This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and I thought it would appropriate to open my heart and begin to share my story. I am not writing this post to complain about the path God gave me, but rather to give hope to other women. After going through infertility struggles, I’ve realized there are so many other women out there suffering through the same emotional and physical difficulties. I wish I had talked about my infertility with more people because now I realize the support we can offer one another. I have several close friends going through infertility and the battle is hard.
As a woman, it is one of the most painful realizations to discover your body can’t do the one thing you were made for. Yes there is more to life than just being a mother, but when you yearn for something more than anything else and can’t have it, the emptiness inside is almost unbearable. I hope by sharing our journey it offers advice and insight for others. I’ve tried to attach links for the procedures and vocabulary that may sound unfamiliar. There was SOO MUCH I didn’t know when this all began. I had so many questions—and I wish I would’ve had more people to talk to who understood.
So here is my story for you.
When my husband and I got married almost 8 years ago, I had a plan. We would wait 2 years and then try to start a family. I wanted 4 or 5 children and would be done having them by the time I was 32. (I should learn to stop planning!)
In the fall of 2010 we decided to start trying for children. After several months of negative pregnancy tests, I thought maybe it was just taking us longer than most people. I read you are supposed to wait a year before heading to the doctor so we kept trying and we waited…
After waiting a year we found a fertility doctor and scheduled an appointment. I didn’t really know what to expect other than hoping they would say we had nothing to worry about. The doctor gave us the low-down on all the tests we would have done. Blood work, tests for my husband, and a not so comfortable hysterosalpingogram.
Everything came back normal and the doctor suggested we try several rounds of Clomid. More time passed and the next procedure was to try Clomid with IUI. We did 3 months of this. Clomid can be hard on your body so we took a break from trying when it wasn’t successful. In the summer of 2012, we moved from Ohio to Texas so things were put on hold.
In the fall of 2012 we found another fertility doctor in Texas. Thankfully we were able to send all our test results from Ohio so we didn’t have to start the process completely over. The doctor wanted to try a couple more rounds of IUI, so we did. And again, it didn’t work. There was one test I had not had done, a laparoscopy, because surgery is always a risk. But with no other answers, I decided to have the laparoscopy, in February of 2013. After the surgery WE HAD ANSWERS. I had Stage 3 Endometriosis (Stage 4 is the worst). This explained a lot since I’d been having cramps/pains for so many years.
They removed as much of the endometriosis as they could including my entire appendix! Doctors do not completely understand the relationship between Endometriosis and Infertility and many times, women will get pregnant naturally after having a laparoscopy…so after my surgery WE WAITED again. That summer we tried 2 more rounds of IUI and again no baby.
After 3 years of trying, I was mentally drained by this point. We decided to take a break and just focus on our marriage. We were both busy with work so thankfully it took my mind off of things somewhat.
Facebook can be the worst though…every pregnancy announcement from someone I knew just brought pain, not because I wasn’t happy for those expecting, but their announcements reminded me of what I couldn’t have. I deleted Facebook for awhile.
After a lot of prayer and waiting another year— we felt we were ready to try In Vitro Fertilization (IVF.) Before, I was always afraid to try IVF because we didn’t have answers. But with a diagnosis of Endometriosis, I hoped IVF would work.
So in the summer of 2014 we started this next step. IVF is an INTENSE process. There are A TON of medications—including oral meds and injections. Injections in the morning and evening for two weeks, along with ultrasounds everyday to check the size of the eggs growing inside of me.
When the doctor decided the eggs were ready, an egg retrieval was scheduled and I switched to another injection.
The egg retrieval takes about 30 minutes but requires anesthesia. I was happy when it was over!
That day they allowed the eggs to fertilize with my husband’s sperm…yes it’s all very weird sci-fi stuff, but we wanted a baby!!
We had several eggs fertilize, so 5 days later our embryo transfer was scheduled. (If you’ve seen Baby Mama it will give you a little insight haha!)
On the day of the embryo transfer I had some encouraging words from Liz and my good friend Katelyn. I saved them because they mean so much to me.
From Katelyn: “Be still my soul, Your God will undertake, To guard your future as he has the past. Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake. All now mysterious, shall be bright, at last!” (From Be Still My Soul)
From Liz: My heart has been fixed on you this morning. Praying for God to do big things and satisfy your heart’s desire. ❤
Through the next few days I had A LOT of pain. There was even one night I wanted my husband to take me to the ER (since he is an ER doctor he assured me it was all ok.) The fertility doctor explained my pain was due to my ovaries swelling from carrying all the eggs which would go down eventually. I took my cheerleading team to camp which kept my mind off the waiting process for a few days. My good friend and assistant coach Jeanelle even helped me with some progesterone injections during the trip haha!
10 days later we took a pregnancy test and…
That was the first test I’d taken since 2010 that was positive!
I had to stay on progesterone injections until I was 10 weeks along. The whole process is still so fascinating to me! I will tell you LAUGHTER is what kept my husband and I sane through it all. We tried to laugh and smile at everything…you have to, otherwise it’s just too much.
We prayed a lot as well. We prayed that whatever God had planned for us, we would have peace in our hearts.
In the end, we were fortunate to only have to do one round of IVF. Many couples go through two or three cycles (VERY EXPENSIVE…many can’t afford to try it even once sadly) with no pregnancy and this breaks my heart. It is so draining physically and emotionally.
We stored our “frozen babies” and will try for more when the time is right. But for now we are thankful for our little miracle and all the joy she brings us! I now know, God made me wait for His perfect time.
I will say to those of you who thankfully do not have to experience infertility— think about what you say to people. I hated people asking my husband and me when we were going to have children…I wanted to scream at them each time, but they didn’t know. Just remember you don’t know what people are going through…in all walks of life.
Be sensitive and compassionate, but don’t pity them. Just be there for them. I wish I had talked about my struggles when I was having them. I kept them all bottled up and had A LOT OF ANGER in my heart. I talked with family and some friends, but still feel I would have coped a lot better had I shared my struggles.
Again, I am thankful for God’s timing. He grew me in ways I desperately needed and opened my eyes to the struggles of others, not just when it comes to infertility. I pray this post will encourage you and since God’s timing is always perfect, Facebook reminded me of this quote I posted on this exact day three years ago:
“At Calvary, Christ experienced the agony of the cross, the weight of the world’s sin, and the wrath of God the Father. Yet through all His ordeal, which is beyond our comprehension, Jesus took some moments to show compassion to others who were hurting. That’s a pattern we are to follow. We should never be so overwhelmed with our own pain and trials—and certainly not life’s routine, daily cares, and burdens—that we lose sight of others’ needs.”