To chart or not to chart

Besides our life returning back to normal, so has my uterus. I finally got my first cycle after pregnancy. 

There was something freeing in deleting my ovia fertility app from my phone. No more counting cycle days. No more ovulation tests. No more temperature taking. No more days past ovulation. NO MORE!

But with the return of Aunt Flo, the app has returned too. There are other period trackers out there but honestly I like the information and functions of ovia. It works for me. 

So I put in my data and then I saw the green dates highlighting my fertile window. My husband and I decided we would just live life without preventing pregnancy. We also aren’t planning on trying to conceive for a while if ever again. We’re moving forward under the guise of “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” 

My husband has recently started dropping hints that he wants our son to have a sibling. And I’m not going to lie to myself, so do I. But I don’t expect our unexplained infertility to dissapear. I’m scared where this desire will take us. 

At this point I really don’t want to take fertility drugs ever again. It was an experience I’d rather not have again. But I don’t think we’ll be able to get pregnant on our own.

So why chart? I want to see what my body is doing on its own. Do I ovulate on my own? Are my cycles regular? That label of “unexplained infertility” still bothers me.

It’s empowering as a woman to understand your own body and that’s the perspective I’m coming from this time. Not trying to conceive.

Dear loved ones,

Lately the scarlet letter I has been weighing heavily on my chest. Infertility. That dark cloud hanging over my thoughts and emotions. That ticking clock in my chest reminding me of every unsuccessful month that goes by. The piece of my heart that remains empty and longing.

This month my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. It’s been three years since we got married outdoors on the hottest Ohio day of that summer. Three years since we carelessly danced surrounded by everyone we love. Three years since we vowed to love each other endlessly, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.

I never would have predicted that we would walk this path. When we were first married people asked us about having children and we would just smile. We agreed that we wanted to start our family right away. And after being married for 6 months, we had a secret. The best kind of secret. We were going to have a baby. We bought our first home with plans of a growing family. I started reading pregnancy books and we talked about possible names. We dreamed and planned our lives with this child.

But our plans disappeared when we lost our baby.

Now we had the worst kind of secret. Everyone around us was congratulating us on owning our first home, but my husband and I were mourning what could have been. We didn’t tell anyone. I was ashamed that my body couldn’t provide for our growing child. I blamed myself. I didn’t understand why it happened. I still don’t. I was completely heartbroken.

After celebrating our first wedding anniversary, many couples begin trying for a child. So we started trying again. But it didn’t happen. It still isn’t happening two years later. Instead of questions about children, we get looks of pity. We stand out among our married friends as “that couple.” That couple who’s having difficulties. That couple that can’t have children. That couple no one knows how to be around or what to say when the topic of children comes up.

Not only do I feel the heartbreak of losing a child, I also feel the ache for a child that may never arrive. I feel the isolating sting of being left behind. We are bystanders as we watch people around us move forward into the next phase of life that is parenthood. I am doing anything I can to be there too.

I’m learning that as much as I don’t know how to navigate this uncertain, challenging time in our lives, neither do the people around us. I’ve slowly started to open up more about our experiences. I’m just tired of feeling so alone.

Of course, fertility treatments come with a wide range of physical side effects. But that is nothing compared to the emotional roller coaster of infertility. There is a constant monologue in my mind that ranges from self pity to self empowerment to self deprecating. I feel absolutely insane most days!

But worst of all, I feel so much shame in not being able to conceive a child. What’s wrong with me? Why did I lose my child? What am I doing wrong? Why is it so easy for everyone around me? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?! It’s a unique pain of being diagnosed with unexplained infertility. There is no reason behind my nonstop wondering of why.

This is just a snapshot into our life right now. Of course, I have my amazing husband, our dog, our home, our careers, etc. But infertility is in the forefront right now. It’s consuming me. And I’m terrified. I want to leave this awful place but then I’m right back where we started. Incomplete and wishing for more. Left behind. Broken. I’m learning that the process of conceiving and being a parent is an amazing, wonderful privilege. Not a certainty.

Unexplained pretty much sums up my life

Do you ever feel like you always do things the hard way? It’s almost become a sick joke at this point between my husband and I. When there are more than one way of doing things, we always do it the hard way. And not by choice.

I would LOVE to haphazardly have unprotected sex and WHOOPS! Now we’re having a baby! But unfortunately that’s not in the cards for us.

When we first decided to start trying to conceive, I remember telling my husband that I’m glad we’re so young because it might take a while… I don’t know why I ever said that. I didn’t know about our impending fertility issues. But I did know we always do things the hard way. Did I mention it was 106 degrees at our outdoor wedding at our beautiful ceremony sight that was destroyed by a tornado 2 weeks prior? Yeah….. There was a lot of photoshop used in the making of our wedding photos.

So today was our first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. After reviewing the tests I’ve already had done my doc filed us in the category of “unexplained infertility.” She prescribed more blood tests to figure out if I ovulate or not (because it’s a mystery to us all!) and an ultrasound to check cysts on my ovaries. The word surgery was thrown out there and that’s when my head started to swim. But let’s hope that doesn’t have to happen.

She also brought up our timing issue. My husband is gone for extended periods of time and some months we just can’t line things up right and miss that window. I call it prime time! And don’t even get me started on those stupid ovulation pee sticks…

Anyways, she suggested starting with an IUI because of my husband’s work schedule. Does anyone else have fertility issues on top of difficult schedules or traveling? I’m not going to lie, I would love to fly out to where my husband is stuck for work during prime time. Fun, but obviously not practical.

So I’ll go back this week to have an ultrasound and blood work. I’m praying everything comes back OK and I’ll join the clomid club and go from there! Ugh…. Always the hard way.