All my life I have wanted to be a mother. I always felt that that was what I was meant to do. I went to school for psychology and received my BA. Then I found myself working at a preschool and just loved being around children. Could I make the living I wanted to with that job? No. But I absolutely loved it. Whenever I tried to find something else because “I need more money” it NEVER worked out. I always ended up back with my kids. I couldn’t find that “dream career” with a high salary I was looking for because it didn’t exist. I was meant to take care of children. I just wanted my own.
So when Aaron and I got married, we wanted to try right away. We wanted a family. People said “take time for your marriage”… but we had plenty of years behind us. We had our time and it was a blast. But. We. Wanted. A. Family. So when I say we are “coming out of the closet”, I don’t mean what it typically means. I mean we are coming out of the infertility closet.
“Infertility”? “What do you mean? You’re so young!” “You have plenty of time!” “Everything will be fine. You’ll conceive.” “It’s stress.” “Stop trying. Just relax.” “You’re thinking about it too much.” “Maybe it’s just not the right time.” Those are a few of the things that people have said to us. Deep down inside, we were dying. Knowing 100% what we were up against and some people just didn’t get it.
I’ll start from the beginning. I have always been extremely in tune with my body. It was kind of freaky. So I know while we were trying, we were timing it right. Every. Time. So after 6 months, I was very concerned. The average couple can take up to 1 year to conceive. I know this. But not me. I knew in my bones that something was wrong after just 3 months. I must have endometriosis. It runs in my family and I have some of the symptoms. I got my hormones tested. Just to see. Everything was normal except for “slightly high prolactin”. OHHH THAT is our problem. Problem solved 2 months later. Still, nothing was happening. Maybe it was Aaron?
Long story, which is still going to be a long story, short, I convinced him to get tested. Lets rule it out. Except… it wasn’t ruled out. We found out that we had pretty moderate male factor infertility the day we put an offer in on our first home. So, that day, that should have been so happy for us… was spent bawling our eyes out in bed together all night. How can this happen to us? WE. ARE. SO. YOUNG. THOUGH.
Multiple tests confirmed what we feared. We were referred to a fertility specialist. So we decided to just tell our parents. They were SO supportive and we felt a little weight lifted off of our shoulders that we weren’t going through this alone. What can you do for male factor? NOT MUCH. Since…. his hormones are perfectly normal. His physical anatomy is perfectly normal. Everything checked out. “Idiopathic”. Which means… we have no idea why this is happening. It pretty much means that his system doesn’t work that great. Fine. So the “google queen” that I am… researched… and researched.. and researched until I found something that may help him. Fertility vitamins.
So quick background. You have sperm count which is amount of sperm. You have sperm motility which is the direction they move and if they are actually moving, which is supposed to be in a forward motion. You have sperm morphology which is the shape of the sperm. Those are the basics. All 3 were going to be an obstacle. Lucky us. The vitamins claimed to help count and motility after 3 months. So lets try it.
Longer story short, the motility increased substantially…but that was it. So the fertility specialist said that we could try an IUI before moving onto the big scary IVF. IUI is “intrauterine insemination”. IUI is giving the sperm a head start by placing them directly in the uterus with a catheter (they still had a lot of work to do). That’s all. Not getting into specifics there either but feel free to ask me if you’re interested! So lets start right? Well, after vials of blood taken from me and an HSG procedure (to make sure my tubes were open) I checked out perfect. So we are candidates.
So, first cycle fails. Well no surprise there… given the less than 10% shot we were given with the numbers we had, right? No surprise, but complete devastation anyway. The doctor said we can try 1 more before moving onto IVF. IVF? I don’t want to do that. Why should we have to do that? WE. ARE. SO. YOUNG. THOUGH. So, we decide we might as well try 1 more. Hey, if it works, we don’t have to spend 20k on IVF. But… less than 10% chance.
Second cycle arrives and we go for it again. This time, the IUI went HORRIBLY. Aaron did great this time. Much better numbers than the last one! But… they couldn’t get the catheter to go through my cervix. It was SO painful every time they tried. I was hysterical crying and wanted to give up. The one time the numbers were where they needed to be, this was happening to me. After 3 attempts the doctor came in and tried it himself. (Nurses usually perform this procedure, it typically takes about… MAYBE 3 minutes). 1, 2, 3, it worked. I sat there in pain and in tears feeling so defeated. We left… and I said to myself “I did NOT suffer for nothing, this is going to work.” 2 weeks later, I felt all the usual symptoms I felt each month. We sat in bed, in tears once again, talking about how the hell we were going to afford IVF…. not realizing… I was already pregnant.
A lot of people we told, told us to not tell anyone about our journey. “What’s the point? You got pregnant.” I was so afraid people were going to judge Aaron…think less of him. But you know what? Aaron is one of the strongest men I know. HE doesn’t care and HE isn’t embarrassed. What for? For something so unfortunately common? Why would I be afraid to tell anyone? This baby, that I have inside my womb, is a miracle to us. Less than 10% chance and this baby defied the odds. My little miracle.
People are going to wonder why we didn’t tell them. The answer is that it wasn’t the right time. It has been SO difficult to talk about at times and you have to understand that. This isn’t something you just explain over the phone. It’s sensitive. It’s emotional. Quite honestly, it’s none of anyone’s business. SO many people go through this. EVEN. IF. THEY. ARE. YOUNG. You just wouldn’t know it because many people choose not to discuss it. Well, I’m done hiding it.
Do you want to know why? Before we got pregnant… the million dollar question was “When are you going to have a baaaaaby?”. I know people mean no harm… but they cause SO MUCH of it without realizing it. You don’t know what people are going through. Not everyone sneezes and gets pregnant. It’s not that easy for everyone. When someone asked me when we were having a baby, it was like taking a knife and stabbing me in the heart… because I never knew the answer to that question. I consider ourselves the lucky ones… who did get to conceive. For many, it takes YEARS. For some, it never happens at all.
Now, since I am finally pregnant… just 17 weeks I might add… people are asking me about when we are going to have our SECOND CHILD. IT NEVER ENDS. The answer to that is the same. I don’t KNOW. There may never be a second. We are SO blessed to have conceived our first child… who isn’t even half way done cookin’ yet. That question still hits a nerve. Of course I would love a big family. Will I get one? Who knows? But THAT isn’t a question to ask someone. So I hope this opens your eyes. Infertility can affect your life whether you are young or old. Whether you have had a child before or not. There isn’t an “okay” time to ask this question to someone. So next time you want to ask someone a question that is NOT your business, I hope you think about this blog post. If you find that one day you are having fertility issues, you are NOT alone even if you think you are. You aren’t. Not even close.