In my last post on this topic, I said I wasn’t going to talk about my fertility challenges again until I was pregnant, but I’ve experienced some things that I really want to share in the hopes that it can help someone else on their own journey. I’ve turned a major leaf in the last few weeks, so read on and find out how.
When I wrote about my miscarriages at the beginning of the summer, I was in a better place but still hyper-focused on getting pregnant… pretty much on a daily basis. That feeling lasted for over a year, since my first pregnancy last August. Finally, about a month ago, after feeling exhausted from my fertility challenges and fed up with feeling sorry for myself, I made an appointment with a fertility specialist in Stamford, CT. My doctor recommended her as the best around, so I was excited to hear what she had to say.
I went into the appointment full of hope, but left the building angry and upset. After looking at all of my blood work and test results, she told me that I officially have “unexplained infertility”, a term that I keep hearing lately. I then told her about my struggles with sleep and severe anxiety, and her response was that neither of those things have anything to do with it. My jaw dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe that she would dismiss these seemingly obvious problems that have scientifically been proven to correlate with infertility (Other doctors have since confirmed that, BTW). Not to mention she didn’t ask one question about my diet, exercise or lifestyle aside to ask if I smoked cigarettes.
Her solution? Clomid (a drug used to stimulate ovulation, which isn’t actually a problem that I have) and IUI (inter-uterine insemination). I let her know that I didn’t feel comfortable with the Clomid (a personal decision, it definitely works for many other people though!) and I would have to go think about it. I left the office feeling deflated and hopeless.
I immediately emailed my friend who is a fertility acupuncturist/coach and she encouraged me to get a second opinion. Upon Aimee’s suggestion, I set up a phone consultation with a doctor from CCRM, a well-known Colorado-based fertility clinic that has opened up a post in NYC. Tip: The in-person consultations cost a fortune but they’ll do phone consults for free.
On the call, the doctor talked to me and Anel for an hour, reviewing our case and discussing our diet and exercise, supplement plan, and even the work I’ve been doing with acupuncture. For the first time, I felt like I found a doctor who really understood me and looked at the full picture of my fertility challenges. She made a few changes to my supplements and recommended some more blood tests, stating that Clomid might be a solution down the line, but not until we learn more. Since then, all of my tests have come back negative, which means that medically, I’m perfectly fertile.
When I told her about my experience with the doctor here, she said that it’s unfortunately pretty common in this business for doctors to be results-driven in a speedy way as opposed to remembering that the woman is a human being whose health and wellness is important as well. The takeaway here is that you should always get a second opinion if you don’t feel comfortable with the solution. I’m so glad that I did!
After these appointments and the call, I had a revelation… I don’t know what happened but something switched inside of me and since then, I’ve had a totally new outlook on the situation. For the last year it’s been a constant nagging in my mind, thinking about what days I’m ovulating, disappointment when I get my period, and enduring “the two-week wait” month after month. I’m sick of that, I’m sick of feeling sad, I’m sick of wanting for something that I can’t control.
I’ve realized since then that I don’t need a baby right away. It would be amazing and I can’t wait to be a mom but I don’t need to be one tomorrow or even this year. My mom didn’t have me (her first kid) until she was 35 and she is the best mom in the universe (I might be biased). So our new plan is to give it another year of trying naturally, and we’ll explore medical options next summer if we’re still having fertility challenges.
Instead of holding back on things like planning trips or saying things like “Well if we get pregnant this month I can tell my family at Thanksgiving!” or “If I get pregnant before Christmas we can announce it on our Christmas card!”. No, now I have no expectations and it feel so good. In weeks since I’ve made this mental shift, I’ve felt so much happier and healthier, and Anel and I are in a better place than we have been in over a year.
So what am I doing in our next “year of trying”? I’m taking a lot of supplements, drinking bone broth daily, cutting back on drinking, getting as much sleep as possible, and trying to enjoy every single day. I also switched every single cleaner in our home to natural options. Basically my thoughts are: do as much as I can that makes me feel good and leave the rest up to the Universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll reassess.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy life to it’s fullest and stop worrying so much. I’m working on getting in the best shape ever , eating a healthy diet (I’m now 90% gluten-free thanks to Aimee and have so much more energy), keeping up with my acupuncture sessions, meditating daily, and appreciating the beautiful life that I’ve already created for myself and Anel without a baby.
