Our first visit to the RE involved some basic testing of both of us. This will be the first and last time you hear of any testing of my husband (lucky him) as it was very quickly evident that the problem was not with him. The day after these initial tests we discovered issue #1:
Issue #1: I apparently have had an untreated thyroid problem for (at the very least) several years. Normally I wouldn't have known that it had begun years ago, but once the RE office called me and told me my levels were low, I recalled years ago being told the very same thing by my general practice doctor, but they were "not low enough to warrant medical intervention". While that is probably generally true, here's where our society's ignorance of fertility issues shows: I was a female in my late twenties with a thyroid issue, and despite this being a very well known cause of both infertility and miscarriage, my doctor never thought to ask me if we were trying, or at least just tell me I should have it corrected before TTC. So, onto Levothyroxine I went.
Another month goes by, and I am officially text book infertile.
Issue #2: During the next cycle, it also became clear that my uterine lining tends to be a little on the light side, and my progesterone levels are too low. So onto progesterone supplements I go. So let me tell you a little about progesterone....
It sucks. Alright, in the scheme of things it's really the least of the issues, but that doesn't make it a picnic. At it's heart, it's hormones, and we are all pretty aware of how much hormones can impact your body and your mood. So during the 2 weeks I am on progesterone, I slowly deteriorate into every stereotype afforded to a woman who is...well, pumped up with hormones. But I'll get back to that in a minute, because while progesterone makes most women sleepy, it gave me terrible insomnia. The day I started taking it, I was reduced to about 2 hours of sleep. So now picture this: a woman who is stuffed (literally, but I will spare you the details) of hormones, and running on very little sleep. Basically, I become an emotional mess during the 2 weeks of every cycle I am on progesterone. I often found myself crying during commercials. I once broke into sobs just relaying a commercial to my husband. It wasn't pretty. Luckily they were able to switch my prescription to a version that would at least stop the insomnia, but I'd be lying if I said that damn commercial where the couple uses Coca Cola cans to announce their pregnancy doesn't still get to me while on this stuff.
So we try again. And fail. And I use that word deliberately, because if you've never been there, you can't imagine what a failure it feels like to not get that second line at the end of 28 days (or more) of doing everything you possibly can to get it. At this point, my months now consist of 4 to 5 visits to an RE that is 45 minutes away from me to get blood drawn and an ultrasound. If you're picturing the cute little ultrasound that goes on a belly with some gel - let me tell you: that's unfortunately not the kind of ultrasound I am talking about. This ultrasound is a little more on the internal side.
Speaking of uncomfortable things - at this point I am also scheduled to go for a test that makes those ultrasounds and blood draws seem like a day at the beach: the hysterosalpingogram (or HSG, or as I like to refer to it: that test that can go straight to hell). Lucky for me, it shows that there is no blockage in my fallopian tubes, which if you recall from sex ed, are kind of important to the getting pregnant process.
Lucky. Let me say this word again: lucky. I know I am doing a lot of complaining (I'm really good at that - ask my husband), but in the scheme of things, we are already extremely lucky. I have no major issues, I ovulate, and I have regular cycles. So many women at this point in the process are finding out that they have a much bigger mountain to climb. I will talk more about these couples later, but suffice it to say that my story is just one experience, and I recognize that there are many who have it much worse than me. (I'm probably still going to complain though, okay?)
So after my HSG, we try for another cycle, and that's when shit really starts to get real.