Our struggle with Infertility

I’ve written and rewritten this post more times than I can count. It just never felt right. Opening up about infertility isn’t easy. If you’ve gone through it yourself then you know just how emotional it is. And we keep it bottled up inside and hide it from those closest to us. We struggle for year after year and feel so alone because society thinks it’s something we should keep to ourselves. But each time I opened up to someone about it I felt better. And slowly it stopped feeling like as big a deal.

This month marks the two year anniversary of the decision to start our family. The month after we started trying my sister called to tell me she was pregnant. I was overjoyed about the fact that we were going to be pregnant together and our kids would be the same age. I started reading mommy blogs and making tons of private pinterest boards. I know some women hate actually being pregnant but I have been dreaming of maternity clothes and a giant baby belly for so long. I can’t wait for stretch marks and clothes that don’t fit because all of that pales in comparison to joy of getting to bring life into this world. I even bought a maternity dress because I already knew it was what I wanted to wear at my baby shower… two years later that dress is still hanging in the closet, unworn.

We went though all the tests. I’ve had my blood drawn more times in the past two years than in my whole life combined. After thousands of dollars and dozens of tests we still didn’t have a concrete answer. Fun fact- neither of our insurance plans cover anything fertility related which makes this process all the harder. We went to an amazing fertility specialist who ran more tests and told us we could start fertility treatments. Because we didn’t have any specific fertility problems he told us we could do three rounds of IUIs before trying IVF. IUIs only cost about $1500 a cycle whereas IVF is roughly $25k a cycle so we were more than happy to start with IUIs.

We did our first IUI in May of 2016. Everything looked great. I had one mature follicle and Alec’s counts were good. Everything lined up for it to work but it didn’t work. I was completely devastated. After two years of heartache, confusion, depression, loss, hope, I thought we were finally coming to the end of our uphill battle.

We waited a few months before trying again. (A huge thank you to my dad for surprising us on my birthday with money to help pay for this cycle. And while I’m at it a huge thank you to my Mom, sister and Austin, and my aunt who have been so incredibly supportive. And to the friends I’ve told.) In August of 2016 we went in for our second IUI.  This time I had two mature follicles and the Dr told me there was an 8% chance of twins. Twins! Two years ago I would have said no way to twins but sitting in the Dr’s office hearing we had a chance of twins made me think it was going to work this time! Alec’s counts were above average and I had two follicles. This IUI felt different. We both thought it worked this time. But unfortunately it was another failure. My Dr told me on paper everything was working. He said we could try one more IUI before moving on to IVF. When I heard those dreaded three letters I cried. All day long. I just couldn’t stop. I never in my wildest dreams thought we’d be 30 years old and having to go through IVF. All of my emotions from the past two years resurfaced. It’s not fair. Why is this happening to us? Why can’t they find anything wrong with us? How are we going to afford IVF? What if IVF doesn’t work? What if I can never have a baby of my own? 

There have been times during this struggle where just seeing a pregnancy announcement would make me cry. There have been many days filled with depression and feelings of loss. Being a mother is the most important thing in the world to me. It’s the one thing that’s supposed to come easy. I started getting angry at girls getting pregnant by accident who didn’t even want kids when we are here throwing our life savings into trying to have one. It doesn’t ever get easier because the each month brings new hope and new disappointment. But you learn to be stronger and you learn how to cope better. And when I do let my emotions get the better of me I remind myself of everything I do have. I’m lucky in so many ways. I have an amazing husband, a great job, two wonderful pets, and a roof over my head.

 

A few pictures-

One of the first tests I had done was an HSG test. It’s to see if your tubes are blocked. I was nervous because I heard some women cramp really badly during it so I sent Alec a photo and told him I was scared. A few minutes later he sent it back with cats photoshopped in it telling me it was going to be no big deal. He always knows just how to make a girl feel better. <3

 

After getting one of my blood tests done my arm bruised up pretty bad.

 

Having breakfast and wandering around Beverly Hills before our first IUI.

 

Right before our first IUI we were so nervous and excited. At the time we thought this was going to be it.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m absolutely terrified to begin the IVF process. Not only is it financially draining but it’s emotionally and physically draining as well. I’m also terrified because if it doesn’t work then that’s it. There’s no next step to helping us get pregnant. We have unexplained infertility which is exactly what it sounds like. They can’t find anything wrong with us and that’s what makes it scarier. I’ve never even entertained the idea that I might never be able to have kids but now I’m realizing that I have to open that up as a possibility and begin to find a way to cope with it. It’s been a long and painful struggle but it’s brought Alec and I even closer together and I know that whatever happens we will get through it.

 

  • September Hawks

    Oh Caroline, I’m so sorry. I had no idea you were going through this and I have no idea what it feels like to be in this situation. I’m thinking that any comforting words I could say right now would sound trite so I’ll just say that I’m crying after reading your post and that I’m sending prayers and positive thoughts for you and Alec.

    September 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm Reply
  • Toni Floyd

    Oh Caroline…I sort of went through this. We had an easy time with our first, but then I went through all the upset trying for years to get pregnant again. I didn’t mind when other people had their first, but when friends around us were having their second or third child, I would cry. For us, we’d always wanted to adopt anyway, but at the time thought we couldn’t’ afford it, and having another baby was our only option. Further investigation told us that adoption was far more doable than we’d believed and, as you know, we were blessed in the end. Still, we went through three years of grief in the meantime. So I have an idea of how hard it is, even though I do know it’s way harder for you still trying to have your first child. I don’t have any advice to offer, but just want to say I feel for you and for the pain and frustration you’re going through. I’ve heard some people say acupuncture, which might be completely bogus, but if it’s not harmful, might be worth a try. We love you two and know what amazing parents you would be. I’ll keep you in my prayers! Sending so much love from all of us! Hugs, Aunt Toni

    September 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm Reply
  • Laura Correa

    Thank you for sharing this. I wish more people would share their experiences with others, just so others don’t feel to alone with theirs. My husband and I went through 3 cycles of IUI before we were told that IVF with ICSI was our best option. We’re about to start IVF (which our insurance denied and we’re still waiting to see if our appeal was accepted) and we’re really hoping that it will finally work. All of the thoughts that you had, were all of the same thoughts I’ve had. And it’s amazing how all consuming those thoughts can be sometimes. Best of luck to you and never give up hope.

    September 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm Reply
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    December 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm Reply

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