Jan 18, 2008


I hit a new low. The weight gain had been bad enough with every month five pounds heavier it seemed, and no matter what crash diet I chose for any given month there was little hold on the gain. Now I was infertile, the very opposite of what a woman should be. I felt like I had tricked my husband; he had found himself a cute, young wife, and the minute he married her she ballooned up and crushed his dreams of offspring. I stepped cautiously in our marriage, waiting for him to announce that he was leaving me for someone good enough for him. Every day I felt more and more of a burden on my shoulders until I finally got up the courage to talk to him about it. As I expressed my fears, he stared incredulously at me, he had no idea I was feeling that way. He crushed me close to him and told me he loved me, that he married me for ME, not for future children. I hold those words in my heart still, so much relief they did bring me.

It didn’t ease up my yoke much though, instead, I felt anew how wonderful he was, and what a failure I was. I was determined to give him children.

I grew up under the natural wing of a hippie-turned-conservative midwife. Doctor visits were rare in our house, hospitals were non-existent. I was born at our home in Georgia where we lived for two years before moving to Ohio and staying here. The only time I can remember in all my childhood of going to the doctor was when both my mother and I had the flu. I was furious at the end of the 2-hour waiting room stay and the 10-minute actual face time with the doctor only to learn that we had a “bug”, and there was nothing he could do. I was ten years old and miserable, and from that moment on shared my mother’s disdain for the medical field. I got to see a lot of things most children didn’t, being home schooled. I was the only child I knew who had witnessed the miracle of birth that wasn’t my own. Mom would take me to births if she couldn’t find a babysitter, and when her mamas came to our house for a prenatal she would let me sit quietly in the room watching her press lovingly into their swollen bellies. I got to hear their excitement at having a home birth for the first time, and my favorite part was when Mom would draw with a magic marker their baby in a head-down position on their bellies. If the mama was tolerant enough, sometimes I even got to feel the baby kick. What thrills for my young hands!

My homeopathic preferences and medical contempt followed me into adulthood. I found it the pinnacle of irony to marry a pharmaceutical rep, who, by the way, did not share in my disregard of medical doctors. Ty was agreeable about a home birth, as well as home schooling our future children, but I never could get him to take a homeopathic without rolling his eyes and giving me a ten-minute digression on why drugs are better. Consequently, when I was diagnosed with PCOS and given the option of taking Metformin to control it and possibly aid in conception, we had an argument. I knew that there had to be a better way. If I started taking Metformin, I argued, I would be on it for the rest of my life. I needed to change my diet and take different vitamins to make myself healthy. He gave up, and I followed my mother’s suggestion to see a Naturopath. The initial consultation cost about $150 in services and vitamins which I went home to take. I had a follow-up a month later – another lost cycle – to do a hair analysis to test for metal toxicities. That consultation left me in tears as my hands kept gravitating to the chunks of hair missing against my neck. It was a silly thing to cry over as it was all in the name of baby-making, but it was yet another piece to make me less of a woman. I had another supply of vitamins to fill up on; eighteen capsules of varying colors, sizes and tastes to take three times a day. Each month’s worth of vitamins cost about $200. The worst problem with preferring a natural route is the insurance company’s reluctance to agree with what is a medical necessity and what you are just doing for pleasure. Apparently $200 worth of vitamins falls under the “funsies” category.

I knew going in that the first month and cycle of vitamins would probably not be successful. It would take a while for the vitamins to balance the metals in my body and get my reproductive system to function normally. When the witch showed up at the end of that expensive cycle, I expected her. I started the next cycle with a determination close to desperation, anticipations high and expectations running along the two-pink-line kind. It wasn’t enough though, and another $200 and seven thousand attempts to manually choke myself on a handful of grass-tasting pills later and I was running back to the store for more tampons. This time I was frustrated. I was willing to give the vitamins one month to get settled in and adjusted. But the second month I expected results. We could not afford to do this month after month, and frankly, my self-esteem couldn’t handle one more conversation where I let my husband down. “Not pregnant!” Was the standard call from the bathroom following a Big Fat Negative (BFN) on a pregnancy test; AF showing up ten minutes later as if she was just waiting for me to waste a test.

With an attitude and a facial expression suited for eating crow, I called my GP and requested a prescription for Metformin.

Jan 17, 2008

Enter TTC

We entered our second year of marriage. Things had improved greatly with my new sense of responsibility, and there weren't very many arguments anymore. We decided we were ready to start a family! I had never been on birth control, and we had never prevented conception, so it was a little surprising to us that I had not gotten pregnant yet, especially since it WAS our honeymoon year *wink wink nudge nudge*. We made a doctor's appointment just to make sure that we were "ok". Routine blood work on me tested fine, and there was nothing obvious that was blocking our way. We were sent home with instructions and hints for baby-making. (Just when you think you know it all, right?)

