TTC: Mindy’s Extraordinary Journey

Guest mama Mindy is a close friend and relative of mine. Although we are close, I hadn’t realized the journey it took her and her wonderful husband to become pregnant with their little girl. I knew it was difficult for them, but each time I read her story it brings tears to my eyes. Mindy is a working mama who is driven, spiritual, and stylish. Not to mention, one of the best to be in company with at a winery or bed and breakfast!

Some might say the story of trying to conceive (TTC) and the birth our daughter is quite ordinary, but for my husband and me it was most extraordinary. We had been looking to our baby’s birth as an end to our TTC and pregnancy story, but we have come to realize that her birth was only just the beginning of “our story”.

In 2007 my husband and I began dating and four short years later we were married in May of 2011. Fast forward to late 2012 when we decided we were ready to start a family. That October we took a trip to Cozumel and decided it was time to stop being careful and to just let whatever happened, happen. Where better than in Mexico?! We thought that would be a great story to tell. Some big play on what happens in Mexico doesn’t always stay in Mexico. Weren’t we clever?!

After a month of letting whatever happen, happen, nothing was happening. In December I decided it was time to start counting days and keeping track of everything so I could have a better idea of how to make this happen rather than just waiting to see.

Aunt Flow (AF) came on Christmas Eve 2012 so you can imagine my excitement when in January AF didn’t make an appearance. I was shocked and so was my husband; we didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but it did and while we were in shock we were thrilled. I couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough to take a test! The test was negative…so I took another…negative. Hmmmm. I called my OB/GYN’s nurse. She knew better. “You’re probably just late, give it a few days.”

Well a few days passed and still nothing but an ugly negative staring me in the face. I called the nurse back, she said to give it some time and if I didn’t start within 90 days of my last period to give them a call. NINETY days?! NINETY days?! Are you kidding me?! Sure enough, ninety days is what she said. I thought for sure I’d have a visit from AF before then!

I’d always been very consistent while on the pill so what gives now?! 90 days came and went and so I visited with my OB/GYN. 93 days to be exact, but hey – who’s counting?! They ran a series of tests checking my Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and Prolactin levels. A week later they did an ultrasound and confirmed that I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

I was prescribed progesterone to bring on AF. Surely this would help, right? After one round and still nothing, they ran another series of tests checking my progesterone, testosterone, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and Luteinizing Hormone levels and prescribed another round of progesterone. After that second round AF finally showed at day 143, but again – who’s counting?

With this visit from AF our first round with a drug called Clomid began. Lab work showed it was not conclusive of ovulation. After five more rounds of progesterone and another two rounds of Clomid, my ovaries were developing very large, painful cysts and there were still no signs of ovulation from the lab work.

Image by Reese Dixon under Creative Commons License

In September my OB/GYN encouraged us to move on to the next step and see a specialist; if nothing else to do closer monitoring of the cysts I was developing that my OB/GYN couldn’t provide. The nurse made an appointment for us and we were scheduled in for a consult in December. We got all the paperwork filled out and submitted as quickly as possible to get on a cancellation list. AF showed up on Friday, October 25th and that same day I received a call from the Reproductive Endocrinologist’s (RE) office that we could come in that following Monday for our consult – perfect timing!

We had our consult and everything went great. We met the doctor and loved him immediately! We both felt very comfortable and just knew we were going to have a good experience with him and his staff. Since AF had just showed we were able to get the show on the road right away with a round of Clomid. Another round of a higher dose of Clomid and two ultrasounds later proved no ovulation. Time to wait for AF again.

After AF showed again and ovulation was looking promising I did my first HCG shot and insemination. Two weeks later AF was back again; which was great because my body was finally figuring out what it was supposed to do, but at the same time it wasn’t what I wanted to see. My RE quickly determined Clomid was not my “drug of choice” and nicely told my husband that he married a woman with expensive tastes. While Clomid was costing roughly $9 – $30 a month, the FSH shots he was getting ready to prescribe were going to cost somewhere between $1,500 – $2,000 a month.

In January 2014 we started with the FSH shots, giving them to myself at home, and HCG shots to follow insemination. After three rounds of FSH and HCG shots, inseminations and a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) procedure, we were finally pregnant in March!

At that point I had finally resigned myself to leaving it up to God and that is exactly when it happened. We had been praying so hard and lighting candles every weekend at mass, but I needed to get my brain where my heart was and that’s when everything clicked. I also followed the RE’s orders and relaxed after the insemination rather than going back to work for the day and what do you know, it worked! It’s amazing what some retail therapy and a mimosa can do for us women!

