The “i” word alone is enough to freak me out. I’m not sure if I subconsciously knew my body wasn’t totally right—or just had a hunch since my cycles have never really returned to what’s considered “normal” post-pill—but I was terrified to go to the doctor. Terrified to have him poke and prode around on and up in me. Terrified for him to talk to my husband about having his spermies tested. Terrified to discuss fertility drugs and other less-natural means of getting pregnant. And I was really, really terrified to hear the word “infertility.” (Despite the fact that it plagues 10 to 15 percent of couples, according to recent estimates.)
It took me six weeks to get in to see my OB/GYN. So for six weeks, I pretty much stuck my head in the sand, pretending that everything was okay and keeping myself busy so that I wouldn’t think about (re: feel the terror). So the day of the appointment? Well, I was pretty much a mess. I had a general idea of what to expect (lots of questions, future tests), but again, I was so darn scared. Thankfully, my husband kept it together and the doctor had that kind of self-depracating humor that you can’t help but like. He cracked jokes, shared success stories and smiled a lot while answering all of our questions. He even shared him and his wife’s struggles with getting pregnant. I really couldn’t ask for much more.
After discussing our past health histories and sharing my fertility charts with him, he agreed with me that my luteul phase was simply too short and it was taking me way too long to ovulate. Plus, the fact that my cervical fluid wasn’t robust (oh, the things you say when trying to get pregnant…), was a sign that things were amiss. So that day, I did a blood and urine test, and scheduled my next appointment for a transvaginal ultrasound.
Two ultrasounds and more pee tests later, I found out that my anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels were low and that my body simply wasn’t producing quality eggs. While there were eggs a growin’, they weren’t big enough. On top of that, my endometrium lining was too thin. The only good news? I didn’t have PCOS and my lady parts weren’t mutant. (Dude, my doctor had tales of women with two vaginas and hidden peni—and, well, let’s just say stories that were a good distraction while you have an ultrasound wand up your vajayjay.)
So after months of worry, my worst fear was realized. I was—correction, I am—according to the medical peeps and researchers, infertile. In my current state, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get pregnant without some help. Seeing that this “infertility” diagnosis was what I thought was about the worst thing that could ever happen to me, when my doctor actually said it, I was surprised when I reacted the way I did. I felt liberated—free, in fact.
The fear of being considered infertile was more scary than actually being called infertile. It’s as if the huge-ass band-aid had been ripped off. Like I’d jumped through the fire and lived to tell about it. The worst happened, and here I was, the same person going about my business.
And that business is about turning fear into hope—and next steps. My doctor gave us a few choices, and we have decided to try a low dose of Clomid for a few cycles to stimulate my follicles to ovulate and improve the quality of my eggs. I still have a few weeks before I start treatment (waiting for this cycle to wrap up), but you know I’ll be posting on how the Clomid goes. I’m hoping Clomid does the trick, but as I’ve learned, getting pregnant takes patience, and it’s best to settle in for the ride, rather than expect an outcome.
I can’t say that the everyone else in my life had the same liberated reaction as I did. My husband was pretty upset about it, and I could tell that my mom took it hard. I guess the “i” word affects everyone differently—and I certainly have had more time to be upset about it since I’ve been scared for months over it. But the good news is that my husband and I now have information. We know what the issue is with me, and we have a plan to hopefully correct it. (If we don’t get pregnant within a month or two, we will then get him checked out, too, just to be sure.)
As someone who prides herself on her health and taking care of her body, it does bother me (read: bruises my ego) to take a drug. But, I figure, if I take a pill to fight allergies in the spring or to ward off a headache, how is this really that different? We want our baby; and we’ll do what we need to do to get there. (Also, I haven’t ruled out trying more of this.)
I’ll admit that, on days when I’m feeling down, it’s easy for my thinking to spiral into thoughts of me not feeling like a full-fledged woman because of the “i” word, but I know deep-down that’s ridiculous. We’re all so much more than the roles we play in life. Not to mention that self-defeated thinking where you talk to yourself like your own worst enemy rather than your own best friend is a sure-fire recipe for feeling even more fear.
So, if you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s not happening as quickly as the literature tells you it should, take heart. The “i” word is terrible. But it’s not as terrible as the fearful unknown is. Promise.
Anyone else been through this? Gotten pregnant on Clomid? Please, please, please, share your experience with me. —Jenn