04/10/2015

The Rocky Road to Pregnancy

It took me a little while to decide whether or not I wanted to publish the thoughts I shared in this post, but after more than a few emails, Facebook messages, and blog comments from readers, I decided it was information that shouldn’t be kept to myself. It is a little personal at times and it has to do with both pre-pregnancy and pregnancy, so if you prefer to not read these kind of ‘honest’ posts, feel free to skip today and I will see you Monday!

Just a little disclaimer though that I am absolutely in no way a doctor. I am simply sharing my journey to let others out there struggling know they aren’t alone, to maybe provide a little advice to women wanting to conceive in the future, and to even perhaps provide another fertility option to those who have tried nearly everything else. 

Also, I share numbers in this post as well because I think it helps put a little more light on what my body was going through behind the scenes. If you are someone who is uncomfortable with numbers, this may not be the best post for you!

Here on the blog, I have lightly touched on the fact that I had to wait a little while to get pregnant. My cycles were long and abnormal, my hormones were imbalanced, and after trying for months and even years with no success, it really did get a bit stressful at times. Yes, I am only 26 years old and I realize that it takes many women years and years and years to get pregnant, so please don’t think I am saying ‘poor me’ in any way. I think, however, that anytime a woman is trying to get pregnant and can’t seem to at that moment, it can leave her feeling more than a little nervous about whether her body is capable or not of getting pregnant.

Rocky Road to PregnancyMany women who are on birth control don’t realize how the artificial hormones in the drugs can mess with the natural balance. I have always had crazy cycles so I was put on birth control at 15 years old, whether I needed it or not. Unfortunately, this only masked the real issue of what was going on with my young body. Fast forward about seven years to when I stopped taking the pill and my cycle didn’t return on its own for over a year. I had read about other bloggers having Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA) (for a detailed explanation of what HA is, feel free to swing by my friend Ashley’s blog who has dealt with HA in the past and now has a sweet 2 year old and another on the way!), and I started to feel like maybe I had it too due to over exercising and under eating.

Rocky Road to Pregnancy - FitnessEven though what I was doing seemed healthy, it may not have been the healthiest for me so I decided to decrease exercise while upping my calorie intake. In doing so, I gained about 10 pounds taking me from 115 pounds on my wedding day to roughly 125 (I am only 5′ 3″), which was honestly tough both mentally and physically for a young, active, healthy eater who yes, is also human and cares about her appearance.

Rocky Road to Pregnancy - Wedding DayUnfortunately though for me, it was not as easy as just gaining weight and cutting my exercise. My cycles still did not return even after the weight gain like it had for a lot of other girls, so my doctor thought it was best for me to take Provera to jump start my body again, as he was worried that the longer I went without a cycle the harder it would be for me to eventually get pregnant.

In a few months the medicine did work and my cycle did return, but it was extremely unpredictable – 6 months here, 3 months here, 4 months here, 2 months there… I lacked any sort of regulation at all. Because of this, I feared it would be difficult for someone like me to get pregnant. This real fear even pushed up our time frame for wanting kids a bit. We decided together that we wouldn’t think about it and keep on enjoying the newlywed life and if something happened on its own then great, but if not, we would still be young and know there is an issue that would have us looking towards the next step.

Rocky Road to Pregnancy - Jana and TimAfter a couple years of nothing though, I started to take the whole situation more seriously. I attempted taking my temperature, but because my cycles were so irregular, my temps went up-and-down-up-and-down with absolutely no pattern. I took ovulation indicator tests for entire 40+ day cycles and never once got a positive. After about 6 months of truly trying, I started to feel a little panicky.  Since there was no prevention with no pregnancy for roughly 2 1/2 years, my doctor thought Clomid would be a good decision for us. I filled the prescription and put it in the medicine cabinet just in case. We decided to give it another 4-6 months and if nothing had happened by then, I would take the medicine.

Rocky Road to Pregnancy - Jana and TimAround this time I realized that it wasn’t just the pregnancy I wanted, but I also wanted to feel better too. I was always a little more tired than I should have been, had a hard time concentrating and just overall lacked energy for someone in her mid-20’s. I had heard of a local office called The Happy Hormone Cottage, which specializes in helping pre-menopausal women, but I also heard they work with women in their 20’s with hormonal imbalance. I prayed about it all for awhile, and after feeling a go-ahead sign in my heart, I finally decided it was worth a try.

