With just celebrating Mother’s Day, I want to talk about something a little different and more personal to me. You see, I almost didn’t get to have the chance to be a mother of a living child. Something that a lot of people take for granted, was something I had wanted to have so badly and almost missed out on. Before the journey of trying to have a child, I had no idea what it meant to have infertility. I want to share with you my personal struggles with infertility.
I have two goals for this post. The first is that I hope to let other women know that they aren’t alone. I know what it’s like to cry alone in the bathroom, or hide in the office when the news comes out a co-worker is pregnant. Secondly, I hope if you are reading this and have never experienced infertility, you start to think differently about that advise you give a friend who is trying to conceive. Even though you have the best intentions, every woman and every story is different. Just because putting your legs up in the air after sex worked for you, doesn’t mean it works for everyone.
This story starts almost 9 years ago. I remember one morning laying in bed with Josh. We had only been married close to two months. He looked at me and said “Let’s have a baby.” The biggest grin spread across my face. I couldn’t believe this guy was ready to start having a family with me. Like I said earlier, I didn’t know anything about infertility. I mean how hard could be?
The first couple of months I was able to keep pretty sane about everything. As the months drew on I started looking online for ideas on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Quickly I discovered that so many people had so many different opinions on what did and didn’t work. I found the site Cafe Mom and joined up. While I found many women who wanted to support me and others, there were many women who wanted nothing more than to tear others down.
Fighting An Uphill Battle
As that first year drew closer and closer to an end, I started doing more and more research. I discovered a site called Fertility Friend. This site was the most scientific tool I found to help me figure out what was going on. If you are thinking of starting a family or having been trying with no success, I highly recommend looking into this site/app. Believe it or not, trying to get pregnant is actually a lot harder than the girls on “Sixteen And Pregnant” make it look. Did you know that even fully healthy couples only have a 20% chance of conceiving every month? With this site I was able to help pin point the best times for Josh and I to “do the humpty”. As much as the information was helpful, it didn’t make me less anxious and stressful.
I can’t remember exactly when, but around the end of the first year of trying we finally did it. We finally beat those 20% odds and got pregnant. Within a day or two of finding out and telling Josh I woke up one morning to bleeding. I had some pregnancy tests (I should have bought stock in pregnancy tests during those 6 years) and took one to work with me to use. The test was still coming up positive but I was still bleeding. I called my doctor that morning and they had me come in that afternoon. They did an ultrasound and thedoctor couldn’t find anything. He was assuming the pregnancy was in my tubes, aka ectopic.
Looking back now, most likely it was just a “normal miscarriage”. They never did blood work to check my levels. So really there was no basis for him to believe it was ectopic. So I was sent over to the hospital for a shot to make my body miscarry. I tried so hard to hold back the tears as I was walking out of the office but I just couldn’t do it. Before I got out of the door I was crying. I went across the hall to the restroom and cried.
After my first miscarriage our first year of trying was up. I will tell you that is complete bullshit that most doctors make you wait a year of trying to conceive before you are able to go seek the help of specialist. I would hope that now with all these new tools accessible to women, that the one year rule has changed. Unfortunately for us that wasn’t the case. We did get a little of break though. I was able to find an infertility specialist close to the town we live in. Another bonus, Josh’s insurance actually gave us money to put towards infertility treatments. I was starting to think that maybe soon we would be able have our little angel.
Since I had been using the Fertility Friend site, I was able to show him what I thought could have been the issue to me not being able to get pregnant. Both Josh and I had done several tests to find any reason that this wasn’t working. Everything came back normal. Everything. There was no medical explanation as to why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I think if I could have had a reason for it all, it may have made things a little easier for me.
Days Turn To Weeks, Turn To Years
The next several years were some of the hardest ones I have gone through. I became obsessed. Every minute of every day I was thinking about wanting to be pregnant and wanting to have a baby. One day Josh told me that if I wasn’t pregnant by the time he turned 30, he didn’t think he wanted to have kids. He was afraid that the longer it went on, if we did have a child he would be “too old” to play with the child as the child got older. Way to put even more pressure on me! Here is this thing that is supposed to come natural to a woman and I can’t do it.
What is so wrong with me that I can’t do it? Am I such a horrible person that God won’t allow me to have a child, but a baby can be born addicted to heroin, crack or meth? What is wrong with me? Why don’t you just give up? You would probably just be a bad mom anyways. You have done something so horrible in your life that you don’t deserve to have a child. Get use to it. Get over it. You will end up dying alone. No one will know or care that you are even gone. These were things that I was telling myself on almost a daily basis. Several times I tried telling myself that I would be ok if it was just Josh and I. No matter how hard I tried, I knew that was a lie.
Everyone Else But Me
One day I read a post on social media from a relative of Josh’s that said something to the affect of “Maybe the reason you can’t have kids is because of the person you are. You need to ask God for forgiveness.” The post didn’t name any one particular and may have been a general statement but I believed it was directed towards me. So here was one other person who was confirming the things I was telling myself.
One Saturday Josh had told me that the girl who made that post was not only pregnant for the second time, but she was having twins. I calmly got up and went to the bathroom, shut the door and dropped to the floor. I wanted to scream so badly but didn’t want him to hear me. So I screamed silently and proceeded to sob. How could this woman be so publicly mean and be able to have children and I couldn’t?
