My Struggles With Infertility

My Struggles With Infertility | The Dreaded One Year Mark | COLA Test (NL) | Part 5/5

And here we are, with the last part of what I’m willing to share about our infertility journey at the moment. It’s been an intense ride and there is a real possibility that it’s going to get worse before it’s going to get better.

December 2018

The part of the journey I struggled with the most if that one-year mark. When we started trying, I told myself that I would be pregnant by that one-year mark. If the baby wasn’t in my arms or growing in my belly, I will have that egg in my womb waiting for life. I clung to this throughout all the hard days. I clung to it when I felt like the worst piece of shit ever because I just couldn’t give my husband what we both so desperately wanted. I clung to it when I felt like falling apart. I clung to it when my period started and I hated my body for not working like it should. I clung to this but as we got closer and closer to this day, the harder it became. Throughout the entire year, I told myself: “You only need to get through this for a bit longer. Once you hit that one-year mark, somehow everything is going to work out.” I feared that day. Infertility will become my reality once we hit that one-year mark. I couldn’t hit that mark. I couldn’t handle it. Saying I was a mess leading up to that mark was an understatement. On most days I could only manage to get out bed and move downstairs to stare off into space on the couch. That’s the only thing I could force myself to do. Fate was cruel because my period started around the area of my precious one-year mark. At that moment I realized that it’s going to get so much harder moving forward. I cried my heart out and just mourned. I mourned that a year went by and I wasn’t able to meet my babies. New Year’s came and left a bitter taste in my mouth. When reality hit that 2018 came and went without a single hint of pregnancy it broke my heart. It…I don’t think I can truly explain in words how I felt. I don’t feel that the words ‘it broke my heart’ is enough. What I felt was so much more than it.

January 2019

I walked into 2019 fully knowing it was going to be hard. I knew that I was going to feel pain I have yet to feel before. I knew things were going to be harder, more painful than the year before BUT I also knew that I would somehow make it through it. I told myself if I could get through 2018, I could get through everything. January started with a bang. The agony and constant pain I felt throughout the year that is 2018 just seemed to happily continue in the new year, slowly growing into something so powerful it could knock me down and who knows if I could get up again. My father had a really terrifying health scare. It was one of those where I prepared to pack my bags and fly down to see him. It was a bad one. January just kept giving though. It wasn’t done with us. I didn’t ovulate. We lost the first month and fuck did that sting. Originally, we had planned to use the OvuSense and try naturally by ourselves for six months before we return to the doctors but the no ovulation encouraged us to reach out and start the process a bit earlier. As our first experience with the two fertility doctors was anything to be desired, we wanted to start all over again. We wanted a fresh start. We went to our normal home doctor and he referred us to a new hospital which is known to have a great fertility ward and arranged to have Onno’s swimmers tested. Yes, we got to the one-year mark without ever having Onno’s sperm tested. That’s how bad our experience was with the doctors. His swimmers are really great by the way which was a relief and a source of pain all together as one. On the one hand, I was so incredibly happy that on his side everything was great. We didn’t have to worry about that at all but…it brought up some ugly emotions. It’s me. I’m the problem. We’re not pregnant because of me. We’re in so much pain because there is something wrong with me. It’s my fault.

February 2019

Our appointment with the new doctor was in the middle of the month, just after Valentine’s day. I have just got confirmation that I had ovulated on Valentine’s day and I felt so giddy. Everything has fallen into place. You hear so often that so many women fell pregnant just before they undergo treatment and I couldn’t help but hope I was one of them. Can you just imagine the stories? My precious baby conceived on the day of love. The appointment went really well. We expressed that we wanted to be taken seriously and action to be taken. Not only do we want to know what’s next, but we also want to know what’s after that. We want a hands-on approach and fucking treatment. My current feelings might have leaked out a bit there but well…let’s first, get through February. So, after a really good discussion, we walked away incredibly hopeful. We’re finally going to get the treatment we need and really start the process. It made the hope of becoming a mother feel more achievable. It just felt really good. The plan was to wait for my period to start and once my cycle starts, we will go in for the COLA test. The COLA test is one of the most extensive tests when it comes to this in the Netherlands. If there is something wrong that hindering us getting pregnant, this test will tell us everything we need to know. Although similar to each month, a piece of me shattered when my period started, but we felt hopeful. At least we finally had the support of the doctors. There is hope.

March 2019

I took the COLA test relatively early in March and then it was just the waiting game. Six weeks to be exact. The theme of 2018 and now 2019 continued with bad news after bad news. We got the news about my grandmother and I had to come to terms with the fact that I will never see her in this lifetime again. I had to accept that she is dying and that I wouldn’t be able to go down for her funeral. I love my grandmother so much and I’m forever grateful that I got to know her but fuck it hurts. I was also convinced I was pregnant. Although this is nothing new. At the start of this journey, I would read into every single symptom and get my hopes up, something I had to stop doing as we neared that one-year mark. It just felt different. I didn’t have any crazy symptoms; it was just something I felt deep inside of me. AND then the universe slapped me in the face and my period started. It stung so much more because the timing of it…it was cruel. Not even minutes before my period started, Onno and I had talked about it. How great it would be considering the paint job in the baby room is finally finished (the baby room is a blog for another day). In less than 24 hours we could test and hopefully, for the first time ever, get those two lines. On cloud nine, I jumped in the shower and saw my period had literally just started. It…it hurt so much. Why couldn’t I have gotten those 24 hours? Why did it have to start after I just poured my heart out? The cruel timing was gut-wrenching and I sobbed in my husband’s arms that night. We cried together until I finally managed to fall asleep. It hurts so much. I wouldn’t wish the pain onto anyone. A part of me still wishes that this is all a cruel nightmare and I will wake up soon. It’s not. It’s my reality. Infertility is my reality and it is slowly destroying me.

