Fertility Battles Part Three

So I've got a blocked left tube? Of course I have a blocked tube...that's just what I need. As women we are told that one of our purposes in life is to bring children into this world and of course my body was failing me. I had no clue why this happened, but I had some detailed explanations that were constantly swirling around my mind. Most of them were shaming to me and left me feeling worse about myself. The mental fortitude it took in those early days to quiet the lies that I fought so hard not to let rule my mind, about HOW my tube got blocked were extensive. I turned more and more to holistic approaches because I felt somehow more in control of the situation. At one point I nearly spent hundreds of dollars at Whole Foods on supplements to "cleanse" my body and possibly "unclog" my tube. I settled on a few supplements, and did castor oil and heat pads for a good while. I also went to a special fertility massage lady who taught me how to "massage myself unblocked" or at least that was the idea. I also was militant about acupuncture. I found an acupuncturist who truly changed my life and I went to him faithfully for 5 months. This guys was amazing, he knew things about my body just from touch that I never mentioned to him. My body apparently told him a story. Part of that story had to do with my ex-husband.

About 11 years ago now, I got divorced from my first husband who was unfortunately a piece of work. At the very end of our verbally and emotionally abusive marriage, my ex husband's violent temper was finally taken out on me physically. He picked me up and threw me outside of our house like I was a baseball. I landed on my right side hip hard on the pavement. Now why am I telling you this, because I believe it relates to part of my fertility troubles. My acupuncturist asked me one day if I had ever fallen hard on my butt or right side and suddenly a chill came over me. Now in acupuncture they believe that the back affects the front of your body and the front affects the back. I had one tube on the right side of my body that was technically open, but for some reason I wasn't ovulating on the right side...like at all. I always felt pain during ovulation on my left side and when we did ultrasounds to see if I would be ovulating on the right for a possible IUI, I never was...only on the left...the side that was blocked!!! This again added another layer of frustration to an already frustrating situation.

So back tracking, when my acupuncturist asked me if I had ever fallen hard on my backside or right side, I remembered that final night with my ex husband,when he physically threw me out of the house. It all kind of clicked for me and I still believe that incident had a significant affect on my right side not functioning properly. My acupuncturist, being the brilliant man that he is, did an intensive "spoon treatment" that day and "cupping" on my right side. He did this in order to get the bruises located way down deep in my hip area to come up to the surface. I can't remember the technical name for this, but he basically described it as a clot deep down underneath my skin's surface that was not allowing proper blood flow. Our session that day was very uncomfortable for me on many levels. One was the significant pain that my body went through during the treatments. The other was the stinging emotional pain that resurfaced from a buried divorce. It just bubbled right up all over again. Just like the old bruises that needed to be released. I remember afterwards my hip area looked like someone had mutilated me, but it was all the clots and bruises from years ago rising up to the surface.

So after undergoing that treatment, I prayed and prayed that next month was the month I would ovulate on my right side.  A few weeks later when I went in for my ultrasound, miraculously I had a bigger follicle on the right, which meant that I would ovulate on the right side. PRAISE GOD!!! I truly thought, 'This is it...This is the month and acupuncture paved the way.' So we scheduled the IUI a few days later. That day my precious husband's sperm was plentiful and the quality was great, so I was so assured that this time was going to be a success. Just in case you aren't sure, an IUI means intra-uterine insemination. In this procedure they stick a very small tube up through your cervix into the very top of your uterus and then release the sperm as close as possible to the fallopian tubes. It basically cuts the trip for the sperm down significantly, so they don't have to travel as far. Since my left tube was blocked, my doctor wouldn't do an IUI unless I ovulated on the right side. This procedure and IVF were our only options of fertility treatments, unless I wanted to undergo surgery to fix my left tube; and an IUI was significantly cheaper than surgery and IVF. So an IUI it was. This was going to work. It had to. After the nurse released the tube with my husband's sperm in it, she had me stay on the table for at least 15 minutes to help make the job as easy as possible for the little guys. Now some people will say that staying in a helpful position with your legs and hips elevated after sex is an old wives tale, but the fertility doctor had me assume the position so....

