This is difficult to write. It’s raw, meaningful, emotional, and painful. I’ve be contemplating for years sharing my story and experience with others. I have slowly opened up to those that I find are also struggling or with those who know of others experiencing what I have. For a long time, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed over the fact that I was “broken” and felt inferior. As my wounds have healed emotionally, physically, and mentally, I’m slowly learning that I may be able to help others during their difficult time. Before I continue, I ask that you keep an open mind and are not quick to judge me, my husband, or my children. That’s one of my biggest fears about opening up, is being judged and being looked down upon.
As I am writing this, the tears are beginning to swell in my eyes as they always do, and I contemplate not continuing to write. It’s that difficult. But I will push on. Everyone has their sad stuff—mine happens to be that I couldn’t have my own child naturally with the man I love. When my husband and I became engaged we agreed we wanted to start trying for a family immediately after we were married. My whole life I wanted to be a mother. I knew that no matter what career I would have in life, or how successful (or lack thereof) I was, I would succeed at being a great mother. And now that I am one, I truly believe I am a great mom to my kids. We married in July and after trying to conceive, I knew something wasn’t right and could feel it in my gut. In October, we decided to a see a fertility doctor. That doctor prescribed me pills to take in order to better our chances at conceiving…it didn’t work. I spent months researching natural ways to help us. Nothing worked at all. Then I listened to people’s advice and “tried not to stress” and go on vacation and “enjoy” myself and it would happen. It didn’t. I had women around me getting pregnant left and right. Every time I logged onto social media, I would see a pregnancy announcement. I died a little inside with each announcement. In March, we decided to see a new fertility doctor. He basically told me that all the roads from my brain to my ovaries were closed. They weren’t working properly, and I would most likely never conceive on my own. My husband and I had to have genetic testing done and bloodwork. I had to be constantly monitored (super early morning appointments before work), have constant bloodwork, have in-office procedures done to figure out what might be going on, deal with crazy amounts of paperwork, and insurance company issues. It’s a long process when you’re going through fertility. Our insurance company told us we had to try an IUI before IVF. I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to work. I had been CRYING myself to sleep every night since October. I prayed every day for a miracle. It consumed my every thought. I was miserable. I even told my husband to leave me and find a woman who wasn’t broken. Finally, in June we had the IUI. It didn’t work. We moved right along to have our first IVF. It was intense. The medicine was stronger. I felt horrible. Emotionally, physically, mentally…horrible. The medicine takes such a toll on your body. It changes you in every aspect. Our insurance paid for almost all the medicine and it completely covered the costs of the procedures. Other couples are not that lucky.
Please keep in mind that when you are prepping for a new round you must follow the doctor’s instructions perfectly and you must give yourself shots if you don’t have someone else to do it for you. The shots suck, but I became a pro. You have to plan your days, weeks, and weekends around constant early monitoring, what if you go somewhere and have to do your shots that need to be refrigerated, when you might be having your egg retrieval and when your embryo transfer will be. Other added stresses include…your retrieval being cancelled due to not responding to the meds properly, not retrieving enough eggs, the eggs not fertilizing correctly, your transfer being cancelled, or the transfer not working. We had our first round of IVF in September. It worked. Our first round worked. The 9 days between the embryo transfer and finding out were the longest 9 days of my life. (I ate pineapple, only hot or warm foods, wore socks everyday to keep my uterus warm, and other superstitious things.) I had my Fin. I continued to have to take shot (in my upper butt) for 12 weeks. Every night I sat on the couch with heating pads on the bruises.
My pregnancy wasn’t easy. We had numerous scares. One being that Fin may have a heart issue. This is common in IVF babies. I felt so guilty that my poor unborn baby may have an issue with his heart because I was too broken to conceive him naturally. I felt like I lived at the pediatric cardiologist and high-risk doctor’s office. Fin was born in June (with no drugs, ouch), taken to the NICU, and monitored for his heart. He was born with a unique heart that I can share in another post, but he is healthy and happy.
Imagine having to hold this all in all the time. People who constantly make comments not knowing what I had went through. Every pregnant woman I saw I would wonder; did she conceive naturally, or did she go through fertility as well? I wanted to talk to others but was too embarrassed. I found comfort in connecting through women in other states going through the fertility process the same time as me. We didn’t know each other but we were there for one another.
My goal was to breastfeed Fin until he was 1 because it made me feel like a woman again. I was able to do something that others struggled with. It made me feel whole. Once I was done, we decided to jump right into this whole process again. We wanted a second child and basically gave up on trying naturally. We had 5 embryos frozen and wanted another baby. We started the process in July and my body wasn’t responding to the medicine. There were obstacles we faced again, I had to undergo a hysteroscopy but in October we had our transfer and it worked. I knew it had worked though. I knew I was pregnant, and I knew I was having a girl, my gut and heart told me. (No, we did not know the genders of our embryos.)
This pregnancy was not an easy one either. Hazel had kidney issues and it needed to be monitored. (She is currently still being monitored.) I was diagnosed with polyhydramnios and once again lived at the high-risk doctor’s office. But Hazel was born in July and is happy and healthy.
1 in 10 couples are dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. That is a shit load of people. We really need to talk about it more and be more sensitive.
I used to think and still wonder…
What did I do wrong in my life that God punished me by not allowing me to have children on my own?
How does God pick and choose who can become pregnant just by “blinking”?
Why are crackheads blessed with having kid after kid, only to have them taken away? Yet, loving couples can’t conceive at all?
Am I eating something to cause this or should I be eating something to help make this all go away?
What will I tell my children when they grow up? How will I explain to them that I didn’t have them “naturally”?
Will people look at me differently? Will they view me as broken?
Infertility is a disease like cancer. And you cannot just relax for it to go away. Just like you can’t relax in order to cure cancer. Some couple do rounds and rounds and rounds of IVF. Some couples have it work but have a pregnancy loss down the road. That’s what sucks. You go through this to get pregnant, become pregnant, and spend the whole pregnancy worried you might lose the baby because of your fertility problems.
I just want to let you or anyone you know that it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be angry, like super angry. It’s ok to not want to get out of bed in the morning. It’s ok to scream! No one knows what it is like to go through this unless you have. I am here for you. I’m willing to help in anyway, to make it easier. I know that pregnancy announcements all over social media are hard and you want to rip your heart out and set it on fire every time you see one. My best advice is to try find something to become passionate about. Find an outlet. After I had Fin, I found CrossFit and it became my outlet. I wish I found it sooner. I go to let out all my frustrations and anger that I have built up inside. While I’m soooooo happy I have my two beautiful children I am still angry. But I use that anger to get stronger—physically and mentally so that I can be the best version of myself for my children. PLEASE reach out to me, I want to be there for you.
I used to have people tell me “Everything happens for a reason.” Well I have no idea what the reasoning is for what I went through. Hopefully one day, I will find out. Apparently God gives you only things you can handle, not sure why he thought I could handle this all.
So please do not ask anyone “WHEN ARE YOU HAVING KIDS?” If you know someone going through infertility, please do not say “Don’t worry, it will happen.” or “Try not to stress.” It’s kind of hard not to stress about the one thing you want more than anything else.
I read this the other day and it is on point—Infertility is a medical condition which diminishes self-esteem, your social life, as well as checking and savings accounts. Causes sudden urges to pee on sticks, cry, scream, and a fear of pregnancy announcements: treated by a medical expert who you pay to knock you up (This does not always work).