Welcome to our series Fertility, Unfiltered. Here, we share the unspoken stories of fertility, a topic all too often off-limits in a society that likes a happy ending. But often, the path to parenthood isn't a straight line. And we want to talk about the twist and turns—or hey, the loops—that come up along the way. From egg freezing to IVF, no topic is off-limits. Today's check-in: Katrina Symonds Hellman. The LA-based creative sharing her ongoing fertility journey as it unfolds in her own words. Follow her journey below and on social @katrinasymonds.
Confession: I really didn’t want to write this month.
In the past, I’ve found writing about my fertility experience to be both cathartic and reflective, but this month I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been dealt a weird packet of unknowns and all I can do is stay the course. Fertility is like a game of Monopoly. It requires chance, luck, skill, investment, fortitude, pacing, panic, time out, progression and tenacity. You have to stop. Now, start. You owe money. You won! Just kidding. STAY IN JAIL. Luckily, you're out. Now, continue along.
"Fertility is like a game of Monopoly. It requires chance, luck, skill, investment, fortitude, pacing, panic, time out, progression and tenacity."
I flew to Sydney, Australia with my body in purgatory waiting on my period to return from my miscarriage. I knew that when my period finally did come I would be due back at my doctor to restart my IVF train. On my ninth day I finally bled. It wasn't so much a period as some spotting, but that was enough for me to book into my doctor and fly back to LA feeling grateful. It’s the little wins.
I asked my doctor if this time I could stay off the pill and Lupron, a drug in my protocol, to help with the adverse effects I felt it had on my mental health. He obliged. Another win. But he requested I do a HSS test to make sure my uterus was in good health. I was annoyed. A setback.
I went in begrudgingly and lay on the gurney, feet in stirrups. Everything was looking okay...and then we saw something. A damn abnormal mass in my upper uterus. We had no idea what it was but the next step was me coming back in, going under again and removing it. Stuck in jail. Do not pass go. I cried back at home, felt sorry for myself, and prepped my body for the surgery. Back in the same room where I had my miscarriage DNC, I went under for a hysteroscopy where they removed the unknown mass in my uterus.
Next week, my doctor called to inform me that the "mass" in my uterus tissue was in fact placenta tissue from my miscarriage, but that it was all removed now and I was cleared to keep going. Pass go! In retrospect, I guess that’s why my period never came back and all I had was spotting. I was relieved. At last, we could move forward. Then, he called with more annoying news. Debt collection. I had a cyst in my ovary. It was nothing, drugs could help, but I had to delay moving forward. The worst part? The prescription was a double dose of the pill everyday to balance my hormones—the same pill I'd kindly declined a few weeks back. Back in jail. The cyst came and went and here I am now: gearing up to—finally—try again. The board is wide open and I'm ready to roll the dice.
Are you currently TTC? Join our community, Village by Perelel, to connect and find support from women going through the same and follow Katrina on social for more Fertility, Unfiltered content like this. Plus, shop OB/GYN-founded vitamins specifically formulated for fertility now.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.