The Rocky Road to Motherhood, Part I

The road to motherhood was long and arduous. I always knew I wanted to be a mother, so it seemed to be just a matter of timing. On our second wedding anniversary, my husband announced he was ready to take the plunge. When I didn’t get pregnant after several months, I started to fear the worst for someone whose goal is to have a baby. Infertility. 

I read a lot about it. I tested for ovulation with basal body temperature charting, cervical-fluid testing, and ovulation test strips. Guess what? I’m not an ovulator. My periods were regularly irregular, sometimes skipping a whole summer, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I went to an OB-GYN and had a basically worthless visit. She sent me home with a book about what to do during pregnancy, but no advice or directions on how to get there or what might be wrong. I tried acupuncture, Chinese herbal supplements, and even testing for H. pylori.

My husband convinced me to seek out different medical options. When I called my acupuncturist to explain why I wouldn’t be returning for treatment, she understood but warned me that I would have a difficult pregnancy.

We met with a reproductive endocrinologist for a consultation. She looked at my bloodwork from the OB-GYN and my basal body temperature charting. She concluded right there on the spot that I had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).

I had heard of PCOS from the very popular Jon & Kate Plus 8 series and, more specifically, Jon and Kate Gosselin’s book Multiple Bles8ings. When I had read it, a little bug had burrowed into my brain that it could happen to me. In the very nice doctor’s office, I promptly burst into tears. My husband was surprised and confused, not knowing what the acronym was or meant for me/us.

I took at least four different medications to help my eggs reach maturity and actually ovulate. Most were oral, but one was by injection. I had blood drawn. I endured several transvaginal (i.e., painful and not fun) ultrasounds. I took and failed a lot of pregnancy tests. I had to take time off work for appointments, and my husband went with me to every single one.

We paid a lot of money for medical treatment that was not covered in the least by my health insurance. We tried an IUI (intrauterine insemination). We did not run the full gamut of fertility treatments, but we tried a lot.

My lighthouse during all of this was a fertility support group we had joined. Other women were experiencing their own rocky roads and understood the struggle like no one else in our life did. Listening to their stories and lending support reminded me I was not the only one unable to achieve what she wanted. These strong, kind, beautiful women helped buoy me when I couldn’t stay afloat.

When we found out I was pregnant, we were elated. My dream of becoming a mother and our dream of becoming parents was underway. We celebrated with an indulgent dinner at Lombardino’s, and we couldn’t stop grinning. You know that feeling of accomplishment and relief when you work for a year and a half toward a goal? Precious, long-sought-after life was forming and thriving in my womb.

When we found out the hCg (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone measured from my blood was not increasing positively and that the pregnancy was ectopic (outside the uterus, likely in a Fallopian tube, and short-lived), we were crushed. I was deflated. I felt like I had been punched in the gut and run into a brick wall at the same time.

As a bonus, I got to find out via a phone call from my doctor while I was out of town, in a minivan with at least six of my co-workers, so I had to try to remain unemotional and professional on the outside even though I was screaming and wailing on the inside.

Click here to read The Rocky Road to Motherhood, Part II.

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