My journey to motherhood started off with all the hope and promise that every woman wishes for. After moving to Seattle in 2007, my husband and I started trying to have a baby as soon as his new health care program kicked in (July 2007). By mid-August we got a positive plus sign on the ClearBlue Easy stick. We were thrilled and 9 months later, and after a pretty routine and uneventful pregnancy, I gave birth to our first son Aden.
It wasn’t until we started trying for baby #2 that our journey took a decidedly different turn.
My husband and I started trying again when Aden was 18 months old (11/2009). In my arrogance I thought that it had been a piece of cake to conceive before, surely it would be the same the 2nd time around. But month after month went by and still no pregnancy. In August of that year I finally started charting my basal body temperature along with the dates of my period, breast tenderness, cramping, and intercourse. But there were patterns that started to reveal themselves, I could certainly tell when I was ovulating and so we started having the super romantic timed sexual encounters. Fun and exciting times (do you detect a hint of sarcasm…yes, you do)!
In September 2010 I had my yearly appointment with my CNM (certified nurse midwife). I told her about our challenges thus far in trying to conceive but she didn’t seem to be too concerned just yet. She said I still wasn’t 35 and we hadn’t been trying for a year and told me to hold out a little longer. Seriously? I was a month shy of 35 and we’d been trying for 10 months already! To say that I was a little perturbed is putting it lightly. However, she did order a series of blood tests just to rule out some things. My pap smear came back normal. She ran a TSH Reflexive test which measures your thyroid hormone levels . Normal. She also did a CBC (complete blood count) test which came back normal as well. So I’m not 35, I haven’t been trying for a year yet and I’m perceivably normal.
In November 2010, one year into it, we had my husband tested (sperm tested) which was the next easiest thing to rule out. That was fun…not! We had a friend tell us that you could get a special condom from the reproductive clinic so you could actually have sex while “collecting the sample”. They just looked at him like he had 3 heads and handed him the Tupperware container. Traumatizing to say the least. But results came back that he too was “normal”.
Next stop was a visit to the OBGYN where I repeated my story thus far hoping she could uncover some nugget of information that would solve the mystery. She ordered a Progesterone (P4) test which would tell me if I had ovulated and when. Guess what…normal. She told me she couldn’t help me any further and gave me the names of some Reproductive clinics in Seattle.
In January, 2011 we made our first visit to Seattle Reproductive Medicine. Once again I repeated my story, now feeling like I’m sounding like a broken record. But my doctor at SRM was the first person to say that it didn’t seem “normal” what was happening given my first pregnancy and the fact that all of my tests were coming back with such positive results. After a year of heartbreaking discouragement I finally felt listened to. And then on that visit she suggested doing an ultrasound to have a look at my uterus right then and there. Immediately she noticed a shadow in the picture in my uterine cavity but said she couldn’t confirm exactly what it was until I had another more specific test run.
The next procedure I had done was called a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Basically what they do is push radioactive fluid through a catheter that is inserted into your cervix which will show via an x-ray if you have any blockages in the uterus or fallopian tubes. It was not a comfortable exam but I take comfort in the fact that my doctor knew what he was doing and was quick about it. The results were immediate and plain to see on the x-ray. I had a polyp growing on the wall of my uterus taking up residence in the exact place a cozy little fertilized egg would naturally gravitate to. Did I mention that it was also the size of my uterus and had begun to bulge down into my cervix? NOT NORMAL!!! So there you have it, a pretty big goalie blocking the goal.
In March of 2011 I had surgery to remove the beast (which really wasn’t as big as all that considering your uterus is like the size of a walnut give or take). And I was given the go ahead to start trying again 2 weeks post op.
So let me try to wrap the rest of this already long story up. My arrogance crept up on me again and I thought it would be easy now that I was “normal” again. Nothing happened for 5 cycles and we decided to revisit SRM to see what the next steps were. My doctor suggested that we just try to jump start my system with a fertility drug (Letrozole) and IUI (intrauterine insemination) cocktail. She also suggested expecting to do it in 3 rounds because it’s not a guarantee the first time…or anytime for that matter.
In August 2011 I started the Letrozole which ripens up multiple eggs in one cycle. I went back to the clinic mid-cycle to see how they were doing and I had 4 eggs about to drop. They then gave me a shot which induced ovulation the next day. My husband and I returned to the clinic again the next morning to have our uber-romantic “collection session” (the closest we’ll ever get to having sex in public) and returned again later that same afternoon to finish off with the ultra-sexy “insemination session” (in which M waited in the car with our toddler).
On September 18th, 2011 we got a positive pregnancy test result. After almost 2 years of struggle we were finally pregnant!
Those 2 years were very difficult for me. To be told repeatedly that I was “normal” was not comforting. Nor were all the other “comforting” comments that people made. But what I realized was that when it comes to making a baby nothing is normal. I mean my husband and I weren’t even in the same building together. No making a baby is not normal, it’s a miracle!