A Fertility Story in Progress

…from a reader

My husband and I are trying to conceive our first child. We are both in our late twenties. About two or three years ago, I decided to stop using hormonal birth control, which for me was the Nuvaring.

Initially I had really liked using Nuvaring, but before I quit, I was experiencing terrible mood swings and acne. At that time, my husband and I were still not ready for a child, so we used condoms.

My cycles were very irregular with some of them over 60 days long. My cycles finally started normalizing about a year ago and now range from 30 to 45 days.

We began trying for a baby thirteen months ago after I received an okay from my doctor. She said that I was healthy and that she wouldn’t be surprised if it happened right away.

The first few months, I was very excited and couldn’t wait until the end of my cycle so that I could test for pregnancy. I was noticing that my breasts were sore or that I was having more cramping than normal. I would notice a little bit of spotting and wonder if it was implantation bleeding.

Unfortunately, I haven’t received a positive test yet. Now that I’ve passed the official 12-month infertility mark, my mood has changed. Instead of being excited to see the results, frankly, I’m depressed. I think back to all of the difficulty I experienced when I stopped using Nuvaring and wonder if I’m even ovulating at all.

Even though my cycle length is more normal, about a week before my period, I spot continuously. After crying to my wonderful husband, he convinced me to be more proactive. I decided to try the supplement Vitex and a more regular exercise schedule, walking alone three times a week and run-walking with my husband three times a week.

My husband is taking L-carnitine and L-arginine to improve sperm quality. I am trying to improve my diet, but the recommendations are varied. I’ve heard that full-fat dairy everyday helps, but then I’ve also read that a low-fat diet is best. I had been a vegetarian, but I decided to start consuming small amounts of meat from grass-fed animals, about four ounces or less, and wild-caught salmon every week. My thinking is that maybe I’m deficient in nutrients found in animal meat.

I found a copy of Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and have started checking my cervical mucus daily to improve our timing. I’m on cycle day 19 and no fertile cervical mucus yet. Either I’m ovulating late this month or not at all.

I’ve been taking this very hard because my mom was able to get pregnant at my age, 29, one month after quitting birth control, and my sister got unexpectedly pregnant at 20 and has had two more children.

I’m not ready to go back to my doctor. I’m embarrassed that I haven’t been able to get pregnant on my own yet. I feel like less of a woman sometimes, like a woman without reproductive organs. I’m hoping that the Vitex will come around and work its magic. In the meantime, I’ve decided to allow myself to have a gigantic piece of cake every time I get my period to keep my spirits up.

I think that eventually I will see my doctor again after I’ve given my recent changes a few more months. I think that I would be willing to take medication, but would probably not be open to any invasive treatments such as IVF. If we get that far, we will probably try to embrace our situation or consider adoption.

Posted in Infertility Stories.