Our Infertility Issue FINALLY Uncovered
Hey Y’all… Today’s story is going to be a long one. It’s taken me a few days to wrap my head around all that has happened after my surgery this weekend and I hope those of you that are reading this dealing with infertility will get something out of it – since that’s my whole purpose for sharing our struggles publically. In order for me to fully explain the irony of what was discovered recently, I need to give y’all background on me to clear things up.
Chelsea, the control freak.
At my inner-most sinful core, I’m a complete control freak. Before, I used to make jokes about it but recently, I’ve begun despising the sin. It’s so bad that I get angry at the weather for controlling what I have to wear – like a jacket! It’s ridiculous but the truth. Throughout my life, God has orchestrated various incidents where I am completely powerless to show me that I don’t have control. I’m not writing this to bring up the whole free will vs. predestination argument, but merely to show a pattern in my life and the irony of it with my own sin.
Over two years ago, Craig and I began the “baby” talk. I was ready but at the time, Craig wasn’t. To pass the time until he was ready, I decided to do things to prepare my body for pregnancy. While we ate generally healthy, I began digging deeper into pre-pregnancy food choices and ended up discovering a plethora of other things I needed to change – typical Dr. Google right? Most of these things were good to do just in general, but the thought of having a baby in the future kicked my butt in gear.
I started first with the things that I was placing on my body and cleaned up all my skin care. From there, I moved on to all the products we were using around our house. I threw out all the artificial fragrances, bye bye bath and body works, and cleaned up all of our cleaning products. When I accomplished one thing, I moved on to another. After a few months, we decided to start trying. With my medical background and previous research, I already knew all of the things I needed to do to track ovulation. Basically, it became a sport and not exactly “fun.” lol poor Craig. I’ve heard very similar things from other women on the ttc journey, unfortunately.
Negative HPT After Negative HPT
When we got around nine months of trying without a single positive test, I began to worry. I tracked my cycles religiously for six months before we got married, as after the wedding we used the natural family planning method as a contraceptive. Before this, I was off birth control for about four years so my cycles were regular and I never dealt with any inconsistencies. I couldn’t understand why the tests kept coming up negative, as I felt ovulation every month and my cycles were spot on. This is when we decided to seek help and got in with an OB/GYN a few months later for testing. Most doctors say that on average it takes between 6 months to a year to conceive and if it doesn’t happen in that time – to get tested.
Honestly, this process was stressful for the both of us. Not only did the TTC process weigh heavily on me but the unknown of what were going to find has us both on edge. At first, Craig wasn’t happy about doing a semen analysis. This was prompted because all my hormone testing came back good, minus my T3 not being as low as she would have liked it for optimal fertility. I can get the hesitation for guys though, sperm count fits so closely to their ‘manhood.’ Craig eventually agreed to it and it came back mostly good.
Honestly, this made our scratch our heads more as the doc said it may just take a little longer for us to get pregnant. So, we decided to wait it out a few more months and nothing. In the meantime, I started seeing a reflexologist who did a fertility/abdominal massage on me once a month, along with a few fertility yoga posses. I also added various supplements to both of our daily routines, in hopes that one would give us that BFP.
Around this time, I had a pelvic ultrasound scheduled to check out everything that took five months to get booked, because you know, public healthcare. I got it done and mostly everything was normal, minus a possible polyp they found that I needed to get a repeat. We were told this could be the reason we aren’t getting pregnant, and my repeat was scheduled 12 weeks out. So, in this time thinking we wouldn’t get pregnant, I drank ALLLLLL the coffee and did a ton of heavy lifting. Well, guess what. Finally got the positive pregnancy test. Hilarious right?
RIP Baby Roh
As most of you know, it ended ectopic but I got to keep my right fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies are a bit different than miscarriages because you’re given a drug, chemotherapy drug, to stop the development of the baby. Due to the nature of this drug, all nutrients are sucked out of your body and you aren’t able to try again for three months or until your folate levels are back to normal. Honestly, the pregnancy wrecked my body anyway as I wasn’t allowed to work out or eat anything healthy until my HCG levels were at zero, which took two rounds of the drug and lasted four weeks. The whole entire time, you’re just worried that your tube is going to burst and you’re going to bleed out – it’s stressful. What’s worse is from the beginning, I had a ton of pressure and pain in my right tube and that never really went away.
The same month I got my positive test, I had an HSG scheduled – which is an XRAY with dye that evaluates your fallopian tubes and uterus. Four months after the ectopic, I was able to finally get the HSG done and it showed that my right tube was blocked – no surprise there. The problem though, was I was experiencing extreme and constant pain surrounding my uterus. It wasn’t deep like period pains but sharper and in various places along my abdominal/pelvic region. It felt like I had burning ulcers that were sitting on top of my uterus. From this pain, I ended up in the ER twice. I got another pelvic ultrasound and a CT with contrast that came back negative.
