Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Journey

Almost 4 years ago I mentally embarked on this journey to have a second child. I remember that it was our anniversary weekend and I just assumed that we would get pregnant the first month we “tried” just like we did with Matthew. I figured it would be great timing as my brother- in -law was getting married and I could tell that side of the family right after the wedding since everyone would be in town. I would have 2 kids and a tummy tuck by the time I was 30. That was the plan at least. Well as previous writings tell, it was not that easy.
We tried for a year on our own before I decided to get the advice of my OB who ran some tests on us both. We were both healthy and there was nothing questionable. Everyone told us to just let it go, don’t think about it too much, it will happen etc etc. That is extremely hard to tell a woman who has plotted out her cycle and knows exactly what day(s) every month are her ‘ripe’ days. On top of being a helpless planner and wanting so badly to have kids close in age the iterisms of others just added salt to the wound. Since I had a c-section with Matthew there was one test to be done to make sure my fallopian tubes were clear and after enduring that pain and it coming back clean I decided it was time to go a step further.
Enter Clomid. Clomid is a drug that helps produce more mature egg follicles during your cycle making it easier to get pregnant. It also produces wicked night sweats and extreme mood swings. But that’s neither here nor there. I tried that for 2 months prior to getting the news that we were South Carolina bound and decided to let the stress of the move take over for a while. After we settled into SC for about 3 months, I was noticing how incredibly tired I was. Exhausted more like it. But it’s harder to explain then that. I could drink a Red Bull and a shot of espresso and still want to fall asleep, and even if I did have the opportunity to sleep, I woke up feeling exactly as I did prior to bed. This left me feeling cloudy and just hard to make it through the day in a happy mood. My mother was convinced that it was thyroid related. She herself had/has thyroid issues and that is what she believes my brother and my 8 year age difference is attested to. I had been tested before and I always was on the cusp of being too low, hypothyroid. But being on the cusp is generally no cause for doctors to throw you on to a lifetime of medications to correct the issue.
I went to a general practitioner to get a blood panel and physical hoping she would be able to help me feel a little more alive. After the tests, she agreed that indeed my thyroid was a touch off and suggested that I go onto birth control pills to help regulate my cycle and hormones. UGH!  I looked at her in disgust and told her that was pretty much the opposite of where I wanted to be in my life. Obviously she hadn’t listened during the initial write up and she referred me to a reproductive center. I had an appointment with the fertility folks a few long short weeks later. Walking in, I was hopeful that by the end of 2010 I would be pregnant. There was a wall of photos with twins and thank you notes to the doctor. I was stoked. He started us off right away on Femera, which is supposed to be the same sort of drug as Clomid but for me it came with even more wonderfully horrible side effects. My face exploded every month. My rage was like something I’d never seen before and the bloating was something of epic proportions. I was on this for 3 months or so before discussing with the doctor what the next steps were. He suggested an IUI, which is an intrauterine insemination. Sort of the last step before IVF where the major drugs come about. Mike and I discussed it. I was at first opposed because wit an IUI, technically Mike wouldn’t have to even be in the room when I got pregnant and it just didn’t seem right to me. But after yearning for a baby for so long and talking to some friends who have undergone the procedure we decided to move forward with it.
When you proceed with an IUI, not only are you loaded up on hormones to get your follicles to be large enough, you also get a great belly shot of Ovudrill to ensure ovulation occurs at a set time so that they know exactly when to do the implantation. So you get to take lots of time off work, without being able to tell your boss why, and run to the doctor to get sonograms of your egg follicles to determine if they are big enough to start the shot and then schedule your appointment to meet with the doc who will insert a tube filled with little swimmers directly into the uterus to give them a better chance at finding the egg. Gives them a head start if you will so they don’t have to swim so far. We did this at least 4 times and nothing. Mind you, when you are on these hormones they give you the feeling as if you are pregnant. You are sore and tender and tired and cranky and bloated…. So every month was a HUGE let down when I saw two words on the pregnancy test instead of one. My doctor said we could try 2 more times before he would either have us stop or move forward with IVF.  
