adding help, or adopting, could take years upon years. I thought we’d be happily off to starting our family within the next two.
I completed my Progesterone Challenge last week and I got a brief period a couple of days ago. The period was a relief but also a reminder – now we have to make some more difficult decisions based on a couple of inconclusive diagnoses. If I stay off of birth control, every month that I don’t get a period will be filled with anxiety and disappointment, let alone the pain and discomfort that I may inevitably continue to feel. If I go back on it, I will temporarily feel better but know that I am just “going through the motions” and waiting to go forward with another possibly very difficult 6 months (the GYN said I should be off of birth control for at least six months before trying to conceive, and I am currently in my 5th month) before I can truly move forward with what I want to be doing (trying to become a mother). And then there’s the possibility that we may start trying in the near future, and I could go see a reproductive endocrinologist/fertility doctor and feel like I’m moving on with my life.
The funny thing is that once you’re married, you have to make these decisions with somebody else who may disagree with you. I can’t just settle on what I think is best and run with it. We have to emotionally be in the same place to move forward. And that becomes a very difficult thing.