As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to share our journey in successfully getting pregnant. I can tell you that it hasn’t been an easy road, but in the end I truly believe that God’s timing is perfect and that the wait will totally be worth it. Warning: there will be some girly/period talk that might be TMI for some. Don’t say I didn’t warn you ahead of time! It’s been tremendously helpful and reassuring for me to read about other couples’ stories, so I wanted to share ours, as personal as it is. I hope that our story can help others that are struggling with getting pregnant, have struggled or will in the future.
After being married for a few months, Joe and I decided we wanted to try and have a baby. In February 2012, I stopped taking birth control (which I had been taking since I was 17 years old) and thought in a matter of months, I’d be pregnant. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It took five months for me to even get my first cycle. I knew that after putting synthetic hormones in my body for so long, it could take my cycle a while to get back to normal. Unfortunately, mine never really returned to “normal.” From July-December 2012, I had a few cycles but they were very irregular, ranging from 30 days to 60 days. Then I went another five month stint without a cycle from January-May 2013. It had been over a year and my cycles were still so abnormal, that I went to see my doctor. She prescribed me with Provera (a low dose of progesterone) to start my period and then Clomid to help me ovulate. I took the Provera with no period and the nurse told me to go ahead and take the Clomid anyway (which you really aren’t supposed to do). I did it and ended up having an awful cycle and decided from then on that I wanted to pursue a natural route instead of going straight to medicine. I know many women use assistance to get pregnant, but I was really hoping that a natural route would be the answer for us.
Fast forward a few months to August 2013. Still no regular cycles in sight. I stumble across the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility and it literally changed my life. I never knew there was such thing as tracking your cycle (including taking your waking temperature and monitoring cervical fluid) to determine if you are ovulating and to give you the best chance at getting pregnant. I started charting right away even though my cycles were still irregular. At this same time I also stopped taking Miralax (which is a laxative) that I had been taking for about seven years. I have a narrow colon and was prescribed this to help my digestive system. I knew it was awful for me but every time I tried to get off of it; I was in so much pain. Since I had been on the Paleo diet for about a year and a half at that point, going cold turkey wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. I did have some really difficult days but overall I am so glad I stopped taking it.
Now that I had begun charting, I also started seeing a new doctor in Austin to help determine why I was having such irregular cycles. He teaches the natural fertility method that I just learned in that book and I felt like he was a good fit. After numerous tests, he diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). The only true symptom I had was that I wasn’t ovulating and I had high resistance to insulin (which later I came to understand could’ve been due to the low-carb nature of the Paleo diet). He prescribed me with Metformin (a pre-diabetic drug) which I happily took even though I vowed that I wanted to go the natural route. It made me feel so sick and nauseous. I took it for about a month and decided I couldn’t handle it anymore. I still don’t believe that I really have/had PCOS.
During this time I also started greening up our home by changing some of the household chemicals and beauty products we used to all-natural ones. In December 2013, I made an appointment with a nutritionist as well. I have no idea why it took me so long to do so. She determined that I had severe vitamin deficiencies including vitamin B due to the numerous prescriptions I had been on for years (birth control, Miralax, statins for high cholesterol and acid reflux medicine – off of all these now). She also believed my colon issues were affecting my ovulation. I started taking a vitamin B complex and dairy-free probiotic, changed my prenatal vitamin, and added aloe vera juice to my daily routine to help with my colon. I also added a few grains back into my diet, including brown rice and quinoa and upped my overall carb intake. I was eating super clean through eating lots of different fruits and veggies including making my own smoothies and juice at home. I was actually ready to go on this 21-day Fertility Diet mid-January. I think Joe is happy we didn’t end up needing to do that. 🙂
Lastly, we finally decided to reach out to others for prayers regarding our situation. I was really hestitant to tell anyone about what we were dealing with because I felt it was private and that there wasn’t anything they could do. Finally being able to open up to others for prayer made a world of difference and lifted a weight that had been on both of our shoulders.
Needless to say within a month, I had ovulated on my own without the help of drugs and got pregnant. I hadn’t ovulated once since charting my cycle for six months. The first time it happened, we were pregnant! I couldn’t believe it and sometimes am still in a little bit of shock.
I cannot pinpoint the one thing that helped me get pregnant, but I do feel that a combination of all the health and life changes made a difference. Along with answered prayers. 🙂 I know many couples go through long and tiring journeys when trying to get pregnant. Even though we didn’t need to use reproductive technology for assistance, I still understand the pain of wanting a child and not being able to have one. Hearing about other couples’ success stories is always hard and my hope is that our story can inspire others and not cause pain. There are many options available and I feel blessed that with time, we were able to conceive on our own. If things hadn’t worked out the way they did, there is no telling what lengths we would have gone to to have a baby.