Kate is a yoga lover, a labradoodle cuddler, a silly song singer, a recipe tweaker, an ice cream devourer, a grammar enforcer, a bargain shopper and a corporate trainer.
She went from “I can’t wait to get pregnant” to “OMG, we’re having TROUBLE getting pregnant” to “YES! We’re pregnant” to “We have a baby… now what?”, and the whole crazy story is chronicled on her blog, This Place is Now a Home.
Please give us some background about yourself
I just turned 30 and I work in Human Resources, coordinating and delivering internal training at a management consulting firm.
I live outside of Boston with my husband, our 2 1/2 year old son and labradodle, Schnitzel.
Realizing that everything is not ok: When did you realize that you were having trouble conceiving? How did you feel about it?
I was on birth control for over 10 years, starting before I was sexually active because I had very irregular and painful periods.
During that time I was extremely diligent and almost never missed a single pill. It worked well for me and I had periods every month like I was supposed to.
When I went off birth control in January 2009, I knew almost immediately that there was a problem when I did not get a period at all.
I had read that it can take some time (up to 6 months) for some women to get their period again after going off hormonal birth control, so I guessed that was the reason, but I was very confused and anxious to get started on the babymaking process. I hadn’t even begun if I wasn’t ovulating / getting a period!
After 3-4 months, I scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist to discuss. At that appointment she told me to wait a bit longer.
The waiting when I KNEW there was an issue was THE WORST.
A month or two later I asked her to please run some tests to see what was going on, and she referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) at a local fertility center. He did a battery of tests and finally came to the conclusion that I have “Lean Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)“.
It was a confusing diagnosis because I didn’t have a lot of the physical symptoms that often go along with PCOS (I was not overweight and did not have excess hair growth, I did not have out-of-whack hormones or other thyroid issues… I simply had cysts filling up my ovaries instead of healthy eggs, and my body wasn’t ovulating).
Thankfully, he realized that my body likely wasn’t going to ovulate on my own, and suggested I start using Clomid to force my body to ovulate.
Did you share this with your family or friends? How did they react?
During the 6 months it took for us to diagnose my fertility issues, I didn’t really share this information with anyone. My husband, obviously, was there every step of the way.
But I didn’t know many women who had gone through this, and it felt like admitting that my body had some huge flaw. I wasn’t ready to share. So I started a blog about my experiences (http://thisplaceisnowahome.wo
I didn’t tell the people closest to me about my journey, but I had to get my thoughts and feelings out somewhere. Writing felt GOOD, and I came to know many, many women in my situation going through the same things. They became my sisters and my support through this process.
I think the main reason I didn’t tell my family and friends was that I was dying to have that, “Surprise! I’m pregnant!” moment. I had been dreaming of that moment my whole life.
I was young to get married and I was one of the first of my friends to have/want a baby. I wanted that moment in the spotlight.
After I received my diagnosis, I opened up to my siblings and my mother. They were all incredibly supportive and it was nice to have some of that support in person rather than just through the computer, but the infertility community online was really the only place I could go with the nitty gritty details and daily questions / concerns.
Overcoming the problem: What have you done to increase your fertility? Did you follow a particular treatment?
Since I was (am) young and healthy aside from the PCOS, my RE felt confident that once we found the right dosage of Clomid and I started ovulating, I would be able to get pregnant on my own.
We discussed future options if that didn’t work (IUI, injections, IVF), but in the end we decided to go step-by-step and see if we even needed to go there. As it turned out, we didn’t.
The first dosage of Clomid was not enough for me to ovulate, but the second dosage was. The very first time I ovulated (maybe ever?), I got pregnant. The RE was right.
How long did it take to get pregnant? Did you experience any side effects of Clomid?
All in all, it was only 9 months from when I went off birth control to finding out I was pregnant. I know there are SO many women who struggle for so much longer, and I am grateful every day that my fertility struggles ended there. I was so, so lucky.
I experienced only very minimal side effects from Clomid (moodiness, thirst, etc.), but it was a very small price to pay for what that medicine did for my body.
The “Now”: How do you feel after getting pregnant? How do people react?
The struggle to get pregnant absolutely colored my own view of pregnancy, and infancy and motherhood. While friends were complaining of morning sickness and exhaustion, I was thankful every day that I got to experience those things.
I absolutely relished being pregnant. I loved it so much. Looking back, I am so thankful for the struggle it took for me to get there because it made the end result that much sweeter.
After we got pregnant I did share our fertility ups and downs with friends and family, and I directed them to my blog.
In fact, I’ll tell just about anyone who will listen these days, and I always try to toss it into conversations because I think the best thing we can all do, as a community, is TALK ABOUT IT. It shouldn’t be such a secret. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
And once you start talking? You will be amazed at how many others have suffered similar stories in silence.
Advice for others: What should others trying to get pregnant do? And do’s and dont’s?
My biggest piece of advice for those still fighting to get pregnant is the hardest advice to follow. (No, it’s not “just relax”. That is the most ridiculously frustrating piece of advice I’ve ever heard.).
It’s this. _Try not to let it take over your life_. And try not to let your own struggles turn into jealousy and hate for others who aren’t struggling in the same way.
First of all, you never know what those people have gone through to get to where they are. And secondly, once you do grow your family (however it grows!), the joy will overpower all of this time spent struggling.
It’s all worth it in the end. Just try to keep your life outside of babymaking as happy and healthy as it can be.
You can’t control it, so don’t let it control you.