“Infertility” can really take its toll. I say “infertility” because we never actually had problems getting pregnant. We just had issues with the baby sticking and developing. This was a huge distinction when fighting with insurance companies to try to get some of our tests covered.
After nearly three years suffering through recurrent miscarriage and chemical pregnancies, my wife Janette and I finally decided to take a break from trying and just live our lives without worrying about schedules, drugs, hormones and expensive solutions. During this time, without drugs, with a single tube and an egg that should probably never have managed to make its way to where it needed to be, we somehow managed to get pregnant, and it looks like everything is sticking this time. I never thought seeing a tiny heartbeat would change me the way it has.
My wife wrote the post below in the hope that it can help others suffering through the trauma that we endured for years. You are not alone.
Growing up I was never the girl who knew she wanted to be a mom. It was actually quite the opposite. I was going to have the career, maybe get married at some point, but that wasn’t a necessity. Even after getting married at 24, I was still sure that I never wanted children. I told myself we were too busy; it just wasn’t that important.
In late fall/early winter 2012 my Grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, the bad kind, the kind that you can’t fix and my feelings on family started to change. I had a pretty large family growing up. I was raised in a house with my parents, my sister, my grandparents (my grandmother lost the ability to move in her 40s and we took care of her), and my aunt and uncle. So, when my Grandfather got sick, it made me start to question some of my choices. Right before my Grandfather left us, he told my husband and I that the only regret he had in life was not having more children, that all of us were what was most important in life.
My husband and I ended up having many a late night discussion on our family, what we wanted and what was important to us. We decided that we did want to be parents, which came as a huge shock to me. We wanted to share our lives with someone else, and hopefully help them to become a great person.
I spoke with my doctor in May 2013, went off birth control in September 2013, and we started trying in November 2013. The week before Christmas I found out I was pregnant. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t get pregnant right away, or that we would have any issues. Yes, my dad’s side of the family had a history of miscarriage, but that wasn’t going to be me. I was going to be just like my sister, who by this point had two little boys.
Two days after New Year Day I woke up bleeding. I have never felt so scared or helpless in my life. After having the sonogram done, we were told that I just must not be as far along as I thought. I was measuring at four weeks, not six and a half. The next day at the doctor’s office was the first time I heard the phrase “blighted ovum”. We didn’t do anything wrong, the baby just didn’t develop like it should. Being told it was not my fault didn’t make me feel better, neither did all the people who told me “it just wasn’t meant to be” and “it will happen someday”. I wasn’t prepared for the guilt I felt that first time. I have a family history, so it had to be my fault.
The next time I got pregnant and lost it was on Memorial Day of that same year. Same situation, so my doctor felt comfortable sending me to a fertility specialist. After five months of testing with no answers, I found out I was pregnant in November. I felt some of the more typical pregnancy symptoms, so I was sure this one would be ok. We went on a trip to Iceland, and on the way home, I started bleeding. This time I was told the pregnancy was ectopic and I needed emergency surgery to remove the baby and one of my tubes.
After that we moved half way across the country, I found a new fertility specialist and the tests started again. I was able to get pregnant twice more, this time with the help of some fertility meds, and both times, we had the same results; blighted ovum. This is when we were told that we probably wouldn’t be able to get and sustain a pregnancy without help, so we decided to try IVF. Unfortunately, it wasn’t covered by our insurance, so we would have to come up with $20,000.00 on our own. At this point we decided we were tired. Tired, of the weekly doctors’ visits, the blood tests, the sample collections, the biopsies, the HSGs, the sonograms, and the constant schedules we had to keep as to when we were allowed to be intimate. We were going to wait six months and then go from there.
After two years we still hadn’t been able to keep a pregnancy. No blog, or website, or well-meaning doctor or friend can help you through the nightmare that your life becomes. The guilt (my family has a history so it has to be my fault), the anger (why does everyone else deserve to have a baby and not me), the shame (I can’t seem to get right the one thing my body was designed to do) and the self-loathing (my husband is going through all of this because I am defective). I can’t begin to articulate the depression you fall into or the toll it takes on your marriage. Even going to the grocery store becomes difficult, everyone else seems to be able to have the child you want so badly. I remember looking at my nephews and being jealous of my sister. She had these two beautiful boys, why didn’t I deserve that?
Ultimately I decided to give up. I wasn’t going to be able to have the child like I wanted, so I would put it aside. I decided to focus on my house and my marriage again. So what if it still hurt every time I heard a baby cry a store or how sad it made me to see diaper commercials on TV. I needed to make my life worth living again.
We flew home to visit friends and family, we had some friends down to visit us and planned a trip to Orlando to see my little cousin get married. The Saturday before we left for our trip my period started, then abruptly stopped. By Monday I was tired and snapping at everything my husband said, so even though I was sure I was wrong, I took a test. I was shocked that it came up positive, but sure that we would be dealing with the same situation. So, I put it aside. We went to Florida, visited friends and family, then called the doctor the next week when we got home.
It’s now a month and a half later. I’m eleven weeks and four days pregnant, and we are both doing great. After two and a half years, we have finally been able to accomplish what the fertility meds couldn’t and the doctors said would be impossible. We still don’t have any answers as to why we had so many problems getting to this point. We probably never will. But, we are here, and while I will never forget the babies that I couldn’t have, I will be eternally grateful for the one I am carrying now.
I’ve been asked what you say to someone who is going through what I’ve gone through. There’s really no correct script to go by. For me I hated hearing “it’ll happen for you some day” and “maybe it just wasn’t meant to be”. Infertility is such a personal thing. There is no right or wrong thing to feel or think. It is good to get angry, and ok to be sad. The most important thing I learned was to not shut out the people who loved me; my husband and my family. It was easy to forget that I was not the only person going through this.
So, to the woman dealing with infertility I say this; never give up hope even when it seems like all hope is lost.