Sometimes, moments of hope bring the most pain.
When I met Mark I saw a future that I didn’t ever think about. It sounds corny I know, but I suddenly realized all I really wanted was a family of my own. It’s not a huge dream but it was my dream and that was enough. I started dreaming about raising our own kids. We’d take them to church every Sunday just like my parents had done with us. We would teach them to be kind, I would teach them to love reading, Mark would teach them how to shoot, and how to be brave. I had a whole future planned for us by the time Mark asked me to marry him. Everything was falling into place, or so I thought.
Then everything sort of unraveled. I kept getting sick and landed myself in the hospital twice while my husband was deployed. I had been to the ER a few times prior over ovarian cysts I kept getting. Doctor’s didn’t really seem concerned so they would just give me pain medication and tell me to follow-up with my primary care doctor. Of course, nothing came of it so it settled back into the back of my mind. Then one night my heart rate decided to just shoot up. It didn’t really alarm me till the next day when I realized it wasn’t going down and it was starting to hurt. So back to the ER we went. The doctor’s found that my thyroxine levels were extremely high. I was given beta blockers to lower my heart rate and a referral to an Endocrinologist. Again, I didn’t really think much of it.
When I finally got in to see my Endocrinologist I had to get a Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test, where I basically had to swallow some sort of pill and come back later for a scan that took forever to see how much of the radioactive tracer my thyroid absorbed from my blood. From that my doctor diagnosed me with Grave’s Disease. I was then taken to a room where a panel of doctors laid out my options for treatment. I was a little overwhelmed by so many people firing off their opinions on what was best so I chose what was in my opinion the least invasive – Antithyroid Medication. It seemed pretty simple, take the pills and my thyroid function would hopefully go back to normal. I was upset when I learned I’d have to wait till my levels got back to normal to try to get pregnant but again I thought I’d be okay and went along with it.
Some time went by and the pills just were not working. My thyroid levels were fluctuating dramatically and to make matters worse the pills were extremely difficult to swallow. They tasted so bitter and for some reason I found it hard to take them without tasting them. I was irritated because all I wanted was to get back on the baby making train. I knew my health was important but I was starting to doubt my ability to wait. Then, I developed a case of hives that would not go away. I went back to my Endocrinologist who decided to switch me to PTU which my body responded to much better. I was told to wait a few months and then I could start trying to get pregnant. I was happy. Good news for once.
Everything seemed to be back on track for me. For the first few months I really thought that all that waiting was over. I was convinced I’d be pregnant within a few months and so I told my husband we shouldn’t stress about it. We’d just let it happen naturally. Three months into that and I started getting antsy and so my obsession with buying ovulation tests and pregnancy tests began. I became what people in the infertility world call a Pee on a Stick Addict. I read everything I could get my hands on that dealt with getting pregnant. Many of the things I read said stress would affect your ability to get pregnant so I did my best to not be stressed. Then, I’d say about 7 or 8 months into trying I started to panic and so I joined every TTC group I could find. I learned how to temp, how to chart, how to read cervical mucus, I learned and tried about anything and everything people suggested. We used special, sperm friendly lube that cost a ton. Nothing was working. It had been over a year and a half at this point and I was angry. I was angry at the people who got pregnant so easily, I was angry at the people who had kids, I was angry at my doctors for giving me hope, and I was extremely angry at myself.
I stopped liking myself. I couldn’t give up on my dream and yet I was so tired of it all. It seemed so hopeless and every month that went by, every two-week wait (that time in between ovulation and period time) I would get my hopes up and then sit in the bathroom and cry as I held another negative test in my hands. It was infuriating and I didn’t think it could get much worse. Then worse came. It was the first of what would be several where I would get a positive. I was so excited. The first positive pregnancy test I got, I rushed to show Mark and my friends. I was beaming as I showed my friends at the pool one day. I hadn’t even had it confirmed by my doctor yet, but I didn’t care. I thought we’d be okay, I thought this was a win. And then it was gone. That positive line faded the closer I got to Monday when I could go in to confirm the pregnancy. I was terrified. I didn’t know what was happening and everything online was scary.
Monday came. I was a week late for my period by that point. I started bleeding that day and so I didn’t go to confirm. I knew it wasn’t a good sign and I just didn’t want to let my hope go yet. At least at that point all I had was fear, I could still hope I was wrong. On Wednesday I went to my pcm who explained what a chemical pregnancy is. She explained that they are fairly common when trying to get pregnant. Most people don’t notice they’ve happened because usually you will only be a few days late before you start your period, the ones who do catch it are usually the ones that are testing before their period. Basically it’s any miscarriage that occurs before or at 6 weeks. It all sounds so clinical, like they can’t acknowledge that there was something. Even if it was small it was something. I didn’t know how to feel. Of course, she went over how it was normal to still feel grief and that if anything my period would just be a little heavier than normal and then she sent me on my way.
I tried to push it to the back of my mind. Telling the one’s who had known about it, that it was gone was awkward. I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. On one hand I had been pregnant but on the other all I had to remind me of that was a very light, pink line. The bleeding was just like a normal period for me and to be honest I had hoped it would be worse. I wanted something to remind me that it had been there, but nothing did. A couple more months went by and I pushed it all back into the deeper parts of my mind and focused back on TTC again.
Then… I got another light, pink line. This time I didn’t say anything. I told one person in confidence and decided to wait to confirm till the line got darker. After all, I was testing early again. The line never got darker. I was pretty sure I knew what it meant but I tried to hold hope. Another trip to my pcm confirmed another chemical pregnancy. At this point my pcm was a little concerned and told me that if it happened again she’d want to see me. Sure enough a month later the same thing happened. I went back to my pcm after the bleeding was over and she decided to try me on prednisone around the time implantation would occur if we were successful in fertilizing the egg that month. Supposedly prednisone helps with implantation and preventing early miscarriages. Unfortunately, for me it didn’t work.
And now we have arrived back to the part of the journey I am currently at. I’m not trying right now as my husband isn’t here to try at the moment and I am waiting to be seen by the infertility clinic. Hopefully the beginning of November my husband will be able to get his Semen Analysis and I will hopefully be seen by the end of October. It’s been a rough two years of trying and I know that it may be a while longer and maybe not the way we planned for it to happen but one day I’m going to be a mom. And once I have that sweet baby of mine, all the pain and the tears will be worth it.