TTC #3 // Reader Q+A

>> Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I have less than a week until my fertility consultation with my new doctor. I've gotten a few questions and general comments (via Instagram -- that's the best place to reach me these days) throughout my blogging about our desire to add another child to our family. I thought I'd do a quick post to hit on the major questions and themes. I'm trying not to dwell on it so much, but I also would rather get my thoughts out into the open.

Side note: I took this photo a REALLY long time ago right after I had graduated college. This pregnancy test washed up on the shore of Cayuga lake (don't pollute, people!). Seeing it felt so scandalous at the time. And now I've probably taken like 1,000 of these!

Q1: Why do you want a third child when you have two healthy kids?

This one came from someone who did not mean it in a flippant or disrespectful way whatsoever. It's a valid question, and it's one I ask myself on a daily basis. I've said it before, but I'll mention it again: We aren't trying for a boy, so that plays no role whatsoever. I do occasionally have doubts about my ability to raise three children, to afford them, to provide the best life for them. I waver. Sometimes I feel like it'll be amazing -- why worry? Other times I see myself falling short and think I should reevaluate.

There's just this tugging that both Stephen and I feel. I have chatted with older people who are well beyond their childbearing years. My own grandparents are included in this set. The resounding advice I have received has been to go for it. That we won't regret having another child if that is what we feel strongly in our hearts would make our family "complete". Some of these people decided against it and forever have wondered what would have been.

At the same time, we aren't dead-set on three at all costs. I have yet to get pregnant. I feel afraid I may have miscarriages again. And if that situation happens again, I don't know if I'll want to put myself or my family through it. What I can tell you is that going through such loss did strengthen our desire to add to our family . . . but it's a delicate balance to account for what we "want" and what is "good" for us. Does that make sense?

Q2: Have you had your thyroid checked?

Not recently. But that wasn't my issue before. It's something I'm asking about, and I do think it's part of the regular infertility workup.

Q3: Are you on X, Y, Z supplement?

I had been taking royal jelly and COQ10, but I've stopped all supplements for the time being. I was also practicing seed cycling but have decided to give that a rest as well. I had an issue when I was trying to get pregnant with Eloise where my ovulation wasn't happening until later than ideal (past day 20 in my cycle) and my luteal phase was maybe 9 days at best.

Being on progesterone has my cycles incredibly predictable and "normal". I ovulate between days 12-14 and have a 14-16 day luteal phase. That's about as textbook as it gets. As a result, I don't necessarily see the need to use supplements, because the purpose of many for me was regulation of cycle. That said, I do know that some may help with egg quality, but I first want to discuss them with the doctor.

Q4: Do you worry about medical issues with another child?

This question comes from my own mother. Obviously, with Ada's medical history -- it's a concern. We also have a genetic heart condition that runs in both sides of the family. My dad had open-heart surgery to correct his aortic stenosis that was caused by a bicuspid valve a little over a decade ago. Another close relative on my mother's side has a similar condition.

Here's something we all know: I have anxiety. And of course this is something (among many things) I do worry about. Ada's surgeon assured us that the issue she had (a very large, benign arachnoid cyst) is a fluke. It's not genetically inherited. I've read anecdotal evidence to suggest otherwise, but I am trusting the doctor on this one.

So, the answer to whether I worry is both yes and no. There are so many unknowns that come with having another child. I just watched a YouTube video from a mother who almost died during delivery -- so all of these things do run in my mind. It can be serious, scary stuff. Again -- my heart is telling me to forge ahead.

Q5: Are you worried about being over 35 soon?

This question has come from a few people because much of the literature you find will have age 35 as this big cutoff point with fertility. There are so many studies on this and so many medical opinions. What I've gathered from a lot of reading is that fertility rates don't necessarily decline quite as rapidly as we're lead to believe at 35. At 40 they may even be better than we often hear about. That said, the fact remains that there are fewer eggs and more of them are abnormal as the years tick on.

I do feel weird sometimes when I think about having another baby in my belly . . . as I look at all the newly sprouted grey hairs on my head. But I was chatting with another "geriatric" mom who is trying to conceive last night. It is what it is. In a "perfect" world, I wanted to be done having babies by now, but I also lost a good 18 months during TTC#2. We don't have control, and I know plenty of mamas who have had healthy babies after 35 and after 40.

Q6: What TTC supplies do you use?

Q7: You've only been trying six months, why are you seeing a doctor so soon?

My midwife recommended after being on progesterone for four months that I get checked out. My cycles, as I mentioned, are extremely predictable. I'm using ovulation strips and temperature charting, and nothing is happening. We had tried two months with all these tricks before the meds as well, so that is where the six months is coming from. I will turn 35 in July, and most advice you'll see suggests to be checked after 6 months if you're over 35. Since I'm close to that cut-off and have previous infertility issues, I figure it's better to get checked sooner rather than later.

This isn't to say I'm jumping into fertility treatments. I mostly need guidance on whether or not to continue using progesterone in the way I'm using it. I also need a new prescription. Beyond that, I just want to get baseline tests and make a relationship with a new doctor. I'd also like to arrange to have blood pregnancy tests at the end of each cycle. If you've ever done progesterone, there's always this nagging feeling that MAYBE you ARE pregnant and the test just isn't picking it up yet. I'd like to eliminate the maybe.

Those are the questions I've had the most of. If you guys have any others, let me know in the comments below!

In general, I am writing about this process because I like reading about what others are going through. Before we had our own struggles, I had no idea how hard it can be to get and stay pregnant. I want to be as authentic a voice for this process as I can be. So, that's that!

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