By: Salina Grimes
At a very young age, I had a strong feeling that conceiving would be difficult for me in the future. I can’t tell you where this notion came from. Growing up, I had a cycle each month and as far as I knew, I ovulated monthly. Maybe it came from the difficulties my mother experienced during her childbearing years. Nonetheless, these strong feelings as I grew up became my reality as an adult.
Fast forward to 2008 when I was 25, when my soon to be husband and I became an item. We decided to continue in our relationship and got married two years later in 2010. By this time, we had not avoided trying to get pregnant so I knew it was time to start asking my Ob/Gyn questions on which steps to take with getting some answers about my fertility.
Running out of options, drugs and fertility clinics.
After letting my doctor know that we had no success in getting pregnant, she decided to prescribe me Clomid to see if that would aid in conceiving. After one unsuccessful round of Clomid and the horrible hot flashes that came with it, I asked her if I could take an alternative medication. She then prescribed Femara to me. I took Femara for the following two cycles with no success. My Ob/Gyn then referred me to the most popular infertility clinic in our city because she had run out of options for me.
In 2012, at the age of 29, I proceeded with my new reproductive endocrinologist.
I took all the necessary tests and ultrasounds and was given the diagnosis of Unexplained Infertility. As far as the tests showed, my uterus, lining, ovaries and cycles were textbook. There was no explanation as to why I couldn’t get pregnant. My husband has two daughters from a previous marriage and his semen analysis confirmed that he was not the issue. We moved forward with two IUI cycles with no success. After the failed cycles, my husband and I decided to put the infertility treatments down and live life. We weren’t in the place financially and emotionally to continue pursuing treatment.
I had hoped that during the years of trying naturally with fertility supplements, ovulation tracking and with living a healthy lifestyle, that I would fall pregnant naturally and that it would all work out in the end. My husband and I continued to try naturally over several years but we never got pregnant. I was angry, resentful and sad that I had not gotten pregnant. I tried everything I knew but it didn’t work. I got to a point where I was accepting that I wouldn’t have children. I started paying attention to my cycles and decided to write getting pregnant off. I was heavy into dieting and had the smallest amount of body fat that I ever had in my entire life.
By the age of 35, I had lost my period.
I was coaching CrossFit, working out entirely way too much, experiencing adrenal fatigue and had 10% body fat. My body was in overdrive and stopped producing a period in order to fit my lifestyle. When this happened, I had to make a hard decision on whether or not I was going to continue with this lifestyle or if I would give getting pregnant one last shot before I was seriously out of time. My husband and I decided to give it one more try. We weren’t ready to say goodbye to having biological children.
We then decided to pursue IVF.
We had IVF consultations with multiple reproductive endocrinologists in the area until we decided the right one for us. We decided to not return to the office that we did our IUI’s through because we didn’t truly feel comfortable with the doctor. In December of 2018, I started taking birth control pills to begin the IVF process. In January of 2019, we went through our stimulation cycle and had our egg retrieval. We had great numbers and at the end of it all, had 4 pre-genetically tested embryos to try to get pregnant with.
And then Zika.
After the egg retrieval in January, my husband and I decided to go to Puerto Rico where my family is from to relax and wind down from all the medications I had been on. When I returned, my doctor told me that we would have to wait 3 months for our first embryo transfer because the CDC guidelines stated that if a woman had traveled to any location where the Zika virus was still a threat, she would have to wait 3 months before transferring. This was such a hard pill to swallow. We decided to do a hysteroscopy while waiting and polyps were found.
We had the green light to finally transfer in May of 2019. Two weeks later after transferring our first embryo, we found out that the cycle was unsuccessful. It was an extremely hard phone call to receive from my doctor. We had not tested early so we had no idea if the transfer worked or not. I had all the pregnancy symptoms from the progesterone shots I was on and hoped it was pregnancy. It turned out that my HCG level was less than 1 so yet again, nothing implanted.
More tests. More learnings.
My doctor decided to recommend a test called, endometrial receptivity array by Igenomix. This test would process a biopsy from my endometrial lining to find out exactly how many hours my lining needs in order for an embryo to implant. Apparently, 25% of women fall into a window of displacement that either need more or less progesterone to be receptive to an embryo to implant. After getting this test done, my results show that I am pre-receptive and means that my lining needs 7 days of being on progesterone before transferring an embryo. We are hoping that this is what my body needs in order to finally get pregnant.
Spending so much money with no guarantee.
We had our second transfer in July of 2019. It’s a very scary thing going through IVF. You spend thousands of dollars with no guarantee that it will even work. It’s so hard to let go of control during this process, but I have found that letting go has given me the most peace about the outcome of our infertility journey. I have gone through emotions of bitterness and anger and now years later, I am at a place of surrender. I have accepted that this is out of my control. For anyone reading this dealing with infertility, I’m sorry that you’re going through this. It’s unfair and incredibly painful. Just know that you are not alone. You are strong, you can and you will get through this.
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