While I did not know it, my first sign of pregnancy was actually pain. Ten days after our insemination I had severe pains similar to what I had with my cysts in months prior. But this was worse, WAY worse. I felt as if I was going to pass out and just walking was painful. I finally caved and called the RE’s office and one of the nurses there suggested Tylenol. That did not even touch the pain so I called back and they scheduled me for an appointment that afternoon. An ultrasound showed that my ovaries were so swollen that they were what the RE called “kissing”. In other words, they were touching each other and thus causing my pain. My heart sank immediately, but the RE reassured me that this was a GOOD thing. This was a big indicator for pregnancy!

I had Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and he warned me that it would get worse before it got better. The prescription for treatment was rest, so that’s just what I did. I went home and relaxed, took a day off of work and cut out all physical exercise; things I wouldn’t normally do, but I knew my body needed it. We completed bloodwork two days later that showed I was still pregnant, but we could not count on that just yet.

Eleven very long days later an ultrasound confirmed I was pregnant! But I wasn’t just pregnant; I was pregnant with TWINS! We were beyond ELATED and felt like we had just won the lottery of life. While I wanted to hold back my excitement, we immediately went out and celebrated with our sonogram picture in hand. The following week we were in Playa del Carmen with family and secretly celebrating and relaxing on the beach. We were more looking forward to our next appointment to see the babies’ heartbeats than being on the beach!

The day after we returned from vacation we were back at the RE’s office for an ultrasound. The ultrasound only found one heartbeat. While we were SO excited for that one little heartbeat that we now know is our strong, beautiful little girl, we were saddened that there weren’t two heartbeats there on the screen. Again, disappointment in this journey, but we quickly made our peace with it and knew God’s plans were better than our own, and what wonderful plans He had!

After our nine-week appointment with the RE, I was released to my regular OB/GYN and the moment was so bittersweet. We’d grown to love our RE and his staff we hated to leave them. But at the same time it was the best day because we knew we were just that much closer to having a baby. We will be forever grateful to this awesome doctor and his nurses.

Although I knew how blessed we were to have been successful in conception in just under a year and a half it still seemed like an eternity. An eternity of heartbreak, an eternity of disappointment, an eternity of tears, an eternity of making excuses when people ask why you haven’t gotten pregnant. You’re hurting on the inside and it feels like an eternity of countless trips back and forth to the doctor’s office and an eternity of questioning and wondering “why?” Why are we, a loving couple, not blessed with a child when there are so many people out there that don’t even want or care for the children they have? Are we not supposed to have a child of our own? Should we be adopting? What am I doing wrong? Is it something I’m doing? Is it something I’m eating? Should I be trying other methods? What about acupuncture? What about chiropractic care? Why can’t my body do the ONE thing it’s made to do?

The questioning of yourself and doubt never went away, and those feelings of anxiety and failure didn’t go away during pregnancy either. They just shifted to feelings of worry and concern about the baby, and if he/she was okay, and every appointment brought just as much as the previous. All those feelings did however go away the MINUTE I held my precious girl in my arms. They went away so much that I had to look back to my pregnancy journal to remember some of these feelings. These little miracles from God truly wipe away all the heartache.

My heartache is now for all the women out there struggling to conceive. Now that I know what joy a child can bring a woman and her husband my heart physically hurts for other women trying to conceive or who can’t. I’ve sat here holding my baby girl crying, just wanting the same thing so badly for all those wanting what I have now been blessed with.

I am happy to report that after all our trials to get pregnant I had the most WONDERFUL pregnancy ever. I felt so good and nothing could ever compare to feeling the miracle of life within you. Everything went just perfect and now we have the most perfect little girl, CR! She has filled our lives with more joy than we ever could have imagined and SHE is just the beginning of “our story.”

Guest Mama Mindy K. is a soon-to-be working mama. She is still enjoying the joys of maternity leave. She was born and raised in the middle-of-nowhere Missouri and she and her husband now reside close to where they both grew up. She’s lucky to have married her best friend who is also now the best father to their new baby girl. Other than spending time with her family she also enjoys working out and shopping in her free time.

 Trying to conceive can be a real struggle, and it can be part of an extraordinary journey! Look for guest mama Mindy’s birth story in upcoming posts.

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