Two years of negatives and three chemical pregnancies later I’m finally able to say I heard my babies heartbeats. About 8 weeks ago I found out that I am pregnant. It took about twelve tests to convince me as most of you know I’ve had positives in the past and they all faded and went away. To say I was expecting something to go wrong this time too would be accurate. Going through infertility and losses robbed me of my ability to believe that everything would be okay, because it’s never been okay before. Seeing those two pink lines both terrified and thrilled me, but I spent the week leading up to the confirmation ultrasound secretly worrying that something was wrong and then feeling guilty that I was even thinking of all the things that could be wrong.
The day of the appointment I was extremely nervous and to be honest I was preparing myself for something, I just didn’t realize that something was going to be TWINS. It took about five seconds for Dr. W to see those two little babies and then about a week for me to really process that not only was this pregnancy happening, I was also having twins. I wish I could say that I had some super emotional response when I heard their heartbeats, which by the way at 6 weeks I wasn’t expecting to hear, but I was so overwhelmed that he had just said twins that I just laid there completely shocked. I was amazed that these babies had heartbeats, but I was in disbelief that that image I’d had of us fawning over our one and probably only baby wouldn’t be happening. In that image’s place I’ll be honest I was imagining the chaos of having two newborns at once and I was terrified.
So to say my world kind of flipped is probably the most accurate description I can give. It seems kind of ridiculous now, but during those fertility treatments I didn’t really prepare myself for the possibility of twins. When they told me the percentage of twins that occur during the type of treatment I was doing it was only 15% which in my mind was not that big of a chance. Now I could just slap myself for not thinking about the possibility, but really it wouldn’t have changed anything. We weren’t planning for twins and I’ll admit part of me is still panicking, but after years of wondering if I’d even have my own children this is honestly perfect in its own way. Just goes to prove God is always in control. I knew I didn’t want to have an only child and I guess God decided that he was going to ensure that didn’t happen. After all the heartache we’ve been through trying to get to this point I can’t help but look at this as a gift. I shared previously that I really struggled keeping my faith when I felt like miracles were just there to taunt me. Infertility made this journey feel so clinical and sterile, these twins remind me that God was watching and he heard my prayers and worries.
As for my pregnancy, the twins are doing well. We’ve had 3 ultrasounds so far and 5 appointments. They are di/di twins which is the safest type of twins to have. They each have their own sacs and placentas which usually means they are fraternal but it could be that the egg split very early on which would make them identical. My OB says we won’t know until they are born or obviously if they are different genders that will tell us. We think that it is most likely these twins are fraternal just because we know I dropped two eggs this last cycle. Twins are automatically classified as high risk here at the Naval hospital, but because I also have Grave’s Disease I have been referred to an MFM in Palm Springs (A High Risk Specialist) who will monitor our twins growth and be watching my thyroid closely. What this means for us is we will be seeing our twins a LOT. About every two weeks I’ll have an ultrasound, which honestly I do not mind because I am such a huge worrier! As for me, I am almost out of the first trimester and have lost about 6lbs… maybe more now. I honestly do not know how because my eating habits are terrible. I pretty much crave fries and burgers. I am also almost out of the first trimester and am so ready to just watch our babies grow.
Anyways, I apologize for how long it took me to update everyone, but I have been very overwhelmed with everything. The excitement has hit us and I am now just trying to prepare myself for twin life. We’ve had to rearrange our expectations, but that is okay. This journey has not gone at all how I planned, but it’s for the best. I have stated before that sometimes you have to just believe God has a reason and I’d like to say I’m starting to see it.
The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. -Romans 8:18
Well, we have officially entered the terrifying part of this cycle…. the wait. I’m extremely nervous and excited to get a break from what felt like every other day appointments. I have a lot of fear that I’m going to let my hope build up too much and then find that it didn’t work, but I’m trying to stay positive. I continue to remind myself that isn’t uncommon for the first cycle to not work and it isn’t the end. There is still a lot we can try if it doesn’t work, but I’ll admit I’m really hoping this cycle works. Anyways, I thought I would share how our appointment Friday went along with what we are doing now!
