In all of my years, I never ever thought I would have to be lumped into the “infertile” category. In fact, I don’t even feel like I should be lumped into that category – but I guess that would be my optimism at its finest right there. Since the Husband and I are not really actively trying to get pregnant at the moment, I guess that’s why I won’t put myself into that category. Despite my ability to talk down the situation, I am infertile. I am going through infertility. Could I actually get pregnant right now? No. That’s the cold, hard truth whether we’re trying or not. At only 24 years old, so many questions and thoughts pop through my head. What did I do? What can I do? Could I have done anything differently so this wouldn’t happen? For someone who has dreamed of becoming a mother since I figured out that women have babies, it only makes the battle so much more difficult.
When my period didn’t return when I was 22, it alarmed me – but I didn’t really think about it too much. “I have time”, I’d tell myself. “You’re so young. Don’t even cross that bridge until you get to it.” But you know what they say, the second you don’t have something, it’s the only thing you want. I went through a period where I ignored the problem, only to find out my thyroid levels were not normal.
“Hypothyroid”, the doctors told me – and I rejoiced for finally figuring out the problem. After making the very difficult decision of starting to take thyroid replacement medication, I sat back and waited for my period to return. False hopes led to disappointment, so I once again wanted to ignore the problem. I told myself it didn’t matter right now. The Husband and I weren’t trying, so I could just forget about it.
I never really did forget about it though. Each and every day, I have had a nagging reminder of how my body wasn’t normal and about how it wasn’t working properly. If you talk to any woman who has lost her menstrual cycle for any reason, I am sure the majority of them would tell you just how difficult it is to feel like a woman when the very thing that makes you a woman is stripped away from you. It causes a series of emotional rollercoaster rides, especially since your hormones really are all over the place.
I began working with my natural care doctor on a series of supplements to try to induce my period. After a year and a half of trying, it almost feels useless. I know we have made so many gains in the past few months, but man – I am tired emotionally and mentally.
Last year, I also went through the process of weeding out the chance of there being anything else physically wrong with my body. I was referred to an infertility clinic. They ran test after test on me – MRI’s on my brain to scan for a pituitary tumor, ultrasounds to look for cysts and fibroids – and everything came out normal. ::whew:: A sigh of relief only to be nagged with the question “well what really is wrong with me then?”
They told me it was unexplained – that my brain wasn’t creating the hormones it should be which in turn create estrogen. This doctor told me he sees this problem in a variety of different patients, and it could be caused by a variety of problems, including stress, being a long distance athlete, or having an eating disorder. I asked him about my running, but they all told me “no – you’re not running long enough for it to be a problem”, especially since I was eating enough to make up for the running I was doing.
Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with me, but I’m still not getting my period. The problem still exists.
If there is anything in the world I don’t want to do, it is to take fertility drugs to get pregnant. Yes, I would do anything if I came down to the desperation of nothing else working, but I want to avoid it if I can. I know a lot of people don’t have a choice – they have problems even worse than me, including something physical happening with their reproductive system.
There was a time last year where I was having a very hard time accepting all of this. Around the time my sister got pregnant, I was an emotional wreck. Not because I wanted to be pregnant at the time – not at all. The reason why I was so upset, and subsequently why I never discussed this with anyone, was because I knew no matter how hard I tried at the moment, it wouldn’t happen for me. Moreover, I never wanted to make her pregnancy about me and what I was going through, especially since I was so happy I had a niece on the way. Every time anyone asked me “so when are you two going to have one?”, I cringed a little, held back tears, and smiled only to joke that I had to “train the Husband before we could have one of our own.” On the inside, I was dying just a little bit and only confided in my mother just how much that question hurt me because she knew exactly what I was going through. Even typing out that paragraph makes me well up, remembering just how difficult it was to fend off those questions in a charismatic way.
Being proactive, I wanted to try something different – something most fertility clinic/information pages kept leading me to.
I got the final push from Kathleen , who has been undergoing acupuncture as well. After she explained her situation and story to me, I felt like there was nothing to lose and only miles to gain. I researched acupuncturists who specialize in infertility in my area, found one that got great reviews, and made an appointment for an initial consultation.
The day I went in for my first appointment, I was nervous and doubting myself. I didn’t really tell too many people what I was planning to do, only because I know many people out there are skeptics of the whole process. The bottom line to me is that Eastern world treatments have been around for thousands of years – they obviously work if they have been around that long. I kept telling myself as I pulled into the doctor’s office and walked up the flight of stairs to his office.
The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door and met the receptionist was pictures. Behind the receptionist’s desk, there were pictures lining the back wall – of babies. A wave of comfort came over me as I had concrete proof that this doctor had already helped all of those women conceive in some sort of way – whether it was because of anovulation (like me) or going through perimenopause in their early 40’s.
I have only undergone one treatment after having quite a lengthy consultation with the Chinese Medicine doctor –and I can tell you I am hopeful. The facts are that he has helped many women ovulate. He has given me information to read. He has given me tips on what to eat and what not to eat. I still have a lot of healing and work to go through, but if there’s one thing that’s the most important throughout this experience it is that I am hopeful and have faith that somehow someway it will work itself out.
The only person who could really get me through any of this is the Husband. He has been amazing – understanding and not asking questions that I really don’t want to talk about as my frustration goes through the roof when talking about everything I am undergoing at the moment. He finds a way to make sure we can pay for all of this out of pocket since insurance won’t cover it – even though I know in the back of his mind he is one of the skeptics of my new idea about acupuncture. He never fails to amaze me and accept me for who I am.
One thing I don’t want you to tell me is “I’m so sorry you have to go through this” or “wow, you’re so strong to have to deal with this.” Please don’t. I have not had to undergo near as much heartache as so many women throughout the world like those that have had to deal with miscarriages or fertility treatments that have not worked. I’m young, I’m optimistic, and I know when the time is right, things will fall into place – even if it’s not on my watch or timing.
I actually debated for a few days whether or not to even post this. I thought long and hard, I asked a few friends for advice, and decided I shouldn’t discredit or downplay my feelings or emotions about this subject because they are true and important despite what others may think.
So what comes next? Waiting – again and keeping my fingers crossed that this time something happens!