How I got pregnant

Monday, August 10, 2015

...well, besides the obvious ;)

You may or may not know that this baby has been very much planned and wanted - this was no accident.

I put all my personal business out there in this post explaining our path to parenthood as of March 2015.  At that point, we'd be trying for over a year and had experienced one loss a few months prior. So let me pick up where that left off.

Once my doc OK'd us to start trying again, she prescribed Clomid in February (which was my 2nd overall time using it). I then took it again in March and April, bringing my all-time Clomid taking cycles to 4. Now, all doctors are different, but many agree that 6 times in a lifetime is the max to use Clomid because of its risks associated with ovarian cancer. 

At the end of April when I wasn't pregnant yet again, I was frustrated, angry and still very sad. I didn't understand why this was so difficult for us. And, to make things even more frustrating, Alex was about to leave for several weeks of travel for NCAA regionals and nationals with the team. I called the nurse at the doctor's office to tell her that I wasn't planning to take Clomid that month; with Alex gone nearly the entire month, why subject my body to its risks when there was almost no chance of conceiving? I also told her how upset and frustrated I was. She had me come in to chat.

When I met with the nurse practitioner the next day, she told me two things that were integral to us having a baby. First, I needed to consider taking a mild antidepressant. My frustration, anger and sadness were all very, very normal emotions to feel, but they were not going to help me get pregnant. When she said that, it clicked and all made sense for me. I needed to relax, and it's not in my nature to "just relax" (and if one more person told me to "just relax" there was a good chance I'd cut them). So I eagerly accepted the Rx for Zoloft and started taking it immediately.

Second, she said something that was hard to hear but I knew I was coming: we'd been trying for nearly 18 months, all our labs and bloodwork had come back normal, and Clomid was not working. It was time to see a fertility specialist. 

She referred me to a specialist down the road, and about 2 weeks later I had my first appointment which was a lengthy (1.5 hour) consultation. I'll spare the details, but I'll say that I left feeling confident that this doctor would help me become pregnant, one way or another. I had options to discuss with Alex; after some discussion, we decided we would try one IUI in June and then begin the IVF process in July if that didn't work (the doctor strongly suggested IVF for us early in the process because of my having Crohn's disease; she explained it would give us more control over timing of egg retrieval and embryo transfer around flare-ups, increasing our chances of a healthy pregnancy). 

Naturally, fertility treatments don't come cheap. We were a little apprehensive to jump into something so expensive and extreme, but also didn't want to waste time on other (cheaper) options that may never work. 

Our course of action was to call the fertility clinic the day I got my next period to begin the IUI process at the end of May. But we never had to do that: I got pregnant that month! 

This is what I attribute to getting pregnant naturally:
  1. Antidepressant: I'm not advocating for everyone to go out and get a script, but if you've tried to get pregnant for more than 6 months, you know what an emotional toll that takes. I had been taking Zoloft for about 2 weeks when I went to the fertility clinic for a consultation, but one of the first recommendations was that I start taking an antidepressant (check!). The counselor at the clinic told me it was "the single best thing you can you do for your fertility." My NP told me when she prescribed it that there was a very slight increased risk for miscarriage, so I'd have to discontinue use cold-turkey as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test. I took it for a total of about 4 weeks - barely enough time for it to even take effect! But I do think it took the edge off, so to speak.
  2. Having a plan with a fertility specialist: even though it was scary, expensive and felt like stepping up to the big leagues, I was happy to have a plan and a doctor whose sole occupation is getting people pregnant. My regular OB-GYN is awesome, but they care for patients in a variety of capacities. Having a plan of action that Alex and I both felt comfortable with made me relax and feel like it would happen after all. 
  3. Essential Oil: not even kidding. While all of the above was taking place, my blessed mom had sent me Progessence Plus by Young Living after reading a ton of testimonials about how it helped people get pregnant. You aren't supposed to use it with any other hormonal mediation or supplement, and because I'd been on Clomid (hormonal), I hadn't been able to use the oil up to that point. I figured, Why not? and started using it topically on my neck and lower abdomen twice a day that month and that month only. I don't know if it actually helped me conceive, but I will say that it made me have a normal cycle that month - practically textbook - that up to that point had only been achieved with Clomid. 
  4. Not trying: okay, here's the kicker. For all those people who told me "stop trying and it will happen!" (yep, many of the same people who said "just relax" - grrrrr), all I have to say it technically, if you stop trying, you will not get pregnant. End of story. However, I really didn't think it was possible to conceive the month that I did with Alex gone so much. But it really only took one time (TMI?) and the right timing. What helped is that I didn't think it was the right timing - this is where the essential oil comes in, making me ovulate at a normal and therefore unexpected time in my cycle and all - so therefore, in my mind, we weren't really "trying" that month. Does that make sense? Getting pregnant is 90% psychological. 
Things I stopped doing the month we conceived:
  1. Taking ovulation predictor tests: these are really important in diagnosing potential issues in your cycle, which I partly how I discovered I had a short luteal phase. But they also stress you out! Is today a fertile day? Is tomorrow? Why is it not saying I'm fertile? I should be fertile! Ughhh, it's exhausting. And peeing on a test trip or in a cup every single day is annoying. 
  2. Stopped compulsively taking my temp, though I didn't stop charting all together: charting/temping is another thing that is super important for diagnostics and proving to your doctor that you know what you're doing, but it's another source of stress. I would take my temp first thing in the AM, but instead of reading it right away, I'd go back to bed. Sometimes, I wouldn't even read and record the temp until before I went to bed that night. It seemed to help me stop focusing on it so much. I also didn't take it for the first several days of my cycle that month, which gave me a break.
  3. Stopped being so compulsive, period: remember, I didn't think we'd really have a chance at conceiving that month, so I'm sure that was part of it. But I stopped reading forums about early pregnancy signs, stopped obsessing over my chart that month, stopped entering all data into my chart except the bare essentials. I had more of my life back that month, for the first time in a year and a half. 
The bottom line is this: life is a miracle. I know that everything happens for a reason and within God's perfect plan. I see it all so clearly now how He was setting everything into place for this miracle to be conceived. I think back on all the cause and effects that led to every decision, and it's amazing! If one little thing had not happened, I don't know if we'd be having this baby. But that's how God rolls. You have to place your trust in Him because He's got this.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this miracle and for your incredibly perfect timing and faithfulness! Amen.


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