April 2019

It took me a few days to get up and face the new month head on and I placed all of my hope on the next appointment where we will discuss the COLA results. I had too. It was the only way I could move forward and…the appointment…it didn’t go so well. The hope that was the only thing keeping me together was ripped away and I can barely breathe. My body and heart feel so heavy and…I’m in so much pain. I’m not okay. I can barely see my screen through my tears. This appointment happened on the 15th of April so two days ago and it might be too soon to be talking about this. To add salt to the wound on the very same day of this…hell…my dad heard that he is losing his leg. And today…I realized that there is a real possibility that I won’t ovulate this month. It’s a lot. My heart is in so many pieces and I…words can’t explain it. I’m not really ready to talk about it. I still need to wrap my head around everything but I will get there. I’m strong. I’m really tired of being strong but what other choice do I have?

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So much has happened since the last update in middle April. Life has been pretty insane lately. As some of you might know, my father lost his one foot and well there were complications. I’m not really in the place to talk about it yet but I will do so when I’m ready. It’s healthy to talk about but it’s not something you should rush. I just want to say a big old thank you for each and every one of you that have been here since part 1. It’s been a crazy, vulnerable ride and most of the time I’m happy I shared this. I’m happy that I’m no longer hiding something so big in my life anymore. Infertility isn’t an easy thing to share but it’s something that needs to be talked about more. It’s more common than what you would think. No women should feel ashamed about her infertility. Some days I still am, it claws away at me and I feel like a failure but I will get there. I will get to the other side. I have to believe this. I can’t for one moment think that the day where I won’t hold my baby will never arrive. It will happen for us. I just need to stay positive. I need to stay strong.

Regarding more blog posts about my infertility journey. I mentioned this in the very first part but I will mention it again, the time between sharing anything related to my infertility will probably be a good 9 months (oh, the irony). You’re seeing this part in May and I have yet to finish the April dairy (not ready to talk about it), you will most likely see the next update around December where you will see the rest of the April dairy and so onwards. I will, however, have separate blogs every now and again if there is something I feel inspired or ready to share. I plan to review OvuSense somewhere in the next few months and if I’m able to put everything in words, I will talk about the baby room.

Thank you so much for all the love and support! Thank you for reading and I will see you in a click!

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My Struggles With Infertility

My Struggles With Infertility | A Rough Few Months Full Of Heartbreak And Disappointment | Part 4/5

Here we are with part 4. I’m fresh from part 2 and 3 and this is getting harder to write. A lot harder than what I thought it would be walking into it. It’s such a personal and vulnerable experience that it feels just…I don’t know how to describe it. I feel naked. I think I will take a moment and come back to write part 4 when I’m ready.

February was hard. Most of the month I just…you know what I just realized? I’m writing this on the 31st of January 2019, EXACTLY ONE YEAR AFTER I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PCOS! This just blew my mind. Here I am about to share what was going through my mind in February with the new diagnosis and it’s one year later. It feels like yesterday. These emotions are so fresh in my mind because I still feel them to this day. Oh boy, there is just so much I have to get off my chest…it’s difficult to get everything out. So much has happened that it’s pretty damn insane. There was something happening every single month and there wasn’t really a moment of oh let me catch my breath. Heck, I didn’t even scratch the service in the January update. Did I mention that we were looking for our house around this time? Oh, and that we found out my grandmother’s cancer is here to stay and there is nothing they can do for her? Yeah, that happened in January. I had a lot to chew on in February. A LOT. Honestly looking back, I’m like FUCK ME! That’s crazy! It was a theme ALL throughout 2018. It was intense things after intense things, EVERY SINGLE month. There wasn’t one month where nothing extreme happened. At least I know now with full confidence that if Onno and I can survive 2018 and still come out strong, we can get through ANYTHING. Our bond only got stronger through every punch to the gut. The really sad thing is, the theme that was 2018 is being carried through to 2019 and I’M FUCKING EXHAUSTED. I just need a break to catch my breath but life is just like NOPE. I’m getting off track and I still haven’t taken a break from writing this series. I’m overwhelmed just by thinking of all the crazy intense things that happened in 2018. But let’s get back to February. We will get back to the other months later.

February 2018

A few months have passed since I wrote the first few batches of the infertility journey and I’m fresh of some really bad news. I have a lot to chew on but I trust that talking about this will help so here I am. After the fresh diagnosis of PCOS, the news about my grandmother and the stress that came with house hunting, I entered February 2018 wounded and fragile. I realized that this journey wasn’t something we could do on our own and we need the support of doctors. Spoiler alert: My experience with the doctors here when it comes to my infertility is fucked up. We first had to make an appointment at our normal doctor so he could refer us to the fertility section in the hospital. Once we had our referral we could make our first appointment. It had a 6 weeks waiting period and I realized that there wouldn’t be much I could do in the month of February. I spend the entire month just learning about PCOS and the trying to conceive journey when it came with women with PCOS. I watched a lot of YouTube videos, I bought PCOS books and spend every day just learning as much as I could. I absorbed all the information I could get and it was…hard. The fear of what might become my reality cut into my very soul.

