You are not alone.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I struggled with writing this post because it has been years since our infertility struggles, but I realized it is still very much a part of who I am and I know that I am not alone. So, I am taking part in the Bloggers Unite Challenge.
It is so easy to feel like you are the only one dealing with infertility when you are going through it. It feels like everyone around you is pregnant and having babies. You feel like life is incredibly unfair and you just cannot understand why it’s so easy for others to get pregnant and you cannot. The range of emotions on any given day can knock even the strongest person to their knees.
Back in 2012, I shared a history of our journey in hopes of helping someone. Just to let someone who may read my little blog going through the same thing know that they are not alone. This is still my goal so I will share that history again. Every bit of this was kept in a notebook that I carried everywhere with me, to all my doctor’s appointments, and more.
August 2006 – Went off birth control pill (we were married 5 years by this time and after swearing for years that we weren’t going to have kids, we decided we really wanted to). Since I had been on the pill for years and I was not sure how my cycles would be on their own, I started taking my temps daily from the get-go.)
January 12, 2007 – Positive pregnancy test!!!! So much excitement in our family!!
January 22, 2007 – First OB appointment, in-office pregnancy test confirmed, due date of 09/19/07.
January 25, 2007 – Miscarriage, confirmed by ultrasound. I was just one day away from being 6 weeks. It seemed like days for it to end, and we were told by my doctor to wait two months before trying again. Despite how “early” this was, we were devastated. There are no words to explain how awful it was.
March 2007 – Started trying again, determined to not let the fear stop us.
May 2007 – Started taking progesterone at end of cycles.
June 2007 – Hubby was tested, results came back fine.
August 2007 – Started taking Clomid (3 cycles – days 5-9 of cycle). I really thought this would do the trick, as my mom had to take Clomid (and progesterone) to have all 4 of us kids. Clomid, by far, was the worst thing I took or did out of everything. I had hot flashes, headaches, I easily put on 10 pounds in one month, and it just made me a not-very-nice person. The fact that it did not result in a baby made it even worse.
November 2007 – Started taking Femara instead of Clomid (days 5-9 of cycle). I only took this for one month. Effects not as bad as Clomid, but resulted in a whacky cycle. This month I stopped taking my temps daily. I also had a transvaginal ultrasound which showed a suspicious area. A second ultrasound confirmed it and it was recommended that I have a D&C / Hysteroscopy to remove polyps.
January 2008 – D&C / Hysteroscopy removed polyps and advised to continue trying au natural.
April 2008 – Hubby went for another test, results were again fine. About this time, I had to go on anti-anxiety medicine because of the stress not getting pregnant.
May 2008 – HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) – This is an x-ray with dye to show any blockages, which showed that my tubes were clear. Because there is sometimes a greater chance of getting pregnant immediately after an HSG, I went back on Clomid for 2 more cycles, same as before. It was just as bad as the first time, but I was willing to endure anything at this point.
June 2008 – Started seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
June 2008 – Decided to proceed with IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) with injectables. All of this was out pocket, thanks to lack of coverage on our insurance with Aetna. This cycle failed.
October 2008 – Wrote a letter to my husband’s employer in regards to the lack of infertility coverage on our insurance policy. I provided examples of how 91% of those offering infertility treatment did not experience an increase in medical costs, and that including comprehensive infertility coverage in a health benefit package may actually reduce costs and improve outcomes. Sadly, our concerns did not influence or result in any changes in the policies offered.
December 2008 – Went in for another Hysteroscopy after polyps were found again.
March 2009 – We were told about an infertility study which I inquired about. This study was for IVF (in-vitro fertilization) for a reduced rate. This was a procedure we could not even consider without this study. Again, this was all out of pocket. Once we knew we qualified, we had to make the quick decision to proceed (a stressful, emotional decision because of the costs involved).
April 2009 – Had to immediately go in for another Hysteroscopy to remove polyps yet again that would disqualify me from the study. It’s a miracle that the timing on my cycle was right for this and that I could have the procedure and still start meds as planned. Shortly after the procedure, I went on the pill as the first step of the IVF (the most ironic thing I did throughout all of this…). The end of April, I started injections.
May 2009 – The first two weeks of this month was a blur of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, and blood work. Mid-month I had the embryo transfer after 3 days and then started progesterone injections. My mom had to do these for me, in my backside, alternating each side daily. Out of all the injections I had to endure, these were the most painful as they went in the muscle. I was bruised and sore. This IVF cycle had the most riding on it, was the most emotional, and when it resulted in a negative pregnancy test, was the most painful. It was the end of the line for us due to all the money we had spent, and would pay on for years. Not to mention the extra 10 pounds I packed on from the injections. Based on my response to the treatment, it was determined that I basically have bad eggs.
Looking back, I don’t know how we endured all of this. It was so hard, which seems like such an understatement. Every month seemed endless, always waiting for the next step in my cycle. What would happen? What would we do if it didn’t work? Could we take yet another negative test?
But, we were not alone in this. We were loved and supported along the way, from near and far. Not everyone knew what we were going through as it happened, but we knew that people knew we were trying and supporting us. And most important of all, hubby and I supported each other every step of the way.
Having a miscarriage, no matter how early on in a pregnancy, is hard. It hurts. And it never goes away. It didn’t matter that I was just shy of 6 weeks when we lost our baby, we were already very attached, and dreaming and planning a life for the little being that would grow in my belly. Despite all our efforts and medical intervention, I would never again have a positive pregnancy test. It was just not meant to be.
I was once told that I was not meant to be a mother. Besides the fact that this is probably the most hurtful thing you could ever say to someone who has lost a baby and cannot get pregnant, it is simply not true. I am positive I would make a wonderful mother if given the chance. Just because I don’t get that chance doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be.
We should have an 8 year old child now. Every January, I think about our loss. It’s hard to not think about the milestones we miss out on as each year passes, but I also don’t focus on it as much as I used to. It was just not meant to be. It sounds harsh – and it is – but coming to that realization has made coping with it easier, so to speak.
Regardless of the fact that I cannot have children, it does not define who I am. It does not make me any less of a woman. It has taken awhile to really believe this, but I do now. I am many things… I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, and yes, even a dog-mom.
If you take anything away from this post – whether you have struggled with infertility, or if know someone who has, please know that you are not alone. There are so many resources out there to help you cope. You can visit the National Infertility Association (Resolve.org) for more information.