I took TTC seriously. I was raised with an awareness of Natural Family Planning, but never bothered to understand it until now. I read up on it, and started keeping charts of my temperatures. It was a little exciting for me to learn how my body worked, and it was exciting for both us to think each time we BD'd that we may have just conceived our firstborn! The first month that AF arrived, I was a little disappointed, but not overly surprised. I hadn't quite gotten the hang of charting and temping yet, and probably was confused about when I actually ovulated. The next cycle was disappointing too. In fact, the next several cycles only brought the return of AF. I was starting to see a pattern with my charts – I was irregular. That in itself wasn't news to me; I'd always had some irregularity, ever since my very first an oh-so-exciting AF. But what I was noticing for the first time with my charts was that my ovulatory cycles were not clear. I was really only guessing on each cycle when I ovulated. Finally, I made another doctor’s appointment. I took my charts in to her, feeling a little proud that I had proof of what I was about to explain to her, and showed them to her. She looked them over, and said, "Well, Chelsea, it doesn't look like you are ovulating." !! I was not expecting that. What does that mean? I wondered. How can you get pg without ovulating? This revelation brought a whole new set of reproductive testing along with it. Deeper blood work, and an ultrasound to check out my ovaries. My GP suspected Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS), a common infertility issue among women. Several other problems that I had been complaining about helped to enlighten her to this suspician: rapid weight gain without a change in my diet (which had nothing to do with the Captain Morgan’s and Diet or the Pop Secret “Movie Theater Butter” popcorn my husband and I consumed nightly, of course), the irregular cycles that had plagued me my whole life, as well as some fairly undignified chin hair that once I discovered brought on a prompt display of tears.

The results came back normal, except for one piece of blood work showing that I had insulin resistant tendencies. Dr. assured me that the PCOS would show up later in life, and that I had every other symptom. Thus, I was diagnosed: The infertile woman.

Fellow TTC’ers, I do not need to explain to YOU the depths of despair my self-esteem plummeted to. What kind of woman was I? I owned a pair of ovaries, a perfectly good uterus, and was capable of love-making…did all that mean nothing? Was I going to be like Abraham’s Sarah, bitter and barren? I looked at Ty, this incredible man who was nearing the end of his 30s and had waited long enough for children and wondered, would he still love me if I could not give him children?

Jan 13, 2008

The Pre-TTC Years

Ah, wedded bliss! Is there anything better? Is there anything more satisfying, more comfortable, and more fun? (Wait, are we talking about chocolate again?) Actually, the first year of our marriage was a little rough. We were both still dealing with some leftover arguments from the dating days as well as our separate independence issues, and, as any longtime married couple will tell you, your days of independence are over. It wasn't as hard for me in my early 20s (ok, I was 20) as it was for my new husband in his late 30s. (Did I mention our union was somewhat scandalous?) I was barely out of my parents' house and into the real world when we married and I moved back in with a real "adult". For Ty, who had been a bachelor for 15+ years, it was a bit of a switch. Suddenly there was another person in his space, messing up his bedroom (I'm a reformed slob), and needing food. I wanted to be a good wife, but wasn't sure how at first.

My mother perfected being a housewife, so you would think I would have had a great role model. She raised 7 kids, even home schooling most of us. Our house was always clean due to her strict dictation, and meals were always at home, cooked with love by dear mom. But I wasn't interested in any of that, try as she did to teach me. I hated cooking, I hated cleaning, and I especially hated my Midnight curfew. I LOVED being an adult! I loved not being told what to do, where to be, and how to act! There was only one problem: I had married a rare form of man, one who regularly cooked his own meals, kept a clean house, and preferred to stay in at night. I distinctly remember an argument a few months after we married, one where I was receiving an honest frustration from a man talking to a grown child: He was doing all the work, I needed to step up. Ok, I accepted that. It hurt, but I could see his point. I was still in college, working towards a degree in Pyschology, but I didn't have a job, so there was plenty of time to work on being a better wife.

Enter church. Ty had for a few years been going to a relatively new church in the area. Later it would go on to become a megachurch, but for now it was just a regular, large church. We didn't go regularly by any stretch of the imagination, but we did manage to catch a crucial series. For three weeks, we were drawn in by our pastor's teachings on marriage. He made some excellent points that stick with me still.

  • Don't put each other down, even if you're teasing, and especially in public.
  • The man is the head of the household, and he'll be better at it with your support, wives.
  • The Bible says, Women, honor your husbands, Men, love your wives. Men don't need love from their wives, they need respect, obedience, and honor from their wives. Men's mental make-up thrives better on those three things than on love. They need their women to adore them, trust them, and to need them. They don't need romancing, they need respect. Women, on the flip side, aren't as caught up in that side of the ego. We need love, we need romance, we need to hear that they only think of us, and that they couldn't live without us. We don't care as much about their obedience or respect, we care that we're being worshiped and adored.
That last one really hit home with me. For a long time I rebelled against a lot of the teachings with the Bible. That's the first verse that I had long-time hated that finally made sense to me. As a Psychology major, it intrigued me, and rang true. I decided to give that a shot in our home. I let Ty call the shots, make the decisions, and praised him every chance I could find.

It made a huge difference! It made me more motivated to please him, and to pick up the slack that I was causing. I loved the changes it made in me, and I could tell he loved it too.

I hadn't come across this book at this point, but if you're at this point in your marriage, then I highly recommend it:

Created To Be His Help Meet, by Debi Pearl. Check out the Pearl's website!, they have tons of amazing resources for all areas in your life! Sign up for their free newsletter!

Stayed tuned (or, rather, log back on...) for blogs on the TTC years!