After many appointments in which I was told my follicles weren’t responding we finally reached the day I was praying for! On Friday I went in for our 5th sonogram to check on my progress and am very happy to say I had two follicles measuring at 19.5 and 18. I can’t even begin to describe how exciting it was to see those follicles on the screen. For the past several weeks it’s been a lot of nothing there. I’ll admit had the doctor not pointed it out I probably wouldn’t have known what those two black masses on the screen were, but still it was incredibly exciting to see progress. It was decided I could go ahead and trigger ovulation so I was allowed to take my Ovridrel shot when I got home. So what now?
Well, now comes the waiting game. Since this was a timed intercourse cycle we are supposed to have sex for the next 3 days and then I am to start to progesterone suppositories Monday morning, but aside from that this cycle is pretty much over at least in terms of doing stuff. The Ovridrel will cause a positive pregnancy test so for this reason I’m not supposed to take a test until 14 days after taking the trigger, but I’m impatient so I’ve decided to torture myself by testing the trigger out of my system. If goes to negative and then comes back to positive then it is likely a true positive and not just the hormones I injected. I’m a little nervous that I’m going to experience side effects from this, but right now it’s a little too soon to know. Most of my nervousness is towards the progesterone suppositories, several ladies have warned me that they are not at all fun. Honestly, they never sounded fun and unfortunately I’ll be taking them for a while…. even longer if I end up pregnant. I am reminding myself that if I want to get pregnant I have to do this though, no matter how unpleasant.
Anyways, I am very pleased that we made it through the bulk of this cycle and that after 13 injections we were finally able to trigger! All that is really left to do is pray now!
13 gonal f injections, 1 trigger, and 5 sonograms this cycle.
Life doesn’t always give us answers, some dots they won’t connect until the years go by.
– Where does the Time Go (A Great Big World)
Sometimes the weight of everything we are going through is crushing. It’s so very hard to watch what I want, be given to others and sometimes it’s to people who don’t even want it. I question the injustice of it a lot more than I allow anyone to see. People tell you not to be resentful, that you might not see what those people are going through. Maybe they needed that baby more than I did, but it’s incredibly difficult to let it go. Each month that passes it becomes just a little bit harder to hold myself together.
There are a lot of days in which I don’t like myself. I don’t like how my body doesn’t want to cooperate, I don’t like how all the treatments make me feel, I really am starting to hate these doctor appointments and feeling like a pin cushion sucks. Four appointments now in which I’ve been told my body isn’t doing what it should be. It’s more than frustrating to watch something you want so badly float further and further away from you. The world isn’t fair and sometimes it feels cruel in the way it taunts me. I’m not searching for comfort though, I know this journey isn’t easy and I don’t expect it to be. I just want to cry without being told it’ll happen eventually. Sometimes I just need to vent without the promise that all of this will amount to something because the reality is it might not. It sucks, there’s not any good way to put it. But it’s a harsh fact that sticks in the back of my mind that I might not get what I want, at the very least it may not come the way that I wanted. I want to be uplifting and inspirational, but this journey isn’t easy and it’s not fun. There’s nothing pretty about being stuck with needles and the countless doctors appointments. I’m not giving up, but I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t feel sad about it. This journey is hard and we are barely beginning it. It’s not just hard on me either, it’s hard on our marriage and it’s already had some moments where I wasn’t sure if this was going to be worth putting us through.
I feel a lot of pressure to not let people see me breaking because there are still quite a few people in my life that don’t think I’m ready. I want to appear strong and capable because to them I’m too young to be doing this. Any sign of weakness and it turns into a “maybe you should wait” debate. As if waiting is going to cure my problem. I wish so badly that I could get it across to the whole world that infertility is a disease. It’s not something that just goes away. I could walk away and more than likely I’d end up right back here. A few miraculous conceptions and people believe it’s common place. I will admit I feel the need to get everyone’s approval, it’s something I try to remind myself isn’t needed but it is there. I want people to want me to succeed and not everyone will is the reality. I know I am young, but does that make me incapable of having infertility? Does my age make me unfit to be a mother? I get frustrated because I thought I did everything right. I got married, we have the money, we have a home, but we still get met with opposition. Opposition that isn’t just from other people but also from my body.