March – July 2018

March was the start of everything. I started my supplements and we had our first appointment with a fertility doctor. It seemed incredibly promising. Promises were made and hope blossomed in my chest. I felt so giddy that they could see I had ovulated recently and I don’t know. I guess I thought that it was a sign that everything would be hunky dory and I will be pregnant in six months. Just like the doctor promised. He immediately arranged some blood tests so we could see what my hormones are doing and send me off with the prescription to start Clomid in my next cycle (1 – 6 April 2018). The blood tests came back and everything was pretty normal. My period started and I drank my first Clomid (50mg) pill. How it normally works is: they ask to see you two weeks later near your ovulation time to see if you’re ovulating or not and then they will run some blood tests at the end of the cycle to confirm the ovulation. The ultrasound looked promising and I had a few good follicles. I took my blood test the same day which wasn’t the right timing. There was simply a miscommunication about it and by the time we realized it, my period had already started. We never confirmed that first month if Clomid worked for me or not. March just wasn’t our month. It stung. Each and every month hurts. It chips something inside of you away. Something deep inside of you gets destroyed when you see that negative test. Something that can only be mended with your baby’s giggles. At our next appointment, they decided to put me on Clomid for another six months. I got my three months’ worth and they send me on my way. This is where the experience with the doctors came less than ideal. Firstly, they never arranged to redo the tests correctly to see if I was ovulating on Clomid or not. So, until today, we have no idea if Clomid (at least the 50mg) works on me or not. Secondly, we never saw the same doctor or the first doctor. So, there wasn’t one person in charge of our treatment so we were kind of forgotten about. I took my Clomid every month, hoped that it worked and cried when it didn’t. The one month that stung the most was the June one. My period was a bit on the late side and I planned to test on Onno’s birthday. I desperately wanted it to be positive. I arrived in the Netherlands permanently on Onno’s birthday the year prior, wouldn’t it just be perfect if we find out we’re pregnant then too? The timing would be perfect as we just moved in our first home. I wanted it so badly. I went downstairs to test while Onno waited in bed and I found blood in my panties. I cried, put the test away and crawled back into bed and sobbed in Onno’s arms. It was a hard blow. The next month I drank my last batch of Clomid and we started to discuss what we should do next. We have started the process in the city but it wouldn’t be realistic to always travel there. Why don’t we restart the process in our new town and just start all over again? So, instead of arranging the next three months of Clomid from the first hospital, we arranged to be transferred. There was a waiting period and, in that time, I just worked on the house and prepared myself emotionally for what’s next. Our fourth and final round of Clomid was unsuccessful and all we could do is just wait and hope the next doctor will take us seriously and give us a more hands-on approach. We were hopeful that our treatment would be better in the smaller town and we were more than excited to hear that the doctor they have on staff is specialized in PCOS and women trying to conceive with the condition.

August 2018

What happened in that appointment broke my heart into so many tiny pieces. It was one of the hardest blows yet and it spun me into the darkest place I’ve ever been. We saw doctor 2 middle August and what seems to have become a common theme, I left her office in tears. She…what basically happened is they didn’t want to treat me until we hit the one-year mark. They will only help us in six months. It hit us hard. I couldn’t and I still can’t understand why they would send someone away when they were diagnosed with infertility at the very start of their journey. We both know my chances of conceiving naturally isn’t the best. I don’t have the normal number of chances in the year like normal couples. Why send me away for a year? Even though it hurt and destroyed something inside of me, I could accept the waiting period but…what angers me now is just how the appointment went. Firstly, I was under the impression that we made an appointment to see a specialist in PCOS and yet here is this woman basically telling me everything I’ve learned these last six months is wrong. According to her if you have your period, you ovulate every single month. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Women with PCOS can have what is considered a normal period and still not fucking ovulate. It was one of the first things I learned when I started looking into PCOS. Not only was this fact confirmed by all the books I’ve read, other ladies with PCOS, it was also confirmed by doctor 3. Doctor 2 had no fucking clue what she was talking about. Looking back now I was more upset about basically throwing all my hard work, all of my pain these last few months aside. It was irrelevant and wrong. Everything I know about PCOS is wrong according to the doctor. What I thought Clomid was doing was in fact not correct. The confusion and anger that all of the pain these last few months meant nothing added to the blow. It hurt more than hearing a doctor say that they won’t help you until you hit this mark in your journey. For the next two weeks after that appointment, my world just unraveled. Leading to that appointment my mental health wasn’t in the best place. The negative test month after month has started to chip away at me but that appointment, it changed everything. It had sent me to such a dark space that it terrified me. I needed help or I wouldn’t be the same at the end of this. I wouldn’t be able to survive.

September – November 2018

September was a turning point. I started the month by telling the world about my past and starting the process of coming to terms with everything that happened. To make peace and to heal. That as you all might know, send me through a crazy and intense journey. The first part of September I was just trying my best to piece all the pieces of me together so I could face my infertility journey head on with enough strength to get me through to the other side. We decided to wait out the one-year mark before we see a new doctor and hopefully finally get the treatment we deserve. We wanted to take it to another step and we did. We bought a medical device I heard so many PCOS ladies talk about, OvuSense.

