It has been quite some time since I've sat down at my computer and just started typing. For months, I've wanted to write about this particular subject, however something kept holding me back. Perhaps it was the fear that I'm not exactly a "writer" and I wouldn't be able to put into words what it was that I wanted to say. This morning I woke up and decided that it doesn't matter how I write it, it just matters that I write it. So, I'll sit here today and share my story with you, because I think it's so important for all of us to realize that you don't ever really know someone's whole story or what they may be going through. These days it's so easy to get caught up in the highlight reel of someone's life on social media and think that it's always rainbows and butterflies for that person. It's completely understandable why you would think that. I know most of the time when I make a post, I post about the happy and good things in my life. I mean, who really wants to hear me complain or post negative things all of the time? Those of you who follow me on social media know that I'm currently 27 weeks pregnant and that I've had a fairly "easy" pregnancy. Easy meaning I haven't had any morning sickness or serious issues, I've still been able to exercise and do the things I enjoy, and I haven't been too much of an emotional mess...at least not yet! What most of you don't know is that though my pregnancy has been pretty easy up to this point, becoming pregnant was anything but. You may have experienced the struggle, know someone who has, or perhaps you're sitting at the other end of your computer currently going through a similar situation. There may be times when you feel helpless, ashamed, or broken, but I'm writing this to let you know that you are not broken and that you don't have to go through this alone. Many women experience difficulties when trying to conceive, including myself, and though movies like "Knocked Up" have us convinced that it's as easy as bada-bing, bada-"bang" (literally), it's not always that simple.
Let me start by sharing a little bit about my menstrual history. I know, just the thing you've been dying to hear about. I started taking birth control around the age of nineteen. Throughout the years, I tried many different brands of "the pill" and always had a normal period while on it. Fast forward to the spring of 2014. I switched the brand of birth control I was taking in April and had a period that very next month. After May, there was absolutely no sign of a "period" until December. I use the term "period" lightly, because that's exactly what it was in December, extremely light (light as in no tampon even needed)! From December 2014 on, I can recall maybe one other month where I had something that even remotely resembled a period. Just so we're on the same page, I want to reiterate that this entire time I was indeed taking birth control. In June of 2015, I decided to stop taking birth control to let my body adjust and get back on track. My husband and I were planning on trying to start a family soon, so getting off the pill seemed like the best decision for us. Again, months passed without a period. If I remember correctly, the only evidence of a "period" came in October and again in January. Both of these occurrences were extremely light and definitely nothing to write home about.
I know what some of you are thinking...not having a period and having the same box of tampons sitting in your closet for two years would be a dream come true. In fact, I probably would've felt that exact same way if I wasn't trying to get pregnant. When you don't have a period, it makes it extremely difficult to know when you are ovulating, therefore making it very hard to conceive. In the fall of 2015, my doctor recommended that I take my temperature every morning before I get out of bed with a basal thermometer. Apparently your body temperature rises when you are ovulating. Every morning, for months, I'd wake up, roll over, and grab the thermometer off of my nightstand and patiently wait for the reading. I'd type the date, time, and temperature into the notes section of my phone and then go about my day as usual. Taking your temperature every morning may not seem like a big deal, but let me just tell you, it's annoying and frustrating, especially when you have to hold in your morning tinkle while you lay there and wait for the high pitched beeps of the thermometer to release you from your bed. It's also extremely frustrating when the readings give you no indication of when or IF you are even ovulating. Then there's the glamorous ovulation tests, which are basically like a pregnancy test except you're not checking to see if you're pregnant, you're peeing on the little stick to find out if you are ovulating. Since I had absolutely no idea of when I could even potentially be ovulating due to the lack of my period, I had to take a test every day. I'm going to be completely honest with you, I was beginning to lose hope. Not one test came back with a positive reading...not one.
My doctor and I discussed our next steps and in March of 2016 I took Provera to try to restore my natural hormone levels and help me have a menstrual cycle. I did indeed have a very light period, which meant I was ready for the next step, an oral fertility treatment called Femara. I took this pill for a few days and then began taking ovulation tests twice a day for a few weeks straight. Again, not one test came back positive. I felt helpless. What was wrong with me? Maybe it just wasn't the right time. Maybe I wasn't meant to be a mom. All of these thoughts were consuming my mind now more than ever. In April, my doctor called in a prescription for me to try another round of Femara. For some reason, I never went to the pharmacy to pick it up. I think at that point I was just ready for a break. I needed a little vacation from the stress, the frustration, the disappointment.
I'll never forget that evening in May when I sat in my kitchen on the phone with my best friend and she asked if my husband and I were still "trying." At that point, I had decided to take a break from everything. No more ovulation tests, no more temperature taking, no more tracking our sex life in an app, no more stressing! As we hung up the phone, I had this strange feeling. I remember thinking, "dang your boobs have been big lately and you really haven't been eating THAT crappy." Side note, my "ladies" fluctuate quite often based on my diet and the intensity of my workouts. Even though I had just taken a pregnancy test a few weeks prior, I decided to go upstairs and give it another go. Typically when I take a test, I set it on the counter and basically stare it down while I wait for the results. However, this particular time I laid it on the counter and walked away. I came back a few minutes later and I could not believe my eyes...PREGNANT! After guzzling down a couple glasses of water, I immediately took a second test and sure enough, another positive reading. I just couldn't believe it and some days I still can't believe it, but then I look down at my growing belly and feel the little kicks inside of me and I'm reminded that this is really happening! It may not have come easily or without frustration and tears, but somehow my husband and I were blessed with our own little miracle.
It took around ten months from the time I went off birth control, until the time I conceived. Were there moments when I doubted myself? Yes. Were there times when I wanted to give up completely? Absolutely. So what did I learn from all of this? I learned that just because it doesn't happen on the first try (or second, or third, or fiftieth), that doesn't mean that it's never going to happen. I learned that it is more than okay to seek help when trying to get pregnant. As women, many of us believe that if we can't do it on our own, that we should feel embarrassed or ashamed. I think we need to just go ahead and squash that way of thinking right now. It is MORE than okay to seek help and just because you do, it doesn't mean that you're broken or any less of a woman. Lastly, I learned that having faith and trusting that it will happen when it's supposed to is a million times better for your health and sanity than stressing. So friends, if I can leave you with any advice at all, it would be this: seek help if you need it, stress less, and trust more! Know that you are not alone and that you don't have to go through it alone. If you're sitting there right now thinking, "I don't know who I can talk to about it," consider me your girl (I like to think I'm a pretty good listener). Lastly, remember that you never really know what someone is going through or what they went through to get to where they are. Everyone has their own story....this is mine.