First Month or 14th Month?
It's been officially a month since we first met with our fertility doctor. And it has been quite the month at that. I think the biggest word for this last month has been patience. In reality though, this may be the first "official month" of seeing a fertility specialist. But like the majority of people out there, our journey started long before that first appointment. In fact, it started March 2020 when we decided to try and start a family.
The first 10 months I was so stressed out with COVID and the chaos of life, that I wasn't really that worried about the fact we weren't getting pregnant. But somewhere around that 10 month mark and the approach of the impending 35th birthday in April, things changed. This is when the research really began and each month we made additional changes to try and get pregnant (different app trackers, different ovulation tests, different lubricant, different supplements, diet changes, different timing...). Then we had the positive pregnancy test, then we had the miscarriage. And that compounded with all the anxiety and other emotions I had going on about our fertility already.
I'm the type of person who likes to figure out the most efficient and quickest way to accomplish my goals. Any other type A people out there with me? As I opened up to others about the miscarriage after trying for a year, it was pretty amazing the stories and support that flowed back towards us. Thank you.
So when those who have been down this journey told me their biggest advice was patience and listen to the direction of the specialist, I wasn't sure how I felt about that. So let me also say, I may be a nurse, but OB was my absolute worst class in nursing school. The last 2 months have felt like quite the crash course. And you know what I've found out? The advice is absolutely correct per the most recent research.
Like when my doctor said to let one cycle pass before trying again to clear out the uterus of anything left over from the miscarriage, I wasn't happy (impatient much?). All I could think about was the fact that each missed fertile cycle meant I was getting closer and closer to being 36 before I have my first child. But then I also thought about, he has years and years of training in this. If I go against his advice, I could be walking back through the pain and heartache of a miscarriage all over again. And that could delay things even longer.
Over the last month (well, my research started before this but it has been really intense the last month) I have read several research articles and postings from respected sources. I've also listened to several podcasts (I really like As A Woman The Podcast for the medical side and The Fertility Warriors for the emotional side). Jared and I have made the changes to our diet that were recommended like reducing dairy, sugar, and red meat consumption. We are continuing on the supplements we had started a few months back with our fertility specialist approval. And I am working on trusting the process and patience.
Body Recovery and First Visit Testing
I was lucky, my body bounced back quickly. I was pretty fatigued for the first 2 weeks, but then started to feel more and more "normal". Two weeks to the day of the miscarriage starting my LH started to rise (I use the premom kits, in case anyone is wondering-I really like that I can see the rise and fall and track it all in their app). Four weeks +1 day to the day my new cycle started, which meant so did my testing.
So 4 weeks after our initial consult, I sat on the table for the first time to see what my friends had told me about - the internal ultrasound wand. I chuckle that our doctor said "ultrasound", but I don't recall hearing anything about it being internal (mind you, I very well could have blocked that part out). My friends were kind enough to prepare me. It looks gigantic, so I was surprised when the only discomfort I truly felt was when they were looking at my ovaries.
I also had several tubes of blood drawn, a urine sample, and vitals taken since our first visit was virtual. I'm curious for those who have been through it before, what did you decide on the genetic testing? We still haven't decided.
On Wednesday I'll go for the saline sonogram. From what I understand, this will look at my uterus and if anything is in there (such as a polyp or left over from the miscarriage), along with checking that my Fallopian tubes aren't blocked.
Meanwhile, Jared did his semen analysis and blood tests this week as well.
I think one of the biggest things for the emotional recovery, is allowing myself to feel the emotions I need to. Honestly, for both of us to feel. Jared's body didn't go through what mine went through, but his heart still did. Every once in a while we would just check in with each other. We've both talked openly with both family and friends about what is going on and our next steps. For us, this has really helped.
It also helped that we had a pre-planned vacation in there with my parents and some of my family. It was so nice to see family for the first time in 17 months, including my parents. All adults had been vaccinated, which I'm thankful for. (For those wondering, as this is a big question in the fertility world, I did get the Pfizer vaccine within the first few weeks of it being out since I'm a nurse.) We were on a remote island where we truly could disconnect from technology and reconnect with both nature and loved ones.
Listening to podcasts of other women talking about their miscarriages and fertility journeys, helped me to not feel so alone. Along with speaking with those in my life who have gone through it as well. I think the biggest thing I've learned is, everyone's story is so different, but so many of the emotions and feelings are the same. One of my best friends looked at me and said "welcome to the club that nobody wants to be in". She's right, none of us want to be here, but I'm really glad that these are the people I'm walking alongside with this.
Until next time... thanks for joining me on this journey.