I have been lucky to have an amazing Naturopathic doctor (Janci Karp-Institute of Complementary Medicine) who has walked alongside me during our struggle with infertility.
Very early on, Janci and I worked on improving my overall health. We worked on regulating my thyroid levels (which had been sub-acute for years), getting my cycles consistent, healthy blood flow, normal progesterone levels, etc. I HIGHLY recommend that anyone going thru infertility consider seeing a naturopath. She is thorough, and really looks at all the particulars, which I appreciate.
I started using ovulation testing strips to track my cycle, taking my basal temperature…the works. Peter had to do several sperm analysis (and I was implored by him to “help”). Our first time doing that was like a dirty episode of Everybody Loves Raymond…sooooo not sexy, clumsy and (now) HILARIOUS. I will say that by the 5th year of doing these, we had it down to a science…definitely sperm collection EXPERTS now.
Well meaning folks frequently said to me:
“I know so many women who, once they relaxed and let it go, got pregnant!”
“Try not to worry.”
“Don’t forget the romance.”
“Try to take your mind off of it.”
“Give it to God.”
Infertility is ALL consuming, regardless of how mindful and zen you may think you are. It requires tracking, peeing on a stick daily, timed sex, 2 weeks of hope (and psychosomatic pregnancy symptoms), taking the herbs, vitamins, meds. Acupuncture, massage…followed by a week of sadness, resolve to try again, wondering what went wrong, what IS wrong? Is it me? Him? My providers say it will happen…WHEN?! I’m being punished…I know it. Anger creeps in, envy…the works.
EVERY.SINGLE.FUCKING.MONTH…FOR FIVE YEARS.
The pressure to just “LET IT ALL GO” on top of all these things seems so unfair. There was never a heightened amount of anxiety for me when we were doing all of this, and studies have shown that stress and anxiety bear no impact on ones ability to conceive. So much internal pressure to begin with…but now I am expected to JUST RELAX?! Pfffffft. Yeah.
Try “not thinking about it” when all these things are in play. I didn’t want to think about this all the time…neither did Pete. We wanted it to be a spontaneous miracle, conceived out of romance and love…but it became at time a mechanical, timed oddity…hardly romantic and not all that intimate.
The first few years, our relationship took an emotional hit for sure. It was hard. We struggled big time and at times, I wasn’t sure we would make it. It is a heavy burden to bear, along with the other natural challenges of marriage.
It was difficult for me to talk about it with him, and for him to understand how emotionally and hormonally devastating it was to me, every time I got my period. It brought out the worst in me and he struggled to understand why.
We have both come a long way though. Pete is so incredibly supportive and empathetic now. With the help of therapy, of removing toxic individuals from our lives, and by nurturing our connection to each other (which is a LOT of work!), we are stronger than ever.
We tried to conceive for about 2 years utilizing all the above methods. At some point, Janci gently suggested to us that perhaps it was time to visit a fertility clinic, just to get more specialized testing.
“You guys are no where near considering IVF. Just go in there and speak to the doctor, and have the necessary tests done.” she said.
It was a nervewracking step, but also a hopeful one. Maybe we will find out what is wrong! Maybe nothing is wrong! Maybe EVERYTHING is wrong.
So we made the appointment…