A Lifestyle Blog

Infertility Feels

Your whole life you dream of being a mother. It starts at a young age, when you instinctively nurture dolls, mimic your mom bottle-feeding your “baby” doll, and spend time playing, changing, and rocking.  You are the oldest child, so being a mama’s helper is something you do on a daily basis. These are some of my favorite childhood memories. & then you snap your fingers and all of a sudden you are at the perfect age to babysit. Yes, someone actually trusts you with his or her child. There is something important about being responsible for infants, toddlers, and children. This teaches you how to be patient, kind, and caring for little ones, even if they are not your own. It is easy money and although you don’t realize it at the time, you are preparing yourself for the routine life of motherhood, at the early age of 14.

High school comes, college is next. Friends are most important at this important time of life; when you are trying to “find yourself”. Soon enough boys are at the forefront and relationships begin. They may come and go, serious and some not so serious. This is all an important stepping-stone of life to find the perfect person to spend forever with. It takes mistakes and experiences to find the right path. After meeting Mr. Right, the engagement happens, wedding planning consumes your life. Babies are the last thing on your mind; God forbid you were knocked up before walking down the aisle!

After that beautiful wedding day, you live a life of married bliss, you selfishly want to travel the world and see new things. People begin to ask you “when will you have kids”? “Not now, we are focusing on “us”, we have things to see and do”-you say. It feels ok to admit this. But the thought of bringing a baby into the world at this time of life wouldn’t be the worst thing, you and your husbands jobs are secure, you have been married almost a year. But you aren’t sure you are “ready”.

“When will babies come?” they all say at the two year mark. Your friends begin to get pregnant. You begin to think; maybe it’s time to move out of the city and head to the suburbs. More land for the dog and a room designated for the baby. So, you say goodbye to the city life and move further out, leaving you to a house that is too big for just you two. What else is there to do in the suburbs? It’s time to have a baby.

Europe has come and gone, you’ve had practice “raising” your dog. You plan the month to conceive and how it would work perfectly with your life and your career. Teachers have babies in the summer, right? This is what we will do.

Deciding that you are ready is invigorating. It’s really here! We will be parents! A month goes by, and your period comes. You are bummed, as conceiving a baby in Europe would have just been the best story. Another month goes by and then another month. Your perfect planned birth month schedule is affected; teachers always have babies in April or May to enjoy them over the summer!

You use an app to track your cycle. You pay $50 a month to pee on sticks that tell you when you ovulate. Your intimate life has changed to schedules and time frames. Suddenly, marriage isn’t quite the same as you always pictured it.

A few more months go by. The people you told excitedly that you were trying begin to ask. It’s embarrassing to tell them that you are still working on it. Life gets busy and you try not to stress. Everyone says stress is the problem. Exercise more, go to yoga, get a trainer, eat healthier. Try taking supplements. “Why aren’t you pregnant yet?” “How long are you waiting, you aren’t getting younger…”.

You pee on more sticks,  you know you are ovulating. Why isn’t it working?! You pay close attention every day to how you feel. Eeee, you have breast tenderness, you feel a bit nauseous, your senses are more intact. You are pregnant?!  Could it be? The pregnancy test says no. Days of hope turn into so much sadness, shattering your optimistic thoughts in just 30 seconds. Tears run down your face, those silent ones of frustration and disappointment. Failure.

You begin to worry. You turn the “babies” room into a “dressing room” because it hurts too much to walk past a dark and empty room every day. You start reading. You buy books, What to Expect Before Expecting. You read up on research about how to boost fertility. Diet changes are put into effect immediately: homemade fermented sauerkraut and 6 brazil nuts when he wakes up. Primrose oil, apple cider vinegar, Mucinex, and sardines for you.  How long have I been swallowing these damn horse pill prenatal vitamins? At least it’s nice with hair and nails. Why aren’t we pregnant?

Your gynecologist tells you everyone must wait a year. That getting pregnant is harder than most people think. I think, I teach Child Development, I know about menstrual cycles and ovulation. I’ve always tracked. My period is 29 days every month.

A friend calls to tell you she’s pregnant. You are so SO happy for her, yet it hurts. It will all make sense one day, you tell yourself. Your cycle is normal, why isn’t this working? Your mom had you without even trying right after getting married. makes logical sense that it can’t be you, it must be him. Everyone says get the guy tested first, it’s easier. That means it’s time to convince him to go into that nasty room at the clinic where thousands of guys deliver what is needed for the doctor full of magazines and a tv. It’s not much different than what you see in movies. & way less funny… it’s real. Tests come back. But wait, he needs to test again. Each test says something else.

More friends are pregnant, meaning more showers to attend. You curse your panties every time your period comes. It’s finally been a year! It’s almost exciting. You head back to the gyno. It suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks as you realize, shit… I’ve waited all of this time to get the appointment but now have to face the facts that something is wrong. That is a very scary feeling that you didn’t feel until you were waiting to be called into the room.

 Your HMO requires you to take a lot of tests before moving on to the fertility doctor, I think it was 25 different ones. Blood after blood test, gynecological exams, tests at the hospital. No one prepared you for the pain from the dye test! How are you awake for that?  It takes months because it has to all work with your menstrual cycle. Tests come back, each one worse than the next.  Your FSH is really high. You think, what the hell is FSH and why did I have to find out in the middle of a workday through a voicemail? Tears are automatic. How will you teach in 10 minutes and pretend everything is ok?  From the test results, Google says you may not have a baby of your own. You should look at donor eggs. Many fertility doctors won’t even attempt your own eggs with those numbers. Your heart is shattered. It’s like a truck ran you over slowly. How can anyone prepare themselves to hear you will never have a biological child?

