Recently my husband and I's infertility journey has become all consuming and I have been struggling. I want to do some blog posts mostly for myself to put all of my thoughts together, also because it helps me not to feel so alone when I share my story with others, and also because I want people to know the struggles of infertility and not be afraid to talk about it.
My husband, Rorie, and I have been together for 14 years, we started dating when we were 16 years old. I remember one of the first things I noticed/loved about him is how good he was with his little cousins. I always knew and still know he will be an amazing Dad someday. We got married in 2014, so we've been married 6 years this past April. I would've never imagined that after being married 6 years we would still not have any kids. We both have always known we wanted to have kids.
As soon as we were married I stopped taking birth control. We weren't in a hurry to have children, but we were ready for them anytime. We never imagined it would be so hard or take so long. Just like before we were married and everyone asked us when we were getting married, after we were married for a long time everyone always asked us when we were having kids. It honestly never bothered me like I know it does some people and now that no one asks, I almost miss it. My answer to the question was always "It'll happen when it's supposed to happen" "We're not in a hurry".. But then it didn't just happen.
August 2016 - We'd been married for over 2 years. I was starting to get a little concerned and had irregular cycles ever since going off birth control, so I scheduled a visit with a medical Dr that worked with infertility and OBGYN. They ran some blood work and did an ultrasound which did reveal a cyst on my right ovary. I honestly don't remember too much about what was said or learned at these visits. I believe PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) was mentioned, but never confirmed. My husband also had a sperm analysis and everything looked great on his end. I don't remember what they recommended doing next, but I was struggling with the billing office and insurance there so I started seeing a different medical doctor at another facility that would submit to my insurance.
October 2016 - I started seeing a new OBGYN Dr at another facility. The plan was to do a second ultrasound one month from my last one and if the cyst was the same size or bigger we would remove it with surgery. At the second ultrasound the cyst had decreased in size so they recommended staying out of the operating room for now.
The next recommendation was to do an HSG test to check & see if my Fallopian tubes were open. This is an expensive (over $1,000) test and that's all it is, a test. At that point we weren't ready to spend the money on this test and I honestly was still not too worried. I wasn't ready to start hurrying up to have a baby. I still thought it would just happen.
March 2019 - Fast forward 2.5 years! Crazy to think we waited that long looking back now.. I went into this Dr's visit fully expecting and prepared to schedule the previous recommended HSG test, but the Dr. stated they've changed the policy on when they recommend that test because it scares so many people away right away with the cost. She recommended starting a fertility medication (chlomid or letrozole) OR trying acupuncture with someone who specializes in fertility. I decided to try acupuncture hoping to avoid taking a medication. The next week I had an appt with Lisa at Isthmus Wellness in Madison (where my Dr recommended).
Lisa is amazing, she really listens to me and wants to help. It's like an acupuncture and therapy appt in one. The appts are very relaxing and I don't mind driving the hour and 15 minutes for these weekly appts. When you want something so badly you'll do anything you think will help. I was so hopeful that this would be the thing that worked for us. She has recommended different supplements and other at home tasks throughout my care as well.
January 2020 - I had been doing acupuncture with Lisa weekly (minus a few missed weeks) for almost a year. We had seen some improvement in my irregular cycles, but I was growing more frustrated that we were still not pregnant. I scheduled an HSG test that month and everything looked good... which is a good thing, but also frustrating because we still didn't have any answers! I was ready to try one of the recommended medications, but first my husband had to do another sperm analysis. Everything looked good on his end again.
March 2020 - I took chlomid, a medication that is used to stimulate ovulation. I was hoping this would be the boost my body needed to do it's job. Unfortunately it wasn't. And to make things even worse the corona virus was now shutting everything down, including fertility treatments at the doctors office. My doctor was unable (supposedly) to send in a second prescription for the chlomid medication. I was so frustrated! All this time has gone by, now I'm finally ready and I can't continue. To top it off I turned 30 that month and just couldn't believe that we didn't have a baby or weren't even pregnant by the time I was 30.
I keep setting new goals for when I hope to be pregnant by and we keep passing by each one of them, first it was summer 2019, then end of 2019, then my 30th birthday (March 2020), then my husbands birthday (April 2020), our 6 year wedding anniversary (May 2020)... Now as another chance has come and gone and I realize I won't even have a baby by my 31st birthday, I just hope I'm pregnant by the end of this year.
Sometime the end of March beginning of April it just seemed to really hit me. All of a sudden this fertility journey became so, consuming. It was taking all of my energy and all of my time. It's like having another job. I was so sad and frustrated. I've never felt depressed before, but that's what I would call it. I cried a lot, mostly by myself.. in the car, at home, in the shower, in bed... My husband is an amazing support and would do anything for me and I know he is struggling with the same emotions & I know we are in this together, but it still feels so lonely. Most family and friends don't reach out, maybe they think I don't want to talk about it or maybe it's hard for them to talk about, maybe they think I hate that they have kids and I don't. I promise you I don't hate you for having kids and I'd love to talk about what's going on, it makes me feel less alone. I don't always want to bug you with my problems though and hate to keep bringing it up month after month.
This journey is like a roller coaster of emotions each month. There are times when I'm hopeful and excited for what the next month could bring, then there is the 2 week wait when there is still some hope, but you also don't want to get your hopes up too high to have them torn down again. Then when you find out you're not pregnant again starts the sadness, frustration, tears and depression. Slowly you start to feel better and create some hope for the next month. Over and over again.
When you're trying to have a baby you only get 1 try each month, that's only 12 times per year!
April 2020 - I decided it was time to start care at a fertility clinic. The corona virus still had businesses closed, but the Dr. was able to do a phone consultation with me. She gave me lots of information and I was excited that they were trying to work with me even with the clinic being closed to seeing patients in the office. She said I have "unexplained infertility" - imagine being told you have something, but it's unexplainable. Sure, there are things they can try to help us, but we still don't really know what the cause of the problem is. She recommended on my next cycle doing a mediated IUI, I was excited to try this new option and to move on to the next thing.
May 2020 - I got called the fertility clinic at the start of my next cycle (mid May) the corona virus still had businesses closed so I would be unable to do the IUI this cycle. The Dr. was gracious enough to at least send in a prescription for a low dose of fertility medication to try and help us this month. This was more than my last Dr. would do during the pandemic, but I was really hoping to be able to try the IUI this time. Now, we have to wait another month.
If you've read this far, thank you for listening and for taking the time to see a little bit of what this infertility journey is like. I plan to continue to share about our infertility journey in additional blog posts. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask, just comment in the comments below or email me!
Please be careful when sharing your ideas of things we or other people who are struggling with infertility could try. We've probably already heard of it or tried it already.