*OvuSense is a true medical device which was developed by specialists for use in home and clinic. OvuSense is backed by over 50,000 cycles of use, 2 clinical trials, and 5 peer-reviewed publications, confirming the medical basis for core body temperature monitoring. OvuSense is used to track and predict the exact day of ovulation. Unlike any other monitor, OvuSense can alert you up to 24-hours before you ovulate based on your in-cycle data. Clinically proven to be correct 96% of the time, this gives you more time to try to get pregnant each cycle. As well as being the only monitor with live 24-hour advance prediction, OvuSense provides a 99% accurate full eight-day fertile window at the start of each cycle – helping you take back control of planning for pregnancy. OvuSense is fully certified, safe and effective. OvuSense is a class 2 medical device – with full regulatory approval in USA (510k), Europe (CE), Canada, and Australia. Why trust your tracking to anything else when you can use OvuSense, worry-free, knowing it has undergone rigorous testing? OvuSense measures what matters. Unlike BBT monitoring, OvuSense can monitor the true fluctuations of progesterone throughout the cycle. By measuring what matters with OvuSense you don’t need to use other devices at home for your fertility tracking. OvuSense can also help with diagnosis and monitoring medication. Only OvuSense helps with the diagnosis of your individual cycle characteristics and allows you to track how medication and/or supplements affect your cycle pattern, giving you and your doctor confidence that the treatment is working.*

OvuSense changed everything. It gave me back some of that control I desperately needed and it comforted me to know that all the data this medical device is gathering will help us conceive. The device gave us vital information. We saw that I ovulate incredibly late in my cycle, nearly a week after what we thought my fertility window was. Not only did the device show that I tend to ovulate very late in my cycle, but it also showed that my luteal phase might be too short. Something that’s not the best when it comes to supporting a pregnancy. It also showed that I DON’T ovulate every month. I will definitely write a review about OvuSense and go into full detail in a separate blog but the short story is: I would recommend it to my fellow trying to conceive cysters.

I’m going to round this blog off here just before the one-year mark in our infertility journey. What happened that month is big and this blog is already on the long side. I know that I didn’t really go into detail while I was just summarizing these last few months but I want to express how painful they were. It broke a piece of me inside and every month my heart broke a little more. It was the worst few months of my life and it made 2018 one of the most difficult times of my life. My worst nightmare has started to take shape and on most days I could barely breathe. It took everything in my power to fight every single day to get better and to heal. A fight that I still fight today. I wrote this poem in this time period. I hope it sums up everything.

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Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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OvuSense website — https://www.ovusense.com/us/ — Information in italics* is straight from the OvuSense website.

PS. I’m sorry this blog is one day late. I was too ill to edit it on Tuesday and things just went downhill yesterday. It’s not much better now. Also, I’m sorry if there are any grammar/spelling mistakes. I really can’t focus.

 

 

My Struggles With Infertility

My Struggles With Infertility | A Diary Of That First Month | Part 2/5

In part one I was mostly just ranting about insensitive comments that has been said to me over these last few months but in this part, we will go back to the start. Maybe if you get to the end of this blog series and follow every single step of this last year of my life, you will understand. I guess that is the purpose of this blog series. I want those who haven’t experienced infertility to walk away with a different insight on the subject. And for the couples who are going through this to feel less alone. For those couples to feel that their journey and struggle are recognized and they will walk away feeling supported.

December 2017

The moment that Onno said yes, let’s have a baby is imprinted in my mind. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. I knew I wanted kids when I was a kid myself. I wanted to be a young mom and have a bundle of kids. I told this to Onno when we started dating. I had no intention to start a serious relationship with someone who didn’t want kids later in the future. As I ended up marrying Onno, you could guess that he was all for it. The exact time period of when this would happen was a bit in the air. I knew it would be in my early twenties but we had to take a lot of steps before we were in the position to start a family. I had to live in the country to start off with. Onno had to have a stable job.  Once we tied the knot, we were in the position in life where we had to decide what is next. Where do we want to be in five years? Around the time of our marriage, I was still contemplating if I wanted to study or not. Once I committed to following my true passion and pursue a career of being an author, the last building block fell into place. The next natural step was babies, house, and car. I started getting around the idea of being ready to start our family in mid-November 2017. One month later I was sure. I’m ready to be a mom. I then brought this up to Onno. He didn’t jump in immediately. He needed some time to truly do his research and reassure himself that he could support a child. We both realize that having a child isn’t cheap and if we want to provide for them, we need to be financially secure. Once he was sure that we could, in fact, support a child, he was all for it. The timing was perfect. According to my period tracker, I was ovulating. The mood was perfect. It was Christmas and it felt like a sign from the universe. The first time we had unprotected sex knowing that this might turn into a baby was a wonderful feeling. I was floating in the air, so incredibly happy that we were starting our family.

I wrote two journal entries around this time. Back then I had it in my mind that I was going to record everything that happens while we’re going through it to share at a later stage. That never happened. The experience was too raw. It took me to a very fragile place and triggered my depression in ways that…it was hard. I realize that by going back and writing every month out is going to trigger those old feelings but I’m hoping this will help me heal. When I talked about what happened after I shared my abusive past, it helped me a lot. It opened up new doors for me and gave me a new perspective on things. So even though I know this process is going to hurt, I’m going to write it anyway.

Here is my first journal entry.

Trying To Conceive | Journal Entry #1

This blog is probably going to be the most personal blog I will ever write and share. It is so close to my heart, my very soul, that sharing this makes me feel vulnerable. Although I’m writing this on the 29th of December 2017 with no idea when I will post this or what will change from now till when you finally see this. I can only write about what I’m feeling and experiencing now. I’m not even sure if I’m going to share this…at this point, I’m writing this for myself. To get all my emotions sorted and just feel what I’m supposed to feel.

On the 24th of December, Christmas Eve, Onno and I decided that we’re ready to start our family. We don’t want to wait 4 years like we discussed only months proir. We don’t want to wait 2 years like we always say when family asks. We don’t even want to wait three months. Becoming a mother has always been such a big dream of mine. I want so deeply to have a baby with my husband. When I think of my future, ten years from now, I always imagine three children in that said picture. It’s what I crave for. A big family. Kids that will drive me insane but love me whole heartily well until they become teenagers. When my grandmother got sick just after I came back to the Netherlands and my father went in for an operation and complications arose…it made me realize how precious time is. It also made me realize that our children might never meet everyone I love so dearly. You can never predict life. Anything can happen. Although it made me sad, at the time we weren’t ready to start a family. I, however, have always fantasized with Onno about our future family and this was when we discussed possible names.

