The Fertility Fight

I have been trying to find the words for this post since my appointment last week. Twice in the past week, I have poured myself a glass of wine and sat down to write this, thinking that maybe the words would come easier or that I would feel more comfortable putting this out into the universe, but all that came was another flood of thoughts, worries, fears, anxieties. So, here I am – 5 AM on a Monday morning; sober, sleepy, and just writing.

As some of you know, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for about 8 months now. If you haven’t seen my previous posts about the fertility issues that we’re facing, I would ask that you go back and read those, not because I don’t want to talk about it, but simply because I can’t think anymore about it, or else I’ll never write this. I would also ask that you try to remember that those you follow on the internet are real people, they have real struggles, make decisions and choices that you might not agree with, but that doesn’t make them any different than you.

I have reached a point in my career that the mean comments about my body, my weight loss journey, my beliefs – they just don’t phase me anymore. I used to cry when I first started this journey when someone would post something terrible on one of my pictures. I learned very quickly that I wouldn’t be able to help very many people if I shut down every time someone couldn’t remember The Golden Rule.

This topic is different for me though, maybe because it’s still so new, or because it’s way outside of my comfort zone, or possibly because it’s so personal. I contemplated not sharing this piece of my life at all. Then I realized that hiding a major part of who I am and what I’m going through might save me a few seconds of discomfort, but it certainly won’t help anyone going through a similar journey, and that’s my main purpose, always. That’s what gives me purpose.

Not too long ago, I felt incredibly alone. I had lots of acquaintances, but not many real friends. Friends that would make fun of me or throw me under the bus at any moment for personal gain, sure, I had those kind. But not much of anyone to go to with real struggles. That’s why it’s so important to me to share this journey with all of you, because I know that there is someone out there somewhere, even if it’s just 1 person, who needs to hear that they aren’t alone. We all make the mistake of thinking that we are unique, that our problems are far worse, more embarrassing, or that no one would understand, which isn’t true, it’s just about finding the people who you can connect with and share in those struggles.

A quick update since my last post – I think I left off that I had completed the Clomid that I was prescribed. It took awhile, but on day 14, I got a positive ovulation test, which was great news, because it meant that the Clomid was working. I knew that this waiting game would be the most challenging part, and it was. The problem however, is that the waiting never ended. I was given instructions that by day 35 of my cycle, I should either have a positive pregnancy test OR the start of a period. Well… day 35 came and went, and nothing changed.


I was starting to get concerned, so I made another appointment with my doctor, and we talked things out. After some testing, labs, and medications, what appears to be the current problem is my body fat percentage.

This ex-nurse HATED OB and L&D, so I am not the least bit knowledgable in the area of….that. But because I’m slightly obsessive, I’ve also used this last week to do lots of research, and here’s what I found: fat cells work with the ovaries to create estrogen, a hormone that is essential in not only monthly cycles, but pregnancy. Sorry to get a little scientific on you, but estrogen is responsible for creating the uterine lining that either sheds at the end of the month (your period), or forms to carry a fetus. So, without enough estrogen, neither of those things can happen. And without enough fat cells, there is not enough estrogen.

Now, here’s the hard part for me to share. I wish I could give just a few feelings about this, but my emotions are pretty much covering the complete gamut.

First of all, let me say that I never envisioned having kids. I did not grow up in an environment that I wanted to re-create. I have always thought of myself as someone who said “one day” but that day would never come. I never thought I wanted to have someone else that depended on me. The thing that changed for me was my husband. He is the greatest man that I’ve ever met. When you hear someone say that God has a plan for your life far greater than your own, it could not be more true. I didn’t want to like him when we met, our timing was totally wrong, I was starting my senior year of high school, and he was… not my type. It wasn’t supposed to work, it shouldn’t have worked, but God’s plan always wins, and I cannot imagine where I would be without him. Watching him grow into a strong, smart, sexy man over the last 8 years, how he takes care of our dogs like they are the most important thing in the world, the provider that he has become for me, the support that he gives me; those are the reasons that I changed my mind about having the kids, because I know that we can do anything together, and how could our kids be any less than perfect if they get even a small percentage of those qualities?