IVF was a very scary thought for us. I am not shaming others for doing it because it has brought much joy to many and I heavily considered it. But Mike could not bring himself to having ‘un-used’ embryos. At first I was very mad at him for making that decision for us. I wanted a child so badly that I was willing to undergo all the drugs and the chance at multiples and freezing embryos. I was all for it. He on the other hand pulled back and asked me how devastated would I be if we went through all that effort and all that expense and still wound up negative. Where would it end for me? It took me a week or so to truly let it sink in and understand that he was correct. And in the middle of 2011 I ended all fertility treatment.
I took 4 months off all drugs and made another doctor appointment. This was just for me, because I was still feeling lethargic I went to a new general practice doctor to get a clear picture of where I was and wanted to make sure that the drugs I was on hadn’t screwed with my body too badly. He told me that someone of my age should not feel so old, and be so tired. My blood panels looked excellent, my weight and EKG were all in the zone and he too noticed that my thyroid was just a tad low, so he referred me to an endocrinologist. I was sure this was the guy I had been looking for, finally, someone to listen to me and hopefully prescribe me something to help me feel human again. A week later I was at the Endocrinologists office, and within a moment of meeting him I knew I was going to leave in tears.
He walked in with this air about him that I didn’t care for of the bat. He looked like a hippy version of Beeker from the Muppets, with a long ponytail and fu-man-chu. He listened to my complaints, sat my on the table, did a knee reflex test on me, felt my glands and told me that… based on my ‘story’ it sounds like I have a sleep disorder. WHAT! I wanted to just get up and leave right then and there. I was infuriated that- A. He didn’t seem to believe how horrible I felt and B. he called my history a story. So after he told me I should look into a sleep clinic I was outta there. I did tear up in the elevator purely because I was so hopeful that this was going to be my ticket to feeling better instead I felt bamboozled by Beeker.
I went straight to my mom’s house and told her what happened. She too was disappointed as she is still convinced that I was low on thyroid. That just because I am not low enough on their scales doesn’t mean I’m not low for ME.  I had told my nurse friend the whole scenario to which her immediate response was, I knew I hated endocrinologists. Her suggestion for me was to find an herbalist. Go the natural route. I scoffed at first but the next day was on-line looking for an herbalist in the area. I called the Health store I had been in before after reading all about Terry. She is a doctor of naturopathy, a certified natural health professional, a master herbalist and an array of other things. I called to make an appointment but she is so popular that it was booked three months out. I booked what I could and just sat waiting, feeling crappy and woe as me when I got a phone call saying Terry had a cancelation and could I come in the next day. OH HE** YES I CAN. I didn’t want to put all my hopes in to this but it was hard not to. It was pretty much my last hope. It was either this or I was scheduling the tummy tuck. After filling out a massive in-take form about myself and her actually reading it and asking questions and reviewing my latest blood panel and acting like what I had hoped my other doctors would have, she started in with the iridology.
Now I know what some of you skeptics might say but I was open to anything. If you don’t know, iridology is a 2000 year old art developed by the Chinese and is the science of analyzing the structure of the iris. She had a small magnifying loop type glass to look deep into my eye with a mini flashlight. She would look then write down a bunch of stuff, look again and write more. Make comments in between like, “you eat way too much sugar”, thinking to myself that the double tall mochas and handfuls of jellybeans would never contribute to that. All in all it was about 10 minutes or less of her looking in my eyes. Afterwards she had an array of stuff to tell me. First being, why don’t you listen to your mother and why didn’t you come here 3 years ago, we could have had you pregnant by now. She told me indeed my thyroid was low, that I needed to eat more fish, that my liver function was low because of all the sugar. She gave me some herbs to help me sleep, she said I am never truly getting rested, that I never get into REM sleep so my organs never have time to restore themselves and that is why I am so tired which is leading to everything else being haywire. Such as my hair falling out, did I mention that? My hair was falling out by the handful, not the normal daily strands, but by the handful. She told me all of this would get better if I followed her directions, took the herbs and cleaned my diet up a smidge. She left me by saying she guaranteed that within three months I would be pregnant. I went to the counter to get all the herbs and supplements, to which the attendant said, oh you poor thing! based on the amount and what the herbs told her, and $200 later I was out of there with some hope, finally!
