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I was 29 and my husband was 31 when we decided to start trying for a baby. We’d been married for 6 months, and decided the time was right. I was living in the UK at the time, having met my British husband and married while on my OE (overseas experience).
I have a few known medical issues that could affect a potential pregnancy, so I went to see my GP to talk through them with her. She changed my blood pressure medication to one that was pregnancy safe (methyldopa), and said the rest should be fine.
I set about taking my new blood pressure medication, they had to keep raising the dose as it didn’t control my blood pressure as effectively as my non-pregnancy safe one did, but eventually we found a dose that kept my blood pressure stable.
I’d been taking Depo Provera for birth control for several years, so when my next injection was due I just didn’t do it. It was 6 months before my cycle returned, which was frustrating. But it finally returned, and we set about having sex as often as we could to try and conceive this baby we wanted. We’d lie there afterwards and imagine the things we’d do with our child(ren). Having an excited smile on our faces imagining that this act may create our baby and that we’d be pregnant.
Then without warning, my cycles stopped and I didn’t have a period. After I confirmed it wasn’t because I was pregnant, I went to see the GP again. As I’d been on and off birth control for over 10 years, I had no idea what my natural cycles were like, but having no period was a sure sign that something was wrong. The GP did some blood tests, but didn’t find anything specific. So she referred me to a Gynaecologist at the hospital. As this was on the NHS, I had to wait for an appointment. After a few months I got to see the Gynaecologist, and she did some tests and confirmed that I wasn’t ovulating. So she prescribed Clomid for a few cycles.
I took the Clomid and had some internal scans done which confirmed that I was generating follicles. But this didn’t help us become pregnant. After three cycles of this the Gynaecologist did some more blood tests which showed that my prolactin levels were too high. So I was given a prescription for a drug to lower these. My periods returned. Then the Gynaecologist made a suggestion that the “pregnancy safe” blood pressure medication I was on can, in some women, raise prolactin levels, and stop their periods. So I asked my GP to change my medication to something else that was still pregnancy safe, but not going to stop my periods. Within a month of being on the new medication my cycles returned.
So we had wasted a year with irregular or no cycle due to coming off birth control and my body’s reaction to the “pregnancy safe” blood pressure medication.
We continued on with the trying, but every month when my period arrived, I’d be more and more upset.
I started charting my waking temperatures (BBT charting) to work out what my cycles were doing, as the cycle length fluctuated between 21 to 27 days. I discovered I had a short luteal phase (the time from when you ovulate to when your period arrives). I knew it wasn’t the ideal length, and at 7 days on average, it was not helping with conceiving. But the doctors didn’t seem to think it was an issue, as all my blood tests came back as within the normal ranges.
After more investigations and monitoring by the gynaecologist, they recommended I have a laparoscopic surgery done to clear adhesions in my abdomen, and check to see what the situation was inside. The surgery was done, and they cleared up some abdominal adhesions from prior surgeries, cleared up some endometriosis, and said everything looked ok, aside from my known uterine issues.
So we went back to trying again, in the hope that something would work. As we'd told family and friends that we were trying, we'd constantly get asked if we were pregnant yet, and I continued to get well meaning, but unhelpful suggestions from other people on things we could do, “try to relax”, “get your husband to wear boxer shorts”, “take a holiday”. And being told about every relative or person I knew, or may have once known, who was now pregnant, just made me feel even more of a failure, and despondent. I just didn't want to know.
We’d now been trying to conceive for over 2 years, so they put us on the waiting list for the publically funded IVF, as we were deemed “unexplained infertility”. My husbands test results were all fine, the issue was with my body and irregular periods.
So while on the waiting list, I tried other alternative therapies to help with conception. Reflexology was very relaxing, but didn’t succeed in helping my body conceive. Dietary changes were useful in helping lose weight, but again, didn’t help my body conceive.
On the recommendation of a colleague, I tried acupuncture. We’d now been trying for 3 ½ years. I went for acupuncture sessions every two weeks, and was taking the herbs daily. It was a bit weird at first, but I found the sessions very relaxing, and mentally my stress level dropped also.