Second, I feel guilty. I feel guilty about this being MY problem. I’m the reason that this isn’t working right now. He would never make me feel that way, but it’s always there in my mind. I also feel guilty that there are women that struggle with real fertility issues, things that can’t be fixed by eating ice cream or cheeseburgers. Women who have wanted a baby forever, who have known their whole lives that they were meant to be moms. I wish that none of those issues existed for anyone and it feels selfish to say that I am upset about being asked to give up my body in order to get pregnant, when some women would praise God for news like that. But – this is my raw truth, and I want to be honest with you guys. Whatever you’re thinking right now, at least you’re thinking it knowing the real truth. It also makes me remember that my struggles have nothing to do with someone else’s fertility issue. It’s not me or you, there are enough uteruses to go around, so I am trying to shake that guilty feeling. Whether or not I get pregnant doesn’t keep someone else from doing so.

Third, I love my body. I have worked incredibly hard over the last 2 years to get to a place where I am healthy, happy, confident, and strong. I eat 99% clean, exercise daily, get all of my vitamins and superfoods in, have finally learned that it’s okay to eat more than 1200 calories a day – all things that sound like they would make up a healthy body, and they do. But a healthy body for an athletic 25 year old looks a lot different than a healthy body for a baby to grow. Nature wants us to have fat, we were created to survive. This is hard for me to think about. My fitness journey represents so much more than just the abs you see. It is my control, it’s the power I didn’t feel like I had my entire life. I finally get a say in how I live and how I feel every single day. I obviously knew that getting pregnant would change my body and my routine, but I never imagined that it would be now. I guess I thought that I would continue my plan until I didn’t feel comfortable anymore. I never thought that planning a pregnancy would be a reason to change my body.

Last, you will notice that I said body fat percentage, not weight gain. My weight is not the problem, it’s the distribution of what makes up that weight. We all have water, muscle, bones, and fat (along with organs and blood and stuff) in our bodies. Depending on the amount of muscle that you have, you have a certain percentage of body fat. That’s why when you hear people say “the scale is pointless”, it’s true. 2 people could read the exact same number on the scale, and 1 could look like a fitness model while the other looks like they haven’t worked out in years. So essentially 1 of 2 things needs to happen, I need to either gain additional fat, which would lead to weight gain as well OR I need to take some of the muscle in my body and turn it into fat.

My biggest concern is the health of my body, always. Do I want a baby? Absolutely, yes. However, I will not load my body up with chemicals and crap in order to get pregnant, only to turn around and be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or to feel absolutely terrible and have an unhealthy pregnancy, or to cause long term damage and not live long enough to see this precious baby grow up. On the flip side, exercise is a key part of life – it’s not something that I’m going to give up, because again, it’s amazing for the body. So the challenge is going to be gaining healthy body fat, without the ice cream and cheeseburgers, and without turning into a sloth.

There are definitely changes that I can make to my routine, and I don’t know what they are yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to share. I know that I can do this, but just like I preach all the time, a real, healthy body change takes time, it will not happen overnight, whether you are trying to gain or lose, there is the quick, cheap, unhealthy way, and there is the long-term thinking, goal-oriented type of way.

We are unbelievably excited for when the day finally comes that we get to grow our family, but we are also okay being patient, enjoying the journey and the struggle, and continuing to grow as a couple. Remember how I said that God’s plan is always better? Well, I know He has one right now too, and I’m relying on Him to guide us and lead us down the right path.

For now, I’ve stopped all of the medications because they weren’t going to solve this current struggle and hopefully they won’t even be necessary once I get my body to where it needs to be.

As always, I appreciate all of your prayers, kind words, and support on this journey. While it might be different than yours, and one you might not understand, please see that this is a real-life, open book, current struggle of ours. We all have them, they may not be “text book” standard, but that doesn’t make them any easier. Most times, our struggles lead us to a deeper appreciation for what we have, and in this moment, I am so thankful for a huge network of support, a husband who loves me whether we have 50 kids or 50 dogs, a body that I know can grow and change with the current demands, and a God who has a perfect plan for our family, and yours also.

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  • Reply Valerie Howes August 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm Big hugs to you. That must be so frustrating to have to change something that you love about yourself. I'm sure it will be worth it in the end :)
    • Reply Olivia Grist August 4, 2015 at 11:53 am Thank you! It will be, it's all just a learning experience and an opportunity to grow (literally this time! ha!) :)

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