There was another day at work where I couldn’t hold back. My supervisor had come out and announced to everyone that a co-worker was going to be having a baby. While everyone was giving her hugs and congratulations, I was hiding in the back crying. I wanted to be happy for her but I couldn’t. All I could do was cry. Why couldn’t I be ok and happy for others? Was this how it was going to be for the rest of my life?
Josh and I spent 6 years trying to have a child. During that time I suffered through 8 miscarriages. Eight times I got to see the positive come up on the pregnancy test just to have the pregnancy end immediately. Eight times I got my hopes up and quickly they were taken away. We under went more tests and more procedures. Josh’s 30th birthday came and went and we still didn’t have a baby. I had never wanted anything so badly as this and I knew I couldn’t give up until we had exhausted every last option.
Going into about the 5-5 1/2 year mark we moved forward to In Vitro Fertilization. Josh’s insurance would allow us to undergo one round of egg retrieval and three rounds of implantation. For about a year, or even a little more, I had to give myself injections on just about a daily basis for different reasons. We ended with 6 good eggs that could be used. The first time we implanted two eggs – neither stuck. Here we go again. I think we might be getting somewhere just to get heart broken again. But something in me is telling me I have to keep trying. Why!? Do I like putting myself through this torture? I don’t know but I have to keep going. It’s become a way of life now.
It’s now June of 2015. Josh and I started trying for a baby in August 2009. We were going to be leaving for vacation in a couple weeks and had our appointment for our second round of implantation. Still doing my daily injections, we started to get ready for vacation. I had never been one to not take a pregnancy test at the earliest possible moment so why stop now? Right before we left I took a test and it came back positive. Then the bleeding started.
Waiting For The Shoe To Drop
I can’t believe this is happening again. I am having another miscarriage while I am suppose to be on vacation. How am I going to be able to enjoy this trip knowing this is happening again. I wanted to stop my injections. I wanted to quit and just let the miscarriage happen. Why does the universe hate me so much? Josh wouldn’t let me. As much as I didn’t want to wake up early every morning on vacation and do my shots, he wouldn’t let me stop. He made me keep on doing what I was suppose to be doing.
After we got back from our trip I made an appointment to go in and have another ultrasound done. There was something on this ultrasound we had never seen. There was a sack visible but no baby could be seen. The doctor we had seen that day told us it was too early to tell if anything would come of the pregnancy or not. Ugh, how much longer am I going to be forced to go through this? Within a week or two we were back at my infertility specialist for another ultrasound. My doctor started the process and turned the sound on the machine. There it was. The heartbeat. My hands went to my face and I cried. There is a baby inside me and it has a heartbeat.
I would like to say that I relaxed during the pregnancy, but I didn’t. What was so different about this time around and this pregnancy from all the others? Why should I believe that this pregnancy isn’t going to end at any moment like the other ones did. I was still constantly waiting for that other shoe to drop. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason my little girl stuck around and is here.
Everyone Has A Different Story
After everything is said and done, I still have no answers as to why it took us 6 years to get our daughter and why I had to have 8 miscarriages in the process. I know that my daughter has 8 little guardian angels in Heaven looking down on her. When she was around year old, we decided to go back and try for another child using our last two embryos. Again, it didn’t work. At the end of last year, I opted to have a procedure done so that I can no longer get pregnant or continuously have miscarriages.
Still to this day I can’t understand why someone who has personally gone through infertility feels that it is ok to be rude and nasty to other women going through the same thing. All because they are going about having children differently. Any one who is on the site Cafe Mom, or any other site similarly, is all wanting the same outcome. Who cares if you want to take pregnancy tests a week before your cycle starts! Who cares if you chose to go a natural route vs medications.
Anyone who decides to run a marathon may train a little differently than someone else. Come race day however, even though the runners have trained differently, they all have the same goal. To cross the finish line. If someone goes about trying to conceive differently than you would, don’t judge them or belittle their choices. In the end they have the same end goal as you do; to have a child.
Try to remember that just because the “stop thinking about it and it will happen” method worked for you, doesn’t mean it will work for your friend. It is human nature to offer advise or ideas to someone but a lot of time we just need someone to listen. I wish I had someone that I could have opened up to and they would have responded with “That f*%&#!g sucks and it pisses me off that you have to go through that”. If you are going through something similar, know that I understand and it pisses me off you are going through it!
Life After Infertility
I wasn’t sure I wanted to add this part to the post. After I originally posted I had gotten some great feedback about the post. Some of the feedback was to talk about my daughter and to give hope because the post may be a little more on the negative side. The sad truth is that not everyone gets the happy ending like Josh and I did. We were extremely lucky and was blessed with our daughter on our second round of IVF. For every couple that gets that happy ending, there is at least one if not more couples out their that don’t.
This post may seem a little more on the negative side because it was a very negative period in my life. I was basically in a hidden depression for almost 6 years. I tried to so hard to convince the world, including myself, that I would be ok with out children.
If our daughter hadn’t come into our lives I am sure that eventually I would have been able to accept it. However, it wouldn’t have been for a very long time. Those negative feelings and thoughts are very much real. Real for me and real for so many other woman and couples. Just remember that going through infertility can be the hardest thing someone goes through. While you may get to go home to your family and children your friend, co-worker, neighbor, family member may be struggling with the idea that they are never going to get to have what you have.