Diederik (Didrick) Robert Dijt

Diederik (the Dutch version of Didrick) is Onno’s grandfather’s name. Robert is my father’s second name. My father’s first name starts with a D and my entire childhood, even now, my father has always referred himself as a doctor because of his initials; DR. It’s his favorite dad joke. I’ve always found it absolutely hilarious and wanted to remember that memory by giving our first son the same initials.

Pameela (Pamela) Milly Dijt

Pameela (the Dutch version of Pamela) is my grandmothers name on my father’s side. She has always been a great role model as she fought cancer twice and continued to live life always believing the best in everyone. She is truly such a gentle soul. I want to remember her spirit by naming our daughter after her. Milly stands for Mildred. Milly is my grandmothers nickname on my mother’s side. She died before I was born so I never got to meet her but I’ve heard many great stories of her. It felt right to use her name. I love these two names. I have no names for a second boy or a second girl just yet but I know deep inside my heart we will have a little Diederik and a little Pameela running around.  

I feel such a deep desire to meet Diederik or Pameela as soon as possible. The timing of our first month was so perfect. It just felt so right. Everything was falling into place. The next three days were bliss. I felt so satisfied with how life was heading. We are officially trying. The time is right for my body and who knows maybe around my birthday a certain stick will give us the best news. I searched on the internet, reading so many articles about trying to conceive, what to expect while pregnant and so much more. I knew that the chances we will get pregnant after one month of trying isn’t 100% but I felt hopeful. I even went out and bought pregnancy tests and worked out the exact date I could take them. I just allowed myself to feel the excitement. Following the advice of many articles, I purchased a multivitamin. It is recommended to drink folic acid and vitamin b while trying to conceive as it not only prepares your body for your future child but once you get pregnant these vitamins are essential for a healthy spine and brain for your baby. It is ridiculously important for the first four weeks of your unborn child’s life. Most women only find out they’re pregnant long after that time so drinking these vitamins while trying to conceive can only benefit you. It felt like fate. The shop had a buy 1 and the second 1 is 50% off sale and I immediately found a great multivitamin that had everything I needed and will sustain me for nearly three months. It felt good. However, I woke up with blood in my panties…and when it didn’t go away the next day I finally came to the crushing relation that I was on my period. Two weeks early. Right on my ovulation period. It broke my heart and I cried in Onno’s arms.

I couldn’t help thinking…is there something wrong with me? Why am I bleeding now? I haven’t had an irregular period in months. Why now? Why now when we’re officially trying? I felt robbed. Robbed of those two weeks of waiting before your period is supposed to start and you can pee on that stick. I craved those two weeks of excitement and nerves. Those two weeks of maybe there is life inside of me. It was just robbed away from me before I could experience it. It was gut-wrenching. My mind went to the worse…What if I can’t have children…?

My mother and her mother had uterus growths and struggled to conceive. I’m not entirely sure what exactly it is as my mother never truly went into full detail about it. I did a quick google search and this could be what my mom was talking about. Basically, as I understand from what my mother has told me, there is a growth lining her uterus that makes it difficult for the fertilized egg to attach itself to the lining of the uterus and thus dies and you bleed it out. You simply have to go in, get the growth scraped and try for a baby after you recover. My mother struggled to get pregnant with me and only after getting scraped was she successful. They time the procedure out so it’s close to your ovulation. So the egg can stick to the wall before any growth can come back. The idea of seeing a gynecologist and having a vaginal examination scares the shit out of me. It’s something I figured will have to be done when I’m older but now for my own peace of mind, I should get it checked, right? I’m so young so the growth shouldn’t be a problem yet? That is to say, I even have it.

When I saw the blood in my panties it occurred to me that it could be my fertilized egg that couldn’t stick to my wall. I can’t be sure as I’m far from being a doctor nor know enough about this growth or if I have it to, well diagnose my irregular period. It just added to the blow and heartbreak. What if it is the growth? What if there is something wrong with me? What if I can’t have kids?

After a few moments of crying, I eventually gathered my thoughts. We are going to continue trying for three months, if my period continues to be irregular I will get it checked as irregular periods is anything but good. Annnd we will go from there. I still feel robbed but I also feel positive. Our time will come. We will meet little Diederik or Pameela soon. I feel it inside my soul that I will get pregnant somewhere in 2018. I’m planning on it. Heck, it is the real reason why we postponed the bicycle tour and why I decided to stick to the three weeks of 150km and one week of 50km. Being too physically active can hinder your fertility.

I’m disappointed, sad but I’m hopeful. Yeah, I don’t have the exciting 9th of January anymore but what I do have is a loving husband, a supporting best friend and a trust that it will work out.   

*

I can’t tell you how surreal it felt to read that journal entry. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT LIFE WAS GOING TO THROW MY WAY. I just want to go back and warn her. I want to tell her to buckle up for one of the worst years of your life. I’m going to round this blog off here because it’s already super long. Thank you for all the kind messages. I appreciate it.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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My Struggles With Infertility

I Struggle With Infertility | What You Shouldn’t Say To Someone Trying To Conceive | Part 1/5

I’ve tried to write this blog so many times. To be honest, there is just no easy way to talk about this or start the dialogue. This entire experience has been such a raw and personal experience that has ripped me apart. I struggle to open up about it and talk about it. I guess I should just start from the beginning. These last few months, Onno and I’ve been struggling with infertility. Boy, that’s a hard sentence to swallow. Onno and I started trying for a baby in December 2017 and it’s been one ugly rollercoaster ever since. So much raw emotions. There is so much I want and need to share when it comes to our infertility journey and I will start that soon but first I want to talk about something.

