How did you first know you were dealing with infertility?
The funny part is that I didn’t know. It had been 6 months since my husband and I had been trying and because of my age at the time (35 going on 36), my OBGYN said to come back if I wasn’t successful within 6 months. So, after 6 months of trying I went back and was immediately sent to a specialist, where we started getting our testing.
What happened next?
They ran a series of test, including my husband’s sperm count, and how many eggs I had that were usable. In doing so, it was determined that I did not ovulate. And because of that, we would likely have a hard time conceiving since we couldn’t pinpoint a time when I might become pregnant. I was regular with my period every month, but for some reason, my eggs would never drop.
What was the medical process like for you?
The testing was very arduous. They were good about getting you in on time and going through the process but it felt very sterile. It seemed like for at least two months, I was going through test after test after test to make sure there weren’t any issues beyond ovulation. Eventually, they started me on Letrazole in lieu of Chlomid for 60 days and if that didn’t work, I was in line for IVF. At the end of the 60 days, I went in for a routine test and the nurse called me that afternoon to say that I was not pregnant and did not ovulate. We had a trip planned, so I was told to come back in afterwards and determine what the next steps were, which would have been the IVF process. So, when we returned we had a consultation about the IVF process. But before we would start that, I was put on one more month of the Letrazole, in addition to progesterone, to boost my hormones. Luckily, we never had to progress past that…by accident, I found out I was pregnant. I went away on a weekend trip and I wasn’t feeling well. I had one pregnancy test at home. I took it and found out I was pregnant.
What were the failed months like you?
I never gave up hope that I would eventually have a baby. I was disappointed but it was more the unknown of going through the process that got me upset than the actuality of not being pregnant.
Did you try anything beyond medical interventions?
No, but it wasn’t that I was against trying anything, like acupuncture. I just never tried ovulation kits or anything because we just went straight to the specialist after 6 months.
What was most helpful for you during this time?
Talking with other friends who had been through it and understood the process. My friends offered the compassion I needed, the doctors became so rote. My friends could also tell me what to expect because it was the unknown that made me the most anxious. I always had one or two that I could go to who could tell me what I needed to do, how to prepare.
Also, faith was definitely a big one. I had faith that God would bless me with a child, I just didn’t know when or what that would look like.
But honestly, I didn’t experience much anxiety over not getting pregnant because I knew somehow, someway, I was going to have a child. Usually I am stressed out about everything in my life but this was the one aspect of my life that I truly had no worries about. I think this was likely because I always kept in the back of my mind that I could adopt. I had always been interested in adoption. If I couldn’t get pregnant I would adopt. I knew that lots of children in the world need our love and that we would be willing and able to give it to them. Having that in the back of my mind was helpful. That baby may not look like me but I will hold a baby one day and that won’t matter. They need love, stability, a place to call home. That lifted any stress and anxiety. But I can only say what worked for me, I know this is not the case for everyone.
Lastly, while I was sad, I was able to see the cup as half full. I looked at it as being one more month to spend with my spouse. I had seen how much my friends lives had changed after having a child. And I knew that it was one more month of bonding time we had together. We had just gotten married, were not even married a year when we started trying, so I was grateful for the additional months.
What was hardest for you during this time?
Waiting. The waiting every month to get my next period so I could start all over again. For me, because we live in a world where everything is instantaneous, it was the one thing I couldn’t control. There was no pill I could take and instantly become pregnant. I literally had no control over this. And the funny thing is, neither do the doctors, because every patient is different and every patient’s experience is so different.
How did your partner deal with this process?
I think that my spouse was happy either way. He was happy to get pregnant but also happy to have it be just us. We both knew we wanted children, but it had only been a year since we’d been married, so it wasn’t that hard on him. I think he felt more that he had to be supportive for me. He was a great listener. He didn’t try to fix things because he knew there was nothing he could do other than just be present. While it had been a long time, we didn’t feel hopeless. We didn’t dwell, we were thinking more about what we did have.
What was the least helpful thing someone said to you?
I didn’t allow too many people to know, so I don’t think I had any negative comments. I kept my circle small. If anyone asked when we planned to have kids, I would say that we had just gotten married so there was no extra pressure.
What was the most helpful/supportive thing someone said to you or did for you?
I don’t think it was one thing in particular. I shared with 2-3 girlfriends who made me feel comfortable enough to share my emotions and know it wouldn’t go further than them. I just allowed my friends to love on me, listen to me, or hug me when I needed it.
What would you like others to know about your experience?
It found it really helpful to be strategic in who I told about my experience. I only told 2-3 people with similar experiences who shared similar mindsets. I thought that more opinions would make it more confusing and that the more I talked about it, the more stressed I would get. Sometimes I just needed to vent and move on. But if I talked about it all day long, I couldn’t process it and move forward which I think makes getting pregnant harder because you’re always stressed out and on edge.
What advice would you give to someone about to begin the process of infertility interventions?
Do your research on your doctor and their clinic. You need to choose who is right for you. Seek out friends who have gone there because you can find out beforehand if that doctor not the one for you. Do your homework.