My point is, no matter what age or point you are in this journey it’s painful. It’s not something words can cure, it’s a deep pain that isn’t easily solvable. I appreciate the support we’ve had and it’s been wonderful to see that there are so many that care and I really hope this didn’t come across as a pity party for myself. Sometimes I just need to vent in order to go on and keep moving.
“The greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow.” -Unknown
It’s started to hit me that we are really doing this. It was exciting at first, but now I’ll admit my excitement has waned and I’m starting to feel the reality of the situation. I am bruised from the injections, which I expected to happen, but it’s now a reminder that this is happening. It’s a little scary to be honest.
I went into this telling myself it doesn’t matter how much it hurts, it’s worth it. I still believe that and I am doing my best to keep myself focused on the goal. I take comfort in the fact that some of it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The injections are actually something I look forward to of a morning, obviously sticking myself with a needle isn’t fun… but it’s me doing something and after doing nothing for so long I’m happy to be doing something! I’ll gladly take the bruises if it means that the end of this journey may come to a close at some point. As for the side effects, I’ll be honest they aren’t fun. I don’t have any headaches though, which is something I was told by several women they had, but so far I haven’t had that. I do have some stomach upset and my stomach is tender from injecting myself every morning but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Dr. L did say today that once the Gonal F starts doing it’s job I’m probably going to feel it. After all, I’m not going to be releasing just one egg so I can imagine I’ll probably get some bloating and cramping from that.
Now about my appointment today, it’s a little hard to keep hearing that this plan isn’t working and this plan isn’t going to work. I understand a lot of it is just trial and error but I guess I assumed my body would respond well to the Gonal F because I already ovulate on my own. Of course, my body wants to be difficult! So we didn’t get approved to use the Ovridrel yet… I am back on a higher dose of Gonal F for another week. I will go back on Tuesday for another sonogram and hopefully it’ll show something happening!
So for the revised game plan… we are going to do a higher dose of Gonal F, if it works we will then do the trigger shot of Ovridrel that will make me release the eggs and then I have to start Progesterone suppositories as these shots lower my progesterone levels which isn’t good if you want to get pregnant and stay pregnant. If I end up being pregnant I will continue the Progesterone suppositories until I am 10 weeks to be safe. So, depending on when we finally get to do the trigger shot I will find out if cycle #1 worked about 14 to 16 days after I do the trigger shot!
It’s been a very tough and trying week here at the Bernal residence. PCSing is hard, I give props to the people who breeze through these things. I have hope that someday I will be able to do the same and not cringe when I hear the word moving again! I have been very overwhelmed with everything we have had to do so I apologize for how long it has taken me to update everyone! But anyways, the move is for the most part over… we are currently at the inn on base at Twentynine Palms which we will be living at for at least the next few weeks as we wait for housing to give us a place to live! It’s a little stressful I won’t lie. Today, I found myself incredibly overwhelmed because due to some issues with checking out of the unit for my husband he dropped us off at 29 last night and won’t be back here to stay till Friday! So…..me and the dogs are slowly adjusting to being here by ourselves for the next couple of days.
Anyways, we had our second infertility appointment yesterday morning. My test results were not as insightful as I had hoped they would be. Basically, I’m not getting pregnant and the doctor can’t say why yet. There are many more tests we could do…I mean seriously, there are endless tests…. but the doctor and I agree with him, have decided to treat this as unexplained infertility for the moment. It’s possible that the eggs I am releasing are not normal, which basically means they can’t be fertilized. It’s not something someone my age usually has such an issue with so there is also the chance that my tubes are blocked, but again that is not something the doctor thinks is very likely. Personally, I would prefer to go ahead with the HSG Test which would check for blocked tubes and a few other things but the doctor explained his reasoning as to why he’d like to try the treatment plan I’m about to talk about for 2 cycles before we move on. If these next two medicated cycles don’t work then we will do the HSG and depending on results we would either be preparing for IUI or IVF. Those are not timed intercourse treatments so unfortunately, those treatments have to be paid out-of-pocket. So let us all pray one of these next two cycles work!