Opening up about my struggles with infertility is incredibly difficult. I’ve been very cautious with who I share this part of our lives with. It’s not something that’s easy to talk about it. I’ve told four friends, two of those has been incredibly supportive throughout the journey. My best friend in the entire world has been with me every single step of the way. She was there for me when I cried my eyes out every month when my period started. She was there for me when I hit the one-year mark and went to a really dark place. She was there for me when I was convinced that I was a failure of a wife and my husband would leave if I can’t have his baby. She was there for me when I cried for hours on end because my body was working against me. She was there for me every single step of the way and I will forever be grateful to call her my best friend. My other friend has been so incredibly sensitive to my journey. We rekindled our friendship after I shared my past and she told me about her recent miscarriage. We bonded over the fact that she too was now trying to conceive. She ended up getting pregnant soon after her miscarriage and as I’m writing this blog, late January 2019, she is now a mother of a beautiful little baby boy. There were moments throughout our communication that she said things that are my trigger but other times she just got it. She knew I couldn’t be her cheerleader throughout her pregnancy. She knew if she came to me and complained about pregnancy aches, I wouldn’t be able to follow her line of thought or respond in a way she might have wanted. I could always just think: “Well, at least you are going to have your baby. I wish I can feel these aches.” It took me a few weeks to open up to her about this but once I did our friendship shifted. She understood my jealousy and didn’t judge me for it. I am truly happy for her and I know she will be a great mother but I think it’s completely normal and human to feel a little jealous.

The other two friends I told…let’s just say their response wasn’t as positive. I mentioned before that I have triggers. There are just a few things I feel like you shouldn’t say to those who are trying to conceive. Especially if you yourself have never struggled with infertility. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT. The same can be said for those who have never experienced abuse but feel the right to decide what acts of abuse counts as abuse. My best piece of advice is if someone you care and know is struggling with infertility; is to choose your words carefully. Your words can cause more damage than you can ever imagine. As you’re going through this journey, your state of mind is so fragile, words cut deeper than what I can even begin to explain.

Here are the few main things that you shouldn’t say.

Take it easy. Once you stop trying, it will happen naturally. I can scream when I hear this one. I’ve heard it so many times and every time someone says this to me just know I’m showing you the middle finger in my mind. This is what goes through my mind when these words are uttered. Fuck you. Do you honestly think that I haven’t been taking it easy or tried to do so? Do you honestly think that I haven’t done everything in my power to improve my chances of fertility even by 1%? I realize that stress is incredibly damaging for your fertility and I take measures to be relaxed but taking it easy isn’t an option. When you say take it easy, it means to sit back and throw the dice. Even though I’ve disclosed that I have PCOS and this is a cause of my infertility. So even though my body works AGAINST me, yes, I’m sure that taking it easy will go great for me. I can just stop drinking my handful of pills that has helped balance my hormones which in return has regulated my period and ovulation. Sure, I can take it easy and stop that. It’s not like I enjoy spending hundreds of euros every two months to get my supplements or enjoy taking twenty or so pills every single morning. I can just sit back and take it easy like you said and stop all of these little things I do every single day to improve my chances. It’s not like I will fucking fight you for the option to drink coffee and eat my weight in carbs and candy. This is turning into a nice little rant. Oh, and then we have the ‘once you stop trying, it will happen naturally’ one. First of all; Fuck you. Once I stop trying to improve my chances, my chances to conceive will drop. Yes, I might get pregnant naturally but where my chance to get pregnant now on a good month is maybe 70% (I have no idea if this is correct. I’m using this to make a point.) but if I leave it to nature (so no outside disturbance; supplements and regular exercise) it will definitely drop. By how much I have no idea. I’m not a doctor but every part of my being knows that the steps I take every single day are improving my chances. I also know that I need help to conceive. Naturally might not be an option for us. It happens. You need to take into an account that there is a history of infertility in my family line. My mom struggled to conceive me and her mother struggled with conceiving as well. It’s in my family history. I’ve done everything in my power to improve my chances to get pregnant.  I was able to find out critical information thanks to the steps I took to improve my chances. I will talk about it more in an upcoming blog. I’m getting slightly off track. What I’m trying to say is that you should be more cautious about your choice of words. Because when someone tells me to take it easy and once you stop trying, it will happen naturally. They completely ignore all of my hard work. They completely belittle the effort I’ve put in. They completely brush aside the pain I’ve experienced. Now I know that this is only my point of view and that I’m being too sensitive but that’s the fucking point. My infertility journey is a sensitive subject and that’s not going to change. So, I will continue to get angry at those who make insensitive comments but…I’m getting too of track. This blog is writing itself and turning into a rant more than anything.

This is incredibly hard to write about and I’m scared. I’m terrified that the response I get from talking about this journey would be negative and I don’t need that in my life. Believe me, the things I tell myself when that test is negative can’t beat a comment by a stranger. That doesn’t mean the comment won’t hurt. I’m not entirely comfortable talking about infertility. It’s hard to open up about this but I feel like it’s something I need to talk about. That it will help me to talk about it. So here I am, standing naked in front of the internet, pouring my broken heart out.