I went in for my free consultation and then decided to move forward with the hormone testing (which cost around $350). When I sat back down with the in-office Nurse Practitioner later that month (cost around $100), I was pretty shocked by my results. Here are a few examples of my results vs. the normal range:

  • Cortisol A 7.4 (normal 10.8-39.3)
  • Cortisol D 3.9 (normal 6.8-20.8)
  • Cortisone C 25.5 (normal 46.5-135.5)
  • DHEAS 27.0 (low end of range –> normal 23-252)
  • Testosterone 1.5 (normal 5.5-17.8) <– This one was a doozy! My body barely creates any testosterone at all, which can affect the balance of other hormones.
  • I was also either Below or at the Low End of all of my Estrogen metabolites

Basically all of the abnormal hormone levels were causing my body to feel out of whack, and yes, I believe also affected my cycles. The NP prescribed me medications to try and regulate my irregular hormones. The medications (which cost in total around $450 for the first three months) included:

  • Pre-Natal Vitamin (which I was already taking)
  • DHEA (once a day)
  • Vitamin D (once a day)
  • Fish Oil (once a day)
  • Adrenal Fatigue medication (3 a day)
  • Progesterone (once a day)

Here was the result from the medication:

  • The first month I didn’t feel much different, but my cycle was 32 days so I was pretty excited!
  • The second month I was starting to have more energy and my cycle was 30 days! I couldn’t have been more hopeful.
  • Then the third month came and my cycle never ended… 40 days came and still nothing. I felt pretty down in the dumps at this point because I thought I was on the right path and now my body was back to its old ways again… Or was it?

I had taken a lot of pregnancy tests during the last few years (that tends to happen when you have long cycles), but at the six week mark I decided to quiet my fears and just take the test to rule everything out. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that second line, I was pregnant!

Jana and Tim Baby AnnouncementOnly three months after starting these medication and my body responded amazingly. It still feels hard to believe, and I know it sounds too good to be true, but I really do think going the natural medication route helped me so much. Would I have gotten pregnant without it? I honestly have no idea, but what I do know is that taking a risk and trying something a little out of the ordinary worked for me and my little family. Would it work for you as well? Again, I can’t answer that question, but of course I am hopeful that it would. I wanted to share my story in case you feel at the end of the road and perhaps a more natural route may be able to help you as well. The shop I used is local, but they might do long distance counseling as well, or there may be a similar shop near you that you could look into.

Again, I am no expert, but if you have any questions for me feel free to leave them in the comments section below or shoot me an email at newlywifehealthylife@gmail.com . I will do my best to respond both as quickly and honestly as I can! My hope is that I’ve been given my tough moments so I can help support others on their own rocky road too.

Comments

  1. I have a similar story but it has to do with the very negative effects of eating healthy and organic my whole life and how a holistic MD helped regulate a very damaged system. I was doing everything healthy in moderation. Healthy is very overrated and very unhealthy taken to an extreme. Important for pregnancy, nursing new mommy and life in general. Also for your awesome husband. I have an awesome beyond words husband and it affects them too. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss further. I come from a family and marriage just like you. Can so easily relate to your beautiful heart, soul and deep loving marriage. Congratulations to you. Psych a loving couple deserves to raise and nurture a baby.

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much! I know so many of us have similar stories, and I agree, your health really can make such a difference in so many areas of your life. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m so happy that you will get to become a mom in just a few months!
    Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy recently posted…A Healthy Living SurveyMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you Emily! I am so happy too, it still doesn’t feel real! I am hoping the 20 week anatomy scan will once again remind me that there really truly is a baby in there! 😉

      • It’s so surreal, isn’t it? Even after seeing the ultrasound and feeling her kicks, it still doesn’t feel real to me! I don’t know that it will until she’s in my arms!

        • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

          Oh my goodness I know! Even with a growing belly and obvious pregnancy symptoms, it still is hard to believe I am going to be a mom. I have heard that a lot of women feel this way, so at least we aren’t alone! I agree, it may not be until I am actually holding my baby that I can comprehend that this is all really happening. 🙂

  3. Fiona says:

    This is an amazing story and it’s YOUR story. I know it can be a tough crowd out there with mom’s to be, but the most important thing is that you did what you needed to do and it worked. It’s such a hard struggle we women go through when for so long we work on regulating and controlling our cycle and then when we do want it to work it doesnt 🙁 Good for you for looking at all options and keeping that hope ! 🙂

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you!! Such a sweet comment 🙂 I agree, we each have to do the best we can and what works for our bodies and what may work for one won’t work for another. All we can really do is just be supportive and encouraging to others while ‘keeping that hope’ like you said!

  4. Jessica says:

    I have to be honest… this post made me cry (out of relief). My husband and I have been trying for 6 months. It’s easy to read pregnancy announcements and get jealous, especially when you don’t know the back story. This post gave me hope.

