Fertility and the path to parenthood

Why does it seem that everyone in the world is pregnant and having babies when you have been trying for years and spend every waking moment thinking about it? I wish I knew. God knows you don’t want to hear the word infertility ever, yet it seems to be on the tip of your tongue and front of your brain constantly.

Nine years ago, when I was 32 and married a few years I thought I could have babies quite easily. Why wouldn’t I, I was young and healthy? Sound familiar? The journey started with my OB whom I had been seeing since I was a teenager. Someone I trusted with my fertility health. Her philosophy with me was, come to me if you don’t get pregnant in 1 year. Needless to say with cycles that varied from 34-49 days using the standard method of ovulation detection was impossible and frustrating. Fast forward to one round of clomid and not even being able to bring my cycle to under 35 days it was scratch that and move on quickly to FSH and insemination. All the standard tests were normal.

The struggle began and so I tried to educate myself on fertility and how to enhance it in any way possible. After two unsuccessful cycles with fertility drugs I made the decision to consult a proven fertility clinic, Connecticut Fertility Associates in Norwalk and Bridgeport. After one cycle resulting in hyperstimulation the suggestion of IVF was made. I was tired and decided to just take a break and keep seeing my acupuncturist to treat my long cycles (possible PCOS) without medical treatments for a while.

I looked for support groups and didn’t find any in the area. However I was anything but private about my fertility health. I found talking with a few friends here and there resulted in finding others who were experiencing or had experienced similar struggles. The support and hope was helpful. Through my fertility journey I went back to school and became a therapist and used my education to help me through the ordeal.

After almost 4 years of trying to get pregnant naturally and with assisted technologies, IVF with acupuncture seemed to be the best combination. This approach resulted in a twin pregnancy and full term birth of healthy boys. Over four years later I can be brought back to that period of time in an instant hearing a story of someone trying to get pregnant or miscarrying.

What I do now in my private practice is help women and their spouses create a fertility plan and increase communication and stress management skills. Starting a support group is another way to help women with stress and create a forum to discuss what only someone who has gone through it can really understand.

What if things are so overwhelming, when do you need help from a professional?

Seek help – ask for a referral from your doctor, look for a therapist on AAMFT website (American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy), your insurance referral list, EAP (Employee Assistance Program), or clergy. Don’t suffer in silence.

Lenore Pranzo, MA, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Redding, CT with a private practice in her home and is a mother of 4 year old twin boys. She works with couples, teens, groups and individuals on issues including substance abuse, fertility, anxiety, depression, marital strain, and stress management.