MY EXPERIENCE WITH OVULATION MEDICATION / BEHIND THE BLOG
I’ve had this post on my heart for a few months, but not only is it a very personal topic, it’s also an immensely sensitive one. When I shared our story back in October, after 18 months of trying to conceive, I let you in on a part of me that I’d been holding back for so long. And I was so glad I did. I immediately felt such relief and as your stories poured in one by one, I felt less alone than I had in a long time. I ended that post with what our next step was – seeing a fertility doctor and starting ovulation medication. Based on our doctor’s recommendation, it was the right, next step for us, although we had no idea if it would work or not. It was either going to be exactly the push my body needed or the start of an unknown, and likely long, journey. Thankfully, it wasn’t the latter.
Throughout those 18 months and our journey to get where we are today, I grew so much as a person. That season of our life taught me invaluable lessons and even though we’re only 26 weeks along in our pregnancy, I can already look back on that season of life and feel grateful for it. There are still things I don’t understand, sure, but I do see and feel in my soul that there was a purpose for it. However, out of everything it taught me, there are two things specifically that I want to preface before sharing this post with you:
One, when it comes to infertility, there’s no room for comparison. Everyone’s story is so unique and has it’s own ups and downs. There are going to be women who have tried longer and harder than you, and inevitably, others who are in the beginning stages of discouragement. If you’re anything like me, you will likely find yourself somewhere in the middle of the two and that’s okay. Don’t let someone else’s story affect how you feel about your own. For months and months, we kept our struggle to ourselves for that very reason (and a couple of others), and for me, it added unnecessary pressure. I’m a feeler who wears her heart on her sleeve most days, so not sharing what was going on in our life with my family + friends was really difficult. After about a year, we opened up to our closest loved ones and I quickly realized I needed them to get through it. All of that to say, don’t let anyone else’s journey make you feel like yours is not worthy enough. Two, our bodies all need different things. We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made, but with very different insides. With infertility, what works for someone else may not work for you. Whether that be ovulation medication, IUI, or even IVF. What I want to be transparent about and convey is: don’t look at any one solution as a light at the end of the tunnel. When it comes to remaining hopeful throughout this process, the stakes are already so high – try to be intentional about not allowing mine, or anyone else’s story to influence you in a way that sets you up for disappointment.
That said, I want to let you in on what those three months looked like for me for a few different reasons. One, it’s National Infertility Awareness Week and this has simply weighed heavily on my heart the last few days as I’ve prayed for the women + couples still struggling. Two, since October, there’s not a day that’s gone by where I don’t get a DM or an email from someone letting me in on their story. I have multiple women, strangers to me, whose messages I have screenshotted and prayed over, and I know their names by heart. As much as I don’t want our story to influence anyone decision wise, I’m grateful for the impact that starting an honest, raw conversation can have on someone’s life. After eight years of writing blog post after post – that’s all this is. A community of women, trying to get through our twenties and thirties one day at a time, by relating to each other and understanding one another. And whereas the clothes and the skincare products may not be, that’s huge. That’s everything to me.
I took ovulation medication in September, October and November of last year. Our doctor told us from the beginning that we would try it for three months and see if it worked. He prefaced that by “don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work the first month, but if it doesn’t by the third, we’ve ramped up your body as much as we can for the time being.” AKA, we’re only going to try this for three months and if it doesn’t work, that’s when we’ll explore other options/next steps. I was nervous for a set timeline, all while grateful to finally have a plan 16 months later.
