Though Endometriosis Awareness Month has passed, we at EggFund believe it’s important to shine a light on this condition beyond the confines of March. To do so, we reached out to advocate, blogger and endometriosis warrior, April Christina, to share her experience with endometriosis and how it has impacted her fertility journey. As always, for those of you who are looking to grow your family, we are here to support you in making funding that journey as painless as possible!
I started my menstruation when I was nine years old. Yes! Nine years old. While others my age were playing outside with their friends, I was reading books to understand what a menstrual cycle is and how to properly apply a sanitary pad. I dealt with heavy bleeding, nausea, and vomiting all the way up to my teenage years. As I got older, it got so bad there were times I was unable to get out the bed due to pain in my legs. This went on for over a decade before I was officially diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found on the outside of the uterus. It can spread to various parts of the body causing heavy bleeding and excruciating pain to say the least. Having a chronic condition has by far been a journey. One that I never asked for, or wished I had. It brings so many highs and lows, unfortunately without any precursor of emotional warning.
Now that it has been more than 10 years since being diagnosed, I thought I had a handle on my body. I decided to take a holistic approach to endometriosis and dealing with my pain. With that, I assumed everything else was in the clear. Unfortunately, I was in for a rude awakening when I found out that my fertility was affected due to endometriosis. I was devastated. I had mastered dealing with one condition and had no clue on how to deal with another diagnosis. It has now been three years since being diagnosed with infertility. When I initially embarked on my fertility journey, I had no rubric of what to do first to ensure my body was ready to carry a child. I have three tips if you feel you are in that place of where to get started:
Check Your Blood Levels – Your AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels are two of the most important blood levels to have checked as it deals with fertility. Your AMH indicates the number of available eggs you have, while your FSH shows how your follicles development to produce and mature eggs. I know firsthand how making an appointment to see a reproductive specialist can be nerve wrecking. To alleviate the pressure, ask your OB/GYN so you have a baseline of your fertility potential. That way when you’re ready to see a reproductive specialist you are already aware.
Ask Questions – My rule of thumb is if you’re thinking about it, ask it! Because I must plan to have a baby, there are no questions that I am ashamed of asking – and neither should you. There are so many things that take place while on your fertility journey, having your physician answer your questions can alleviate some of the emotional stress attached to family planning.
Take Rest – Mind, body, and soul. Embarking on your fertility journey can be rewarding and exhausting simultaneously. Take a day to do nothing, or stay in a hotel for a day. You’ll be surprised how much a difference of a day makes when you are able to clear your mind. Even if that is not financially feasible for you, watch your favorite tv show. You know what they say: laughter is good for the soul!
I know embarking on alternative options from family planning can be overwhelming. If you have another condition, it can be taxing undergoing fertility options. Finding ways that will help your process is half battle. I always say: your pace, your race. Take the time you need to go through this journey. I’m rooting for you!