This Mother’s Day I am reflecting on the time when I was desperately waiting to call myself a mother.
I have Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease meaning I need to regulate my thyroid hormones with medication. I also have PCOS because of a condition called CAH. This means that my hormones are not balanced and so I knew before we even started trying to get pregnant that I might have issues.
Without normal periods it can be hard to know when your fertile periods are. I used basal body temperature charting in our first months to help with this.
It probably didn’t help that I was already very impatient. My husband and I had decided to reach a financial goal before getting pregnant. I watched our progress closely and obsessed on Pinterest re: everything baby.
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mom. Even in college, when I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I was letting my decisions be affected by the expectation of motherhood. One of the reasons I chose to become a paralegal instead of law school was so that I could have the flexibility to stay home with my kids.
I think we tried for about six months before deciding we needed to have a consultation with a fertility specialist. As part of the consultation my reproductive endocrinologist ran a full workup via blood work. This was the first time that I found out about the PCOS and CAH. Despite these issues, my Dr. was confident she could help us get pregnant.
The process of starting to work with a fertility doctor can be nerve wracking. The initial consultation is free but we had to have a meeting with the office manager before we could move forward with the process in order to have the expenses explained. Each round of treatment (each month) would cost at minimum $2,500.
I worried about how long it would take to get pregnant. Our funds were not endless. In fact, we had already decided to adopt instead of trying IVF because the cost can be comparable. However, with the monthly cost a full year of attempts would get us up to that amount pretty quickly too. I loved the idea of adopting, but I wasn’t sure I could handle the uncertainty and the waiting during the process. I was having a hard time letting go of the experience of being pregnant too.
We were lucky that my Dr. was literally next door to my job and they had early morning appointments as well, so we didn’t need to miss much work. For my first month my Dr. decided to start me on Clomid, probably about 2.5 MG. We monitored my follicle development in my ovaries via ultrasound. Based on follicle development and hormone levels measured through blood tests, we were able to determine my fertile window. Tyler and I tried to get pregnant the old fashioned way, but the monthly package also included the cost of IUI and we decided we should take advantage of this.
Like the many months before, I was unable to keep myself from getting my hopes up. We would say, “Wouldn’t it be great if this was all we needed, a little medication!?” We were entering the holidays and I was getting so sentimental about sharing the next Christmas with my baby.
Unfortunately, I had to deal with a negative pregnancy test once again. The next month we tried the Clomid at 5.0 MG, then the next month at 7.5 MG.
It was hard. Really hard. Each month of an infertility struggle you allow yourself to hope. It’s like applying to the college you’ve wanted to go to since you were 8 and receiving a rejection over and over and over again. A groundhog day of rejection.
I was eating healthy and exercising, but beyond that, there wasn’t anything else I could DO to make my body cooperate. I listened to a lot of John Mayer “War of my Life” and Coldplay “Fix You”. I started to cry as we talked to my doctor about the frustration and I think that prompted her to try something new for the next cycle.
She explained that since I was not having a period in between each cycle I was not actually ovulating the mature eggs we were tracking. She suggested we try doing a shot of hormones which would signal my body to actually release the egg in addition to the Clomid.
Tyler administered the shot for me. We had to inject my abdomen near my ovaries. For good luck, he wore the rubber band which had been around the package on his wrist. At the ultrasound to track my follicles the Dr. had said my uterine lining looked great. We were crossing our fingers.
The mind twisting two weeks of waiting passed and according to the package I was able to take a pregnancy test. I SHOULD have waited another day or two, but don’t people know life is SHORT?! I woke up and did my thing to get the test going then climbed back in bed with Tyler. I had him set his alarm for three minutes and then asked him to take a look. I didn’t wanna be the one to see a negative test again. He was in there for a couple full minutes and not saying anything. Then he said, “I THINK I see a second line. I THINK.” I yelled “WHAT!?” and ran to join him in the bathroom. He was right, there was just the faintest line indicating positive.
We laughed to keep from crying. We thought it was just perfect irony that after such a struggle to get pregnant we would be robbed of that “We’re pregnant!” moment. I guess I shouldn’t say robbed since it was my own impatient fault… I asked my Dr. if I could have a blood test done to confirm. She let me go in for the blood test, but she was SOOOO annoyed. I get it. It’s a tough position to be in for a Dr. because it was too early to rule out the fact that it might be a false positive due to the Clomid drugs. They called me with the results but all they would say was, “The blood tests indicate you may be pregnant.”
Um…hello? That’s not more info than I already had. They probably should’ve just been blunt with me and told me I wouldn’t know for sure for another couple days. I waited two days and took another test and this one was for sure positive. Tyler and I took the day off to celebrate. We drove to King of Prussia in Philadelphia so we could go to Pottery Barn Kids and have a large selection of baby stores.
We got to announce our pregnancy to my parents on my Mom’s birthday. She and I cried because it had also been hard for her to watch us go through the struggle. We announced the pregnancy to Tyler’s parents before they drove us to the airport for our trip to Costa Rica. I was so happy to be able to take my baby along with us.
On all the amazing adventures we were able to experience in Costa Rica, I had the added joy of being able to remind myself of the beautiful blessing I was carrying with me.
Morning sickness kicked in on the day we were due to leave, and continued through the 24 hours we were stuck in the airport, haha.
Even with morning sickness, I loved everything about being pregnant. Giving birth was the single greatest day of my life. The struggle was difficult but it taught me some things about my own strength. It increased my ability to be grateful for every moment with my baby. Having gone through that fire I know I can endure hard things.
Camden is a charming and loving boy. He loves me so much and he tells me so. He is everything I dreamed about and more! He frequently asks “Mommy, BIG HUG!” like he did in this picture.
I have to admit, I am fearful to enter that struggle again for our next child. My husband and I want to have a more joyful experience next time trying to get pregnant. We want to be chill and let things be for a longer period of time. My husband isn’t quite ready yet.
The problem is, I’m already starting to feel the itch to meet my next baby. I can’t get pregnant now because I’m not done focusing on some personal growth. I want to be able to train for my half marathon in September without morning sickness and fatigue. Am I making the right decision? Am I robbing us of several months of low key trying but not trying to have a baby?
I guess we’ll have to see.