One thing I’ve struggled with since finding out I was less-than fertile is trust. Why the eff can’t there just be a guided map? Why do we have to hear contradicting medical opinions? Why is there such a thing as “unexplained infertility”?
The amount of information we have about our world astounds me. Astronomers can study planets millions of light years away. Biologists can understand the motives and behavioral patterns of tiny microbiota living in our guts. You can ask Google who won the silver medal in the 1984 Olympic two-man bobsled event (Germany – Lehmann and Musiol) and get the answer within seconds. Yet, so little is known about fertility.
After meeting with 7 different reproductive endocrinologists – thanks to retirement, turnover, insurance changes - over the past few years, we’ve been given varying hypotheses about what is going on. But no matter the doctor’s opinion about the cause, the steps are always the same: IUI, IVF, egg donation. In that order. Every time.
We tried the medical recommendations for 1 year. No luck, no progress, certainly no baby. Out of exhaustion, I decided to pull back. I started seeing an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility and finding the root cause of the problem. In other words: “what is getting in the way of your body doing what it needs to do to be fertile”. I've learned SO much about my body and my health.
Hypothyroidism has had me on medication since I was 14. Not once, in the nearly 20 years since, has any medical doctor spoken with me about what this means for my health. Simply "take your Synthroid and you’ll be fine". For years, I’ve had short luteal phases (doctors didn’t care), periods that last 12-24 hours with very little bleeding (doctors: “if you ovulate, you ovulate”), and body temperature that stays around 97 degrees. I was told that none of this matters and we should push forward with IVF and possibly egg donors. I'd walk away with a bad feeling that there was a bigger problem and my symptoms weren't normal.
In working with my acupuncturist, I’ve learned that my hunch was right: NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL! My acupuncturist did blood work and discovered my thyroid antibodies were sky high. My body was not in a state which can support fertility! My immune system was making a mistake and attacking its own tissue. I was using all my resources on my hyper-active, spazoid immune system and had none leftover for fertility.
I felt vindicated, validated, ready to take these labs back to my endo and discuss a strategy. So that’s what I did. I assumed this was the missing piece. My unexplained infertility was no longer unexplained! And she didn’t care; none of this mattered. She asked when I would be ready to start a round of IVF.
So back to trust: who do you trust? Yourself? Your acupuncturist? Your medical doctor? The forums you read online? And once you figure out who to trust: HOW do you trust? How do you quiet the voice in your head reminding you that you may have chosen the wrong path?
I’m working on trusting myself. I’m also working on seeing this trust crisis as a lesson. It’s entirely possible that I’m not great at trust, so the universe sent me a lemon (infertility) to force me to learn how to do this differently. I’m learning to stay open and to trust the deep, hidden, quiet voice that lets me know I’ll be OK no matter what. That I can love my life no matter what. That I can thrive no matter what. Things aren’t exactly as I thought they’d be, and that’s OK.
Honestly, I have a hard time even typing those sentences about trust. Because part of me believes it, and part of me is yelling “yeah, but, what if”. Some days these parts of me are louder than others. It’s a process. I’m trying and learning and failing and trying again.
How do you practice trust? Have you had a trust crisis during your fertility process? Any wisdom you can offer for the times I try to trust and end up falling short? In a perfect world, none of us would have to learn to trust in this way. Or, maybe this is a perfect world and we’re exactly where we need to be <3