I can’t tell you how much of a difference this new mindset has made. Everyone kept telling me over the last year to let it go and live my life but I just couldn’t seem to do that. Now that I have, I totally get what they meant. Sometimes you have to go through the worst of it to get to the other side.
When the day comes that my fiance & I decide to start a family, I hope that I can handle it with as much grace and an open heart that you have. Thank you for sharing this with everyone, I know that it’s hard but hopefully it’s positive!
Sending prayers and good thoughts 🙂
Have you ever read Casey Wiegand’s blog? Her journey has been an amazing and unbelievably difficult one…she and her husband Chris are the salt of the Earth (they taught my kids art lessons years ago!). She loves essential oils…swears by them! Definitely praying for you, your husband and future family…don’t lose hope!
Thank you for being so honest! Sending prayers and good thoughts! 🙂
Very happy to read this…..I’m in the exact same boat …sort of because our is secondary infertility …..but I’m tired of stressing every month just to be let down so I’m waiting another year and trying not to think about it…..if it happens it happens!
I hope that it happens for you too!
Can you share more about the supplements you are taking? I love this post so much as so many of us are in the same boat.
My bff also has unexplained infertility, the one thing her doc mentioned was a titled uterus might make it slightly more difficult to get pregnant naturally. IUI didn’t work but both times she did IVF, it worked the first time for a successful pregnancy.
I understand what you have been going through as it’s been my experience as well. Especially thinking about planning trips and contemplating how and when to tell family and friends, but you have the right mindset — focus on being healthy and happy. I really appreciate you sharing your experience here on this blog. (Also, don’t fixate on the negative feedback — the Crocs collab was different but interesting — and you are entitled to take risks and do different things, this is your blog!!) Sending you big hugs and positive energy!!
Great post Julia, I wish you all the best
I LOVE the mindset of not thinking about it every month. I’ve been doing the same “well if it happens now we can tell our family at Thanksgiving…. at Christmas…. at Valentine’s Day” and it’s not a fun way to think about it! Best of luck – will be thinking about you!
Alyssa @ http://feathersandstripes.com
I love reading your updates on this because I am going through the same thing. My husband and I have our initial consultation with a fertility specialist this Thursday, so I hope for some answers, but I am also cautious of doctors throwing out “quick fixes”. So thanks for these tips!
Hi Caitlin! I hope your appointment went well and you got the answers you were looking for. If not, move on to another doc! You have to feel comfortable 🙂
Wow. GOOD FOR YOU. HIGH 5!!!!!!!! HIGH TEN!!!!!!!
Thanks for sharing this! I am in the same boat with my husband and just want to enjoy life instead of worrying about when I will get pregnant!! I am going to work on myself in the meantime- doing yoga, getting a trainer and starting acupuncture as well. Has acupuncture helped with your anxiety?
You go girl! Happy for you and your positive mental shift. This WILL happen for you, one day. What a great day that will be!
I’m so glad that you found some answers and came to peace with it. Being the age that we are, it is natural to yearn for the fulfillment of a baby. I hormonally feel it too and I’m not “trying” yet. (I’m 29 and have been married for almost 4 years, but recently returned to school). Its a wonderful thing that you and Anel have created such a beautiful life; embrace it and love each other more. Setting this struggle free to be the beautiful miracle that it is will rid your mind of those “toxic” thoughts that can be worse for your health than the physical! So happy for you, thank you for sharing your updates!
Such a great post and I’m so thrilled for you!! When I was trying to get pregnant my mom said something that really resonated – parenthood is a journey that starts before you even get pregnant. There are ups and downs but it’s all part of the process. You will totally get there and you will be such a wonderful mom 🙂 xx
This was a really raw and great post to read. I’m glad you’re optimistic and I’m sending good vibes your way! Xx
Pink Champagne Problems
I’m so happy for you that you’ve come to peace with your situation! While I can’t relate to the stress of trying to get pregnant, I certainly can relate to the frustrating feeling of being out of control. Hopefully you and Anel are blessed with a little one sooner than you expect, my mom always said to my older sister that as soon as you stop trying all of sudden it will happen!
Would you be willing to discuss why you are so against clomid? Is it because you’re ovulating or is it toxic (or do you just not want triplets haha). I’m just curious. I understand it’s a personal topic and fully respect that. CCRM is great and I love their holistic approach as well. Your fertility posts are my favorite because it’s really you without sponsors (not a dig on the crocs situation) and I’m coming to learn what a strong gracious person you are.