My husband and I really struggled with the whole idea at first of making a baby in such a technical way. He felt especially that there was no romance in it at all. We did what we could to try and make the IUI special. I was adamant that he be in the room with me, so I could have him right there by my side holding my hand when the nurse inserted the tube. Just a small thing to help it feel more natural for us both. So after that we went about our days as normal and waited. Ohhh the waiting...the waiting never ever gets any easier and for some reason those two weeks after the IUI seemed like a lifetime. I tried as best as I could not to think about it and to focus on my clients, my husband, our dog, our life...anything else and just go on as normal. However it is truly almost impossible NOT to think about something that you are trying not to think about. I did what I could to make those 14 days go by as fast as possible.

Finally the time was here and it was my time to start and I was 1 day late. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to get my heart set on it at all in case it wasn't real, but I was pretty regular, so this meant something. I started to dream about having a baby and shopping for baby clothes for him/her and making the guest room into a nursery. I thought about how I would tell my husband, friends and my family and then I thought about baby showers; and visions of pink and blue started floating around in my brain...balloons, diapers, toys, stuffed animals, baby blankets, diaper cream, baby food...I saw it all. The next morning came and still no period. Afternoon came and still no period...OH MY GOSH THIS WAS IT!!! I was just starting to really let it sink in, when I was sitting in the chair on a Sunday evening and I felt something. Now like I said, my body was pretty regular and if I was gonna start, it was always in the morning. I thought...no way it must just be discharge or something...that's really common in early pregnancy. I went into the bathroom and there it was...my period...at 5 pm on a Sunday. I was so disappointed...absolutely and utterly shattered...again. For some reason I had to go to Walmart that night and I remember not being able to make it out of the car into the store. I just sat there in the Walmart parking lot and cried like a baby. I howled...I was inconsolable. My husband was at work, so I called my mom and she didn't pick up. I love my mom and she has a life of her own, but her not being available that night was so hard for me. I felt so alone. So utterly forgotten about and alone. I could barely pull myself together that night to drive home.

You don't forget those moments. Unfortunately our brain holds on to trauma in such a significant way, that it almost makes it impossible to ever really forget the hardest times in our lives. They are literally branded in our brains, as if they were yesterday. I don't remember what came next that night, but I did make it home safely and I survived that heartache. God got me through that, even though I was starting to feel that he was kinda forgetting about me. I knew that verse, Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart Psalm 37:4; so I was like, "In case it's not clear...this is what I desire Lord." When I was quiet in my prayer time or at the gym, I still had a quiet peace about the whole thing. I truly felt that God would give us a baby and I still feel that way. He assured me of it then and he still does now, its just the timing. God continued to tell me and my husband, in my timing...in my time. Nothing in my life has EVER been on my timetable. I swear sometimes I feel that I am always waiting for something. A therapist once told me when I was going through this process, "...you should be really good at waiting, you've had to do that your entire life." It really upset me when she said that. I didn't want to be good at waiting. Why couldn't I be one of those people that never had to wait for anything. The kind of person where everything just kinda happens. I don't know why that isn't my story, but it isn't.

So now we were coming into the Christmas season, still not pregnant. Last years Christmas was so hard for me. I truly had it in my mind that I would have been pregnant by then, but I wasn't. When all the songs about Mary would come on, like Breath of Heaven, You're Here or Mary Did You Know I would just cry and cry. There is something about that time of year concerning hurting and loss. The sense of sorrow and suffering feel more intense and deeper somehow. At my lowest point I thought to myself, "What is really the point of living if I can't be a mom?" I started to lose hope at this point and definitely shifted my focus. Not intentionally, I was just starting to shut down. I was beginning to entertain the thought for the first time, that this really might not happen and may NOT be what God wants for us. Even though I had that quiet peace at times, the doubt voice in my head was growing stronger.

Julie Mangus