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What I Did Before I Got Pregnant

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Brace yourself, this one will most likely be a long one. But I guess that’s because a lot happened leading up to where I am now. Not exactly intentionally, either. You’ll see what I mean, just keep reading. As you probably already know I have a thyroid condition, and right before I got married my endocrinologist suggested I get off birth control if I want to get pregnant “anytime soon” since people with my condition can run into trouble getting pregnant. I wasn’t planning on having a baby in the next year or two so I felt like it was premature to get off the pill BEFORE my wedding because what if god forbid I did get pregnant before the wedding and I couldn’t drink at my own damn wedding in GREECE (LOL–listen, I was 27 at the time, clearly not ready, and also I still stand behind my not drinking comment…I’d be PISSED!). So I decided to stay on it until after the wedding & when I ran out I would stop. That’s what I did and one year and then two years went by and I wasn’t pregnant.

I honestly didn’t think anything of it. In my eyes we just got married, bought our first house, we were having fun starting this new chapter of our lives. A baby just didn’t fit into the equation. Plus, we were both really focused on our careers and the timing wasn’t right. I look back now and am so thankful for the way things happened–I’m a BIG believer of ‘everything happens for a reason.’ My career being one of the biggest reasons why I’m glad I didn’t get pregnant earlier. I had SO much to work through, figure out, so much time was needed to dedicate to growing and meeting people and a baby would have prevented all of that from happening.

I look back to even 2 years ago and feel like today at 30 years old, I am so much more in control of my life (finances, home, career, maturity level, my identity, etc.). While I don’t think I’m “done” growing or developing as a person / individual, I feel very confident about where I am in life at the moment. That was a very important factor to me before having a baby. I wanted to feel emotionally mature and “ready” for this next phase of life.

Now, cue my not-so-annual pap smear (I’m guilty of going every 2-3 years instead of every year…I know, I know….). As my gyno reviewed my charts (& age) she glanced up and asked me if I had any plans to start a family. I said something along the lines of, “Yes, eventually. But I’ve been off birth control for 2 years and so far I’m not pregnant so….not really sure what that means.” She looked at me with this scary look on her face and told me that technically if you’ve had unprotected sex for over a year and you’re not pregnant that qualifies you as “reproductively challenged.” Hmm…okay. Before I could even respond she was scribbling a bunch of notes for me to get a “work up,” which is basically a series of tests to determine what the root of the issue is. Without even really asking / approving it, I was suddenly knee-deep in tests that would supposedly help me figure out how I would get pregnant.

Paul was tested. I did an ultrasound to check my uterus. I did blood work. I even did a round of Clomid & Estradiol (pills to stimulate ovulation & thicken the lining of your uterus), which is the most “mild” form of fertility treatment. This all happened last April. The pills gave me the worst stomach pains of my life. I was having hot flashes, a cloudy & foggy mind, bloating, mood swings, everything hurt. I did ovulate on the pills but clearly I didn’t get pregnant. After one round, I was through with that. There was NO way I was going through that again, which scared me to think about the more severe fertility treatments like IVF. I was supposed to have a test done (can’t remember the name) where they fill a balloon with dye and they pop it in my Fallopian tubes to see if there is a blockage. I “accidentally” forgot to schedule that one….no thanks. The results: Paul was good. My ovulation wasn’t on schedule because my periods are never on schedule (thx to my thryoid issue). That’s as far as we got since I refused more testing.

The next phase for me was acupuncture. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things, and if it helped then that would just be the cherry on top. I started seeing an acupuncturist in Santa Monica once a week and always left feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated. The issue was 1) it was far AF and I was always frantic getting there, which is pretty counterproductive, 2) it was expen$$$$$ive, and 3) the Chinese herbs they wanted me to take were tasted gross and I kept lying to them about taking them. I just couldn’t. I put a hold on acupuncture when I started traveling over the summer and never went back.

By the end of the summer the topic of babies popped into my mind and I realized months had gone by without me giving it a single thought. On one hand I thought that was good–I’m not going to stress about it, that’s not my style. Clearly I didn’t want a baby that badly. On the other hand, months had gone by and I still wasn’t pregnant. I REALLLLLLY wasn’t down for IVF or any other invasive procedures or treatments so WTF would happen? Were we just not having kids? Did we need to discuss other options (adoption? surrogate?)? Instead I chose to just live my life. Like I said, I believe things happen when they are supposed to, I didn’t want to lose sleep over this, and I wasn’t going to force the issue. Towards the end of the year a follower had recommended I read the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility to help me better understand my body as a woman. The book is life-changing in the way that I learned so much about the female body that were somehow never taught to me. Things about your cycle, cervical fluids, body temperature, and so much more. It also taught me that traditional doctors all preach this whole 28-day cycle thing, when there are TONS of women with 21-35-day cycles. If you don’t fall within the 28-day cycles most doctors jump to this “work up” (exactly what my doctor did) and made me go through all sorts of invasive testing that was technically not even facilitated on the correct dates since she was basing my periods on a 28-day cycle (I’m more like 31-35 days).

My mind was blown. HOW had I gone through 30 years of life not knowing such a big part about my body? I finished the book within days of starting and really felt so enlightened. I had plans to start charting my temperature every morning (among other things you’ll learn in the book) to help me determine if / when I could get pregnant. Sidenote: the book teaches you the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) to help you get pregnant and the natural way to prevent pregnancy as well. I was 4 days into charting when I found out I was pregnant. Obviously elated, I stopped charting but still SO glad I read the book. There are so many incredible things I’ve learned from the book I truly wish ALL women would read this. To the follower that suggested I read the book, THANK YOU!

I’ve received a lot of messages from people currently struggling to get pregnant and it definitely puts things into perspective for me. While I didn’t get pregnant right away, at the end of the day I did conceive naturally and I am SO grateful for that. To be totally honest, if it hadn’t happened that way I don’t know that a baby would be in the cards for us. What I can say is this: don’t let it consume you. Live your life, drink wine, don’t plan too much. If you have reproductive issues DO try to pinpoint the problem, but educate yourself fully before diving into all sorts of treatments that are hard on your body (and wallet). Be patient, be good to your body, and let things happen. I know that won’t always be the solution for some who have a deeper issue to work through, but for me, that is what worked.

If you guys have any questions at all about my process, treatment, etc. feel free to leave a question down below in the comments 🙂

Penny for your thoughts?