depression, hubby, infertility, loss, RESOLVE

Infertility does NOT define me.

I recently came across the notebook I carried EVERYWHERE with me when we were in the midst of infertility hell. I would keep track of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Doctor’s appointments, labs, blood work, any and all symptoms that would have everything or nothing to do with trying to get pregnant, and more. I would ask for copies of any paper the doctors had in my charts.

During this time of our serious medical efforts, I was not very public about it. A small handful knew what we were doing. I just did not have the energy to tell everyone around us and then have a million questions about what was happening every single day. And while those inquiries would have come out of love and concern, it would have driven my husband and I insane. This was not a personal affront to anyone, this was survival mode for us. I also belonged to an online message board, which at one point I was a co-community leader of for awhile. It was a great place to discuss what I was going through, with other women who were going through the same thing. I still “talk” to several women I met on that board. They are all amazing women, many with more strength than I could imagine after reading their stories and getting to know them.

Here’s the thing about infertility… It doesn’t matter if you’ve only gone through two rounds of IVF while someone else has gone through five. The pain is no less for you. Or if you lost a baby very early on. The pain is no less. Your infertility journey is yours and yours alone. We are all different, with different issues, and it all hurts just the same.

To date, I have a couple posts on infertility here on my blog:

It’s not that I’ve tried to hide it, I just haven’t focused on it. But I’ve decided that what we went through, may help someone else. So, I’ve decided to share our journey, as it happened. We went through a lot and I almost feel like I’m on the outside looking in as I look back on all this. Here goes…

 

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 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 had his first semen analysis, 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 a second semen analysis, results were 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 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.

 

After this failure, I was so depressed. Within a couple weeks of this, I tried to start running and couldn’t because of the pain deep in my hips from the progesterone injections. It was the lowest of lows. It wouldn’t be long before I headed to my doctor for an anti-depressant which I would take for about 8 months before I got a handle on things and decided I could deal with things on my own.

Three years and five months have passed since that failed IVF and we are STILL paying for it. I can’t tell you how much I hate getting that bill in the mail every month. But, we feel very strongly that we would never know if we had not tried.

Since then, my cycles are all kinds of out-of-whack. My body and I are not best friends, and I often despise it. I briefly went back on the pill to try and regulate my cycles and then quit taking them because I hated it. I also have polyps AGAIN and need to have another hysteroscopy at some point.

Not included in the list above is all the lab work I had done. I was constantly being poked with a needle. I used to be terrified of needles. Who knew I would ever be at the point where I could give myself an injection without thinking twice?

It’s been a long road and I never thought that day we decided to try and have a baby that we would end up without a baby and so much heartache. We spent thousands and thousands of dollars. It’s not at all fair, and what pisses me off the most is that finances and insurance dictate our ability to continue to try to have a baby. And even worse, even if we had all the money in the world to spend, it would not guarantee a baby of our own given our issues.

It amazes me that there are so many people in this world who have children given the difficulty in actually getting pregnant. All starts have to be aligned and it seems nothing short of a miracle that one sperm can find that egg in the small window of time that it needs to.

Through all of this, I still have a husband whole loves and adores me. At the end of the day, we are in this together. There is no blame or anger. I’ve always said that I would rather it be me that is the problem and to carry the burden for the both of us. And when told that I am not meant to have a child, I strongly disagree. I deserve to be a parent just as much as every other person on this earth, as does my husband.

Regardless of my ability to have a child I am still ME. I am a daughter, wife, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, and friend. Infertility does NOT define me.

 

While I am certainly not an expert on infertility, I am open to any questions you may have about our journey.

18 Comments

  1. Wow Nanci, that is quite a story. It just sucks that you had to go through all that and still have to deal with the repercussions. My heart breaks for you and your husband. Thank you for sharing what you went through as I’m sure so many can relate to it and feel less alone for it. You are amazing.

    1. Thank you so much, Caroline. It hasn’t been easy, but I am touched by everyone who thinks I am strong and amazing. It reminds me that I am and I need to rememeber that myself.

  2. jennifer

    I went through the same thing Nancy. Those 3 years that gave me 3 miscarriages were hell and I was changed forever. I will tell you that looking back now, a year and a half later I can tell you that I realized how strong I really am. I started running as a way to get out all the aggression and feelings of failure from IVF and it was the one place where I felt like I was in control and could be successful. There was nothing better than putting on running shoes and hitting the pavement at full force knowing that nothing can hold me back . You are a very strong woman Nancy!

    1. Jennifer, you are a strong woman yourself!! Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is incredibly moving that you are sharing this with us. I’m not at the stage right now where I’m thinking about having children but I have a few older sorority sisters either trying to get pregnant or are pregnant. I had a conversation with one of them recently and she’s having a hard time.

    Good luck with everything. You are amazing.

    1. Hi Grace, thank you Grace. You are so sweet. Hugs.

  4. Nanci, what a story. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all of this. I’ve learned so much about the struggle of infertility since I started blogging and it breaks my heart for each and every woman out there who is going through a struggle trying to conceive. It sucks that you still have to pay for your medical bills from years ago. Just doesn’t seem fair. Sending you hugs!!!

    1. I actually started reading blogs during our infertility struggles. I wasn’t able to blog about it myself, but I thought so highly of the women who shared every bit of their journey. Having shared my story, I am so glad that I did. Thanks Susi!

  5. Infertility not something I know about thankfully but my heart goes out to all those who have to deal with it, it should not define you or any woman no one thinks less of a man if he can’t have children but if a woman can’t or doesn’t have children she is often considered less a woman which really pisses me off…….

    1. It is very sad when a women is seen as something less because she cannot have a child. I refuse to be that person. I am every bit as important as someone who can have a child. Thank you for reading, always love hearing from you.

  6. Kat

    Thanks so much for sharing your story Nanci! It does NOT define you! A family is so much more than DNA or genetics…I’ve made piece with us not having kids or if we do decide to, us having them. I’ve thought through all of the possibilities because of seeing friends go through so much while others just have kids so easily….life isn’t fair….but its meant to be lived to the fullest! 😉 xo

    1. Kat, it definitely isn’t fair but I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband who loves me regardless. Thank you so much for the love!

  7. Wow. This post absolutely brought me to tears. What a story of struggle and, more importantly, courage. Thank you for sharing this I am sure it is going to help many women who will come across it.

    1. That was my goal, to try and help women going through the same thing. It wasn’t until I had a miscarriage that I realized just how common they are. I know I am not alone. Thank you for reading.

  8. Nanci! I so feel for you and your husband, it sucks hugely that you guys had to go through this and after all that struggle, still don’t have your dream. Of course this doesn’t define you and of course you deserve to be parents. One thing I just can’t shake off from reading your story, your first pregnancy – you must have fallen pregnant at the exact same time as I did, my eldest son was born on 21 September 2007 and I can’t help but think how easy that could have been my story, and Nanci I so wish it wasn’t yours. You’re strong lady, I hope whatever happens in the future you and your husband never feel lacking or undefined. Best wishes!

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

  9. Debbie B.

    Such a well written post. I loved reading it even if it broke my heart. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Debbie. It was a hard one to write but I feel better getting it out there.

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