I haven’t posted anything here in such a long time but right now, I’m feeling compelled to.
I’m currently off work shielding again as I was earlier this year as I am CEV (clinically extremely vulnerable). I didn’t want to as I found that last time I had to shield, I felt like I had forgotten everything I have learned and had to start from fresh. I felt like a newbie again and had to re-establish work relationships. However, I understand that home is the safest place f or me at the moment.
One of the big downsides of being at home is the viscous cycles I find myself in, staying up until 2am then sleeping until lunch time the next day and feeling lethargic. My thinking mind has also been going into overdrive. I sit for hours and hours googling things on my phone, looking for answers.
It wasn’t until around a month ago, I noticed that one of my ‘habits’ is actually a disorder which happens alongside OCD. It is a skin picking disorder called Dermatillomania. Basically, I’ve always picked my scalp to the point of having scabs on it over the years but my hair has always covered them and I never thought anything of it. It is not until recently that I have started to pick the front of my hairline to the point of having red, scabby circles round the top of my forehead. It happens when I am concentrating, bored or very anxious mainly. It’s an urge that takes over me and I can’t stop myself from doing it. Once the areas have scabbed up, then I find myself picking them over and over again.
Recently this has been worse because I find myself constantly anxious and frustrated.
All I want is to be a mother but this is proving challenging for me.
Until a few months back, my periods had stopped for no known reason. I went 6 months in total without one. I went for a pelvic scan and they noticed that the lining was thickened and uneven. I couldn’t help but google what this might be and the answers were pretty scary. I was thinking the worst at this point, having a baby seemed so far away and unattainable.
By the time I went back to the gynae doctor for a review, I had come on my period. He told me the lining of my womb was thickened due to not having a period for so long. He said that I should never be left longer than 4 months between bleeds before intervention. When I queried the intervention, he mentioned a medication that can be taken to induce a period otherwise there is a risk of abnormal cells forming in the uterus, which can lead to cancer. I explained that I had voiced my concerns to my GP previously and was told they won’t intervene until it has been over 18 months without a period. I felt so frustrated that no one had listened to me in the past.
The gynae doctor was fantastic and put a plan in place, making conception seem more achievable.
He sent Kieran and I for fertility tests. The test was a bit unpleasant for me. I had to have a catheter inserting into my cervix and then dye flushed through this and into my womb and fallopian tubes, to check for any blockages whilst an X-ray is carried out. I felt an intense, sharp period type pain for a matter of seconds when the dye was injected but then it was over. I expected to be told some results on the day but I am still awaiting those.
Kieran’s test was obviously a lot more pleasant to say the least. He found out his result 10 days later and it turns out he has some sort of super sperm. Knowing this should have given me more hope but it made me feel like there must be something wrong with my fertility. I’ve been off contraception for around 7 years now. If he’s got super sperm then why have I not conceived yet since we have been together?
In the following months after this, my periods have been regular again. I believe it is down to taking a pre conception vitamin that helps to regulate cycles and aid fertility.
The whole process of conception still remains difficult for me mentally and physically. People always say that I will get pregnant when I least expect it, or to just relax and let it happen on it’s own. But it is more complicated for me, any of you whom have read my previous blog posts will know that I have vaginismus so sex is sometimes very uncomfortable. It has improved a lot recently and I have been able to enjoy sex more. However, I seem to have a very low libido. I’m starting to wonder if it is caused by the antidepressants that I take.
Because of these things, conception has had to become more scientific. I use ovulation strips, both of us now take pre-conception vitamins and I have bought Pre-Seed which is lubricant that can help conception happen. I usually know when I am ovulating now as it seems to be the part of my cycle where I actually have a sex drive.
Each time I ovulate, we have sex regularly in the hope of conceiving. The two weeks that follow that are awful though. I can’t stop obsessing about whether I will be pregnant. At first I am excited and optimistic but then as PMS symptoms creep in, I get more down and depressed. I end up spending a fortune on pregnancy tests which are always negative. I’ve seen so many negative tests that I have begun to tell myself that I will never get a positive one. There’s a big disappointment each time the tests are negative.
My periods have been regular for the past few months, I’d bleed exactly 14 days after ovulation, just as my period tracker app predicted. Although it meant I wasn’t pregnant, I was glad that it was on time and meant we didn’t have to wait longer before I would ovulate again.
But this time round was a little different. It has been confusing and frustrating as hell. I believe I ovulated earlier in the month and we tried everything we could to give ourselves the best chance. Around 11 days after the predicted date, I took a pregnancy test. For the first time, there was a proper faint positive. I thought I had one in the past but I think that was actually an evaporation line or something. But this time, the line had colour and it was the first time Kieran could see it. I couldn’t help but get my hopes up.
I waited a few more days to take another test, hoping that the test would be darker and stronger but there was nothing there. I couldn’t stop obsessing about why this may have happened. I had some glimmers of hope left. Maybe the hormone just isn’t strong enough yet.
Well, it’s now about a week later and the tests are still negative. I’ve had lots more discharge than normal and not many PMS symptoms at all. I also had repeated dreams about getting a positive test. I’ve also had a lot of pulling, sharp pains in my right ovary and now a dull, heaving pain in my uterus. So I could have sworn it had happened this time round and that our luck has come.
Instead, I did another ovulation test just to check and it came back positive. How is this happening?! I should be on my period right now, not ovulating. This lead to feelings of anger and self pity as we hadn’t been trying since ovulation. My sex drive has been low due to the constant obsessing. What if I’ve now missed my chance? I felt angry at my body too, I feel like it has tricked me. I spent two weeks thinking I had ovulated and analysing every possible pregnancy symptom to find out maybe I never ovulated after all.
I just want this to be simple and easy but I know it isn’t. It’s just hard when I hear of people getting pregnant so quickly and easily. Why can’t that happen for me? It seems like some people don’t even have to think about it and it has happened.
As you may know, I work with babies. This brings me a lot of joy but I look at the parents with their babies, the bond they have and the love between them and I so desperately want that for myself. I want to experience pregnancy and birth, as uncomfortable as that may be. I just want to experience that moment of pure joy when my baby is handed to me.
There has been times that people have said “Do you not want children?” because I haven’t got any yet and that hurt. If only they knew.
Also, I’m very open with my family regarding when I am going to do a pregnancy test etc. but I often get a sense that they too don’t believe it’ll ever happen for me either. I could be making this up and they always say it will but it’s just a hunch I have.
I’m currently waiting for my next gynae appointment in December, where I will get the results of my tests. They have spoke with me about treatment options already. They said I can take some medication for 3 months that will help me to ovulate for 6 months and if I don’t get pregnant in that time then I will be referred for IVF. I have been ovulating for the past few months though so I don’t know exactly where to go from here.
I’m grateful that these options are there but it would be nice to not have to wait that long and for me to be able to conceive naturally without medical intervention.
So for now, I’m just awaiting my period then it’s on to the next month.
I plan to keep diary on here regarding conception, with any new updates or feelings that crop up.
If anyone has been through this and can give me any tips on how to increase my sex drive, how to increase chances of conception and how to stay calm and not obsess within the two week wait after ovulation then this would be greatly appreciated.