Hello! Welcome to the latest addition to my blog! If you're already familiar with my blog, welcome back. If not, my name is Beth. I live with my husband, Brent, in central Ohio and started this blog a few years ago as a way to document and share our home renovation process (does it ever end? Lol). Here I have linked a timeline of events during our journey which might make it easier to follow along with this post.
Brent and I got married September 8, 2012 after almost 5 years of dating. Marriage was a rough adjustment for us only being 22 and neither of us living on our own before, but through it all we knew we wanted a family. So we did what was necessary in order to become the person the other person needed. While we have a very far from perfect marriage, not a day goes by that I'm not grateful we fought for what we wanted- each other.
Now on to the TMI information. Growing up, I had fairly irregular periods. Often times in my late teens I felt like a Guinea pig with all the different types of birth control they would put me on to regulate it. They were miserably painful. I finally found Nuvaring and enjoyed the simplicity of it. In 2011, I had an exploratory laparoscopy to role out endometriosis, which it did thank goodness! My scope being unremarkable was a relief. Fast forward to marriage, after about 8 months of being married I decided to stop Nuvaring. Not that we wanted children right away, but I had this feeling we might have a difficult time conceiving.
Two years would go by, each of these years at my annual visit my obgyn would be shocked to hear we had not gotten pregnant since we were not using contraceptives. At the second annual visit, Brent came along because I felt like he needed to hear that this wasn't typical and I knew we needed to discuss options. So my doctor ordered some reproductive related lab work that all came back very normal. We went home knowing our options and decided to give it one more year of no intervention with ovulation and cervical mucous tracking.
Another year went by. I had always said I would be done having kids by 28 and here I was, May of 2016, 26 years old and childless. This was the year of everyone in my life having babies and I was over here with a monthly reminder (aka slap in the face) that it just wasn't going to happen for us. This by far was the roughest year yet. Perhaps because we finally got answers, answers I had no control over.
In May 2016, again during my yearly visit I broke down. We needed answers. Time wasn't slowing down and we knew we couldn't do this on our own anymore. Brent came along for the visit and we discussed myself starting on Clomid. I didn't have a known history of not ovulating (because monthly I felt it coming), but I was willing to try anything at this point. We discussed that before I started the Clomid it would be a good idea for Brent to have a Semen analysis (SA). So we left the visit with a script for Clomid and a SA.
I remember getting the call that monday after we dropped off Brent's SA like it was yesterday. "Brent's SA came back abnormal. Only 7% of his are motile (aka moving in a forward direction). We need to refer him to a urologist who specializes in reproductive health and don't start your clomid". 7%. That was hard to swallow. While you think "oh but there are millions of them", there are. But ultimately less than 100 sperm make it to the final destination. And of that typical 100, he would only have 7 of them statistically speaking. Those are terrible odds. Never did I ever want this burden to be on him. I spent a lot of time feeling utter guilt that suddenly it wasn't me. I wanted it to be me. I can control it more if it were me. I can be inconvenienced by doctors appointments and go alone. He didn't need to be though. He didn't ask for this.
So after waiting several months for our referral appointment, we met with the urologist who did lots of labs on Brent and decided it was Brent who should start the Clomid. Clomid in men increases testosterone which in turn increases sperm count, which gave us better odds of motile sperm. It was very much a trickle effect. We would have to wait 72 days, which is the maturation rate of sperm, before we could do another SA. Brent also started Q-10 and L-carnitine which help on a cellular level to produce better quality sperm. So we waited what felt like an eternity.
If you're still here, congrats! I hope you had a snack with you. This turned into a novel lol
At our follow up urology appointment, there was a glimmer of hope. Brent's motility came up to 32%, but his count took a drop. We were so relieved the Clomid was working. I knew Brent's patience with seeing the urologist were running thin, so we made the decision we were done. He would continue the Clomid and supplements, but he needed a break from doctors appointments (we waited both times over an hour past our appointment time to be seen). So immediately I called my obgyn to give them an update and we decided to proceed with myself starting Clomid and doing an intrauterine insemination (IUI). I had been using digital ovulation kits and knew ovulation would fall around the 14th day (Clomid makes it much more predictable). I called into the office the moment I got a positive ovulation test and we set it up for the next morning (which happened to be my 27th birthday). Bright and early (6:45am) Brent and I arrived to the lab, collected and turned in his specimen and we waited about 45 minutes in the car while the lab "washed" and prepared his specimen for the procedure. Once it was finished, we took the specimen thermos to the doctors off were I was dilated with a catheter and the specimen instilled. The procedure went smoothly. We both left feeling super hopeful. Two weeks went by and I felt my period coming on. I was devastated, just like every month before it.
So we called back my doctor and told him we would like to setup a second IUI for the following month. Again, both on Clomid and using an ovulation kit. This time, Brent and I drove separately and he had to leave after giving his specimen. I waited alone for them to wash it then headed to the doctors. This procedure went very differently too. The amount of pain during dilation was unreal. Once the doctor left the room, I began to sweat profusely and feel nauseous. They immediately got me water and Tylenol and made me hang out till I knew I was able to drive an hour back home. To this day, I still don't know why this experience was so different than the first IUI. We waited and again, my period showed up.
Brent and I had discussed him stopping Clomid after the second failed IUI due to him being in a physique competition in May 2017. One side effect of Clomid is water retention. I knew Brent couldn't put on hold something he had wanted to do for so long for a baby that wasn't happening. So he discontinued the Clomid. I followed up with my obgyn a few months later ater and asked for more in depth lab work. So he checked my egg reserve and a few other things and again, totally normal. We then proceeded to set up an HSG test. This test determines if there is blockage in the fallopian tubes. This test was scheduled on the 11th day of my cycle (which decreases the chances of someone being pregnant during the test). Brent and I showed up that day for the test, had a serum pregnancy ran (negative) and then I was called back to the xray room. I undressed from the waist down and put on a gown then laid on the hard xray table. The doctor came in and started prepping for the procedure. During dilation, again, I felt immense pain so much that tears started to uncontrollably stream down my face and I kept asking for a second to catch my breath. Thankfully an xray tech by my head tried to help calm me as I frantically grabbed for anything I could grab. At one point I realized the radiologist had entered the room and I hadn't even noticed. They finally got the catheter entirely in and injected the contrast into my pelvis. By this point I had caught my breath and was able to see my fallopian tubes on the fluoroscopy screen. From doing research, I knew what I was looking at. The contrast had spilled out of my tubes and over my ovaries, meaning no blockage! There was such relief in knowing my anatomy was normal. Before the doctor left the procedure area, he reminded me we would have increased fertility for the next three cycles because the test "cleaned out" the tubes allowing easier travel of weaker sperm. I was in NO mindset to be thinking about being intimate after the amount of pain I was just in. I bled for a good 5 days after the test, which can be normal. April came and went and so did my period. In May, Brent's competition took place and he started back on Clomid, which brings us to present time.