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Jessica, I have been there and I get it! I know how hard it can be to watch pregnancy announcements and feel like everyone around you is having a baby left and right. Please know that you aren’t alone and that there are so many women out there who can relate to your feelings. Thinking of you, and if you ever need encouragement, feel free to reach out 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing! And I’m SO EXCITED for both of you!!! What a blessing!

  6. Congrats!! I had a very similar experience on my journey to get pregnant, and now have a healthy 1.5 year old little girl!

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Aww Lindsey I absolutely love to hear that! So happy you have a sweet little girl to show for all your struggles. These precious babies are certainly worth the wait! 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you shared your story! I’m positive it is helping other women out that there are struggling with TTC. Amazing story! Love you, Girl!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted…Friday Favorites: 04/10/15My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thanks so much Ash! You are the queen of sharing amazing personal posts while helping so many women in the process 🙂 I figure if I can help even one person then it is all worth it!

  8. I think it completely helped going the natural route!!! My dad is a chiropractor and prescribe those types of supplements to women trying to get pregnant all the time 🙂
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted…Puma Ignite – Comfort Meets CasualMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Ahh that is awesome to hear! I really do think your body can get so out of whack hormonally that sometimes all you need are some good vitamins and nutrients to get regulated again. 🙂

  9. I am so thankful I didn’t have those problems, but I am SO happy you shared your story. This will definitely help others and I may pass it on to my friend who has been having issues with getting pregnant. I am very very excited for you guys and can’t wait to follow along the journey.
    Heather @fitncookies recently posted…Pregnancy Questionnaire #2My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you Heather! I am very glad you didn’t experience any of these kinds of issues either. It is just so amazing how the paths to pregnancy really does vary from woman to woman. No two pregnancies are the same, and no to ‘roads to pregnancy’ are the same. 🙂

      Looking forward to following along on your pregnancy journey too!

  10. So glad to see you happy, healthy, and pregnant!!!! I went through so much with infertility and ended up needing to do IVF…but it worked!! The first time!! It an be a long, hard, seemingly hopeless journey, but is all worth it in the end!!! <3
    Kim recently posted…Pretty Fit Box!My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you Kim! I am incredibly happy for you as well! There are so many miracles that can come from modern day science, and taking advantage of those resources can be so worth it! Every woman’s story to pregnancy is unique and special 🙂

  11. Your story sounds so similar to mine just add about 7 years to your age and three miscarriages… So glad you found a hormone doctor to do those tests and treat you naturally! I too had some of those low numbers as well as an under active thyroid, immune dysfunction and was most recently diagnosed with MTHFR gene mutation. I’m currently working with a natural hormone doctor who specializes in gene mutations so am hoping for the best. I have to admit though I’m a little jealous of how much you paid. It’s SOOOO much more expensive here for natural care! Well worth it though 🙂 Best of luck to you and huge congratulations!

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much for sharing some of your story! It is amazing how imbalances in your body can truly throw everything off so much, and one imbalance leads to another and another. I am crossing my fingers that the natural route works for you as well! I agree with you on the cost though, $1,000 in the grand scheme of things is so incredibly lucky. I definitely feel blessed, especially knowing how costly fertility procedures can be.

  12. I”m so thankful to you for opening up and sharing your struggles. I have a history of an eating disorder and am currently nearing the end of my weight gaining. I’ve yet to see a period, but am hopeful. I’m grateful to know that if it doesn’t return normally, tha there are other, natural, options out there. Thank you and a big congrats, again!
    Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely recently posted…Friday Favorites {4/10/15} Rested and RefreshedMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Sarah, my heart breaks for you, but I hope my story did provide you with some encouragement. Every path to pregnancy is different and unique for each woman, there is definitely no one-size-fits-all in this whole process. I am praying that you will be led in the right direction and that you will feel a calm and peace throughout your pregnancy journey! 🙂

  13. april says:

    Hello! I sent you an email about TTC but I’m not sure if it went to spam! I read about your fertility journey and it gave me hope! I read about the supplements you were taking- what were the herbs in the adrenal support pills? was it these pills? http://qualityshop24-7.com/host/shophhc/product-info.php?pid392.html Also, was the progesterone you were taking a cream?

    I have HA and am trying to conceive. I’ve starting eating more and exercising less and have gained 10 pounds putting my BMI at 23.6 but my estrogen level is still low and no period yet. I’m so frustrated! I’ve been curious about supplements like Vitex or progesterone so I’d love some input!

    I’m also trying to control my stress but my mom just got diagnosed with terminal cancer so it’s been rough. I’m keeping my faith though and trying to give over my worries to God, but it’s hard!

    Thank you!

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