My OB/GYN is a busy woman and is hard to get into so I went and saw my family doc to get a second-opinion. During my HSG I told my OB about the pain but she kind of brushed my pain off. I gave her the benefit of the doubt though, as people were waiting for the XRAY machine and it wasn’t really the place to discuss further pain. My family doc did a pap and ran a few tests that came back good, so again – back to square one. I called my OB to book an appointment for the pain but was told it would take six weeks to get in with her. I wasn’t shocked, so out of desperation to find the cause of this pain I asked for a referral to the fertility clinic here in Winnipeg. My doc’s nurse said she would talk to the doc and get back to me in a few days. On Monday morning, I got a voicemail stating they squeezed me into an appointment first thing the following morning. HALLELUJAH!
At the appointment, my doc did a thorough evaluation and determined she needed to do exploratory surgery to try and find the cause of the pain. It was scheduled for three weeks out and that following week I went in for my pre-op appointment. My pain had increased from the previous week and my doc called the hospital she was working at on Saturday and booked the lap as an emergency. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. Craig and I had discussed paying out of pocket in the US to figure out what was going on and God provided in a BIG way.
Since my OB didn’t know what she was looking for going in, we had to discuss various scenarios with her and make our intentions clear – like wanting to keep the right tube at all costs. This could cause future issues down the road but I wasn’t willing to let go of it just yet. When I woke from surgery super nauseous and out of it the first thing I asked was, “Do I still have my tube?” Poor nurse. lol He came back a few minutes later and did tell me I kept my tube. The next 30 minutes were a blur and I don’t even remember how I got to my room. I do remember looking at the clock when I got in there and the surgery took a lot longer than she previously anticipated.
When I was more coherent, Craig explained what my doc told him after the surgery. This is the kicker. When she opened me up, she discovered I had a ton of adhesions and scar tissue surrounding my entire uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This scar tissue was years old and had glued the Fallopian tubes and ovaries to my abdominal wall and bowels. The left tube, which was wide open on the HSG and was said to be my good tube, was completely separated from the ovary by inches – which I never would have gotten pregnant from. The right tube was filled with fluid and blocked from the ectopic pregnancy and was also stuck to my abdominal wall. There was scar tissue all around this tube and ovary and was blessing we got pregnant in the first place.
She was able to remove most of the scar tissue and she cut into the right tube to clean it out. The fluid and blockage is likely to come back, but I was able to keep the tube. She believes this scar tissue was formed years ago and some type of infection was the cause of this. Back in 2011, I got a bad case of BV (bacterial vaginosis) and she believes this was the cause. I never had ANY pain beside feeling ovulation that would indicate an issue. I noticed the pain began to spike and sustain after I did the fertility cleanse – which was probably my body trying to rid itself of all the scar tissue.
Honestly, the pain was such a blessing because we would have never known. If I wasn’t in pain, we would’ve kept trying since my left tube was open and could’ve went another year with negative pregnancy tests. While I’m in a lot of pain recovering now, I’m so happy to know what is going on now. I don’t think the surgery will take away all my pain, but am hopeful for the future!
There’s a lot to digest with this part of our infertility journey so far. Will this promise a healthy baby down the road? No. Are the odds raised now? For sure! I’m trying to look at this optimistically, but you never know what can happen down the road.
Honestly, this scenario never came up in any of our minds or even mentioned as a possibility with any of my doctors. That’s what is hilarious about the whole thing. All the good things I was doing to aid pregnancy, wouldn’t have helped the situation at all. Hence the need for the long story before as God presented another scenario that I had absolutely NO control over. I don’t regret all the money and time spent doing the good things I was doing one bit, as they were good for my health as well and will continue them moving forward. I’m still wrestling every day with trusting God and his plans for my life – hoping this isn’t a life-long struggle. I’m hoping a healthy baby of our own is in God’s plans for our life, but am open to a lot at this point.
Another thing I took from this whole scenario is that it’s essential to advocate for your own care. Doctors are busy and unless you pay BIG money, you won’t ever have one that is primarily focused on you. I asked to be referred and my pain was taken seriously.
The post-op recovery is more than I anticipated and am going a bit nuts not being able to lift anything or bend. Also, my pain that I felt before surgery has come back, like it never left. Unfortunately, it seems that this pain may be more than just gynecological and had nothing to do with the adhesions since they had been there for years. Still, the surgery wasn’t all for nothing and will be hopefully successful when it comes to our fertility.
Praying for a healthy baby in our future and to find out what this burning pain is! Thanks to everyone for checking in on me, the surgery was pretty low-key. Going to post later this week about the yoni cleanse I did last week, something that might make a few people uncomfortable lol.
Featured Image: Charmaine Mallari Photography