MONTH ONE. // September 2019. I started round one of our ovulation medication a few days prior to leaving for the biggest trip of my life. I set an alarm on my phone, took the pills at 9:30 AM (the same time of day, each day) each morning as instructed and throughout the next few days of actually ovulating, we followed our doctor’s instructions to a T. Shortly after our ovulation window closed, I left for the Maldives. It was the farthest I’d ever traveled by myself and I was so anxious for so many reasons. I was BEYOND grateful to be invited on such an amazing experience, but personally, I really struggled with feeling like I was choosing this trip over keeping myself healthy. I knew between the long travel, the time changes and the lack of sleep, that my body would just feel off and that was the last thing I wanted. However, I used my “there’s nothing hard about your life” line on myself and the plane took off. So anxious, but also very mindful of what this waiting period could mean. Once I left J and the ties of feeling that emotion, throughout airport after airport and then finally arriving, it was like all of my anxiety lifted. I remembered how strong I was and wanted to make the most of my time there. Between my mental state and physically being in the most beautiful place I’d ever seen, the Maldives was such a huge turning point for me. I woke up every morning, alone, and I’ve never felt closer to the Lord in my entire life. I went outside with my coffee every morning, prayed harder than I ever have, and hoped I was pregnant. Even though I was there for work, I was so grateful for a slow itinerary and being able to take it easy on my body. The time change was intense and my sleep was all over the place, but there wasn’t a second of that trip that I wasn’t thinking about and praying for our future baby. A few days later, I left that island feeling so restored and rejuvenated in a way I didn’t even know I needed. I felt more assured than ever that I was right where I was supposed to be and as cheesy as it sounds, that trip and the way it healed me – changed me. On the longest leg of the flight home, I started by period on the plane. I could feel it from the moment it happened. I excused my way to the restroom, came back to my seat, put my headphones in and covered up with a blanket. There was no way to call J, nothing more than 14 hours alone to just feel it. Cramps, tears, disappointment, all of it. Still in tears, I landed in New York, sat down at the first bar I saw and ordered a glass of champagne. Once I made it back home, so exhausted and defeated, J met me at the airport and my body just went limp in his arms. I didn’t leave the bed for the next three days.
MONTH TWO. // October 2019. Shortly after returning home, it was time to reorder another round of my ovulation medication and try again. I quickly recovered from traveling and although I knew in my gut it probably wouldn’t work the first time around, I had high hopes for round two. I took the medication again, every morning at 9:30AM, and prayed over that little pill bottle each day. In the days following, my body ovulated (from what I could tell) and we really felt like the medication was working. Being home and back in more of a normal routine, my hopes were higher this time. October felt especially sentimental because it was our 10 year anniversary. J and I got married at 20 and 21 so our wedding wasn’t quite the celebration I would’ve planned had I known what I know now. So we planned a big 10 year anniversary party with all of our closest family + friends at a beautiful venue and had one of the most amazing nights of our lives, surrounded by the people we love most. (We were in the middle of our ovulation cycle at this point, so I knew there was no way I was pregnant at the moment.) We danced the night away and popped endless bottles of Veuve Clicquot – it was exactly what I wanted and felt like the perfect way to celebrate what we had in front of us, rather than focusing on what we didn’t. Together and on a whim, we decided to let this community we’d been so intentional about pouring into for the last eight years in on what we’d been struggling with. I knew that sharing wouldn’t change my feelings about our journey or the outcome. I took this secret we’d held onto for so long and typed it out in black and white for everyone to read. At the time, it was the only way to relieve a little bit of the weight that felt so crushing most days. Throughout the entire 18 months of trying, I was so intentional about working out and trying to ensure my body was in the best possible shape to not only conceive, but carry a baby. While working out a couple of weeks later, my body started to cramp and I just knew. A few hours later, I started my cycle, once again. I remember not even having words in that moment. I was alone and I just sat in silence. Throughout everything, one of the worst parts was telling J month after month that it didn’t work, yet again. I was obviously first to find out because it was happening to me and my body, but being the deliverer of bad news every month weighed really heavily on me. That’s not at all the way I should’ve viewed it and J would NEVER have wanted me to, but I felt that so hard. I was in a very, very dark place during the next few days as I was reminded this was month 18. Our window of this working for us was 2/3 of the way over and I just felt numb. I didn’t leave the house for a few days, didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t feel like doing anything. I was confused and trying to figure out where or how to place blame – I needed some sort of logical explanation as to why this wasn’t happening for us. Two of my best friends came over a couple of days later with flowers and lunch and I just sat at the table with them and sobbed. I was so grateful for their presence, but so far from functioning. Onto round three.
