So you may want to grab yourself a cuppa…this will take a while.
2012 was a great year for us. We were in Paris when we saw the New year in. After two of the best weeks of my life, Scott knocked me off my feet when he proposed on our last day in Paris at the Pont Des Arts bridge. “How about sticking with me for the rest of your life?” he said as he handed me a padlock with an engagement ring linked on “Abso-bloody-lutely” I replied with no hesitation. It started to pour down freezing rain, a double rainbow appeared as we secured our padlock to the bridge (yes it really was that amazing), and we ran in the rain laughing, with tears streaming down my face. I have never felt such happiness.
That same month we adopted a shelter dog named Gaz. And two months later we were finalising our contract on our very first home.
On a perfect October day, Scott and I got hitched in a little town hall up in the hills, surrounded by our family and loved ones.
We had been together for 3 years by then and were already eager to start a family. We were both happy and healthy. There was no doubt in our minds that we would fall pregnant straight away. We talked about baby names often. Scott told me I will look gorgeous pregnant. I started a secret pinterest board on Nursery decorating. I even started thinking about how we would announce it to our families. We were so excited about the prospect of being parents.
At first, our approach was very relaxed. I immediately started taking a prenatal vitamin. At the beginning of 2013 after a few months of trying I went to the doctors just to double check if there was anything else I needed to do. She asked me a couple of questions about my cycle. She told me that I was lucky to have a very regular cycle, that we would have no problem but it may take up to a year.
Oh, it may take up to a year, phew we are completely normal then, no need to stress, it will happen when the time is right. “Won’t it be great if we can announce it to our family this Christmas when we are all together” we couldn’t wait to see everyone’s faces.
I have been so lucky in my life and you have probably already noticed that I’m quite the optimist, always hopeful, always looking forward and knowing things will be ok.
When we were well into our second year of trying, the doubt that had been lingering finally settled in. That second year was one of the worst years of my life. I began to hate my body, why wasn’t it working? I don’t do drugs or party hard or smoke. I exercise and eat a varied diet with lots of veggies. Why was this happening to me?
That same year our lives started spiralling out of control. Our work lives were so chaotic. Scott was put on night shift and I worked long days which made it even harder to try to have a baby. My workplace environment was so hostile. I was surrounded by constant drama, reports of bullying and tears everyday. I started to dread going to work. I hardly ever saw Scott and when I did he was a complete zombie staring at the TV screen. Scott had switched off his emotions and I felt completely alone.
I am still in complete disbelief at what happened in the midst of this turmoil; part of the Pont Des Arts bridge collapsed in Paris. if that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is!
As a last resort we attended marriage counselling and I was terrified that nothing would change, that it was over between us. The counsellor broke it down for us. He explained that we both had completely different methods of dealing with this stress. After sleep deprivation and an extremely stressful work environment, all Scott wanted to do was to switch off. The TV was his emotionless escape from his world of chaos. On the other hand all I wanted was connection and conversation. It took a while but we finally began to see the world through each other’s eyes. We slowly started to rebuild our relationship and love each other again.
The stress of the year had impacted us so much that we often felt beyond repair. Stress had ruined my body. I couldn’t lose weight. I was shedding hair like crazy. Every month my breasts were more and more painful. I suffered anxiety. I was constantly bloated. I was desperate and miserable. I went to the doctor 3 times complaining about the constant debilitating fatigue I felt. They tested me for iron deficiency, vitamin d deficiency & even diabetes. They told me they couldn’t find anything significant.
Meanwhile my job was becoming more and more demanding, we were extremely short staffed and I was working 2 hours extra a day with an overbearing workload. Most days left me absolutely exhausted, often I couldn’t even find the energy to cook a meal.
Towards the end of the year, we decided to make some big decisions. I would quit my job so that we could give ourselves the best chance possible to find our feet again. We would do our very best to live off one wage. It was time to check our priorities, ditch the stress and put some serious work into our health.
2015 was the year of healing for us, and boy oh boy there was a lot to heal!
Firstly our health. We spent the first eight months with a brilliant naturopath. She completely opened my eyes to so many things (I will do a more thorough post about it). She discovered that Scott’s pituitary gland (the one that tells you to produce hormones) was completely switched off. His testosterone levels were abysmal. There was no beating around the bush with our naturopath, she suspected night shift was the catalyst and asked Scott straight up whether he was looking for another job (he wasn’t, as he has very much the love-hate relationship with his work, he wasn’t letting go of it anytime soon). And as for me, the blood test results showed an oestrogen dominance and poor thyroid function. In my naivety I didn’t even know oestrogen dominance was ‘a thing’, in fact I actually thought that if a woman had loads of oestrogen she would be some kind of goddess. I was very wrong as it turns out, you are actually an overweight, anxious, hair shedding being with sore boobs, dreadful fatigue and zero libido. It was obvious to me that the previous year of stress was to blame for my out of control hormones.
She suggested Scott go see an endocrinologist because this pituitary business was rather serious. As for me, she started with a detox to clean out some of those excess hormones and then worked on giving my body all the good stuff to get it functioning as best as possible. I was amazed at how quickly things changed. A month after starting the herbs my breast pain was almost non existent.
