Secondary Infertility – My Two Year Update

pilates

It was a year ago I bared my soul in this post about secondary infertility.

We had been trying to get pregnant with our second baby for a year.

I didn’t know what the journey had in store for us, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t think I’d be here again, a year later, talking about our continued path towards getting pregnant.

I obviously don’t have the magic bullet or miracle pill to give you all.

I didn’t necessarily have plans to give you an “update” on this part of my life, as I don’t have anything tangible to share.

Then we went to a four year old birthday party this weekend.

The mom and I are friends, as are our husbands and daughters, and she is pregnant with their third baby. We had a few minutes alone at one point and she looked right at me and said, “I hope this is all ok for you. I know you’ve been trying and I’m sure it’s not easy to see someone pregnant.”

I’m so thankful to her for saying that.

First, it was important to me that she know it’s definitely ok with me! I love supporting my friends and having them pregnant only gives me more hope and joy, so it is more than ok when I can rub their pregnant bellies.

It was also so nice to have someone just blatantly bring it up without worrying about being politically correct or tip-toeing around the issue.

To have someone just say, “How are you doing with all of this?”

We had a great and honest conversation about where we are as a family with things and what our plans are going forward. I felt refreshed after we chatted, and thought maybe someone else out there could use a “refresher” as well.

Pilates Happy Hour Hope

I remembered the wonderful emails and words I received from you all last year when I opened up about fertility, and it occurred to me maybe I could offer some kind of encouragement here for you.

I know without a doubt I have been put on this path for a reason, even though I didn’t necessarily ask for it and don’t know what that reason is. If sharing my story helps even one of you going through the same thing, then it’s served a purpose.

As I mentioned above, you can read details about the first year of our journey here, and you can learn about some of my health issues here and here.

In December of last year I hit a low point on this whole “trying to get pregnant” thing. It was right around Christmas, and I got my period.

When you are working on having a baby, that first day you get your period each month pretty much sucks. Even when you know it’s coming, it can feel like a punch in the gut for 24 hours.

So I got the gut punch and just kind of lost it. I cried on and off throughout the day (always by myself in the shower or car like a crazy person). I pulled out my dusty journal because writing usually makes things a little clearer for me, but I actually was just more annoyed at the whole thing after writing it out.

I got a little upset and resentful at the fact that I’d been working so hard and doing all the “right” things for so long, and I wasn’t getting the result I wanted.

secondary infertility

Two things happened that caused a lightbulb moment for me during those few days:
1) I texted one of my closest friends and finally said, “I’m really sad.” I don’t think I had actually verbalized that to tell you the truth. I always try to be so positive and upbeat, and I don’t like to put any negative thoughts into words. I don’t like to “bother” other people with my problems, and I try to always focus on the things I do have versus what I don’t.
I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and admitted to someone how I felt. She texted me back immediately, and continued to check on me throughout that day and the next. She offered support and positive words but, more than anything, I felt lighter by simply sharing my sadness with someone else. It brought me right out of my funk.
2) It hit me like a ton of bricks how hard I was TRYING. I was holding onto every possible solution with such a tight fist that there was no way anything could come out of it. I was desperate for control of the situation, and I was giving it all the good old college try. I figured if I just worked hard enough, I would get an A+ out of the whole thing.

So I stopped.

I stopped tracking my temperature. I stopped acupuncture and my herbs. I stopped using ovulation test strips. I stopped beating myself up if I had a cup of coffee.

I just put it all away.

I was at the point that none of it was giving me hope or joy. I love my acupuncturist, but every time I pulled into the parking lot I was reminded why I was there.

Because I wasn’t pregnant.

I decided to quiet everything else and turn the volume up on what gave me joy and made my soul happy.

Not what the books say I have to do, or the chat room people say worked for them.

Only what gave me peace and felt good in my gut.

For me, this includes:
Exercise
It’s no secret I love to move, and it never fails to give me stress relief and a sense of empowerment. I can go in feeling sorry for myself, and I come out feeling like a powerful badass. The one thing I changed was committing to finding a yoga class once a week. I went to an amazing class for years, and when we moved I never found a “home” studio I liked, so I just kind of let it go. Going to yoga once a week forces my brain to be quiet and focus. It stretches my hips in a way that really helps my endometriosis and it just makes me happy. I’ve found a studio and teacher I love again, which makes my workout routines complete.

yoga

Vitamins
Vitamins are part of my daily life as much as drinking water and eating. I take a daily multi-vitamin, Omega 3’s, CoQ 10 and Primrose Oil. This is simply what I know works well for me and keeps me healthy. You always want to check with a doctor before changing up your vitamins.

