Fertility Friday: Trainee Mama

Today’s Fertility Friday post is from Peta, who blogs at Trainee Mama. I knew Peta a little bit through our day-job work before she had kids, but over recent years have kept track of her via her Facebook page and blog. Although she calls herself Trainee Mama, I don’t think the name fits anymore – a trainee could not possibly manage three kids under three as well as Peta does!!

My fertility journey started, not because I had the desperate burning desire to have kids, but instead on a referral from a GP after a puzzling pain which we were trying to establish the cause of. I mean, we were at that stage in our life where we’d been married for a couple of years, had done some travelling and were comfortable financially, so we sort of just assumed the natural progression would be to the next chapter in our story – kids.

Even though I hadn’t made an appointment with the specialist to get pregnant, he did ask if we were trying. At that stage we had been actively trying, but at nearly 30 years of age I of course knew about the birds and the bees but didn’t really know about how it all worked with things like ovulation. I didn’t think it was that abnormal that all of the theory says a period cycle is 28 days and mine was on average around 33 days. To be honest I really didn’t even know about the small window someone with a regular cycle has to get pregnant. Obviously, someone with a longer cycle has even less opportunity. The doctor performed an internal ultrasound and some questioning around my cycle revealed that perhaps I might need some help in getting pregnant.

Day surgery was scheduled to properly check out my reproductive organs and see if I had any ovarian cysts, but it revealed no evidence and as such, the doctor flushed my tubes just in case there was a blockage. My husband was also tested and although he had no problems with the amount of competitors in the swimming race, the quality of competition wasn’t overly fantastic.

So at 29 years of age {my doctor advised that fertility for women decreases after 25 }, the recommended plan was to trial letrozole – medication to regulate my cycle and know exactly when I was ovulating to increase chances of falling pregnant.

First month was one tablet for five days at the appropriate time in my cycle and blood tests to confirm that the medication was doing what it was supposed to be doing. The medication worked for day 14 ovulation as planned but I did not fall pregnant.

We repeated the same dose for month two and again, did not fall pregnant.

Month three the dose was doubled but my enthusiasm, ironically, halved. I was unconvinced that the medication would work and on the verge of our fourth month of treatment I was at the chemist ready to fill my script for the medication and for some reason took a pregnancy test in the toilet of the medical centre … and it was positive. I couldn’t quite believe it and still filled the script anyway.

I took a further five tests over the following hour and days and there was no denying the pregnancy.

The pregnancy was easy and after a relatively straight forward {but long} labour, we welcomed Ned into the world in August 2013. You can read his birth story here.

Fast forward a couple of years and we started trying again, medication-free and with a good deal of scepticism on my behalf. I wasn’t desperate to have another baby – we both just agreed that we didn’t want Ned be an only child. Again, after months of trying I made an appointment with a fertility specialist (a new one, since we had moved since Ned’s conception) and explained my story and that letrozole had assisted us to get pregnant with Ned.

The doctor performed an internal ultrasound that day and asked me if I’d ever heard of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I had heard of it but didn’t really know anything about it. The doctor and nurse explained the symptoms but the only one obvious to my scenario was the menstrual cycle length. He also mentioned something about large ‘follicles’ and at the time that sort of medical jargon just flew over my head without a thought. The doctor agreed to prescribe the medication, with the double dose from the get go.

First month, nothing.

Second month, nothing.

Third month, I forgot to take the tablets and fell pregnant naturally only to lose the baby early on.

Two months or so later we had a family holiday – a week in Perth visiting one of my best friends and then a cruise from Perth to Brisbane. About half way through the cruise I started to feel really nauseous and was not at all interested in food – or wine for that matter. I immediately knew I was pregnant and started to get excited at the prospect of having a girl as I wasn’t sick at all with Ned so surely it must be a girl, right? I took a pregnancy test at Port Douglas on one of our land days and it was confirmed. Given the previous miscarriage it was difficult to get excited so I remained kind of neutral about the situation for quite a few weeks.

The 13 week ultrasound was booked and thankfully I’d mostly gotten over the all-day nausea and inability to eat. As I lay on the bed ready to have the baby checked, the sonographer muttered ‘oh’ and immediately I knew it was twins. We’d forgotten that our first doctor mentioned the risk of multiples when ovulation drugs are used, and I suppose because Ned was a single I never even gave it a thought. You can read more about us finding out here. You see those large follicles {probably from having some form of PCOS} with any sort of stimulation {the letrozole} greatly increased the chance of multiples and well … suffice to say, in June 2016 we welcomed our daughters Frankie and Evie into the world. You can read their birth story here.

Some days I feel guilty when the madness of three young kids overwhelms me and I wonder if I’m cut out for the job when there are so many people out there desperate for the sleepless nights, the tantrums, the messy house and the baby brain. Trust me though, I really do appreciate this wonderful gift and only wish all people who wanted to become parents could.

petas-kids

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