Sunday, July 27, 2014

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes......

**I decided to start this blog mainly for me to use as an outlet for my emotions. If, in the process I can help anyone else, that is a blessing!**

Jim and I have been married for almost two years. I think it is safe to say that on the day of our marriage we were idealistic about what the future would bring. As I told many people we desired to start a family immediately as we were already getting a late start (I was 36 and Jim 42). In my mind, we would have a honeymoon baby and spend those 9 months in joyful anticipation of our new bundle of joy. Instead a month or so went by with no pregnancy. I remember clearly that first month of marriage being a bit late for my period and certain that I was pregnant. I think I must have bought 3 or 4 pregnancy tests to be sure.

Shortly before we got married we learned the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning. We had no intention of using it right away to try to avoid pregnancy but instead would use it to try to get pregnant. We took one class and I charted for about a month before the hectic nature of the wedding planning, moving to the USA and getting married got the better of me. I figured since we weren't trying to avoid pregnancy we would just pay some loose attention to our fertile signs and go with the flow.

After that first month of being late, I was still optimistic we would get pregnant quickly. However, my period decided to go MIA. I knew I wasn't pregnant so I started to worry something was really wrong. I went to my local GP and she ran a blood pregnancy test and told me to take a pregnancy test every week until I got my period. Well, after weeks of still no period, I went to an OBGYN who told me that they don't really do any testing until we had been trying for 6 months to a year. I wanted to scream! I KNEW something was wrong and felt like she was unwilling to help me.

I vowed to find answers so I made an appointment with an endocrinologist as I had read that thyroid issues can cause a lack of periods. I went and the endocrinologist did a full panel of blood work and discovered I had Hashimoto's thyroid yet didn't feel I needed to be medicated even though I knew I did! He suspected I had polycystic ovarian syndrome by my blood work and put me on a drug (metformin) that was supposed to help regulate my insulin. I thought for sure this would be the magic drug I needed. It wasn't as not much changed on it.

I went to a second OBGYN who did more blood work and wanted to refer me to a reproductive endocrinologist. I got the referral papers and the forms I would need to fill out to go there, but I felt that I did not want to be pressured into IVF or IUI which as a Catholic I was morally opposed to. I decided to do an internet search for a Catholic doctor. I was lead to a Catholic practice and chose to see their OBGYN who was Lutheran but extremely pro-life.

Meeting him finally made me believe that all of my symptoms were not in my head. He agreed with the endocrinologists diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome, but felt that I needed to be on a thyroid medication. He also increased my metformin and started me on a drug that was to help me ovulate. I was excited and felt that finally this cocktail of medication is what I was looking for. Unfortunately after three months of this fertility medication I failed to respond at all.

I decided to go a colleague in the same office to officially learn the Creighton Model of Fertility. The doctors in this office are also trained in NaPro Technology which was founded by a Catholic doctor in Omaha. He discovered that by charting using the Creighton model, a lot can be determined by doctors who are trained to interpret the results. After charting awhile and going on some vitamins and progesterone which were prescribed by a NaPro physician I did see a little improvement in my cycles but still no pregnancy. We soon decided after a few months of charting that I would be a good candidate for an Ovarian Wedge Resection. I went for surgery in May of 2014 and felt that this was FINALLY the answer we had been looking for.

Well, again it wasn't. Soon afterward it was obvious my body was not responding as it should have following surgery. Some blood work showed that I was in peri-menopause and that the only other option to try was injectable fertility medication. I am currently doing my first cycle of this.

Throughout this whole process, it has been trying and has produced every emotion possible. Jim and I have been hopeful, sad, happy, devastated etc. I have also struggled with feelings of guilt but through it all we have relied on God and each other and have only gotten closer.

We have recently been praying about adopting a baby and we will soon begin the process to do so. We are excited, nervous, scared, and happy all at the same time. We know that we have a lot of love to give and we feel that God is asking us to open our hearts in a way we may not have anticipated.

I never ever once thought when we got married that we would have this trial so early on. But through it all God has remained faithful to us and we have felt the blessing of His love for us through the kindness and compassion of all who have reached out to us offering prayers, novenas and words of encouragement.

I admit that before I was faced with infertility I never really thought much about it or the emotions that one goes through. It is a situation (much like losing someone close to you, experiencing a traumatic event etc.) that unless you are going through it as well, you cannot truly understand it. What we appreciate more than anything is when people do not try to feel like they have to help us fix our situation but simply walk with us as we go through it. That means more to us than anyone will ever know.