“More than years of trying? And still no baby?” This is how conversations usually go when someone asks why we don’t have children. If you’re like me then you smile politely, explain your situation, all the while wishing that the indignant, crass individual who has dared to ask such a bold question would just spontaneously combust before the conversation reaches its end.
My name is Catherine and I have endometriosis and ovarian dysfunction. Unlike most women on the TTC roller coaster, I’m actually better off because of my infertility. No, I’m not a Pollyanna who is choosing to see this through the lens of a rose colored glass. I’m serious. I am healthier because of my infertility.
A year into our TTC journey, my husband, Frank, and I went to see my OBGYN to see what our options were. After much discussion, we decided to pursue IUI. We were told that it would bypass our diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” The first cycle was so exciting, until the Clomid took effect. Then well, I looked like myself, but internally, I was possessed by a screaming banshee with no filter between the brain and the mouth! Instead of telling my husband to pick up his socks as I normally would, I screamed “God damn it you son of a bitch! Why do I always have to clean up after you?!?” The Clomid joy was quickly replaced by the joy of the HCG shot. I have never felt so terrible in all of my life! The first time wasn’t bad, I just felt lousy, got covered in acne, and lost all of my get up and go. Then my period came, and we started all over again, more Clomid and more mood swings. The second HCG shot had me in bed for almost two days, my energy was drained. I was thrilled! I was certain I was pregnant. And I was dead wrong. Round three meant more Clomid, follicles that didn’t mature, a second dose of clomid, and by the time I should have gotten the third HCG shot, the effects of number two still hadn’t subsided. I looked at the HCG vial on the counter and decided that there was no way making myself ill could make my body a nurturing place for a baby to grow.
Shortly after making the decision, I shared it with my friend Jordan, who had been supportive through our infertility struggles. After listening to me spill my guts and confess that I couldn’t bring myself to go through the third round of IUI (which meant IVF was off limits for us since it meant more intense medications than I was taking with IUI), Jordan mentioned that she and her husband had been trying as well, but they weren’t using Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART), they were using NaProTechnology (NaPro). She explained that a woman’s body sends messages regarding fertility through bio-markers and that NaPro doctors teach their patients to chart these bio-markers, and then use the charts to identify problems that are keeping you from conceiving.
After talking this over with my husband, Frank, we decided we had nothing to lose. We contacted our local NaPro doctor’s office and he agreed to accept me as a patient. While we waited for the appointment to arrive, I met with a charting consultant and started to chart my bio-markers.
At my first meeting with my NaPro doctor, he read my chart and told me he was 90% sure I had endometriosis, an autoimmune disease, and that it was the cause of our infertility. I was floored! I had asked my ART doctor if my long cycles, heavy bleeding, and prolonged bleeding might have something to do with our infertility and I had been told NO! He actually told me it was “normal” for me. Yet here was my NaPro doctor telling me it was the cause of our infertility and that he could fix it!!! He patiently explained all of the options to me and gave me a choice of surgeons. He answered all of my questions and spent over an hour with me! This was all covered by my health insurance, my only out of pocket expense was my $15 copay!
Three months later, we drove four hours to the NaPro surgeon my NaPro doctor recommended. I had a laparoscopy and the doctor found stage 2 endometriosis which was wrapped around my ovaries, tubes, and colon. We stayed in a hotel for a few days, then I got checked out by the surgeon and we were on our way home. Typical recovery time from a laparoscopy is 6 weeks, however because I went to a NaPro surgeon, my recovery took only two weeks! I experienced less pain on the day after surgery than I experienced two days before surgery!
It’s nine months after surgery now, and my immune system has calmed down and my body is no longer attacking itself. We’re in what my NaPro doctor calls “prime time for conception”. I have ovarian dysfunction which we’re treating with vitamins and letrozole. My hormonal levels are within the optimum range. We’ll continue trying for the next twelve months. The most amazing thing is that my body is functioning normally! No more heavy periods, no more intense pain, no more mood swings etc. My hormone levels are in the “effective range”. My peak minus one estradiol levels are between 300 and 400, and my peak plus seven estradiol levels are between 180 and 140, and my progesterone is between 15 and 28. All of these numbers indicate the conception is indeed possible! We now have normal odds of conceiving, and that’s pretty amazing!
A bit about the author of this post:
Catherine Sterling lives with her husband Frank and their four furbabies. She is a full time teacher and part time blogger, who looks forward to one day sharing the news that she has conceived and carried a baby to term thanks to the help of NaProTechnology. She is blessed to have the support of her amazing friend Jordan, her NaProTechnology mentor and sister from another mother. Read more of her writing at http://www.babystepsandtears.com