It’s been three months and 20 days since I decided it was time for a THIRD opinion on our infertility. That’s right, I said third! When I was in my mid 20’s, I began struggling with heavy periods, excruciating period pain, and mild discomfort throughout my cycle and occasionally during sex. I thought, “Maybe I’m just weak or have a low pain tolerance” and “Everyone probably bleeds through their clothes occasionally.” But after trying to conceive for six months, I went in for my annual GYNO appointment and asked why I hadn’t become pregnant yet.
My doctor pretty much just blew me off saying, “You’re only 26. There’s nothing to worry about. Come back if you still aren’t pregnant in a year.” This was frustrating, but we’re trained to trust and believe what the doctor says, so I didn’t question it and kept trying.
Well, when that year was up, and my pain was rapidly getting worse, I decided to see a different OB/GYN. Maybe I would actually get some help if I went to someone different. I really liked my new doctor at first. She seemed eager to diagnose me and help us start a family. She initially thought I had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), but wanted to do some more testing. After what seemed like endless blood tests and exams, I went in for one more procedure called a hysteroscopy. During a hysteroscopy, the doctor inserts a small tube into the vagina and through the cervix so that they can exam the uterine cavity and potentially biopsy part of it.
This procedure did not go well! I wasn’t put under anesthesia and due to long wait times because of the doctor overbooking herself, my pain medicine had started to wear off by the time we began. To make a long story short, the doctor could not get through my cervix and was being very rough, trying to force her way in. The pain was excruciating and I almost passed out, so they had to stop the procedure. She chalked it up to me having a rare condition called cervical stenosis, in which the cervix is clamped shut and therefor, nothing can get through (including sperm which is key for conception).
After this, I took some time off from my doctors appointments. I was a little scarred from the procedure, and also had lost trust in my doctor. I did not want to go back to her, so with some encouragement from a friend at work, I scheduled an appointment with an actual fertility clinic called Shady Grove Fertility for my third opinion. Meeting with SGF was the best decision we have made. They have been so kind, supportive and understanding through this difficult time.
My doctor “diagnosed” me with endometriosis and although the only way to truly diagnose endometriosis is through a small surgery to remove and test tissues, he is fairly positive that is what I have. He said that he did not want to put me through an unnecessary surgery, just for the diagnosis, and I respected that so much.
We are now on month three of our SGF journey and underwent our second IUI (intrauterine insemination) this morning. We are hopeful that parenthood is in our near future, but for my sanity I am trying to also stay realistic in my expectations. My number one take-away for anyone going through early stages of infertility is to get second or third opinions. Find a doctor who will listen and help to find a solution. You know your body better than anyone else, so speak up if you suspect a problem!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post on the entire IUI process.