I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my period. Single me was happy to see her like “hey girl dodged a bullet this month” – however for the past two years I’ve developed a genuine hatred of this monthly reminder that here I am not pregnant. Again. Because #TheHandful was a surprise coupled with one of my favorite shows being MTV’s TEEN MOM OG, I naively thought getting knocked up was easy. Turns out like most things on this journey, I was wrong …
It all started when my friend showed up to Mommy & Me Class with her months-old baby and announced that she was pregnant with number two. I remember feeling a surge of excitement and a twinge jealousy. For me mentally whenever I feel jealous that’s a cue for me to pay attention to myself and do a check in. I said self, what’s this jealousy about? Self said it was because it was time for us to have another one too. I brought up my feelings to Baby Daddy who was, to put it bluntly, horrified. Baby making is a team sport and my teammate was not down for child creation at this time, arguing that our five month old was a handful for us as it was.
While the discussion was tabled, I tried many different ways to coerce my partner into relations. Eventually he came around and things turned consensual. And then things turned into work. Tracking, peeing on sticks, praying, and doing the deed. That’s why it’s called “the deed” btw, because it’s a damn job when you’re not making a baby. All around us while our friends’ bellies grew so did our concerns.
After a particularly emotional menstruation, I begged Baby Daddy to visit a fertility specialist with me. Ignorantly I thought that we were having trouble because Baby Daddy is approaching 40. That’s it. They’ll wash his sperm and the magic will happen. Just no, me, no.
The first thing they do at a fertility clinic is give you a vaginal ultrasound to check your follicles. Not your pubes (bc you laser, obvs), but your egg follicles. When you ovulate, your body releases an egg from the follicles. You want healthy ones. I have those I learned thanks to this test. Ok great. Next they take your blood.
They also ask your partner to “deposit a sample” which means get their sperms in a cup. Then they run you through a fertility lecture that covers anything you might have forgotten from Mr. Pane’s 7th Grade Bio Class. My youth (a spritely 32 years) and relatively healthy prior pregnancy were clocked and by the end of our visit my doctor was feeling optimistic about our situation.
He devised a fertility plan for us and told me to get some ovulation pee sticks and to call him when I’m ripe. The plan was to do two rounds of IUI, which is intrauterine insemination … or for you crass folk, it’s turkey basting time. Easy enough.
Then he got my blood work back.
Your girl has an autoimmune disease: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Guess whose body can’t carry a baby? Olympic gold sperm ain’t no match for a hostile uterus.
Slow down, whaaaaa? I know, I do amazing back flips and am super skinny – completely not your stereotypical hypothyroid patient. I do have freaky cold hands and feet and am tired a lot, but also I’ve always been that way so I never knew it was something to investigate. Typically a woman with my condition seeks help because she has unexplained weight gain and that gets her into the doc.
Anyway, I’m on meds now for life, currently on 100 mcg of Synthroid if you must know. I hate taking Advil and vitamins, I legit can’t believe I’m on daily meds for my life now.
So they tell me once this big bad Thyroid gland is regulated that I might have a better chance of getting pregnant. Yay. However that does involve having to go through IVF …
Anyway this Suckfest is apparently pretty common. I could’ve told you that based off the packed, standing-room only waiting room at the Western Fertility office but I confirmed it with my case manager Femma. Femma said yep, this is very common.
And then there’s the social aspect of it … your friends start to NOT tell you when they’re pregnant. I have to say that is the shit moment for me right there, the moment when I realize I’m the last to know about a pregnancy because the mom is afraid the news will upset me. That’s embarrassment overload for me. Because the truth is, I’m so fucking happy for my pregnant friends. So happy for them – their pregnancies have nothing to do with my hostile womb. I love babies, I love their families and I’m a doula for the love of love. Doulas love babies and mommies and daddies.
And the other side of the coin, the relentless: when are you having another baby questions. I find responding with honesty and transparency just kinda opens up the dialogue and eventually makes you closer to the person, but that’s me. I know other women who are embarrassed about their fertility problems and don’t want to discuss them. Actually, if anything I try to talk about our fertility problems as much as possible because I’m hoping I’ll find that mom who breathes a sigh of relief and says “me too”.
For now we’re tabling the fertility treatments and just trying to manage my Thyroid. But for all of my fans who lovingly ask me when we plan on having another and for my beautiful daughter who asks for a sibling constantly: we’re trying, it’s hard and disappointing, but we’re trying!