I almost wrecked my car in the parking lot the other day.
I was driving away from the grocery store, Faith and Jonathan strapped securely in their car seats. A week’s worth of food was rolling around in my van, slowly being crushed by my double jogging stroller. My mind was a million miles away. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to a giant city bus covered in snapshots of babies. I quickly located the logo, and went numb…the familiar names of my fertility specialists were starring back at me!
I edged my van closer to the bus’s bumper, frantically searching the pictures, looking for faces I knew… Although two of my close friends also conceived their babies at my doctor’s office, I didn’t see any smiles I recognized. Yet I was still shaken. I honestly hadn’t thought about the doctors, tests, procedures or early morning drives to my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) in months. Yet, the highly visible bus advertisement was like a splash of cold water in my face. It instantly took me back to the time and place of infertility.
My husband and I had been married for about a year and a half when we had “the talk.” I was overjoyed to receive the green light in starting our family. My husband would have liked to have waited a while longer, but my clock was ticking, and my desire to be a mom was burning in my heart.
It wasn’t a huge surprise to me that we didn’t conceive right away. I had always had nutty cycles, odd symptoms and extreme PMS. We waited the customary 12 months before seeing my gynecologist for a consultation. She scheduled me for a HSG (Hysersalpingogram) and several other tests. A close friend who was also going through infertility told me that gynecologists aren’t specialists in fertility, and she suggested that I see an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist). I quickly made an appointment and we continued with the poking, prodding and testing.
Our testing wasn’t pain or embarrassment free. Our innermost parts were being evaluated by specialists, and our results were read to us off of a piece of paper. Turns out, I am a card carrying member of PCOC (Ploycystic Ovarian Syndrome), a common fertility issue among women. Our case was further complicated by male factor infertility.
We left the doctors in a fog. I couldn’t piece together what I had been told about our future as parents. I felt broken, defective and as though my hopes of being a mother had just been crushed. I don’t remember much about that day…I do know my husband heard the doctor differently. He thought she conveyed hope to us. We also both remember that I was so upset and distraught that I rear-ended another car, which was definitely a low point of the day.
We prayerfully began our infertility journey, beginning with ovulation induction medication. Eventually, we moved to OI and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Each month leading up to our positive pregnancy test was a roller coaster. Our lives revolved around my cycle. My husband’s work had to be adjusted, I had to get up early every day, I took mood altering medication, had my blood drawn every two to three days and rigorously studied any infertility materials I could get my hands on. It is hard to even remember the pain of that time, yet I know it was intense. Daily I was reminded of my broken womb. I felt like such a failure, and I despaired at ever realizing my dreams of mommy-hood. The uncertainty of the situation was so intense, that I even began researching foster care and adoption. With no assurance that the treatments would work, I was quietly creating an alternate route to motherhood.
We recognice now how easy our journey was compared to others. We never had to use the “big guns” of IVF. Our positive pregnancy test occured only 19 months after our family planning talk. And we were blessed with an incredibly healthy pregnancy and subsequent delivery of our duo.
Why then, almost 16 months after giving birth to my children, do feelings of inadequacy and jealousy rear their ugly head in my life? Several friends have announced their pregnancies this month, some of which were not planned. And I honestly have to say that I battle my emotions at each announcement. It is almost like I forget that I have two wonderful children, and am taken back in time to that place where everyone seems to be fertile except me. Why is that? Allow me to repeat myself: I already have two children! Why then, the jealousy over easy conception?
This brings me to the title of this post: “Recovering From Infertility.” I guess I thought that once I had children, I would no longer be infertile. But the fact of the matter is, I still am infertile. We have no reason to believe that if we chose to try for another baby, that it would happen without medical intervention. So I guess, in a way, that I still feel broken. Not in a “poor me” way. But I am more aware…sorta like someone who has repeatedly injured their ankle. They know that it isn’t a good idea to put a lot of stress on their joint, as it might not hold. That is how I feel, like I can’t assume my body will hold up to the task of making or carrying babies.
Infertility has been a blessing in my life. I can say that now, because I am on the other side. It has opened up my world to a segement of the population that is struggling.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive within one year or within six months if you’re over age 35. Approximately one in ten couples will experience difficulty conceiving due to infertility.
Infertility affects about 6.1 million women and their partners in the U.S. -about ten percent of the reproductive-age population. Infertility affects men and women equally.
When people ask me if my twins were “natural,” I often respond that we did need some help. I open up that part of our lives, because I never know the background story of the person I am talking to. One day, I signed in to get my car’s oil changed. The kids were with me, and the lady at the front desk looked at them, and said to me “You don’t know how lucky you are to have them.”
I responded, “I think I do, actually. My husband and I had to go through infertility treatments to get pregnant.” Her eyes lit up, and she began asking me questions rapid-fire. By the end of the oil change, she had made an appointment with my RE, and her hope was restored.
Infertility took us from despair to joy, mourning to rejoicing. There is a verse underlined in my Bible with a note: Very meaningful during this time of waiting for a baby.
“I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
I am so thankful that our time of waiting is over! It is worth rejoicing over!
Share with us and the other HDYDI readers your thoughts on this topic. What is your story?