If you’re a guy and reading this post it may not be your cup of tea, but you probably already figured that out by the title. Today I’m going more personal. I think it’s important for not only women, but couples in general, to realize that having a baby isn’t always that easy. Obviously for some people it is, but there are people that struggle with conception, and it’s usually a hush-hush topic. This bothers me because it’s such a sensitive and trying time for couples, especially women. I’ll be flat out honest and tell you that I’ve had more deep conversations about people that I don’t know that well about infertility than my own family and friends. It’s connected me with people that understand, and more importantly, truly care.
After the D & C back in mid/late September (you can read about it here), my main goal was waiting for a period. I got off birth control in 2012, but my periods tended to be 4-6 weeks apart and not very regular. I was also working out a lot during this time, so I decreased my cardio and added more healthy fats into my diet (my doctor said I could continue running, but I just wanted the break to ease my mind). I got my period after 35 days, and my cycle has continued a 5 week pattern since then (give or take a few days). However, since then I have tracked my cycle with ovulation sticks and have tried to learn more about my body’s natural cycles. I ordered Wondfo cheapie strips on Amazon (they also came with pregnancy tests) back in October and also purchased a Clear Blue Digital Ovulation kit. This specific one (I believe there are 2 out there) gives you a smiley face when a LH surge is detected. I don’t want to sound repetitive and say I’m cheap in each post, but this method is somewhat costly if your on a strict budget each month. Just giving ya’ll (can I act like I’m southern because I live in Texas?) a heads up!
I would use the cheapies a few days after my period. I’ve read SO much online and know that ovulation can take place at various times during a cycle. I always thought that I ovulated later, but I needed to actually test and see. Sure enough, my tests have shown that I ovulate at the earliest thus far cycle day 19 (cd19) and the latest cycle day 22 (cd22). Every month, there is a 20% chance than a woman will conceive if sexual intercourse occurs when ovulation takes place. Cycles typically last anywhere between 28-35 days- if you have longer cycles than this, reach out to your gynecologist and discuss this matter further. Even though we knew precisely when I was ovulating, nothing happened. Hence, the day Aunt Flo decides to comes to town is cocktail
day hour. It’s aggravating and makes you wonder if there is something wrong. I know many people claim that when you stop trying it happens and that it can take years, blah blah blah. Well people- we’d rather know if there is an underlying issue sooner rather than later. Ya know?
After tracking my cycle and nothing occurring, I contacted my obgyn and was scheduled an appointment within 2 weeks. She already knew my past and miscarriage experience, and I explained how my cycles have been since then (I wrote down how long each cycle was and when I ovulated for each month). She promptly said that she wanted to start infertility testing. This included:
Labs: I would have to get blood drawn that day, CD3, CD 21, and exactly 7 days after I had a positive opk (ovulation predictor kit). Tyler would also have to get blood drawn as well but only one time.
Semen Analysis- I’m sure he’s thrilled about me broadcasting this, but yes, this is mandatory of the testing to check for count and quality of the sperm.
HSG (Hysterosalpinogram)- According to my handout and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, this is an x-ray procedure that is used to figure out whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked or not. It is also used to determine the size of the uterine cavity. It’s an outpatient procedure and only takes about 10 minutes total to perform. It’s conducted right after menstruation has stopped and hopefully done before ovulation occurs (CD 7-CD 12).
After you’re all straddled up, a catheter is inserted and dye is injected in you to see if your tubes are blocked or not. I’ve heard this procedure feels nothing more than a pap, and I’ve heard that it feels like someone is stabbing them. Thank you Google for getting my panties in a wad about this test. Either I have a high pain tolerance or I thought it was going to be much worse, but at any rate, I would not describe this test as being painful for me. It was uncomfortable, and it honestly felt like a balloon was being blown up if that makes any sense- lots of pressure. However, just because it wasn’t horrible for me doesn’t mean it’ll be this way for everyone. I’ve heard tubes being blocked can cause more pain, but I can’t guarantee how true that is. The doctor was extremely nice and explained everything he was doing, and the nurses kept talking to me the whole time. I must note that I did take a prescribed Percocet that the doctor ordered for me after my D & C which I never used (I had no pain after that procedure). The doctor said it was completely fine taking it, but I was nervous about this too because I thought it might make me feel sick…which it did :( I was nauseous and felt weird the whole day and it wasn’t fun. The medicine probably helped, but I don’t really know. Anyways, I was in and out of the hospital in 45 minutes. TJ took me (so grateful his work his understanding), but was not allowed in the room.
After this procedure and finishing up the semen analysis and my lab work, we have an appointment with our doctor. She’ll go over our results and hopefully come to some conclusion about the best method to approach conception from here on out.
Now, I will say that although I’m open and honest about our path to fertility and conception, that doesn’t mean that I want to be bombarded with questions if/when we do conceive, such as when do we find out the gender and what names do we have picked out. It may sound bitchy because those questions are pretty standard, but they drive me nuts, lol. Our main focus next time around is ensuring that the pregnancy is successful- bottom line. I don’t want to sound harsh, but we learned a lot during the first trimester of the previous pregnancy. I’ve mentioned this before and I apologize if this is a Debbie Downer, but the two pink lines is not a guarantee- the ultimate goal is to have a healthy baby boy or girl in our arms, as well as a healthy mommy ;)
I also must state how incredibly thankful I am for Tricare (military insurance). I know this health coverage is debatable amongst spouses, but these tests are very costly to the average person.
Have you ever gone through fertility testing? If so, what was your process like?
What advice could you give for someone that has done so?
Feel free to ask my any questions about this process :)
Please send words of encouragement not only our way, but for everyone else that may be struggling!