 You keep reading, hoping to find stories of inspiration only to find more stories of bad fate. Online can be the devil. More tests are done for sperm count and mobility, egg quality, hormone levels, blood types. Why the hell do I need STD tests? “Why aren’t you pregnant, how long have you guys been married now”? Tests results come back. Things aren’t looking good. The gynecologist tells you “it’s like you are a 45 year old woman”. They tell you there’s nothing they can do. You cry by yourself driving home. It’s the only place you can let your emotions out, because who can you tell about this?

The next day you realize tears don’t help anything. What’s the next step? Let’s do this. You finally get the referral to the fertility doctor. FINALLY! Just in time for summer break. This works perfectly for a teacher…fertility treatments when on break so days don’t have to be missed out of the classroom. Less questions from coworkers, less lies to the students. First appointment is a month out. Shoot.

You try to take time as a couple. You have been given the advice, as your life is completely changed once fertility treatment starts. Life gets in the way and time runs out for that. But, it’s ok because the appointment comes. The fertility doctor has more tests to be done, on specific days of your cycle. Again, everything is done so damn timed. The romance seems to be gone at home. 
When was the last time things didn’t run on a scheduled timetable? Will it ever be like it used to be? 
You need to have surgical procedures done. Your doctor rolls out tubal lavage, exclusion of endometriosis, uterine lift, hysteroscopy, laparoscopy like it’s nothing, without an explanation. This is your first surgery. You are really nervous, anxious. You will be put under anesthesia and will wake up with scars that will alter your smooth abdomen. You know that you may find out more bad news from the procedure. But you have hope. It could be the start of something, it will prep for invitro fertilization, even though the internet says the procedure creates scar tissue that will now be present, which can affect pregnancy. The doctor knows best, you tell yourself.

You thank God for modern medicine. You read about people that have gotten pregnant through invitro. Shots every day for weeks in the stomach, self-given. After extraction of eggs, 12 more weeks of shots given by your husband in the butt. This is not the best news told to the girl that had 3 nurses hold her down to finger prick. Many say it took them a few rounds. Some, it never worked. Is it worth it, is this all really worth it?

You have to wait days to recover from your surgical procedure and two more weeks to get back with the doctor. The summer is almost over, school is about to start. You know that this will be a long journey. You know it may never work. You try your best to be patient. You have to consider options you never had to even fathom before. Adoption, donor eggs. You are scared, nervous, ashamed. “Are you having kids soon, where is the baby” “You’ve been married long enough!”

Trusting in prayer and God is what you know you should do. Sometimes this is hard. You know people are talking behind your back a bit. They are concerned, many curious. “Why aren’t they pregnant yet, how long have they been married, is everything ok with them?”

You have so many baby shower gifts to buy. It hurts to go in the baby section. You see things that you would buy for one day if you knew it wouldn’t jinx you. You prep for surgery, you say your prayers. You know you are selfish when you worry about your scars. You even spend $25 on scar cream. It would be easier if you knew that this would for sure be the beginning of something.

Emotions are crazy. No one prepared you for this. It never was supposed to happen to you. Your husband can only help so much. It’s not his body that is being altered. He won’t feel the physical pain. Although it’s always awkward to provide his sample, it still comes with a happy ending. Girls, not even close.  I know I shouldn’t compare. I can only imagine how I act when I shoot hormones into my body. But other women survive this. They are successful too! I can do this. I try telling myself constantly each day.

This is just something I never saw for myself, for us. There is a stigma with infertility. No one talks about it. It makes you feel less of a woman. No one talks about it. Who can you turn to for support? We were made to procreate. Why didn’t we try sooner? A million questions go through your head: I was selfish, I wanted to do things my way, our way. I always wonder if maybe I were younger than 29 things would be different. Girls bodies were meant to have babies at 16. How will we ever have 4 babies, like we planned? Will we even have one?

Some days it’s harder to be happy. You pretend everything is ok. Tears come more than usual. Sometimes there is no reason, your throat just burns and your mascara is smeared. Sometimes when you should tear up over something else other than our situation, you can’t. You feel bad, and wonder if others don’t think you have a heart. They don’t know what you are going through. They wouldn’t quite understand. You wonder if you are hardened, already. & you are just getting started.

The people closest to you want to be there. Sometimes they don’t know what to say. You don’t want to always be negative. They have no idea the procedures you are going through. It’s hard to explain it over and over, especially when you don’t quite know yourself. It’s a lonely feeling when the people that matter the most to you don’t know how to make it better or pretend it’s not happening to eliminate the awkward conversation. Can anyone make it better? Support from loved ones is what is needed throughout the hard journey, it’s really sad that the taboo of infertility doesn’t allow this to necessarily happen as no one can begin to understand the process since it is never talked about.  

Everyone on Facebook is pregnant. Every single day there is a new adorable gender or pregnancy reveal. Some friends are on baby number two by  now. Will it ever be us? You think often, will I ever be a mother? You remind yourself, that these struggles are the best preparation for being a mother. To be strong, humble, trusting, and faithful. You know you can get through this.

 God has a plan. & at the end of the day, all you can do is try your hardest to find hope. 

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