After eight months of seeing the naturopath we could see that our health had come along in leaps and bounds. Scott had managed to work mainly day shift for the year and his sperm results had improved dramatically. I was amazed at the body’s ability to heal itself, it was eye opening. Although there was still no baby at the end of the eight months we had made so many positive lifestyle changes that our lives had improved for the better forever.
Quitting my draining and stressful job had without a doubt been one of the best decisions. I managed to pick up some casual office work and I still had time to work on getting the ‘old me’ back. I started to rebuild myself on a larger scale, creatively and emotionally. I was a lucky girl in 2015, an opportunity presented to be coached by the most generous soul, her name was Rachel and she was a friend of Scott’s mum. She knew that it was my goal to be more creative (although I had no idea what to do) and offered me coaching lessons. I didn’t know what to expect from those sessions, and as someone who is rather shy, I was actually very nervous about it all.
These sessions changed my life. I had been making excuses for a long time and preventing myself from being happy. Rachel gave me the push that I had needed for an entire decade. I was back creating in the form of pottery. My life suddenly felt more complete. I had purpose.
I feel like it was important to mention this part of my journey here because it is so vital to your health that you have purpose in life. Creativity is so good for you, so do it in any form that you feel is right. Whether it be a meal you prepare or the way that you dress or do your hair or decorate your house. Be daring. Be creative. Do things with purpose and contentment will surely follow.
Late in the year I got a staph infection, it was pretty random actually and rather gross. I spent 3 days with little pustules popping up around my eyes and nose (delightful I know). I went to the doc and she gave me antibiotics, lots of antibiotics in fact – it was a rather heavy dose. The staph infection cleared up fine and I got on with my life.
Later that same month, something amazing that had never ever happened to me before occurred. My period was late. Scott had asked whether it had come and I had lied and told him yes. I wanted to get that positive pregnancy test and surprise him in the best way possible.
I tried a test I had at home – Negative. Googled “Negative pregnancy test early pregnancy” loads of stories came up from women claiming that they all had negative results but were in fact pregnant. My hope was strong but I told myself I wasn’t to get excited until 2 more days, then I would test again.
Second test on day 3 of missed period – Negative. Further googling, some women didn’t get positive results until a week after their missed period, hope still there.
Day 5 of missed period, feeling sleep deprived and nauseous, they’ve got to be pregnancy symptoms right? Third test – Negative. I finally tell Scott and we decide to book a doctor’s appointment that day. The doctor runs bloods and tells me to call Monday morning.
That afternoon I chased a dog who had escaped from the work yard and was running all over the busy road in front of trucks. Two hours later I had started bleeding. I was worried that I had miscarried, I was devastated. Was it because of the running, did I stress too much this week? What did I do wrong? Further googling showed that bleeding can occur in early pregnancy. Hope is still there.
On the Monday Scott and I are both so eager to hear what is going on. He calls me constantly throughout the morning and I assure him that I will let him know as soon as I hear. The doctor is never available when I call, I call three times and leave messages. At 3:00pm that afternoon, a girl at the doctor’s reception calls and says cheerily “your blood results are all normal”, “What do you mean?” I say, “Am I pregnant, was I pregnant?” I can hear myself choking up already, “Oh um…I’m so, so sorry…I didn’t know that’s what the test was for, no…um…it doesn’t look like it…” I’m completely hysterical, I can barely get my words out as the poor girl on the end of the phone offers to put me through to a nurse. She puts me through, I’m sobbing hard but I manage to ask if I was ever pregnant. “No, I’m sorry you weren’t ever pregnant” the nurse says and tells me that it was probably just the antibiotics for the staph infection that delayed my period. I’m such a mess that I’m sent home from work. Scott and I spend the night grieving, the gigantic aching loss of something that never was.
Emotionally exhausted and incredibly frustrated, we decide to up our game and see a specialist. He runs some bloods which say that my hormones and thyroid are all normal and my egg reserve is good. We run bloods throughout my cycle to check that I’m definitely ovulating and he sends me for a HSG (a test where they inject dye into your fallopian tubes to check that they are open). Everything is good, there is no reason for me to be infertile. Scott’s sperm tests have improved vastly through the work of the naturopath and the endocrinologist. We are both completely fine and labelled with ‘unexplained infertility’. The specialist prescribes clomid to help me release more eggs each month.
We do four cycles of clomid all up and it is quite the roller coaster ride. For the first time in my life I have period pain. It gets more intense with each cycle. My lower abdomen is so swollen. My periods are heavy, my boobs are sore again. I experience terrible migraines and awful nightmares. I feel like crap. My cycle is no longer a perfect 28 days but rather 31, then 26 then 29. I’m relieved when we eventually decide to cease the clomid. I’ve gained six kilos after 4 months and feel like all the hard work I’d done with the naturopath had quickly unravelled. We decide to have a break from the drugs. The plan is to be as healthy as possible for a month and then start IVF.
On December 23rd 2015 at 7:00am we sit in our specialist’s office. We tell him we want to do IVF next year. It starts to hit me as the Specialist passes us pages of information about payments, injections, consent forms, side effects and statistics. The specialist will be away for the month of January. February 2016 is the month.