As an artist I have been wanting to put images to this blog. I will admit that what I have posted here is not at all creative but it puts images to infertility. There are, however, many aspects that I could not photograph: the down days; the feelings of guilt when I feel jealous about someone announcing a pregnancy or birth; the marital stress; the inconvenience of rushing to the fertility clinic for a blood test (usually several in a week) before dashing off to work; the unpredictability of tests as they are all depending on cycle days; difficulty planning more than a month in advance; and I am sure I missed something.
Currently I am on cycle 29 so I thought I would tackle the structure of this entry chronologically. Two years ago we began our journey, as I am sure most people would have who had no known issues that would affect fertility. The first few cycles I was very excited and knowing a number of people who conceived within the first two tries I thought falling pregnant would be a breeze. I was wrong and now I can say naive.
The photo below is of the folder containing my 29 cycle charts. I have never tracked my cycle using a basal thermometre. I thought I would try but around the time I was considering this I saw the naturopath who told me that it was good that I wasn’t tracking using that method as she sees many women stressing over their daily temperatures and as a result reckons it is best not to use that method.
I use the charts to document my cycles so when I see the fertility specialist or the naturopath I can let them know exactly what has been going on during my cycles between visits. I also hate being surprised by my periods.
(Being plagued by infertility I always print multiple cycle tables at a time).
A few cycles passed with negative home pregnancy test results (and periods). My sister announced she conceived and gave her method a try, urine ovulation testing. Those tests were really expensive down here (until I found an online shop with an affordable test kit) so I thought I would buy the saliva tester instead.
The saliva tester is a little lipstick-sized microscope. The saliva is put on the end of it and allowed to dry, then it can be viewed through the other end. The saliva dries in a fern pattern when ovulation is close. I found this device tricky to use so after many months of use and no pregnancy I retired it and turned the urine tests. Even though I would get pee on my hands from time to time I did prefer this test as it reliably revealed the LH surge. I have read and the fertility specialist did have some negative things to say about this sort of test, but I found it more helpful than the saliva tester.
A friend told me she conceived the cycle where she used Pre-seed which is supposed to help the sperm particularly if not enough fertile mucus is produced.
I have had numerous blood tests, more than I can count. One cycle it was so bad the nurse was eye balling my left arm which has no visible vein for good blood taking (except in my hand), so I ended up with 3 ‘holes’ in my right arm in a 7 day period.
I have had two trigger injections with my 2 failed Clomid cycles (my lining never thickened while on this drug). I didn’t even get to use the 3rd repeat on the prescription.
I endured the dreaded HSG (follow the link to the post here)… all of you TTC-ers would know what I am talking about.
I’ve seen the counsellor at the fertility clinic to help me with uncertainty; help with mentally surviving surgery; help with coping with undiagnosable infertility; and help for preparing to self inject. (FYI: I hate all medical procedures!)
I endured a laparoscopy…
Absolutely nothing was found during the procedure except for two tiny adhesions which apparently would not have been causing any problems.
Meanwhile all my husband has gone through are 2 semen analysis tests and he took me to the 2 major tests (HSG and laparoscopy). For all of the morning blood tests I left before he was even out of bed. I will admit that I have some resentment towards this.
Finally, there is the monitary cost of infertility.
I know this post will not do justice to the challenges of infertility but I felt like sharing.
Today the mid-cycle bleeding returned which I have not had since the surgery. I have been seeing a chiropractor and naturopath since the surgery follow-up appointment revealed no diagnosable fertility issues. I thought my body had been behaving itself but sadly I ovulated over the weekend and the bleeding started yesterday. I was really disappointed that the surgery did not reveal the source of this bleeding and the doctor told me it was something I might just have to live with. Earlier in the testing she did note my oestrogen dropping a little below normal, but like most of my tests there was nothing to be worried about. I think I have a mild luteal phase defect which was mentioned once during an appointment. I feel that we have a bunch of minor things causing our infertility but again nothing major enough to dictate the need (at the moment) for major intervention.
I have been putting off a conversation with my husband about pursuing IUI and FSH injections. He mentioned while we were on holiday that he didn’t want any treatment but no conversation followed as we were trying to have a nice holiday in Europe. A few weeks ago it was our anniversary and I thought we should have a few cycles after the holiday to see if things would work themselves out. However, with the return of mid-cycle bleeding I think I will bring up treatment if my period follows. I am mentally struggling again and getting really tired of watching other people’s children grow up. I don’t see why I have to suffer because he can cope and is enjoying his child-free life. Don’t get me wrong, I am taking advantage of my child-free life, particularly this past weekend where I was able to rest through the first two days of a cold and only three days after getting sick I feel much better.
I keep trying to focus on other things but infertility keeps coming to the front, it’s tiring and I feel like I have no one to talk to, not even my husband.
So those who made it to the end of this post thanks for reading.