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.