It really wasn’t that bad, some thyroid activator pills, some adrenal supplements, some sea calcium and magnesium to help me sleep. She had me covered. I bought all the ingredients for the Green Drink Smoothie she told me to drink twice a day and the Ezekiel bread instead of the whole wheat I was used to. She had me switch from sugar to Stevia, had me reading the labels on my cereal so that I bought nothing with BHA/ T in it as it is a toluene-based ingredient used as a preservative in food that has been banned in many other countries because it has been linked with cancer. But yet it is found in almost every single box of cereal that we eat daily and that we force our kids to eat too. Anywhooo, I followed the directions to a T. I stopped the Starbucks and jelly beans; I did a juice fast for three days and ate salmon as I never had before. The second night on the supplements I actually woke up feeling rested! Surprise surprise! I was in a better mood too, even Mike asked what was wrong with me! I went back for my follow up appointment six weeks later and she couldn’t believe the changes I had made. She as so proud of me and told me to call her as soon as I got the positive result because she would want to change a few herbs. She was that confident.  Well I did call her, on December 22.
I had gone to Combat class that Tuesday night and in the middle of class just wasn’t feeling good. There was a stink of stale laundry and sweat in the room but that wasn’t making me sweat this profusely or feel this dizzy. I left in the middle of class and tossed my cookies in the gym bathroom. The next day at work I was just feeling queasy. I knew I could test that Friday for pregnancy but couldn’t wait. I drank a coke as soon as I got home so that I would have something to pee out(TMI)  went to my mom’s house to pick up Matthew and then went home and waited for the feeling of having to pee. When it was there, I went secretly into the master bathroom and peed on yet another pregnancy stick, probably the one that added to the $1, 000 marker if I bought one every month for the last three years, sometimes multiple tests because maybe I peed on it too early and just to be clear in the devastation you know, normal erratic behavior. Ok so back to Wednesday night. I sit there on toilet looking at the hour glass thinking away, I put it down and walked away for a moment. Praying my usually prayer and wishing my hardest -  I walk back over to the test to see Pregnant.
My heart dropped, my smile grew and I began to shake. I had to look at it a little closer. I was so used to seeing 2 words; I wanted to be clear that I wasn’t missing something. I just stood there in awe. Previous to the result I had grandiose thoughts of if it’s positive I will wrap it up and give it to mike for Christmas. But who was I kidding that was 3 days away. I yelled for Matthew immediately to come and Help me. He obliged. I asked him to take this ‘prize’ and give it to daddy, who was in the bonus room on the floor watching TV. Matthew ran in with the stick behind his back yelling he had a prize, having no clue what he held in his hands, he tossed it at Mike. It took a few seconds for it to register with Mike what it was, and all he could say was Are you Serious?! I jumped on him and cried and hugged him and cried some more. I could not, and still can’t, believe that after running around for years in this haze and funk of trying to get pregnant that now we actually are!  Mike of course is overjoyed and overwhelmed. I pose the possibility of twins. You could see his face pale and dollar signs in his eyes. Matthew doesn’t quite understand it yet but he will as my belly grows. He knows he has a brother or sister coming but what really does that mean to a 4 year old. I am just so overjoyed and so thankful to all of my family and friends who listened to me complain, cry and bitch for the last 3 years about getting pregnant. Thank you for sticking by me and letting me vent my frustrations and heartache. And thank you to Terry, it was 2 months after I met her that her guarantee of 3 months or less came true. We are due August 30, 2012.



  1. So happy for you guys! Best wishes and prayers for a safe journey through this pregnancy!

  2. i am just so happy for you and mike and matthew!!!!

    1. Thank you for listening to me gripe and hear all about my cycle! LOL. Praying for good news for you in 2012 too!

  3. Can not even express how truly happy I am for you Monica. This is such wonderful news!!!!!!!