So if you’ve ever read any of my guest posts on The Monthly Gift or Lovetoknow.com, you’ll quickly realize that most of my writing focuses on women’s health issues. I’ve spent a large part of my nursing career teaching others about this topic and I also just find the topic really interesting #womenshealthnerd. I love helping women get to know their bodies but one subject that’s not always on my radar is infertility.
Recent data shows that about 6.0% of married women in the United States are affected by infertility. That’s 1.5 million women (the number is probably higher since this only accounts for those of us who are married). Even though millions of us are affected, we don’t really talk about it. April 22- April 28, 2018, is National Infertility Week. Let’s me be completely transparent for a second…. I have also been affected by infertility.
Although I’m blessed to have a beautiful and healthy child my road to motherhood didn’t come easy. You see, I got married in my early 30’s and put off starting a family for a few years as “The King” and I traveled, worked on our careers, etc.. Once we decided it was time, I naively thought that I would just stop taking my birth control pills, we’d have sex, and I’d get pregnant.
Yeah…. That didn’t happen. Like millions of women, I needed a little extra help. “The King” and I tried to make a baby on our own for several months without success. I became frustrated, disappointed, and even a little sad. I mean, I was a young, healthy woman, Why was it so hard?
I did some research and consulted a few experts –namely my nurse practitioner friends (lol) and decided to first take a natural approach to getting pregnant.
Basal Body Temperature
I had read about basal body temperature charting and agreed to try this method first. Basically, you take your body temperature first thing in the morning and use it to track ovulation. During the first half of your menstrual cycle, your body temperature will be in a lower range. Eventually, in the second half of your cycle, your body temperature should shift upward. That upward temperature swing is when ovulation happens. This routine should be done every morning for few months and eventually, you’ll notice a pattern that helps you pinpoint when ovulation happens to better coordinate your sexual activity to get pregnant. Easy right?
Most times yes, for me…No.
After tracking my temperatures for a couple of months, I noticed that I never really got that upward body temperature shift. Basically; I wasn’t ovulating. I was devastated. I felt like I was letting my husband down and even questioned my self-worth. I was feeling low ya’ll. I mean I’m a woman. I should be able to make a baby? Shouldn’t I?
My Clomid Experience
With some additional research, I found out about Clomid. Clomid, friends was my blessing. This fertility drug gives your ovaries the kick they need to produce that egg. But to keep it 100, clomid not unlike taking any other drug can cause some crazy side effects like enlarging your ovaries, hyperstimulating your ovaries and cause MULTIPLE BIRTHS (like twins, triplets, etc.). To minimize risks though, your doctor will often prescribe the drug in lowest dose for the shortest period of time.
I was instructed to take the medicine on specific days during my cycle (day 3 through 7). I didn’t experience many side effects but I do remember having hot flashes and often woke up half-naked. With the help of ovulation predictor kits, “The King” and “did the deed” on the predicted ovulation days and a couple more days for good measure, lol. I waited exactly two weeks before I decided to test for pregnancy. I was afraid of being disappointed. What if it didn’t work? Would he love me any less? Would he look at me differently?
The morning I finally decided to test, I did like had done in the past, I peed on the stick and waited. A few minutes later, I mustered up the courage to look at the test. Two pink lines. I was shaking with excitement, nervousness, and fear. I ran upstairs to tell “The King.” It was the happiest I’ve ever seen him (besides our wedding day of course).
I recognize that I am blessed. My fertility issue was simple enough to be corrected with the help of a small white pill. This is not the reality for many women. Since we don’t always talk openly about our health issues, you may not be aware that your best friend, home girl or colleague may be going through this personal struggle. I urge anyone facing this challenge to speak with your doctor. Inquire about all the options available and stay encouraged.
I wanted to share my story to shed light on the issue and to help eliminate the stigmas associated with infertility #flipthescript.
Share with us have you been affected by infertility? What can you do to bring more awareness to this health issue?