MONTH THREE. // November 2019. After the initial let-down, I reordered the final refill of my ovulation medication and we repeated the steps one last time. Although we were always hopeful, this month felt different. We didn’t feel excited – we felt like we were stuck in a routine that we never wanted to feel normal. J and I intentionally tried to scale back our feelings about the medication and the timeframe, knowing that I couldn’t allow myself to go back to the place I was in a couple of weeks before. It wasn’t healthy, it wasn’t changing anything. There was nothing taking a toll on my body this time – no big trip, no big celebration to plan, just time. During the month of November, I almost felt like I was in a fog. I felt pressure and anxiety, but I didn’t have enough emotion left in me to give into it. I sat at home most days, very in tune with my body, journaling and praying in the most humble + transparent way I knew how. The days leading up to finding out if the third time worked or not, I felt crampy and bloated like I had every other month. I assumed the medication didn’t work again and tried my best to protect myself, all while preparing myself for whatever the next step would be. On the day I was supposed to start my cycle, November 20th, I still hadn’t by 4PM that day and I decided to take a pregnancy test. I was alone, at home, feeling like I just needed that moment to myself to feel the heartbreak and move on from it. Waiting for those tests are always the longest minutes EVER, but within ONE, there was a visible plus sign. I literally felt like someone knocked the breath out of me, but this time, in the best way (if that’s even possible). Tears immediately poured down my cheeks as I was in disbelief. This was month 19 and out of 18 pregnancy tests, I’d never gotten a positive. I ran to the kitchen, chugged a bottle of water, and took another test as soon as possible. Again, a plus sign. The minute J got home (and off of a work call – I was DYING) I told/showed him the test. He picked me up and ran around our bedroom with me in his arms, this time, far from limp. We were both so excited, yet tried to remain cautious. I told him I wanted to run out and grab a test that said the actual words ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’ to ensure accuracy and take it the next morning before getting our hopes up too high. We cooked and ate dinner together like normal, both fairly speechless and wondering if this was real. I remember doing the dishes that night with tears just streaming down into the sink while Alexa was on volume 10, playing the playlist that helped get us through the last few months. Each lyric, filling our entire house, spoke when we didn’t have the words to.
Of course, you know by now, that the test was still positive the next morning and within hours, I had blood work + confirmation from our fertility doctor that we were in fact pregnant. Everything after, Thanksgiving + the holidays, it all feels like a dream as we announced to our family + friends and finally got that moment we’d waited on for a year and a half. Even more so, 10 years. Again, I don’t always understand God’s timing or why He allows us to go through such deep valleys at times, but there’s no doubt in my mind it makes us stronger on the other side. Even prior to starting ovulation medication, every month was hard. Every negative test, every time we had to start over, every time I had to write out a schedule on a calendar. However, I know that these three months specifically changed me in an unexplainable way. That trip to the Maldives is one of my favorite weeks of my life. I’ll never forget how strong I felt each morning waking up there. That dark place I was in after round two was so necessary. I needed to feel both of those moments to my core to be as grateful for the one I’m feeling as we speak. As I’m sitting in bed typing this, Tiny is kicking me. My eyes are filled with tears as I relive these moments to share them with you – because I have the sweetest reminder of God’s faithfulness growing inside of me.
Only He can take brokenness and make it something beautiful.
If you’re in the midst of struggling with infertility and take anything away from this post, let it be that. God’s preparing you for what you’re asking for. He’s making you stronger day by day. Heartbreak by heartbreak. Month after month. There’s hope and celebration and light on the other side of this. You are not alone and you are so, so loved. Whatever your path is, whatever your next step – walk on the water, eyes on the Father. Nothing is impossible.