I have been hesitating to write this post for quite some time because it’s SO personal to me + I know it makes a lot of people uncomfortable to think or talk about. You might be reading this thinking, but you post about eating disorders + personal matters all the time… this is different. I’m writing about the subject of infertility. In fact, my husband + I have been undergoing fertility treatments in hopes to start a family for the past several months- 22 months to be exact.
This is such a touch-y subject because many people choose not to discuss infertility, even with their closest friends or family. I think that’s because it involves the topic of sex (I know, such a bad thing for married couples to talk about), receiving news that’s less than exciting, (no, you’re not pregnant this month , again), or that it might shame the expecting mommas to-be out there. I’m writing to say that I think all of these things are important to bring up. Trying to start a family is exciting stuff, not to mention when you learn that your friends or family members are expecting a baby, it makes my heart explode from happiness each time I hear this news! So why don’t we talk about it when the tables have turned? After experiencing this journey myself, I’d say this is the case because talking about pregnancy in general is almost taboo until you actually do become pregnant + are advanced into your 2nd trimester, also, sex is a bad thing to talk about… especially when it’s with your spouse + everyone knows that’s how you make a baby, right? The whole dream of starting a family is exciting to talk about- imagining taking a pregnancy test with your spouse, planning or should I say diving into the black hole of Pinterest to design the perfect nursery, having a gender reveal party, talking about the list of names you’ve had in mind, but this whole idea of starting a family has been extremely unconventional for my husband + I + that’s O.K.
We started “trying” 22 months ago + that was a big deal for us. We were excited to purchase a bulk pack of ovulation + fertility tests. We also pictured ourselves hoovering over the blinking test that first month to discover that we were in fact, pregnant. To our dismay, we continued this pattern month after month without the news we had hoped to see. We marched on each month, feeling a little bit more depleted + let down as the New Year approached. But we were determined to stop thinking about is as much. We kept trying + did our best to keep a positive attitude about it. Some months we did better than others as a team, most months one of us was more positive than the other- that was the hard part.
Come April of 2018, it had been a year after we’d officially been trying… (that’s the magic amount of time the doctor tells you that you can start seeing a specialist). It was a long year of waiting, let me tell you! I visited a new doctor where I learned it was time I could see a fertility specialist. The succeeding months followed with several blood tests on very particular days of each month, many monthly ultra sounds, pokes, pricks + paying more attention to my cycle than I ever had, + a whole lot of bills, not covered by insurance. I downloaded an app on my phone to help me track what was going on with my body (called Clue) + I talked to my husband about all of the updates we were getting through the app. We did our best to support one another through the process of testing + waiting, testing again + waiting, then scheduling follow up appointments.
While I’m going to keep all of the details of our journey private, I’d like to share that we have been undergoing many opportunities to help my body produce what the Dr. hopes to see progress. To give you an idea of what we’re up to now, I currently take an oral medication, shots my husband administers at home in my stomach, a monthly trigger shot administered at home (my husband could probably be a medical professional at this point) to enhance the hormones my body needs, + we see our doctor constantly to monitor my ovaries, + most months we have some kind of procedure to help the process along, too. I also started acupuncture to help with my nerves + regulating my body, which I’m really enjoying! It’s been a long road so far; my body is constantly being altered by hormones to enhance our chances. The sleep I get each night varies depending on the medication, my level of discomfort, my mood, skin, + body have all been taking a toll. I’ve been feeling exhausted, hopeful, devastated, excited, supported, + sometimes very alone. I say this letting you know I’m not giving up + I’m feeling POSITIVE about what the future has in store for us.
I share my story here because we’ve chosen to express our fertility challenges with a handful of close friends + family + it’s been a shock to us learning how many people struggle with infertility behind closed doors. In fact, it was almost a relief to us when we discovered so many others had been through the journey together although it pained us to learn they had been through the same fight, too. This meant that it wasn’t just me taking all of the medication, shots, tracking my body, temperature, mood, (fluids), or food cravings daily. It also meant that we aren’t the only ones who are sick of having scheduled sex. This can be an embarrassing or uncomfortable conversation for many people to have, I know because I used to be one of those people. The thing is, that so many women + their partners feel this way, silently on a daily basis + I wanted to let them know it’s O.K. You’re not alone.
I want other women going through this journey to feel less alone. Stop thinking something is wrong with your body, because there’s no room for growth when you’re thinking that way. I will share that many times throughout each month, I do feel like a science project. I see doctors + specialists all over the valley + drive to Timbuctoo + back to pick up specialty, expensive medication, take more time off from work than I feel comfortable with to go to appointments + I’m sick of being poked week after week to get tests or results updated to see what’s happening with my ovaries today. Can I just say that nobody envisions their pregnancy journey to look like that or to chart their follicles in hopes of seeing a great, strong batch to be inseminated in a petri dish?! Yup, + I’m not an exception to that group either!
I hope that other women + couples will find strength + encouragement to talk about their journey to becoming parents more- if they think it will be helpful for them, too. I know it’s helped us + it feels good to share this experience here in my safe space. We have been inspired, hearing success stories of other strong women + couples + I hope to inspire others going through the same secretive journey, looking for strength by sharing a piece of our journey. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts + thinking positive with us along the way. We know it’s going to happen! I hope if you’re on this path too, that you feel a little more strength to tackle this part of your journey today. 🙂
If you or a friend is going through a similar experience, I hope you will find comfort in listening to my newest podcast episode, “Speaking up about infertility” with my dear friend Milbrey Rowe. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/mpIC2t_qFcA