Secondary Infertility…that’s really a thing?

We have always been fortunate when it comes to pro-creating. We have been pregnant three times and were able to get pregnant the very first cycle we decided to try. I would say we are quite the fertile team, hubby and I. Then, after losing our last two pregnancies in 2015, one being a stillbirth at 36 weeks, we had to take a few months off to heal and grieve.

When we were ready to start trying again, it was actually a couple of months sooner than my doctor would have liked.  I had a 2nd C-section with our loss and he prefers about 18 months between births-mostly so that I could build up all the lost vitamin and mineral stores I had lost being pregnant.  We were not going to wait 9 months to start trying, we assumed we would get pregnant fairly quickly.  You know what they say about assuming…

I was losing weight, but very slowly, and working out again here and there.  I should’ve kicked my workouts way up in the spring, but really didn’t.  Again, I was planning on becoming pregnant again very soon and figured it was pointless at this time.  I wasn’t heavy, but had 10 lbs. to lose.

Each cycle came and went.  I was tracking them with a digital ovulation monitor and earlier in the year, had a couple  anovulatory  cycles.  This definitely worried me, but they seemed to get back on track by the time we were ready to try.  March, April and May went by, doing everything right and no dice.  Right around June I decided to start taking my basal body temperature each morning because that would actually show me that I had indeed ovulated.  It would take a couple of months to show a great pattern, but the temp shift was showing ovulation.

At this point, we had tried about 4 cycles and my clock was ticking loudly.  I just wanted a sibling for Max, before he became too old to really enjoy a sibling due to an age gap.  I was getting a little worried, because of our history of this being an easy task for us.  Suddenly, it wasn’t.  We were experiencing secondary infertility.  More than 1 million couples struggle with secondary infertility.  Basically, we had a child (or two), and all attempts after that child had proven to not work out.   Granted, it was a short time at this point, but is still the same thing.  I was paying more attention to my cycle than ever and for no known reason, we weren’t able to conceive.

The reasons behind this could be just about anything.  At 39, maybe my eggs were getting old?  Maybe my hubby was suddenly not functioning on all levels, or maybe he had a prostate infection?  Sperm count declines, eggs become not viable, or too few.  Was it stress from the want and need to have another baby after our loss?  Was it the extra 10 lbs I was still carrying or a thyroid issue I didn’t know about?  It could be irregular ovulation or scarring from 2 C-sections.   The not knowing in this situation totally sucks.

I had a really good idea it had to do with either scarring or just irregular cycles on my part.  We did have my husband do a semen analysis in July, just to ease our minds and get the focus down to me.  We figured if we were on our way to needing a specialist, that is the first thing they would ask us to do, and it wasn’t expensive at all.  It, of course, came back amazing.  I began doing acupuncture for fertility to help regulate my cycles and just support my fertility in general.  I was taking close to 10 vitamins/supplements daily to help with ovulation and egg quality.  We began using Pre-seed lubricant before sex to help with sperm mobility. My egg number seemed to be just fine.  Nothing seemed to be working.  What was definitely not helpful were the “you just need to relax, it will happen” comments.  I get it, just don’t wanna hear it.

Toward the end of July, we talked to my OB about doing some rounds of Clomid.  The goal of treatment with Clomid is to normalize or induce ovulation by taking a 50 mg dose per day on days 3 through 7 or days 5 through 9 of a cycle.  Some call is a super ovulater.  It can be used for women who are ovulating but having unexplained infertility, which was me.   I have read that the pregnancy rate is this case is less than 10 percent, but we had to try everything at this point.  He agreed, because we had attempted to conceive for 6 cycles, to Rx the Clomid.  He would do up to 3 cycles, then recommended we move on to a fertility specialist to get to the outcome in a timely manner.

First Clomid cycle came and went.  I wasn’t surprised, success rates are highest on the second round.  I was tracking my temps, I had been ovulating and was going to acupuncture before and after ovulating.  We started our second round in late August.  I was taking it cycle days 5 through 9 due to my age.  It’s said that days 3-7 is taken to produce more quantity of eggs, and days 5-9 are taken for more quality eggs.  Around day 15, I expected to ovulate and I did get a temp shift.  However, the next day I had a crazy temp spike and that pattern zigzagged up and down for the next 2 weeks.  I had never had anything like this before.  I was looking online for help and talked to my acupuncturist and it seemed as if this pattern meant that I likely didn’t ovulate.  Temperatures typically stay high after ovulation and mine were dropping every other day.  Who doesn’t ovulate while taking a medication that makes you ovulate???  So, I gave up on cycle number 2 and to my disappointment, moved on.  I began making my fertility specialist consultation appointments.

Sitting at home one Wednesday, Max was napping and I realized that my period was due that day.  I had no symptoms either way, and had just ordered a new crop of ovulation strips and pregnancy tests, so I decided I would take a test.  I did, got in the shower and almost forgot about it.   When I  checked it 10 minutes later it was blazing positive.  Two ridiculously dark lines, unmistakable.  I immediately took another.  Also blazing!!   I was in total shock.  Everything my chart told me was there’s no way you are pregnant.  But, I was.  I was so happy and shocked and scared.  My heart rate on my fitbit was skyrocketed for the next 6 hours, I just couldn’t calm down.  Here I am at 15 weeks and thankful for every day.

I absolutely feel for couples struggling to get pregnant.  It is emotionally and physically draining, it’s tough on your marriage and your husband.  Psychologically feeling like my body was deceiving me was very hard to swallow, especially after enduring the loss we had last year. Having two of my closest friends pregnant at the time was also tough to handle.  Watching Max get bigger every day and fielding the ‘you guys are gonna try again, aren’t you’ questions just broke my heart.  We did everything we could think of and are so thankful that it worked out in our favor.  I would absolutely recommend acupuncture to everyone as soon as you begin trying, if not before.  I do believe that helped me the most.  If we get crazy next year, even at 40, and decide to go for number 3, I will begin acupuncture a few months before we even try.  First, let’s get Max’s little sibling home safe and sound.  That is our first priority.

 

Author: Summer

Hello all! My name is Summer. I'm a recent stay-at-home mom, with a sarcastic tongue and no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I share my life with my gorgeous husband and my tempermental, yet adorable, amazing son. I'm just working my way through life's transitions and trying to soak it all up on the way.

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