I’m going to round off this blog here. In the next few parts, I will walk you through this entire journey. From the start until now. We’re going to dig deep but I must say it feels good. I’m almost relieved now that I’ve decided to share this on my blog. It’s something that I’ve kept on a tight leash for a year now and it just feels nice to have it out in the open. The next few parts will go up every Wednesday until I catch up with recent developments. While we’re on the subject, this part of my life will always be out of date. What I mean with that is quite simple. I will not talk about what is currently happening with my infertility until some time has passed. It’s not something I want to feel pressured to share until I’m ready. You will find out in Part 5 where we are with the journey today but you won’t hear much more until way later in the year. I just need time to adjust to whatever news before I share it.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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#pcos

The Supplements I Take For My PCOS | Natural Solutions To PCOS

When I started my fitness journey I had this idea in my head that drinking supplements is wrong. It means that you can improve your diet even more. It means that you’re not healthy enough. What a load of crap. I could slap my past self. How ridiculous is that notion?

*In theory, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, but sadly, food today doesn’t always contain good amounts of the key nutrients you need. Over-farming and the use of pesticides mean that much of the soil our food is grown in has become depleted in vital nutrients. Many fruits and vegetables at the supermarket have travelled great distances over many days to get to the shelves, with already meagre nutrients dwindling further still. Our fruit and vegetables today contain an average of 20 per cent fewer minerals. Many people are significantly deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, such as Omega 3 fats. This happens if you eat more food than you need (causing weight gain). If the bulk of your diet is highly processed and refined, you may not be getting enough nutrients and you may end up overweight, and deficient in many key vitamins and minerals.  

This part is straight from the book by Marilyn Glenville called Natural Solutions to PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —). After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I went home and started searching for more information on the syndrome on Google. If stumbled onto the YouTube video of Marilyn Glenville giving a lecture on PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpF0UOI1Lf0&t=1917s —) and I just really love her approach to PCOS. I immediately bought her book and it was the first book on PCOS that I’ve ever read. Before that moment I was still in the mindset that drinking supplements means that you’re diet isn’t that great and you can get everything you need from a proper diet. That little snippet from before really opened my eyes, well her entire book did but anyway I became open to the suggestion of drinking supplements. The more I read and learned on how these supplements might improve my health and control my PCOS symptoms, the more I started to cheer for the supplement team. By the end of the book I ordered the supplements and currently I’ve been drinking them for six months. They truly do work and I’ve seen results. More on that in a minute.

It was overwhelming in the beginning. It’s a lot of pills and it was really difficult to 1) remember to drink them and 2) actually get them down. Now it’s all smooth sailing. Before I get into the list of supplements, let me quickly share my results.

My hormonal mood swings are less. Before I was on such a fine line of emotional outbursts. I would cry because someone spoke to me in a heavy voice or I would start to cry because I can’t find the TV remote. I also started to cry once because I had to repeat my sentence twice. It was incredibly frustrating and I just didn’t feel like myself.

My acne has improved tenfold. Although I do think that the no coffee in my diet has played a role in this, the supplements definitely has an effect as well. My skin cleared up. I still break out here and there but otherwise my skin is looking great. My back acne is completely gone which is amazing. I can’t tell you how good that one feels.

My uncontrollable and unstoppable (sure as hell felt like it) weight gain stopped. Even though I’ve made some changes in my diet, there hasn’t been a big enough change that I can contribute this to different eating habits. I mentioned before but I gained weight overnight even though I was working out almost every single day. Nearly 15kg in three months and a total of 20kg in five months. Ever since I started taking the supplements, I’m no longer gaining weight. I’m not losing any (well not yet. I just restarted my workout program) but that’s more than enough for me. I felt like I was gaining weight for just blinking so the fact that the number on the scale isn’t climbing anymore feels amazing. There was a stage I was gaining 2-3kg a week even though I practically lived on greens and my stationary bicycle.

My hair is also healthier and overall my cycles has improved. I went for an ovarian scan the other day and the doctor could see the results and well the fruit of my pill swallowing labour. I will surely continue to drink them in the future. I do want to add that in the time I’m writing this blog, I’ve been making more healthier food choices and we’ve picked up really good eating habits over these last few months. I’m even eating zucchini twice a week now. Those who might know me will probably fall of their chair with this news. It’s amazing that just three years ago I ate my first ‘greens’.

This one is quite embarrassing but my hair growth is a lot better. When my body spiralled out of control just before I was diagnosed with PCOS, I was growing dark hair and damn quickly too in all of the unsightly places. My chin and moustache was a nightmare. This has improved greatly since I started the supplements. The growth at my arms pits, lady bits and legs has also slowed. They’re growing at a normal speed again. For the awhile there…it just wasn’t pretty. Heck even the hairs on my toes are different.

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Here is the list of supplements I drink and why I take them. Before I get into it, I really want to stress that I’m not a doctor. What I know about these supplements is purely from reading her book. I ran the tests and decided to give her approach to PCOS a fair chance. Overall for all of those ladies out there struggling with PCOS and the ugly things that comes with it, I really recommend you read her book. The natural route can be the answer you’ve been searching for. For those ladies trying to conceive, she also talks of ways you can boost your fertility naturally.

 Chromium

*I believe chromium is the key nutrient for PCOS as it helps to balance your blood sugar, improves insulin resistance, counteracts food cravings and is also useful for losing weight. Chromium assists in the body’s efficient use of insulin, which then controls your blood sugar.

In the book she proceed to talk about the benefit of chromium when you are more sensitive to insulin and etc. She also advises the amount you should take but she does this with all of her recommendations.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-chroom-picolinaat-200mcg-60006393

B vitamins

*The B vitamins in general are important in the reversal of PCOS symptoms. Vitamin B2 helps to turn fat, sugar and protein into energy, which makes it useful for both blood-sugar balance and weight control.

