Just to give you fair warning, this post is all about trying to conceive (TTC), so get ready for TMI 😲
Trying To Conceive Is Easy…
Trying to conceive is simple, right? You have the discussion with your partner, come off your contraception, start taking folic acid, and get down to business. You might joke to your partner, “oh wouldn’t it be funny if we got pregnant in the first month?” And he comes back with, “I hope not. I want lots of practice.” And that’s it; you’re officially trying.
Maybe you do get lucky that first month. And if you are one of those lucky ones, congratulations! But perhaps you’re not so fortunate, and you don’t get pregnant that first month. Never mind, it was only the first try, next month.
Next month it doesn’t happen. Oh well, maybe next month.
Only, it doesn’t happen in the 3rd month either. Oh well, it’s still early days.
Next month. Nope. Hmmm, maybe I should start doing ovulation tests? I wonder if there’s a position that increases your chance of conception? Should I start taking a multivitamin? I wonder if exercise will help? And so the Googling begins.
And So Our Journey Starts
My husband Daz and I decided in December of 2014 that we would start trying for a family. Yes, I had depression and was on ‘happy pills’, but that shouldn’t stop me from living my life and starting a family.
So, I came off the contraceptive pill, and we started trying to conceive. January came, and no period. Could we honestly be that lucky? I won’t test yet; I know it can take a while for your period to come back after being on the pill for so long. Only there was no period in February either. Okay, let’s test! It was negative. Not unexpected, but still upsetting.
However, I got a call that evening from someone close to me to tell me that she was unexpectedly pregnant with a person she’s only known for a few weeks. So, yes, a lot of wine was consumed that night.
A week later, Mother Nature makes her call. Then we have to deal with Mother’s Day. Let’s move on and try again. Nope. No period April, May, June. No baby either. July, I finally got my period. August, I get a period. Rather than being upset, I’m happy. Finally, my body is doing what it should every month! Only no period September or October either. Negative.
Soon trying to conceive became my obsession. I tracked my fertile window and downloaded period tracking apps that tell you your most fertile day. I took multivitamins, did yoga and Pilates, tried to eat well, joined Facebook groups, used ovulation sticks twice a day to make sure I didn’t miss my fertile window, and even bought special lube. I was tracking my temperature and mood; I would Google foods to increase fertility, exercises to increase fertility, reflexology, you name it. Every time my husband and I had done the deed, I would lay on my back with my legs in the air for at least 10 minutes (sorry, mum!).
I would see posts on trying to conceive groups on Facebook where women were upset that they had got their period again. Where I could sympathise with them, I was also jealous. At least they got a period each month! My body can’t even do that! I felt like my journey hadn’t even started. We were stuck at the starting line with faulty equipment.
So I went to the doctors. I explained the problem and had a series of blood tests each month. Finally, as it had been a year since we started this journey, we were referred to the fertility clinic.
As I’d already had the blood tests done, the first step was to check that I didn’t have PCOS. One quick transvaginal ultrasound showed that everything was normal. Good news. Daz then had to have a semen analysis. This, too, came back normal. So where now?
Next, I had to have a hysterosalpingography (yes, I definitely had to Google this word to see a) how to spell it and b) what the actual correct term was, and not just ‘vagina X-ray’) This was not as straightforward as the ultrasound I had. This one involved being injected with a special dye to check that my Fallopian tubes were open. Honestly, with this one, they had to check so far inside me that I could feel it in my throat. 😳😳😳
Dealing With The Diagnosis
This also came back normal. So, what’s up, doc? I don’t ovulate. Simple as that. No ovulation, no chance of getting pregnant. I felt terrible. At that moment, I did feel like faulty equipment. It was all my fault that we couldn’t have a baby. My body was the problem.
I’d spent years hating my body for being too short, fat, etc. Now I had yet another reason to dislike it. People get pregnant by accident all the time, and yet here we are, trying and trying, and nothing is happening. Why is life so unfair? What upset me too was the idea that my husband would be able to go out and get some girl pregnant if he wanted (not that he would!!) This was all my fault.
I would dread going on Facebook in case I would see a little blurry black and white scan picture. Whilst I would be happy for that person, I would be so sad for myself. And yes, I’m not too proud to admit that I was insanely jealous.
Opening Up To People
I had always been very private about trying for a baby and the problems we were encountering, but my sister had shared a vlog with me about a couple called Ellie and Jamie. They went through IVF, documented everything, and shared it on Facebook. It gave me the confidence to open up. The only issue with this is people always want to be helpful and give their advice;
“Oh, just relax, and it will happen.”
“My sister/cousin/friend stopping trying to conceive and bought a house/went on holiday/changed jobs and got pregnant.”
“Have you tried this tea/herb/aromatherapy/acupuncture?”
“Try not to think about it.”
“Don’t worry; it will happen.”
“We tried for X amount of months before we fell”
Whilst I understand that people are trying to be helpful, these comments don’t actually help at all.
So, I needed to ovulate. For this, I was given a tablet called Clomid. Almost two years after we first started trying for a baby, I started on Clomid. However, as with all drugs, there are side effects.
It was awful. I was awful. The tablets made me super cranky; I had hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, and I was in agony! I had the worst cramps I had ever had in my life, and I did this for two months. The worst part? It didn’t work.
Taking A Break From Trying To Conceive
My mental health couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired, and I was depressed. I’d have days where I would come home from work and stare at the wall for 45 minutes, blank, numb, broken. I just wanted to be a mum.
We decided to take a break from trying and focus instead on getting me better. And that’s what we did. I poured all my energy into getting well again. I was still seeing my therapist and I did meditation, went for walks and tried to do things that made me happy. It was a long process, but I kept working on it. I’d have my down days still, but nowhere near as bad. I didn’t see the bad days as going backwards; it was just part of my recovery.
I remember Daz saying to me one day, “it’s like having the old Lisa back”. Now, this actually made me a bit sad. I didn’t want to be the old Lisa. I was a new and improved Lisa. If I were still the old Lisa, that would have meant that I’d been through everything for nothing.
Eventually, my therapist decided that I was well enough and no longer needed her services. I was shocked; I still needed her! But she’d given me everything that I needed, and that was that. I was actually a bit relieved, too. It’s not cheap having problems.
A few months later, in May 2017, I felt ready to come off my antidepressant. I went to the doctors and weaned off slowly. Obviously, there were some bad days, but that’s to be expected.
Trying To Conceive Again
By August 2017, I felt ready to start trying for a baby again. I called the fertility clinic to let them know. I was given another prescription of Clomid, and in September, I started retaking them.
This time around, I suffered no side effects. I had my blood test to check that I’d ovulated. I was told that my score was below what they’d expect for ovulation, but they couldn’t say for sure if I had or not. So now I was in a bit of a limbo. I’d just have to wait the two weeks, take a pregnancy test and see.
Two weeks later, I took the test on the ‘official test day’. As per the norm, I did a wee on the stick in the morning, popped the cap on and left it on the side of the bath for Daz to look at when he went into the bathroom. I’d grown so tired of seeing only that one line, and my heart couldn’t take it anymore. So Daz would look and tell me yes or no.
He went into the bathroom and called through to the bedroom, “two lines are negative, right?”
Nooo, it’s not…..
To be continued……