Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coming clean

I've been quiet lately. Here mostly, but also somewhat in real life. It's not that nothing has happened. On the contrary, my sister got married, we finally got our dog door, and my in-laws decided unannounced visits are fun (they're not). But I have something bigger on my mind, and when that happens, I am often unable to let other thoughts out because I feel like the other thoughts are tainted with the big thought. And I think if I can get the big thought out and off my chest, I can get back to the other thoughts. So bear with me.

I've mentioned before that Dan and I want to start our family. I've also vented my frustrations with comments and misconceptions. But what's bigger than the fact that we're trying to conceive is when that journey began. We recently hit our year mark. On April 12th, to be exact. On that day, after trying for a year and being under the age of 35, I - or rather we - joined a new rank. On that day, my chances of conceiving in any perfectly timed cycle dropped from 20% to only 13%. On that day, I became eligible to begin testing for infertility. I held out hope, having witnessed the unexpected joy of Cycle 12 pregnancies, but a mere week later, I learned for the 11th time in a row that I was not pregnant.

April 12, 2011 loomed over my head for a few weeks. It's been a difficult thing to face. I've had some bad days over it. My mentality has changed a lot since last year. I started out pretty happy-go-lucky, figuring Dan and I would be parents in no time. I bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility and read it from cover to cover. Armed with my thermometer to chart and track my cycles, I was excited not only to be a mom but to learn about my body, something I'd actually been afraid of since hitting puberty. I was liberated, for lack of a better word.

Cycle after cycle went on. At first, I got anxious about it not working. Then I realized, especially after my high blood pressure reading, that I had to chill, both for me and for my hope for a baby. I don't necessarily believe that my baby-wanting caused high blood pressure, given family health history, but it certainly wouldn't help. I relaxed on the charting and temping, and focused more on just trying to have decent timing and rolling with the punches. Almost thankfully, we also avoided pregnancies for 2 cycles in the year - once so I wouldn't be due around my sister's wedding, and again for my friend Rachel's wedding, both for which I was/am the maid of honor. Those avoiding cycles also contributed to calming my nerves. They gave us both a break and renewed our spirits.

Now I know what you might be thinking. I didn't have a full year of TTC. True. But we had 10 cycles with good timing. That's more than some ladies get. Statistically, we should have gotten lucky in 10 cycles. By the numbers, 50% of couples conceive in 6 months, and 80% in a year. So we're somewhere in the 75% figure with 10 cycles. We've gone from "this is taking time" to "we may need help."

And so, I made an appointment for the end of May. I wasn't going to. Not for a little while, maybe not until July. But that last cycle with no results hit me harder than anticipated. I'm wasting time if I don't. If something is wrong, waiting until July just wastes more time. I'm not gonna lie. I'm scared. I'm worried something is wrong, but it's worth it to me - and to Dan, who's so so supportive, I can't tell you how lucky I am - to find out what, if anything, we're dealing with. Maybe we just haven't gotten lucky yet. I'm willing to deal with that. But if something is not right and we can fix it, I want to.

It's hard to say we might have an issue with infertility. Even until now, I kept saying "maybe we just haven't gotten lucky yet." But infertility is defined as failure to conceive within 12 months with careful timing. I qualify, no matter how you dice it. It isn't a label I want to pick up. This isn't about wanting sympathy or attention. This is National Infertility Awareness Week, and in my circle of blog and Twitter and Facebook and Bump friends, there are posts loaded with encouragement and information everywhere. I'm the newbie to all this. There are ladies who've been poked and prodded and injected for years in their pursuit to have a baby. I don't want to go through that, but I may have to. Only time and testing will tell. And in the spirit of getting the word out, and bringing to light the fact that infertility can affect any couple, I'm coming clean.

I also just want to take a moment to thank the very supportive people in my life. There are some of you who've offered advice and knowledge, and I can't thank you enough. There are others who've lent ears and shoulders, and I appreciate that so much, too. I count my lucky stars for the incredible people I have in my life.


BrownEyedGirlsMom said...

I love you buddy and am always here to lend an ear or whatever you may need!!

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

Ahh, Brooke. I don't know what to say other than, I'm thinking of you and wishing you the best in your journey. I know you'll be a fantastic mother someday...there is no doubt about it. Just keep in mind all the women who have gone through this and come out on the other side with beautiful babies. *hugs*

Amber said...

I know how hard it is to make that initial call to the RE, so congrats on taking that step. Wishing you nothing but the best!

Mrs. J said...

Accepting that I was going to need help was the hardest thing. I am still scared with every decision we make to be more aggressive. There is absolultely nothing wrong with having to have a little extra push! If in the end, you have that little one in your arms, it wont matter how you got there. Good luck and know that you have so many around you that have been through each and every feeling that you are experiencing. You are not alone!

Dee Stephens said...

We hit the one-year mark this month but I'm A LOT older than you are. I will be 36 in August so we have to get this ball rolling.
I did the HSG and hormone testing at 5months and we just got hubby tested this month.
I'm fine...and his count is good but his motility and morphology is 'borderline'.
Overall, the fertiity doc thinks we're good to with IUI this next weekend.
A lot of our problem the past year is that I haven't ovulated but 2xs! and that was done with Clomid.
I was on the pill from 18 until 34 and it has taken my body a while to get back to normal.
Good luck to you! Keep me posted and I'll do the same!