Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An introduction

I have hesitated at beginning a blog specifically dedicated to my struggle with getting pregnant because devoting a blog to the subject seems, in some way, an acknowledgement that I may, in fact, be suffering from infertility. Isn't denial a wonderful thing?

As we have continued trying unsuccessfully, though, I've discovered that the topic of my failed attempts to conceive has been becoming a more and more frequent topic on my other, original blog. I also have found a lot of solace in reading of others' experiences. So I've finally decided that it's time to start my own blog about our endeavors to get pregnant.

I don't want everyone in real life who reads my original blog to know about our efforts to conceive, so I decided I would start a blog dedicated specifically to that topic.


I chose the title for the blog because I started this quest with some of my own misconceptions about conception. No doubt like many other girls, I had been conditioned by a strict upbringing to believe that almost the mere sight of a man's penis would be enough to impregnate me! As an adolescent, my sister and I were ceaselessly encouraged by my father to avoid sex until marriage, or at least until we were older. But if we did decide to have sex, under no circumstances should we do so without using birth control! My father talked to us often about how a teenage pregnancy would "ruin your life."

Hearing my father and observing the many unplanned teen pregnancies in our small hometown, it was easy to believe that getting pregnant was something that happened readily and quickly. I didn't know anyone on either side of our family who had been infertile. My mother's first few pregnancies were unplanned. Her sister had an unplanned pregnancy as well. So did my stepmother and one of my grandmothers.

Both my maternal and paternal grandmother had children after age 35, also, so in no way did I think that my decision to wait to get pregnant until I was 36 would be a barrier. I recall stopping my birth control pills last April and being genuinely concerned that I might get pregnant almost immediately and end up being huge for my planned wedding in late November. I really thought that I would throw out my birth control pills, wait a few months to get "back to normal," and then readily fall pregnant.

Sure, I'd had friends or acquaintances who had "taken a while" to get pregnant. But even among my friends, there were far more who had become pregnant unintentionally or within a few months of going off birth control. I had never known anyone personally--at least not well--who had conceived their child through the use of assisted reproductive technology ("ART").

It seems so naive of me, looking back. I have been a registered nurse since 1994 and studied ART--from another perspective--in a family law class in law school. I should have been better informed than most women about the risk I had taken by waiting until after 35 to attempt to get pregnant.

My husband (who I will call MM) and I have been actively trying to conceive ("TTC") for twelve cycles. We have had a full set of preliminary testing done with a noted reproductive endocrinologist ("RE"); he has appeared in The Top 100 Doctors in Phoenix and helped a colleague's daughter conceive both her children through IVF. The RE and his wife conceived their twins through the use of IVF, so he has been on the receiving end of ART as well being an experienced RE.

Our RE has told us that all our tests are normal, and the only explanation he can offer for our lack of success thus far is "old eggs." At our last appointment with him in late January, we expressed our desire to wait until we had been trying a full year prior to pursuing any intervention. His response? "That's fine, but don't wait too long. No matter how your tests look, your eggs know that they're 37."

To the best of our knowledge, we have done everything we can do on our own to "make this happen." Every single cycle has had perfectly timed intercourse within my "fertile window." We don't use lubricants that can harm sperm, and we have done everything that is recommended to maximize our chances of conception.

I have already eliminated every possible substance which might be harmful to my fertility from my life: alcohol, NSAIDs, and most recently, caffeine. Although my cycles are regular and ovulatory, I have limited my consumption of white flour and sugar. About a month ago, I sought care from a well-respected local doctor of Chinese medicine who has worked successfully with patients treated by our RE and specializes in the treatment of infertility. I have been receiving weekly acupuncture treatments, taking herbs three times a day, and following dietary recommendations which she has provided to me.

My husband is healthy: non-smoker, rarely drinks alcohol, exercises 5-6 days a week, and takes a daily multi-vitamin supplement. He wears boxers (and has for years), avoids saunas, and refrains from excessive self-pleasuring.

So that's where we are.

3 comments:

  1. sounds like you are doing everything you can. i hope everything works out for you soon....good luck

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  2. Here from LFCA to welcome you. You're on your way. Keep up the Eastern medicine practices, if anything they'll help ease the stress of your situation. But, I strongly believe your eggs aren't old, they just need a pick me up.

    Best of luck!

    S4S

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  3. I will be reading along with interest--we have a lot in common, as it turns out. Unfortunately, I don't have such regular cycles, though, and with much trepidation, I'll be starting Clo.mid tomorrow. Good luck to you in the next phase of your journey.

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