Scared of Infertility

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am going on twenty years old this year. I dated a guy from for four years; from the age of barely fourteen to just before I turned eighteen. The first six months we did not use protection (I know it was foolish and risky) but I luckily at the time never became pregnant.

I then started birth control and was on it for almost a full two years until I hit summer time, and in all the confusion of several out-of-town vacations, forgot my birth control at home and ended up missing several pills. I wasn't worried about it because I had missed my birth control several times before with no problems, but I ended up pregnant.

As wrong as I believe it is, because so many healthy anxious young couples can't have their own children, I had an abortion; this is something I regret every day of my life and have nightmares about almost every night even though it is years later.

Anyway, I am with someone who I truly love and hope to spend the rest of my life with, and he returns the feelings. But I am scared, because it has now been 2 1/2 years since I last became pregnant.

I know all about fertility and timing during monthly cycles because after my abortion I decided to become a midwife, but despite the fact I have had unprotected sex at all times of the month (including around the days I should be most fertile) I have not become pregnant well after two years.

My menstrual cycle is not general the standard 4-5 weeks, more like every 5 1/2- 7 weeks, although I have no idea why because I used to have a more average cycle length. I also don't believe it is the male's position in my case, because I have had sex unprotected with a total of three guys since my last pregnancy at all times of my monthly cycle, including the one who originally got me pregnant.

Am I worrying for no reason and over reacting possibly because I am finally ready for kids and it hasn't happened despite the odds for years? Or is this really something that is probably wrong with me because it doesn't seem like I could possibly NOT have gotten pregnant in the past 2 1/2 years unless something is wrong with me?

ANSWER

If you have been actively trying for more than 12 cycles, it is time for both of you to get a check-up.

It will be helpful if you have charted your cycles and can bring your charts with you to your appointment.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

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Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.