So, the treatment plan where do I start? It’s a lot more complicated than I thought our first cycle of treatment would be let me just say that. I am going to have to call their office tomorrow for better clarification as I was a little overwhelmed yesterday but I will explain what I think I understand so far. I am to start birth control pills on the 2nd day of my period this month and continue them for a time that I still need to ask the doctor about, this is to get my cycle on track with the clinic so I don’t ovulate before they want me to and such. From there I have to schedule a sonogram with a OBGYN who will look for any cysts that may have developed. If there are no cysts then my doctor at the infertility clinic will give me the go ahead along with instructions on how to begin taking Clomid (basically stimulates ovulation), the doctor will also give me instructions on when to begin using the injections they sent home with me (this will get my body to release more than 1 egg), and then the instructions get a little less clear but from what I gather I will go in and get an injection of Ovidrel (it contains the pregnancy hormone) from what I am assuming that injection makes ovulation occur fairly rapidly after receiving it. I will be monitored throughout this process to make sure I do not release too many eggs. The cycle will be canceled and I will not be allowed to ttc if more than 3 eggs are released as that would be unsafe for me. I was a little freaked out by the idea that I could very well be ttc when I have 3 eggs waiting… I mean after all nobody really wants triplets! But I have been assured that it is not likely all 3 would be normal eggs. Basically, what this treatment is doing is trying to give me more eggs in a cycle so as to increase my chances of conceiving. I’m going into this a little overwhelmed and I’m in a bit over my head at the moment it feels like but I’ve been assured it’s a learning process and I’ll get the hang of it all soon. Also, since I will be receiving a trigger shot I can’t really test early like I normally do for pregnancy since if I test early it’s going to show positive, but it would be because of the shot.
Anyways, if you were able to follow all of that I applaud you because I’m still wrapping my head around it all. I am excited to start this treatment but pretty nervous. I do not like needles so that will be interesting… especially since they think my husband is going to be giving me these injections. But I am determined and I pray that all of this pays out in the end. I have no idea how many trips to Balboa are going to be required but my hope is that we are able to find a good OBGYN here that can coordinate with the infertility clinic well enough that we can limit the amount of trips we have to take. Our doctor seems to be used to people not living in San Diego where the hospital is so he has a good knowledge on how to keep us from making any unnecessary trips to him which I greatly appreciate.
Thank you to everyone that has been so supportive and given us advice, we appreciate you all and let’s just pray that this works!
I went into this season with a lot of negativity towards this holiday. It’s hard to be thankful when you feel like you are being denied the one thing that would complete you. It’s the season where families come together which means that unfortunately it’s a season filled with reminders that I am still without a child and that undoubtedly makes me question a lot of things, including my faith.
For me, one of the hardest things in this journey has been keeping faith in God. I grew up in a small, Free-Will Baptist church and my faith is very important to me. I don’t talk about it often because for me this is a part of me that is very personal. I know this sometimes leads people to think that I am just not as deeply connected to God as I should be, but I feel this is just who I am and I feel my relationship with Him grows each and every year.However, it’s been hard to not be resentful sometimes or all the time… It’s difficult for me to try to understand why He would make this journey so hard on me, especially when I see people everyday that shouldn’t be having children. Keeping faith is tough and I don’t have any answers as to why God is allowing this to happen to me. I may never have answers and I would be lying if I said that didn’t bother me, but I also know sometimes that sometimes keeping faith does not come easy and that is just part of it.
