Thirteen years ago I became a mother. Six years ago, I decided to try my hand at motherhood for the second time. To this day, no second baby. Let me tell you what has happened so far.
My doctor told me I needed to see a fertility specialist because I would be considered a geriatric pregnancy. In other words, this was going to be a challenge for me because of my age.
I felt like what I was hearing was crazy. This suggestion was based on my age alone, not my current state of health.
Like a good girl, I followed instructions and I went to see a fertility specialist. It was in this appointment that doctor said: “On paper, I looked beautiful, I have lots of oranges (a.k.a egg reserves) but, due to my “age” I could be working with a bag of old eggs. OLD EGGS?! Is that even a thing? She reviewed our blood work and other test results and instructed us to go home and “try”. I did as I was told, and went home and started trying to get pregnant. We tried for a year. No baby.
At 36, my partner and I went to another fertility clinic and we were both put through the same testing all over again. The clinicians couldn’t pinpoint why I was unable to conceive, I look perfect on paper. They told me I look and live a healthier life than most 20-somethings they serve…??? So their suggestion was to pump me full of estrogen to push ovulation. I said no. I advocated for myself here because I know the dangers of estrogenic medication and I didn’t feel there was enough science to back up the recommendation. I also knew that doing this hormone treatment wouldn't necessarily give me my baby. I don’t want to go into specifics here, but I have clients who have opted for this treatment and experienced a plethora of unwanted health concerns as well as did not get pregnant.
They opted to follow me for a natural cycle. Have you ever heard of this? It meant that I had to drive to the fertility clinic every day at 5:00 am, from day 3 to day 16-17 of my cycle for blood work, and a transvaginal ultrasound to watch for ovulation. That alone was stressful in itself.
And, guess what! The clinicians said everything looked fine. I ovulated, but I just didn’t conceive that month. I considered that good news, and I went home and kept trying.
Over the next year and a half, we tried. We tried and tried, and tried some more. No baby
At this point, I was burnt out, exhausted, and depressed. My relationship was suffering because my physical relationship with my partner was now a clinical schedule. It wasn’t based on connection or emotion. It was based on ovulation sticks, dates, and times on the calendar, and it just wasn’t fun anymore.
Can you relate to that? Feeling disconnected because sex is about conception and not love and connection?
My partner and I made a decision at this point for my mental health and for the health of our relationship. We would take a year off of the fertility journey.
Truthfully, II needed a minute to breathe and enjoy being a woman and a partner to my spouse, a mom to my son, and a human in general. I had spent the last 5 years wrapped up in fertility clinics, ovulation tests, and blood work like crazy trying to figure out my hormones, timing intercourse to the minute and not really enjoying my life. I had based so much of my self-worth on whether or not I could have baby number two. I was suffering.
It’s been 6 years. I told my doctors, “If I look great on paper, but I'm still tired every day, I'm still not pregnant and I’m almost 41. At what point will you look at me and say we need to do more testing, you need different support?”
I found a doctor that is helping me answer some of those questions that makes me feel seen and heard. Who doesn’t just look at my bloodwork and go - you're fine.
I am still on my journey. I still do not have baby number two. If you are in my shoes, I want you to read this next part closely.
It is important to reach out to individuals who have had a similar journey to you, and ask them who’s helped them navigate the twists and turns.
Align yourself with practitioners who will push the status quo, for example, Naturopathic doctors, hormone specialists, holistic nutritionists, energy medicine practitioners who can help them deal with the trauma that is created when you have unexplained infertility or a good therapist that does not prescribe pills but help you move through your experiences and teaches you how to move forward and live presently.
Reconnect to who you are. Be self-aware and able to know what actually makes you happy, fulfilled, what brings you joy in the life you have now?
If you are like me and have been sitting in this space and have lived with unexplained infertility for years, start asking deeper questions. I’m not promising all the answers or the secret to getting pregnant, but if you are ready to do the work, and become a happier healthier you, my community may be just the place you need to be. Align yourself with women on the same journey by checking out my Women’s Wellness Society. For more details, CLICK HERE.
Marissa Sylvester, R.H.N.