31, fertility and me

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    Good morning everyone from a very gloomy UK!
    I would like to introduce myself as a 31 year old women, who has been in a relationship for 13 years with my husband, on fertility treatment and whilst trying regularly for a baby was diagnosed with Herpes.
    Throughout my university years I would always have flare ups of ‘vaginal/labia splitting’ this would come and go with stress and although uncomfortable I never really thought much of it. I used to get the occasional cold sore but again, nothing too concerning.
    I put feeling ‘run down’ due to stress of uni, studying to become a nurse and living away from home.
    Fast forward a few years and into my late 20s, I was working full time as a nurse, trying to be in a relationship with someone in the army and I always thought my stress levels were easily settled.
    Year after year, I would get vulva tearing and finally after a smear I was asked to be referred to a specialist. I was seen, swabbed, given steroid creme and soap substitute and diagnosed with genital psoriasis (all STI came back clear- thankfully after being in a relationship for 10 years I hoped this would be the case).
    The cremes and washes helped whenever I had an outbreak, but there were still moments when I would feel down below and think “when am I going to feel better?”
    Sex has always been a concern, my husband is quite ‘big’ which isn’t always a good thing when you have vaginal problems, we have great sex but at times I can be in a lot of pain. This is a bit of a running joke between us, that my vagina obviously dislikes the goods received.
    Now moving into my 30s, my friends are having babies, people are moving on in their lives, my husband and I decided that maybe we should try. 1 and a half years later with no success (although not actively trying before this, we never used protection so unsure how I never fell pregnant) our alarm bells began to ring!
    We visited our GP who started the process, semen samples, blood tests, internal ultrasounds.. everything was normal and the drs couldn’t understand why we were having trouble except for “it must just be timing!”
    I was started on clomid which gave me the worst hot flashes, made me extremely agitated and emotional (which is not normal
    For me), I was researching every symptom, thinking about it 1000000 times a day and I just couldn’t let it rest, we were having regular FORCED unsexy sex which made me feel horrendous and crushed mine and my husband libido. Fast forward to two days before my period … on my FIRST cycle of clomid. I began to feel burning and itching in my vagina. My period arrived with vengeance (I felt gutted about not being pregnant). I started my SEcOND cycle of clomid and then I felt different down below, I felt my vulva tearing (was this from all the sex we had?), I immediately rang my GP who re prescribed the steroid cremes and wash however after 2 days the symptoms worsened, I now had blisters and ulcers around my vulva, labia, vaginal opening and right up to my anus and bum crack. I knew something wasn’t right. The pain was unbearable, there was puss and oozing, I couldn’t pass urine without crying and whenever I moved I would fee every single bit of skin rip! On a Sunday evening I couldn’t take it much longer, I rang our NHS 111 who immediately referred me for an urgent appointment. The DR took one look at me and said “I think you might have Herpes”. I was stunned! How could I have Herpes? But it made sense. Years of memories came flooding back, the flare ups, the way it felt and looked and how I didn’t really do much about it until I was older. I probably had dormant herpes for a long long time but it has taken a stressful month for it to rear it’s ugly head.
    The next day (during the pandemic) I travelled 40miles to the nearest STI clinic the only place who had space to see me, they swabbed me and said that it is most definitely Herpes but that I must wait for the result without overthinking.
    I left the clinic feeling emotional but OK about what the result might say. What can I do about it other than be honest and learn to love myself?
    For me it was the psychological implications, trying for a baby, doing all that I can but then falling ill with someone which now made it physically impossible to try for a baby. I’m not halfway through my second cycle of clomid I’m on my fertile window but the sores are so bad I can’t even think about making baby let alone sex! This seems like a wasted month.
    My husband has been understanding and has told me to come off the clomid as it clearly has effected me. I will not be taking my next months dose- what will be will be!
    I have started aciclovir to help clear the ulcers and I’m taking regular pain meds.
    I am obviously new to all this but as a nurse I understand that lack of self care is the biggest reason for us becoming unwell, this is something I have neglected this month! And although I am awaiting my result I am 99% sure that what I have is Herpes and I will strive to be as confident, open and honest with myself moving forward. Once I am healed, I will do what I can to make myself the happiest I’ve ever been.
    I think herpes might have saved me!

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