What has helped me the most of late is a story in the Bible about Job. As a child I thought that this was the worst thing that could ever be done. I couldn’t even begin to try to understand why God would allow someone who obeyed and loved Him so much to endure so much pain. It seemed incredulous to me that God would kill a righteous mans family along with many other horrible things just to prove to Satan that Job would remain obedient to God. Yet, now I can see that in putting Job through all that suffering, Job was able to witness to his friends who didn’t believe. Through Job, God showed that even though it may feel like there is absolutely no reason on this planet that you should have to be suffering He has a plan and if you keep your faith in him something good will come of it. I may not see the end of this dark tunnel yet, but I know there is a light at the end of it. Just as God gave Job double the blessings in the end, I know that eventually good will come of my own suffering. It may be a long time before I get to see that good, but God always has a reason and that is something that this holiday I was able to see a glimpse of.
Most people know that I have been waiting a long time for an appointment with the infertility clinic. It’s a very long waiting list and the last time I spoke to the appointment line I was told to not even expect to be seen until later this coming summer. To say it was disappointing would be an understatement. So it was a giant surprise this week when I got a call from the clinic letting me know a spot had opened up and it was mine! I am now going to be seen on December 21st. It may not be the big blessing I am holding hope for, but it was something and it came right when I needed it.
God didn’t however stop there this week. As some know, Mark decided to reenlist and so we have been waiting to hear where his next duty station would be. Yes, I might have been hoping for Hawaii (who wouldn’t?!) but we found out the other day we will be heading to Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert, in late January. It isn’t the most enchanting destination for sure, but it does mean that we will be able to continue our infertility journey with the clinic at Balboa Naval Hospital. Which is a big blessing when you think about it as Balboa is one of the few hospitals out there for military and their families that has an infertility clinic that also applies some discounts towards treatments. So while it will be a bit inconvenient to drive 4 to 5 hours to my infertility appointments it is a much better outcome than we could have hoped for. There are so many other bases Mark could have been sent to next that are much, much farther away so perhaps God was looking out for us after all! And who knows, maybe the next base we go to will be Hawaii! A girl can hope!
Before I discovered I was battling infertility I was bombarded with the age old advice, “Just stop trying and it will happen”. Well, that advice is quite frankly the dumbest and least helpful advice on the planet. If that offends you then it is very likely that you did not have trouble conceiving. So in an effort to be helpful I have compiled a list of things that can possibly help. Please notice I said possibly! This is a list that will likely only benefit those who have infertility and know what is causing it and those who don’t have infertility, but are simply taking longer than they’d like to conceive. Yes, most of us with infertility will need a doctor to help us conceive. But when you see the cost of those treatments I say it doesn’t hurt to try something else first or possibly while you are waiting to be seen by the fertility clinic!
Vitamin B6: This is known to help with progesterone levels. Helpful for women who have a luteal phase defect.
Vitex: This helps regulate hormones and has been known to help with ovulation. This is something that is good to take if you have abnormal cycles as it can help you become regular. You can buy it separately but I would just buy it in a fertility blend to be honest.
Maca Root: Helps improve fertility and sex drive. It’s great for those who are maybe just taking a bit longer than they’d like to, to get pregnant. I do not recommend this if you have thyroid problems. If you want to take it and have a thyroid condition you NEED to ask your doctor first! Adverse side effects have been reported in thyroid patients.
Evening Primrose Oil: Helps with EWCM. For those that don’t know what that is, that is the cervical mucus you basically need if you want to get pregnant. I personally have never taken this.
Preseed: If you need to use lube this is the lube you should use. Fun fact! Most lube kills sperm, this is sperm friendly.
Prenatals: Extremely important. You should be taking this if you are trying to get pregnant no matter what. Prenatals are the most beneficial in early pregnancy so take them now.
Baby Aspirin: Helps blood flow to the uterus. Yes, it needs to be baby aspirin. Adult will not do.
Vitamin E: Helps overall fertility
Pineapple Core: helps implantation occur successfully. You should eat it during the 5 days after confirmed ovulation.
You should not take everything all at once. Read what they are all for and consult a doctor or holistic health practitioner.