So glad you posted this!!! I added you to my prayer list back in June and have been wanting an update! I had an entire paragraph written but I deleted it… #overshare-er. I know it will happen for you Julia!! Statistically speaking it will!! That fact alone kept me sane and confident!! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. I know it’s hard!
So glad you trusted your gut to get a second opinion and that you’re choosing to live a happy and healthy life. Thank you for bringing sunshine to my browser on a daily basis!
Have you had your progesterone tested while pregnant? I know a lot of places do this but the Pope Paul Institute in Omaha (NE) is super into it and they supplement a lot. You can use them through your own doctor wherever you are. Even if you aren’t catholic – they are known for fertility help.
Anyway, I’m glad you’ve come to so much peace with it though!!
I worked for an ob/gyn and progesterone levels while pregnant are very important. Most of our repeat miscarriage patients were prescribed progesterone suppositories with great success.
I swear progesterone saved my two pregnancies!
I’m so happy for you. I can only imagine how the stress you experienced for the last year must have impacted your day-to-day happiness. So glad that you are feeling more at peace with the process!
I love this! You seem like you’re doing all the things that make you feel healthy and amazing and that is never a bad thing!
Wow, it’s crazy how one doctor can say one thing and then another can show you a whole new outlook! Good luck with everything and I agree that the steps you’ve taken to eat better and live a more natural lifestyle are amazing ways to enjoy life!
I love your mindset but you know my thoughts on wine, AND you’re the healthiest person I know!
It is not about pointing fingers but has your partner had his sperm tested ? Also, have you both had a genetic test? Miscarriages are a common reaction of the female body when there is something wrong with either the females chromosomes in the egg or the chromosomes in the sperm. I had a miscarriage recently which really upset me but my doctor said something that made me see miscarriages as something not so horrible – she said it is better that my body reacted to the chromosome that has not developed correctly rather than going through full term pregnancy and having a still born child, a baby that might not survive once born or a baby with a disability. She also said that if that happens another 2-3 times in a row then we should both have genetic test done and depending on the results consider IVF which because the procedure is selective and they only choose healthy eggs/sperm . I wish you and your partner both best od luck !!!!
Thank you for sharing, I am so glad for you about your change in mindset! I just recently had a change in mindset myself about something different that I have been struggling with, and it really does help you so much! It’s like the weight you’ve been carrying around is finally lifted. I am very glad you got a second opinion as well. It sounds like the second Doctor was really able to take the time to talk to you and your husband and that is definitely what you want! Sending lots of prayers your way!! 🙂
Thinking of you, Girl. And love your positive attitude — It makes a difference; really! 🙂 xoxoxo
I could have written this post a few years ago! I made my sister pick out certain bridemaid dresses that had a maternity option… you know just in case. I unfortunately did let infertility rule my life for a few years and I deeply regret that but it was just part of my journey. I am so glad you found the right fit with your Dr. I highly recommend CCRM, a close friend went there. It took us 5 Doctors and 4 Fertility clinics till we found the right one. I also changed my diet, did Accupuncture three times a week and IVF is what finally brought us our son. You have to do it all in your own time though, don’t let anyone rush you into anything you aren’t comfortable with. Be good to yourself and kudos to you being so open & sharing your story.
Thanks for the update. I takes a lot of courage to be open and honest about the process with your readers and for those of us going through the same thing, it just means the world.
It’s nice to see your refreshing approach to all of this – I’m hoping some of your positivity will wear off on me! I too felt pressured into clomid/IUI after two miscarriages and I regret not expressing my concerns at the time. I proceeded as instructed because I so desperately want our baby but, unfortunately it didn’t work out. It’s been a struggle, but I think I finally found the support team (acupuncture, therapist, RE, etc) that can get me through this.
I would highly recommend reading “Stick it to me baby” by Danica Thornberry. She is my acupuncturist but our sessions are very therapeutic and focused on the mind body connection. She explores these positive feelings you describe in great detail and really helps her clients/readers view this difficult time as a spiritual journey. Very empowering.
Anyway- Good Luck as you continue on your journey and thanks again for sharing!
Hi Kendall! Thank you so much for saying that, it means a lot. I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through, but glad to hear you’ve found your “team” as I have. It makes such a difference, doesn’t it?
I’m definitely going to check that book out right now!! Sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.
