Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Infertility Journey

"When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen." Isaiah 60:22

It took me a while to open up about our infertility struggles here on the blog. I didn't know if it was something my readers would be interested in reading, and I was scared to share something so personal. Infertility isn't an easy topic, and most people going through it don't talk about it. But as time went on, I decided that I would share because I wanted this little space of mine to truly reflect me and what's going on in my life.

Turns out, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The response I got from you guys was truly overwhelming…. in a good way! So many people reached out to me with encouragement, and I even recieved great advice from people who have been through infertility struggles themselves. Sharing has also been a great way for me to express my feelings and thoughts as we go through the process of trying to have a baby of our own.

Although I've shared posts like The Hardest Decision I've Ever Had to Make and Having Faith, I haven't really shared our full story and the steps we've taken to try and get pregnant. Because so many of you have reached out with advice and questions (which I appreciate so much!), I thought it would be best to share our journey in one post. So the main purpose of today's post is to answer all of those questions and to give you guys the full story and an update on where we are in our journey.

Chris and I "started trying" in January of 2014. We had been married for a little over 2 years and were ready to take on the next step…. becoming parents. I stopped taking birth control (which I had only been taking for 2 years) and for the first 4 months we didn't put much stress on "trying." It wasn't until May that I started using ovulation predication kits to see exactly when I was ovulating. We tried for the next 8 months, timing everything perfectly, but had no luck.

It was then that I decided to talk to my OBGYN, and she ran several blood tests that all came back normal. The next step was for Chris to be tested and for me to have an HSG test done to make sure my fallopian tubes were open. His tests came back normal, but the HSG showed that one of my fallopian tubes could be blocked. By this point, it was February of 2015 and we were referred to a fertility doctor here in Nashville.

Our fertility doctor suggested surgery to see if my tubes were indeed blocked and if he could get them open. Because it would take me a week to recover from the surgery, I had to put it off until June (2015) because I couldn't take that much time off of work. In the meantime, he put me on fertility medicine (Clomid) and told us to keep trying until I could undergo surgery. We had no luck with three months of being on Clomid and proceeded with the surgery in June. We got great news after the surgery - my tubes were not blocked! Our doctor did find traces of endometriosis, but overall, the surgery was successful and delivered hope.

After my surgery, we kept trying (with Clomid) but had no luck. By November of 2015 and almost two years of trying, we were really discouraged and decided to move forward with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI - read more about that process here). Our doctor had no explanation as to why weren't getting pregnant, so we were very hopeful about doing an IUI because it really increases your chances of conceiving. However, by March of 2016 we had done three IUI's, none of which were successful.

Those months were by far the hardest. At this point, Chris and I felt really defeated and our doctor could give us no explanation as to why the IUI's were not successful. His next suggestion was to move forward with In Vitro Fertilization (read more about IVF here), and this scared us. We were in shock that it had come to this point and that IVF was most likely in our future. Since IVF is a pretty intense process, we decided it was best to take a break from the medicines, shots, and appointments we had been doing for the IUIs and just rest for a few months.

In the meantime, one my awesome readers reached out to me with her story and how acupuncture worked for her. She even put me in touch with an acupuncturist who also specializes in fertility here in Nashville. We decided to give it a shot - we figured we had nothing to lose! We both decided that we were not ready for IVF quite yet, and that trying the natural route might pay off.

I started acupuncture in August, and I am loving it!! My acupuncturist also has me taking Chinese herbs and charting daily in hopes of figuring out what could be causing me not to get pregnant. I am hoping that I can get pregnant naturally through through acupuncture and herbs, and as of right now that's where we are. I'm learning more about my body through this charting process, and the acupuncture has definitely helped with the stress of infertility.

We are still open to doing IVF, but for right now we are taking the natural route and praying for God's guidance in our journey. We've been through medicine, shots, countless appointments, surgery, three failed IUI's, and nearly three years of trying, but I am hopeful that we will have our baby one day. This journey hasn't been easy, and it's not over yet, but we know that God's plan is far greater than ours. All we can do is trust in Him and his timing.

If you know someone who is going through infertility, please reach out to them with some encouragement… it is a hard, hard battle that is often overlooked by many. I promise the encouragement and prayers will mean the world to those who are struggling.