When women decide they’re ready for motherhood it seems that many people fall into one of two categories….
#1 You’re the girl who is planning on keeping TTC a secret. You don’t want watchful eyes staring at your possible baby bump and even when you find out you’re expecting the plan won’t be to share the good news until 12 weeks along when the chances of miscarriage decreases significantly.
#2 You are confident about getting pregnant (or at least it doesn’t occur to you that there might be a challenge in getting preggers) and you are excited to share the big news. You think it’d be great to have the prayers for you and the Mister as you TTC. When the test turns pink you’ll need prayers right away for the little miracle so no secrets on the little lima bean growing inside your womb. You plan to tell joyfully and aren’t concerned about on-looking eyes falling to the “baby bump area”.
Of course there are other categories I could define but it seems these are the two that I’ve found most common. In my case, I fell into category #2. I was in my mid 20’s. My mother is one of 10 children and my father is one of 5. Fertility seems to be no sweat for my grandmothers and I was young and healthy. Their fertility must have been passed down the genetic line.
But, I already mentioned in my first post that I was left disappointed each month and waiting for that stick to turn pink. More specifically I was waiting through really irregular cycles (a length of 40-60 days), a slow start to the actual Day 1 of my cycle, and unpredictable dizziness. The months started to pile on and I began to realize something was wrong. And I last left off sharing how I knew it was time to call a specialist (called a Reproductive Endocrinologist or RE) to help us start family.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines, women under the age of 35 who have been trying to get pregnant for over a year should seek an expert evaluation. This often gets translated as “you don’t need to seek expert advice until you’ve been trying for over a year.” I couldn’t disagree more. I could stand on a soap box right now but I’ll make an attempt for brevity:
- Everyone is different (reproductive family history, current cycle concerns/health, pre-existing health conditions, age)
- Unless you need a referral you have the right to decide for yourself if a specialist is the way to go. The guideline for “it takes an average of 1 year to get pregnant” includes fertile and infertile people. It’s not specific to the “don’t drink the water club” who gets pregnant when their husbands glance their way.
- You are not a failure as a woman if you need an expert. Pride often stands in the way to go seek help. If the guideline is a year, often people feel like they won’t officially be a ‘failure’ if they can conceive before the year is up. –I’ll say it again though— you are not a failure as a woman if you need help before or after that year mark.
My OB/GYN said to wait a year but when he sold his practice and I inherited a new doctor I felt less like I was disobeying him and went before the year mark of TTC. Yep- I totally bought into the “I need permission to go to the specialist” mentality.
Me: Hi, I need help getting pregnant. It hasn’t been a year yet though. Is that okay? I just know something is wrong.
Receptionist: Absolutely. We are here to help you and make sure that everything is okay. Our goal is to help you have a family. There is no time limit for that. Let’s schedule a consult.
I felt like I had just entered into a new family; a family who cared about my emotions; a family who didn’t focus on how long I’d been TTC but focused on why I was asking for help.
At the consult the dr. said that it sounded like I had a polyp (based on ‘long start’ to a day 1) and perhaps Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) because my mother had it and I had irregular cycles. After much testing for both my husband and I as well as laparoscopic surgery for me, it was determined that I had a polyp, stage 1 endometriosis, a blocked fallopian tube, and questionable sugar levels. The surgery took care of most of the pregnancy preventing conditions, I changed my diet to a high protein and low carb intake, and PCOS was ruled out.
Following the surgery the plan would be: Take Clomid (ovulation inducing medicine) and artificial insemination (IUI). Pregnancy would likely be expected within 3 months.
This was not what I wanted. It was supposed to be about a man and a woman, alone in the privacy of their home. Not on a table with my legs in stirrups welcoming washed semen that would be inserted by an ‘expert’. I cried so much I had to see a case manager (at the office) before leaving.
We had a choice to make. Things to pray about….
To Be Continued.
This is a series of postings that I share at the beginning of each week. You can find all posts related to my Decision to Mother at the tab at the top of the blog. If you’d like to contact me please leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.
- phone photo via flickr