Come May, I was even more convinced that it would be our month. I had completed the required blood work and sure enough my progesterone came back at a level of 5 when it should have been at least 10 or higher to support a pregnancy. My doctor told me we had one of two choices: 1) we could come in and have a meeting to discuss “our options” or 2) he could refer us to a fertility clinic.
It made me tear up when he said “discuss our options” because it was the first time I was truly confronted with my infertility. It wasn’t just a figment or an illusion I had drawn up for myself. While my condition was hardly serious, it was a problem that required a solution.
That being said, it was an easy decision to go with option #1. From what I “knew” about fertility clinics (aggressive, out-of-pocket expenses, long waits to get in), I wanted to avoid them at all costs.
So N took off work and we set up a meeting with him. Seeing as how I had done my (internet) homework, I expected to walk out of there with one of two prescriptions: 1) progesterone supplements or 2) the fertility drug Clomid which is commonly prescribed to women who are not ovulating but also contains a supplement that helps support a healthy level of progesterone. I was greatly hoping for option #1 since I think the side-effects of Clomid are pretty well-known: increased risk of cancer, only 6 medicated tries in your life, and of course the increased “risk” of multiples :). Plus, progesterone just seemed less invasive. But I was ready and willing for whatever my doctor thought was best.
Or so I thought.
Not only did I walk out of that appointment without a prescription, I walked out with a heavy heart. Oh, and the names of two fertility doctors. My doctor explained that my diagnosis is a very common problem but NOT for women who have already had a healthy, full-term baby. Rather than throw a bunch of meds at me, he wanted a fertility doctor to get to the root of the problem first. (and btw, couldn’t we have just had that conversation over the phone?)
Along with a heavy heart, I began to question myself. At times, God seemed absolutely silent in ways I had never experienced in my life. Was I not a good enough Mommy to experience this blessing again? Was there a hidden sin I had not confessed? Was there something holding us back from God’s blessing? As my mind raced irrationally, I begged God to show me what I was missing. I asked God for messages of life and healing. I read into verses and asked for signs that we were on the right path, that we were following His will, that there was a baby in our future.
In the beginning, I felt nothing but complete silence answering me. As the confusing cycles continued, I began to receive small, but encouraging signs and I clung to them. None of them seemed to be shouting “Wait“. They all seemed to be saying “you will be pregnant“. I assumed they meant immediately. I begged God to end this season of disappointment and in the meantime became caught up in the hope, anxiety, over-analyzation, dread, and disappointment of each new cycle. Later, later there would be very bold and specific signs that would come. But only in the darkest of moments. It almost seemed as though God was giving and withholding information in order to teach us something. That, and I couldn’t shake the niggling feeling that God was very intentionally keeping us from becoming pregnant because He had a significant time frame prepared for us. My symptoms were just too obscure and hardly serious enough to keep many other women in my shoes from becoming pregnant to be just a random act. If only He could have ended our misery and told us what that time frame was. But that is hardly how He works, no?
Two days after the discouraging doctor’s appointment, I finally worked up the courage to call one of the two names on my list. I didn’t have any particular reason for calling one over the other, other than his name stood out to me more. Go figure. It was mid-May. I talked to a rushed secretary who said they would give me their earliest appointment….which was…..
….wait for it…..
………………………… August 21.
I thanked her and hurriedly ended the conversation before she heard the tears of disappointment in my voice. August 21 was another 3 months away. Far longer than I ever envisioned myself waiting for a solution.
Eventually, I worked up the nerve to call the other doctor on my list, hoping that maybe he would have something remotely sooner. But the office was closed until the following morning. And then on that morning the right person wasn’t in to schedule me. So after another disappointing weekend, I gave it another try on Monday.
“How does Thursday sound?” said one of the kindest voices I’d ever heard in my life. I had to actually tell her that Thursday was too soon for us and the following week would work better. And that was that. We had our first infertility appointment.
Suddenly I began to feel very good about the whole thing. I even found in talking with one of the girls in my small group that she had been to the exact same doctor and had a great experience with him. I felt encouraged and relieved. We were on the right track. If nothing else, we were finally going to have some answers!
I do have to admit, the day of the appointment came upon us and I was extremely anxious. I’m sure that as an average, twenty-something, mom of an 18-month-old, I didn’t look the part of your typical infertility patient. But much to my relief, the fertility clinic was much more mild than I had made it out to be. The inside was plush and calm. When you signed in at the desk, you were always greeted with a smile and kind, sympathetic eyes. And you only had to sign your first name and last initial to protect your anonymity. Oh and the best part? Insurance covered a large percentage of nearly all of our procedures.
I also had no reason to be nervous about meeting our new doctor. He didn’t even meet us in an exam room. He ushered us into his office and we talked current events before making what felt like a very safe game plan.
Here’s what it looked like:
-begin taking OPKs (ovulation predictor kit tests) on day 10 of my cycle (check: had already been doing that)
-when ovulation was detected, come in for an ultrasound
-IF the follicles looked healthy and mature, I would be given a shot of HCG (pregnancy hormone) to help ensure a timely and healthy ovulation. Three days after that I would begin twice daily progesterone supplements.
-IF the follicles did not look healthy, we would call that month a bust and begin the next month right away on a round of Clomid.
I felt great about this plan. And because we’d already successfully had a full-term baby, we were able to skip a lot of the initial testing they require. The plan didn’t feel aggressive and it felt like we really were getting to the root of the problem, just like my OB had said. I began to be very thankful he had recommended us to go this route.
Finally, we were offered encouragement about our prognosis. And for that I was the most grateful.
to be continued….