Amber was one of the first people to contact me after I started to look for contributors to my new project. She said that she had dealt with infertility but didn't know if her story was what I was looking for because she was never able to have children. Turns out her story is exactly what I'm looking for. Because it's important for us to tell all of the stories with all of the endings in hopes that we can reach out and help even one person going through something similar. This site is about everyones unique journey to motherhood and while our stories may end differently, the path we take is just as important.
Growing up I wanted to be three things when I grew up. To be a ballerina, a member of The Bangles (I am a child of the 80's) and to be a mom. Nothing can prepare you for being told you can't have your own children. My periods were always erratic. As a teen/early 20 year old I mentioned it to my doctor. She told me it was stress and prescribed birth control to regulate them.
Skip to 3 months after getting married, 29 and wanting to start a family I went to a new gynecologist, I hadn't been very diligent in talking the pill in the last year. She ordered a hormone panel after I insisted something wasn't normal. A week later the results were in my estrogen was very low and a test call AMH, estimates your egg supply mine showed that it was also very low. She gave me a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. I cried all the way home. It was Valentine's Day.
My husband and mom came to my first appointment with me. She looked over my results and stated that with my age that these test must be incorrect. Next she performed an ultrasound. After examining my ovaries she discovered my labs were in fact correct. My ovaries looked like that of a 50 year old woman, her words not mine. It was a now or never type of situation and we made a plan to start hormone injections and IUI. I didn't ovulate with the first round of injections.
Distraught I looked to eastern medicine. Before that I treated myself to a lot of wine and sushi. I visited a Chinese medicine and acupuncture doctor. He asked me a barrage of questions from the flow of my period to which way my uterus was tilted. When he was finished he told me that he would make a tea and that I would drink it twice a day for 2 weeks. Along with the tea I started another round of injections. At my ultrasound appointment I showed a maturing egg and a very thick uterine lining. I was told when to inject the trigger shot and how to transport my husband’s specimen.
IUI is very clinical. You remove your clothes from the waist down. Insert a catheter into your uterus and inject the spun/separated sperm. They have you lay down for 15 mins. I came back the next day and did the process again. Both days they said it was ok to return to work. My 30th birthday fell during my 2 week wait. I did my best to relax and keep my stress to a minimum. The weekend before my next lab draw I experienced the worst cramps of my life and then bleeding. I felt like a failure. My body wasn't able to do something that women have been doing for centuries.
I went to my appt that following week and told the doctor that I needed to take a break. The stress had gotten the best of me and that I would schedule another appt when I was ready to try again. My husband and I filed for divorce a few months later.
It's been 5 years since finding out and I have remained childless. I might adopt one day or be a dog mom. I have a niece and nephew that are my world and light of my life. My hope with sharing my story is to inform women to be their own patient advocates. You know your body best. My gynecologist wouldn’t have done the hormone panel if I hadn't insisted on it. Make sure you look into other treatment options. Treat yourself with kindness every step of the way and above all else know that you are not alone.
Amber Arrollado Feminist hippy and crazy auntie from Long Beach, CA