After 3 months of sessions and herbs I was getting a bit deflated that it didn’t seem to have helped, so I took a break, then a few weeks later I was stunned to find we’d done it, we’d got a positive pregnancy test. I didn’t quite believe it, and did another test a few days later, as the first test was so faint on the 2nd line. The 2nd test was stronger, so that was it, we were pregnant, after 3 ½ years of trying, we were ecstatic, and couldn't stop smiling.
We went up north to a wedding for some friends the following weekend. I'd had back pain during the week, but figured it was a normal side effect of early pregnancy, but on the way home, I started bleeding and had intense back pain. We went to the hospital to get checked out, but it was over. I’d miscarried at 5 weeks. So it was over almost before it began. We were both devastated.
As we hadn’t even told people we were pregnant yet, telling them that we’d miscarried was hard, as all our families and friends knew we’d been trying.
I did feel a small positive after I’d mourned the loss, as I knew that my body “could” do it. I had conceived, even if it hadn’t lasted. As up until that point, I had no idea whether I could do it at all.
At the time, I didn’t put it down to the acupuncture and herb treatment. We continued on with the trying, and had also decided to move back to New Zealand to live, so had our minds on other things. I tried another alternative therapy to help with relaxation, cranial sacral therapy. It was incredibly relaxing, but again, didn’t help with conceiving.
We moved back to New Zealand, and set up our new home, and jobs. After a few months, I decided to try acupuncture again, and found an acupuncturist. I went to sessions every two weeks, and took the herbs daily. After 2 months treatment, on New Years Eve, I got a positive pregnancy test on day 30 of my cycle. It was very faint, but it was a positive. We went to the Drs to get it confirmed, but their test was negative, so the nurse said it was probably just too soon to detect on their test. I did another home pregnancy test the next day, and the line was stronger. So went back to see the nurse, and theirs was positive too. We were pregnant! Almost 5 years after starting to try for a baby.
Because of the previous miscarriage, I didn’t get my hopes up too much. I did a pregnancy test every week for the first 12 weeks, just to make sure that it was still positive, as I felt like it would all just slip away again. But it didn’t. I went to the toilet early in the morning at about 9 weeks, and there was bright red blood, so we went to the hospital to be checked. The tests were all fine, and they did a scan the next day, and we could see the heart beat of our little “pixel”. So at 12 weeks, we told our families that we were pregnant! They were very pleased for us.
The pregnancy went ok, with a lot of monitoring because of my existing medical issues, but I went into premature labour at 30 weeks, and our daughter arrived by emergency c-section the next day. Seems she was so long awaited for, that she wanted to come out 10 weeks early.
It was a long, emotional and sometimes very stressful journey. I believe it's strengthened our relationship as a couple, and our daughter will know she was a very much wanted child.
This story has 1 recommendations
Monday, 31 January 2011 8:51 a.m.
Wow Ooligator what an amazing uplifting and encouraging story!!! Absolutely awesome!!! Gosh you went through so much 3 and a half years to concieve what a journey!!! I have shown my husband your story and he's a little more encourgaged which is great!! Thank you for your support Ooligator we really appreciate it heaps...
All the very best for this next part of your journey of concieving again...fantastic!!!
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 3:53 a.m.
wow i cant imagine how stressfull all those years must of been for u and congratulations on having a baby girl sounds like she was your little miracle. i dont think i could of gone through what u have been through your so strong
Monday, 20 December 2010 12:42 a.m.
here come the tears =( Im so SO SO glad you got your DD, and im praying and hoping that you get your next bubs soon xo
Sunday, 19 December 2010 5:57 a.m.
Wow. You're a real inspiration. :-) What a long and stressful journey - your attitude sounds amazing... and what an awesome reward at the end of it.
Thanks for sharing your story... I bet it will make a huge difference to other people sharing a similar experience. We took 8 months to conceive our twins (due in April). I can't imagine what 5 years would feel like. What a lucky little girl to have such loving parents who wanted her so much!
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