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Overcoming Infertility Takes Two.

March 18, 2016

Infertilty takes two.

 

It's not about "he has male factor" or she has "endometriosis." Instead, I believe we need to look at our infertility challenges as an imbalance between the couple as a whole.

 

Let me explain.

 

After getting married in 2012, Shayne and I quickly decided that we would no longer prevent pregnancy, but instead would just let it happen when it happened. At the time, he was 36 and I was 27. We thought it'd be easy, but unfortunately for us, it wasn't. We both knew from the get-go that conceiving naturally {with minimal medical interventions} was our path. We were happy to take one, logical step at a time, knowing that this would be our best chance of healthy conception and a thriving baby. While this approach probably lengthened our journey significantly, I believe it is what has made us successful (yes....I said successful!)

 

What did we do? EVERYTHING. Or at least it felt that way. 

 

For two and a half years, we had done everything we could to prepare our bodies to conceive naturally.  Shayne had gone through multiple semen analysis tests, he had two surgeries to correct a varicocele (one that didn't work and another that sort of worked), he willingly tried the underwear, Snowballs (crazy name, right?!), and he started acupunture with our friend Kate at Indiana Reproductive Acupuncture. As he was doing that, I was having multiple blood tests done to check hormone levels, my thyroid, insulin sensitivity and more. I had a HSG done to ensure my tubes weren't blocked and the shape of my uterus looked okay. I went out to California to see my friend Marie from Art and Science of Balance, to learn more about Restorative Exercise and to have the Mercier Therapy protocol done on me. In addition, I read countless books about infertility, I prayed, we meditated, and we both worked on cleaning up our diet ... even more.

 

Most importantly, we never gave up hope.

 

We both felt like we did everything we possibly could do, naturally, and it still wasn't working. It was hard. It felt a little bit like we were failing - ourselves, each other, and everyone else. But what was even harder, was our next decision. The decision to seek out help from a reproductive endocrinologist at Midwest Fertility Specialists.

 

I was so hesitant to start down the journey of assisted reproductive therapy (ART) because I had seen the emotional impact it took on many of my friends, and on the couples I was working with during the Shared Journey Fertility Program.

 

I was scared, but we went anyway. I decided that knowledge is power, and that going to the consultation didn't mean we had to move forward with any ART procedures if we didn't feel comfortable.

 

So, off we went...

 

In October we met with Dr. Bopp at MWFS, and decided that at the end of January we would try our first IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). During a typical IUI cycle, the woman is stimulated on medication (synthetic hormones) to control her cycle and assist her in producing more eggs, which will give her a greater chance at conceiving. After being monitored via ultrasounds to check follicle growth and confirm that she has healthy eggs, she also injects herself with a HcG shot to trigger ovulation. Then, the "cleaned" sperm sample (from husband or sperm donor) is injected into her uterus.

 

Another option that many couples don't know about is their ability to try a natural IUI cycle.

 

Natural IUI cycles are MUCH less expensive ($525 compared to $2,600 for a typical cycle), they do not require medication to stimulate the production of eggs, nor does the woman have to do a HcG shot to trigger ovulation. Instead, she just needs to watch for her natural signs of fertility (BBT charting, cervical mucus quality, etc) and use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) to confirm ovulation. When she gets the positive OPK, she is to call the fertility clinic and schedule the procedure for the next day.

 

Since our biggest feat seemed to be male factor and everything was checking out okay with me, we thought trying a natural IUI first made the most sense. Plus, we had done everything we could to best prepare our bodies for the procedure prior to going in.

 

We felt really good about our decision.

 

During our Christmas trip to Puerto Rico with Shayne's family, his mom and I were laying out by the pool and must have been having a conversation about doing the IUI at the end of January. When we both realized that I was going to be ovulating the week after vacation (the week in between Christmas and New Years), she suggested to me that we do the IUI when we got home the following week. I hadn't even thought about it, but it made total sense! Shayne and I both didn't have to work due to the holidays, and since we were also supposed to be moving at the end of January, it made perfect sense to do it in December.

 

I was really excited. Shayne was totally on board. I called the fertility clinic from Puerto Rico and let them know what we were thinking. They were ready for us!

 

I got the positive OPK on December 30th. We did the natural IUI on December 31st. 

 

New Years Eve was spent with some of our best friends at their home, and our theme of the night quickly became "the best is yet to come!"

 

Indeed the best was yet to come.

 

On January 12th, after much anticipation, we took a pregnancy test and IT. WAS .POSITIVE! We were shocked and nervous, but so unbelieveably excited!

 

Today, I am 13 weeks and Baby Samples is set to make his/her arrival at the end of September.

 

 

As I look back on our journey through infertility, I feel blessed. Blessed that we listened to our intution, that we followed the path that best suited us and our belief in holistic health, and that we were open to sharing our challenges with so many of our family members and friends.

 

Infertility certainly takes two.

 

I never wanted Shayne to feel like even though he was "diagnosed" with male factor, that it was all his fault that we were not able to conceive. It was us...together. As a couple, we could not make this happen. Something between us was not working.

 

So my advice to you today is to combat fertility as a team.

 

Infertility takes two people who love and care about each other. Two people who are willing to work together throughout the journey to improve their overall health and wellbeing. That might mean surgery, that might mean changing your diet, that might mean taking supplements, or maybe changing up your exercise regimen...it's different for everyone.

 

Choose to tango together. :)

 

 

With lots of love,

Joelle (and Shayne)

 

 

PS. Thank you to all of our friends, family, and yinRoot followers, for your continued support and prayers during our journey. We cannot thank you enough for your love and for your commitment to walking this journey with us. We love you!

 

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Are you struggling with infertility? I'd love to hear about your journey. Please feel free to comment below. We'd also love to have you join us in the HUSH support group on Facebook! Sending lots of love, light and baby dust your way. XO!

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