Best of luck to you too! xx
So happy to read this positive update – you go lady! I did some PR for a conception solution and learned that Chlomid can really increase your chances of ovarian cancer. Scary stuff. Of course, everyone’s decisions are their own, and you must consult with a doc. Great to hear that you found the Colorado clinic. Keep up the positive efforts and thinking! Trust that the timing will work out as it should and we’ll be cheering you on!
Wow that is terrifying. I knew it had some rough side effects but didn’t realize it could be that bad. Thank you for the positive thoughts!
If it is any consolation, I also had “unexplained infertility,” and here I am now with a two-year-old daughter and a son due March 2017. I know different things work for different people, but if it’s any consolation, I also refused the clomid and was still able to get pregnant (twice – four times if you count the miscarriages between the two pregnancies). What worked tremendously in my favor was 100% eliminating alcohol. Other than that, no lifestyle changes – but to begin with, similar to you, I am a non-smoker who works out 5-6 times a week and makes predominantly healthy food choices. You’re doing everything right – it WILL happen. xo
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’ve definitely cut back on drinking but am considering cutting it out completely. Ugh, but I don’t want to haha. Interesting to hear though. And thanks again!
Kudos to you for being so open to us! You are empowering me to move on. I have so many regrets and desperately need a therapist to help me let it go about not having children. I had fibroids removed twice and then a partial hysterectomy. Women see my kangaroo pouch and think it is from having kids but it is actually scar tissue from the surgeries. So, it is a constant reminder for me. If only I had these internet resources 8 years ago and more women like yourself to discuss infertility. Going forward, I pray you continue to embrace your loving community. Be well!
I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through and know that you aren’t alone. So many women are in similar positions and it’s important that we all lift each other up through the difficult times! Sending so much love xo
Julia thanks for sharing what I am sure is a very challenging and personal topic. It is great reading open honest women like you share something so many women face and are challenged by as well. Stay positive I’m sure it will work out I always hear amazing success stories with women who have faced similar challenges. You are so amazing, positive and have the best attitude!! Such a great role model. XO Emily
Thank you so much for such a beautiful response and you’re positivity!
You are so strong and amazing for being able to share such a hard personal subject! I had messaged you on snap chat on Monday during your Q&A about your infertility struggle. I don’t want to come across like I’m pushing anything on you (because I kind of feel like I am and it’s not my intention at all)! I just wanted to send you a little more information on the Physician I spoke to you about. I know you don’t struggle with PCOS but insulin response in our body is a huge factor in pregnancy. I am beyond passionate about learning how our body works and there is so many studies and science backing this! The Dr. I listened to at the conference is Dr. Michael D. Fox. He is a fertility specialists out of Florida. I hope this helps you a little, It’s just small changes that can make such a huge difference and you are so confidant already! ~Sarah Kaye
Hi Sarah. Thank you so much for reaching out again! Sometimes I miss Snapchats (especially on Q&A days) or forget them bc they disappear. I so appreciate every piece of information so thanks for sharing. I’m going to check out Dr. Fox and read what he has to say right now!
Thank you, Julia. My husband and I have yet to start trying, but seeing friends struggle and hearing your story has me a bit more realistic about the journey we are about to embark on. But thank you for a positive spin on it all and the way you’re staying positive. I think we’re a lot alike with the planning, so having you share a story about letting go, is inspiring. I wish you a lot of luck and thank you again for a great outlook and sharing.
That’s an amazing realization and props to you for living each day to the fullest. I think the lack of worry and stress will be exactly what your body needs. You may already know about these resources but the Fertility Friday podcast is great, and the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility might be helpful as well. Thanks so much for sharing! Best of luck!
I’m so glad you’ve found a way to lessen your stress! Four years ago I felt my clock ticking. Although I was in a committed relationship, we weren’t quite ready for kids together. I made the decision to freeze my eggs and felt an immediate weight lifted off me and our relationship. It was so good for us. Fast forward to today and we have 2 children together (and didn’t even use the eggs!). Thanks for sharing your story!!
Infertility is just plain hard. I went through unexplained infertility for 2 years. I never experienced a miscarriage but did give into the clomid suggestion. Diagnosed with PCOS I did 3 rounds and nothing happened. Decided I needed a break from it all. The very next month I got pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I do believe it helped. I have a few friends who went to a fertility specialist and tested positive for a harmful bacteria that attacked the eggs as something foreign and once they had her on an antibiotic she was able to have a successful pregnancy! Worth getting tested for if you haven’t already. Wishing you the best! Motherhood is worth fighting for!