Massage
It hit me how AFRAID I’ve been the past two years. I have been fearful of doing anything that could possibly mess with my chances of getting pregnant. I never felt this way with our daughter, but after two years of trying for baby #2, I had backed myself into a corner of fear. Which means I wasn’t getting massage anymore because I was afraid of hitting the wrong trigger points or something weird like that. I know my body and I know I do best when I get a massage once a month. It keeps my lymph fluid moving and helps me detox. It makes my soul happy (see the theme here?). So for two months now I’ve gotten a massage and it’s been wonderful.

Bone broth/collagen powder
My reproductive acupuncturist first recommended I drink bone broth every day. This has to do with my body composition, endometriosis and “stagnant” nature. I experimented with different brands and have made my own a few times. I went away from it until recently when I went through a phase of intense muscle aches. After doing some research, I realized that bone broth and/or collagen powder might be really good for my body and auto-immune tendencies. I found a few brands I like and I now crave bone broth! That tells me my body needs it. I’m not doing it for pregnancy purposes, but because it just makes me feel better.

Matcha
You all know my deep love affair with coffee. I went from drinking at least one cup every day to drinking one or two cups a week last year. I did it because of my research on trying to get pregnant, but I actually quickly found that I felt better when not drinking coffee every day. I would happily pour it down my throat all the time if my body felt ok doing it, but I just don’t. Bummer. So I switched to black tea in the morning which I actually really enjoy. That left me needing something to handle the afternoon “slumps” that can happen with work, a toddler and life. Enter matcha. This is a new discovery to me and I LOVE it! I bought some matcha green tea powder and now make a small latte with almond milk, matcha and a splash of maple syrup every afternoon. It gives me energy and tastes delicious. Most importantly, I no longer feel resentful for giving up my coffee. I have a cup twice a week and adore it, and the rest of the time fill the void with tea.

matcha

Those are the physical things I’m currently focusing on to keep me healthy and happy. They work for me and are things I would be doing whether we were trying to get pregnant or not. They simply make me and my body feel good.

There is of course an entire mental component as well. Letting go of everything in January really helped me. We were going through a very stressful and exciting time of selling our business, so I put my energy on that and taking care of my family.

We had late nights, some much needed coffee dates, lots of wine and an amazing Hawaii trip to cap it all off.

It helped clear my mental space and let me focus on what is here and now in front of me. My husband, my daughter, this amazing Happy Hour Mama community, my friends and myself.

So where does that leave us now?

We are definitely still trying and I haven’t given up. In fact, I feel more sure than ever that our baby is on the way to us. When I can really silence the negative voices and stop Googling everything under the sun, I know intuitively that things will work out.

It’s just so hard to keep those voices quiet sometimes, isn’t it?

For those of you going through the conception journey, I would be remiss to not talk about the the issue of medical intervention.

I know many people in our shoes would have done IUI or IVF a long time ago. I totally get it and I applaud anyone who goes that route. You have to do what’s right for you and your family. Every body and every situation is different, and you have to have conversations with your partner, your doctor and yourself to see what is best.

We have had many diagnostic tests done, including blood work, various analyses and having my tubes checked.

We got an A+ in every category.

My eggs look great. My tubes look great. My hormones look great.

No one knows why we aren’t getting pregnant at this point.

Because there is no clear reason and because of the huge amount of stress I have had over the past year while running and selling my studios in Hawaii, my husband and I both felt we wanted to just keep trying on our own. It hasn’t felt like the right time to move forward with intervention, and I’m listening to that gut feel right now. We wanted to let ourselves get situated post-stress and just “be” for a while.

Laugh. Have fun. Play. Not think or worry or strategize.

We have a plan to take the next step if needed, and we will cross that bridge together if it comes.

I have actually just this month started acupuncture and herbs again. The difference is I am now doing it because I want to instead of feeling like I have to. I am not doing just to check one more thing off the list. I’m doing it because I missed it and it makes me feel better.

That happy soul thing again.

So that’s my story. I wish I could give you a clear route or plan. I have searched high and low for someone to tell me what to do. After two years, I’ve finally come full circle to realize I need to quiet all the other voices and simply listen to ME.

Listen to YOU. Do what makes your soul happy. Soul happiness leads to body happiness. No matter where this journey takes us, that can’t be a bad thing.

About Jessica

Jessica Valant, MSPT, PMA-CPT, is a mom, wife, business owner, licensed physical therapist and certified Pilates instructor. She has been practicing for over 15 years, and has a passion for spreading the joy in a Pilates lifestyle! She teaches online workouts and workshops for students and professionals in the Pilates and PT industries.

5 comments on “Secondary Infertility – My Two Year Update

  1. Good on you for sharing, and so pleased you have found some things that make you feel good, whether or not they lead to pregnancy. It seems that infertility can be such a quiet, lonely, long road, particularly secondary infertility where the rest of the world may have no idea what you are going through. Thanks for letting us in to some of the thoughts that can go on behind the scenes of a family wanting so much to welcome another baby into their lives. All the best for your ongoing journey.

  2. Pingback: IVF Series - How I Decided To Start IVF - Jessica Valant Pilates

Share Your Thoughts!