Five years. It has been five years that Dan and I have been trying to start our family. We have seen three different doctors, and one specialist seeking answers. All we wanted was to know why, however it seemed like no one could give us much more than a guess. Finally we know the answers to our many questions, and I want to share what I have learned during this rollercoaster of an experience. I wish I would have had someone to share their knowledge and story when I began dealing with the frustrations of infertility. It seems like a very lonely battle; each hurdle knocking you further and further down. My goal is to educate, and provide solace to anyone else experiencing a similar struggle. As a fair warning, this blog will contain a lot of detail regarding female health. We are going to talk about blood, hormones, cramps, and my overall bitchiness. It’ll be a kick.
Where It All Began
When I was young, I battled severe stomach pain that would often lead my mom to rush me to the ER. I would cry begging for something to make the pain stop, however no test or procedure would give me relief. Doctors told my mom to cut dairy out and add fiber in to my diet. As I got older and began getting my periods, things got so much worse. I was bleeding through a super plus tampon, nighttime pad, my underwear and jeans in an hour or so. My cramps would make me vomit, cry, and occasionally miss school. My periods were unpredictable and irregular, and no matter whether I had my period or not, I would still have severe pain. This was embarrassing and made things difficult for my mom and I. She missed work coming to my rescue, and I missed school so often that It was easy to fall behind. I eventally went to the GYNO to see if she could figure out what was causing all of these problems. Unfortunately, the best answer was “bad PMS symptoms”, so after my first Pap smear at the ripe old age of 14, I was put on birth control to subside my symptoms.
Good news. Birth control didn’t help. It actually made things worse. The doctor changed me to a higher dose hormone birth control which limited me to 4 periods a year in an attempt to reduce my pain. The problem, however, was that my pain wasn’t related to any particular time during my menstural cycle. It just happened. Sitting, laying down, sneezing, laughing, peeing… It all hurt. Surely to God there was a reason for all this crap. No one else in my circle of friends experienced this, so it was obviously abnormal. It was just a matter of finding answers to my questions.
I was still having issues despite my doctors attempt to manage my symptoms with birth control, so was referred to an OB/GNY to look further into my symptoms and get more precise answers, rather than taking stabs in the dark. After asking questions and performing her evaluation diagnosed me with Endometriosis. Although the only way to be completely sure was surgery, every single symptom I had been experiencing pointed to Endo. Dr. H told me that I should begin to try to get pregnant immediately. Great advice for an 18 year old.
I have what? After my appointment, I did what any practical millennial would do; I turned to Dr. Google to find answers. I found out that this disease affects 1 in 8 women, it can affect fertility, and can cause severe pain, fatigue, and immune deficiencies. Things were beginning to finally make sense.
How do you explain this to people? Sorry I just doubled over gasping for air. My endometrial lesions are hurting. Oh, I’m deathly sick again? My uterus caused it. Insert eye roll here. As a way to manage the pain, my OB/GYN told me she would prescribe me Vicodin so I could manage throughout the day. Again. Eye roll. Do they have uterus transplants, cause that sounds real nice right now. I just decided to deal with the pain and figure everything else out later.