She continues to explain what the each of the B vitamins would do for your PCOS symptoms. It’s really informative. Like mentioned above, my weight has been under control since I started the supplements. I have yet to lose weight but that’s really only because I haven’t worked out while taking the supplements.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-b-complex-60001250

Vitamin D

*Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is now recognized as being very active in controlling blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity, and research suggests that having good levels of Vitamin D can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

She goes into the detail of the critical role that Vitamin D plays in our bodies. For the ladies trying to conceive, vitamin D is essential to your mix of supplements. The doctor could actually see a difference in my ovaries and I’m thanking the little sunshine tablet for that one.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-d3-25mcg-60099316?skuid=015605

Magnesium

*Magnesium is an important mineral for dealing with PCOS because it is involved in glucose metabolism.

She goes again into the detail about the role magnesium plays in your body and the benefit you will reap from adding it into your diet.

Zinc

*Zinc helps enormously with PCOS as it is instrumental in the production of  your reproductive hormones; it also regulates your blood sugar by assisting insulin in its job and moving glucose (blood sugar) from your blood to your sells.

She continued by sharing how the mineral is important for appetite control and why. Zinc also plays a role with coping with stress. It’s a supplement you should definitely have in your collection. I’ve seen a massive difference in my appetite control. I do want to mention that my depression could’ve played a role but who knows. I used to have binge eating episodes all the time. I would just be hungry and just eat none stop. I haven’t really had that in a really long time. Not since I started taking the supplements but again around this time my depression spiked and I tend to have a bad appetite when it does.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-calcium-magnesium-zink-60004290?skuid=004290

Manganese

*Manganese helps to balance your blood sugar and with healthy thyroid function and improves your body’s ability to burn your food as energy.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/708863

Co-enzyme Q10

*Co-enzyme Q10 is a substance that your body produces in nearly every cell. It breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into energy instead of being stored as fat.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-co-enzym-q10-30mg-60007270

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

*This powerful antioxidant contributes to regulating your blood-sugar levels because it releases energy by burning glucose, and it also helps to make you more insulin sensitive.

She continues listing the benefits of the supplement towards weight loss and liver function.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/840516

Omega 3 fats

*These important fatty acids are absolutely crucial in the treatment of PCOS. They will help your body become more sensitive to insulin and play a strong role in controlling the destructive inflammatory process.

She continues by sharing the benefits of Omega 3 with the reduction of testosterone levels in women with PCOS. I’ve definitely seen a difference here. Like mentioned before, I’ve seen a massive difference in my ‘manly’ facial hair.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-omega-3-visolie-1000mg-60019103

Vitamin C

*Women with PCOS have lower levels of Vitamin C than women without PCOS so this is particularly important supplement for you.

She continues to share the other benefits of the vitamin as in how it can help you burn more fat when you exercise, enabling you to lose weight faster. I’ve always taken Vitamin C to help fight the cold season mostly because my body is still adapting to the different weather here in the Netherlands I’m almost constantly sick with a cold/flu in the winter.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-c-timed-release-1000mg-60004070?skuid=004072

Amino Acids

*Certain amino acid can be very beneficial for PCOS as they can improve your insulin sensitivity and can also have an effect on weight loss.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/100998

N-acetyl cysteine

*N-acetyl cysteine is a form of amino acid cysteine which helps with the metabolism of the Omega 3 fats found in oily fish and linseed (flaxseed.)

She continues to go into detail about the other benefits and for the ladies trying to conceive, she has a lot to say about this supplement.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/834561

Arginine

*Arginine can be useful in reversing insulin resistance.

She proceeds to go into more detail and describes of a study that showed the results that would benefit the trying to conceive ladies.

Carnitine

*Carnitine assists the body’s breakdown of fat to release energy and can improve insulin sensitivity.

Tyrosine

*Tyrosine is helpful for women with PCOS who are overweight as it is active in suppressing the appetite and burning off fat.

Glutamine

*This amino acid is useful for helping with sugar cravings as it can be converted to sugar for energy and so takes away the need to eat something sweet.

I personally haven’t noticed anything about less sugar cravings but I’m probably the wrong person to ask that. I’m all about my sugar treats. I do try my utmost best to not stuff my face with candy all day every day. I’m still struggling with the regards of candy control.

***

I take two other supplements not listed by the dear doctor. Cranberry pills to help with my frequent bladder infections. I started taking them when I would basically get a bladder infection every two months and ever since then, I’ve had one bladder infection. So I’ve definitely seen the benefit of that one. I also take  a multivitamin to get the last bits of pieces of vitamins I need in. Oh and although I don’t take this daily, I take iron pills when I’m on my period. When I was younger I had anemia with a very low iron count. If I’m not careful or healthy, my iron levels drop below the normal count.

I hope you’ve found this blog to be informative and helpful. I wanted to wait a few months so I could share my response to the supplements. Good luck to all of my cysters out there and I hope you find the answers and support you’re looking for. There is so many of us out there and we understand the struggle.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Disclaimer

All words in italic is snippets/quotes from the book by Marilyn Glenville called Natural Solutions to PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —).

You would’ve noticed that I don’t have a picture under every supplement she recommends. It’s merely because the quantity needed per day  is found in some of the other products.

The links to the products are not affiliated. I’m not getting anything out of it. I’m merely sharing the links for those ladies here in the Netherlands who wishes to follow the advice of the book mentioned above and purchase the supplements. Although saying that, it would be pretty great if the two companies would help a girl out. I’m going to be a lifetime client.

A quick tip: Holland & Barrett often has a two for one sale on their supplements so definitely keep an eye on that.