I recently joined the Stirrup Queen’s Blogroll – a comprehensive listing of blogs written by women around the world who are struggling, or have struggled with infertility. Infertility was not a club I wanted to belong to. But this sisterhood of blogs is a source of inspiration – a place to hear success stories, feel joy for new moms who have overcome the odds, and to be moved to tears by stories of loss and disappointment.
When I was going through my two year struggle with infertility, I was very private about what was happening and confided in very few people. I feel that at this point in my life, it is healthy to demystify this issue by talking and writing about it. I hope my story is one of hope and inspiration for others.
I met my future husband when I was 33. He was and is “the one”. We were engaged the following year, and married in 2005. I was very organized. I had rules and we had to know each other for a year before getting engaged.
We waited almost a year after the wedding before we started trying to get pregnant because we wanted time together before we added a baby to the mix. After 6 months with no success and lots of peeing on sticks (I always screwed those things up – do they actually work?), I talked to my gynecologist who suggested some basic tests for us to check hormonal levels and sperm counts. My husband dragged his feet on that one for a few months but we finally filled up a cup with goodies and donated some blood to the lab.
Before I knew it, I was sitting in a fertility clinic learning about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI). It all sounded great – the “statistics” were positive for my age group. No reason that I couldn’t become pregnant. Just a battery of tests to complete.
But then a routine test to check my fallopian tubes found a blockage and I was scheduled for surgery to prevent complications to a future pregnancy. During the surgery, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. Surprise!
Still, the “statistics” were in my favour. I was put on medication to suppress the endometriosis for three months and then the big event – my first round of drugs for in vitro. Which was cancelled because my body did not respond well to the drugs.
I was heartbroken. What if I could never have a baby? Depression. Fear. Many tears.
When my specialist started to tell me about more “statistics,” I decided to find another specialist and “fired” the clinic. Clearly there was more to this situation than statistics.
We discussed our options with a new specialist over the next few months. And then … success! Our next course of treatment worked like magic, and our precious little embryo glued itself to my uterus.
We found out we were pregnant on New Year’s Eve 2007! I was shocked. Disbelieving. Overjoyed. Many more tears – happy ones this time.
Now I am a mother. A mother who knows that when a woman is going through infertility, it’s hard to hear about babies. It’s harder to see babies. Please don’t mention the stories about someone getting knocked up by accident! Octomom is not a funny joke. And eating ice cream is not going to solve the problem.
If you know or suspect that someone you know is going through this struggle and you don’t know what to say, then just listen. And don’t take it personally if you have a baby and you don’t hear much from your friend for a little while.
If you are part of the infertility sisterhood, your baby success story is out there waiting for you — it might take opening your heart to the many options available. But you can get there. Believe it!<