Does anyone else ever question how they ended up on this journey? It’s a complicated, layered and loaded question I have asked myself many times. I have spent countless moments wondering “what” has brought me down this path.
Because I live in the “unexplained” infertility world…I don’t have a clue as to what is at the root of our struggle. The funny thing this morning though, as I took my first spritz of Suprefact (nasal spray) to suppress my reproductive system to prepare for IVF#2…I wondered if I had come full circle to the root of the problem.
I have a few key suspicions of what brought this journey into my life, they are:
- The steroid nasal spray I took for my allergies until my late 20s.
- The allergy pills I popped during my teens.
- The months on Accutane (acne medication) I took in my first year of university
- My thyroid struggles the last three years since stopping birth control pills.
- Genetics…as my mother struggled with secondary fertility.
I think I could drive myself mildly crazy writing down all the things it could be – drugs, food, genetics and environment. Despite all the suspicions there are three actions that I feel are more responsible than others.
1# – The Nasal Spray
Allergy pills worked okay, but one drug that worked the best in my life was a nasal spray that was a steroid. I maybe took it for 10 years…maybe even 15. I stopped when I was 27 and my roommate (a biology grad) questioned whether I had ever considered the consequences of using this drug. I had/have very little sense of smell and she questioned if I had paralyzed that sense with every snort of the drug – so what if I zapped my reproductive abilities too? The doctor prescribed this drug, and my personality then was that if I had allergy symptoms I would do anything to make myself feel normal. I have learned now that I can survive without allergy medication. It sucks, but it’s manageable.
#2 – Accutane
Having a bad case of acne at 20 is deflating to a young ego. When the doctor put me on Accutane it also meant being put on birth control because you can’t risk getting pregnant when taking this drug because it is so strong that it causes birth defects. So, today I ask…what did it do to my eggs?
Now, I can’t beat myself up over this decision because I know if I was 20 again and knew that infertility could be my fate…I likely would still stay yes to Accutane as looking good in those key years, when you feel invincible, outweighs any possible future struggle/side effects.
#3 – My Thyroid
So, the Accutane led me to the birth control pills, which I took for 14 years with a few small breaks in-between serious relationships (I have since read that breaks are bad). I hated taking a pill every day, so when I got married and threw them away forever…life was good. Little did I know that shortly after that act of freedom my thyroid would peter out. I didn’t discover this truth until a year of trying…but looking back…I feel like the symptoms emerged shortly after the regulated cycles stopped.
A year into trying a blood test sealed my fate of hypothyroidism and being on medication for the rest of my life. No pun intended…but that news was a tough pill to swallow. Here I thought I was done with a daily pill and was healthy to start a family, but nope…not the case. For the next two years my numbers slightly improved every six to eight weeks…so I was hopeful when I did my first IVF in February; my thyroid number was good enough for the clinic…but still not ideal. By the time I got my negative result, I also got the extra blow of learning that my thyroid was out of control again…which makes you wonder if IVF#1 was all for not. *sigh*
No matter what the root cause of this journey is. I can’t change things and I need to be grateful for the teachings and people I have in my life today due to this experience. I whole heartedly believe my life is richer for this journey. Don’t get me wrong, it F*#&ing sucks…but I am grateful for what I know about myself that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
I know I can’t change the past, nor would I if given a second chance, the silver lining in this is I accept the decisions I made in my life and I am starting round two with a thyroid number I am proud of and I hope that helps make all the difference in the world.