I am writing this blog semi-anonymously. I still haven`t come to terms with sharing my infertility story with the whole world. However, I do want to provide a cursory overview of our infertility struggle.
My husband and I got married in the fall of 2009. Everything was going according to plan. We both had finished university, had jobs we liked, a cat we loved, and we got to travel together on a fairly regular basis. Life was good. Near the end of 2011 we decided we were ready to expand our family so I went off birth control and we started the obligatory waiting period for that stuff to get out of my system.
We started trying to conceive in January 2012. I was the type that started using ovulation tests right from the first month. I wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to make a baby and make it fast!! I had heard from a couple of friends that it took them 8 months to conceive. A whole 8 months – wow! I could not imagine having to wait that long so I wanted to do everything in my power to make it happen. I soon realized I could not will myself to become pregnant. I also realized that we would have been lucky to get pregnant after 8 short months!
I remember the first month we tried to conceive. We were so excited. We knew the odds were that it would not happen the first month, but we were young and naive and could not wait to expand our family (not that we didn’t love our cat!). Looking back now, I get teary eyed thinking about that time. We had no concept of the journey that was in store for us. We were filled with hope. Our life was going according to plan and it was just a matter of time before we were shopping for a crib!
I wish that I could have bottled up and stored those feelings for when I really needed them. The young exuberance. The feeling of being almost invincible. Those feelings have definitely since faded. I feel like I have aged 5 years in a 2 year span. Infertility has sapped me (and my husband) of that youthful love of life. The feeling of endless possibilities. The feeling that if we just tried hard enough, nothing would be out of our reach. Now all I see are dead ends and roadblocks.
But I digress… After close to a year of trying to conceive, we were referred to a fertility specialist. That took about 6 months but felt like 6 years. I remember being extremely nervous waiting in the little room for the specialist to come in for our first appointment. We had so many questions. We were excited and scared at the same time. We were happy to finally be meeting someone who could give us answers (or so we thought) but at the same time angry and a bit in shock that it had to come to this. If I am truly honest with myself, I think the whole time we were waiting to get in to see the specialist I was betting on us getting pregnant before we even needed to go down that road. No medical intervention for us. Boy was I wrong!
After the specialist confirmed that I actually get a period (check) and that we actually know how to have sex (check) he handed us a crap load of forms for blood work, ultrasounds, and seamen analysis. Just like that, we were officially fertility patients. Yay?? It took a couple of months to get all the tests done because certain things needed to be done on certain days, which life sometimes got in the way of. Eventually, the day came for us to meet with Dr. Baby again and have the big reveal!! I still don`t really know whether I was hoping he would find something so that there would be something to fix (because at that time I thought it was all fixable) or if I wanted him not to find anything, because then I could avoid actually being branded as infertile. It would just mean that we were taking a bit longer than average to conceive; it would happen soon enough. I think at first I leaned towards the latter option because I still had real hope that we could conceive on our own – it was just a matter of waiting it out. Well, there would be a lot more waiting in our future.
During our second fertility appointment the Dr. confirmed that all our tests came back normal. He ordered me to undergo an HCG test as a final check, but otherwise there was nothing to do but wait. Well, that showed nothing either. The good Dr. took out his big “unexplained infertility” stamp and branded us both on our foreheads. Well, at least that is what it felt like. I did not find any comfort in our diagnosis. To me, it just meant that there was nothing that could be done to fix us. It was a bit of a shock to learn through attending a local infertility support group and doing online research that having unexplained infertility is not uncommon. There is a large group of us floating around out there that will never get any answers as to why we can`t just have a romantic night with a bottle of wine and then have a baby pop-out 9 months later. It blew my mind. I had always thought that you go to a Dr., get some tests done, said Dr. tells you what is wrong, and then proceeds to treat you accordingly. Right? RIGHT? Wrong!
So what is the next step for a couple with unexplained infertility? Well, I have always been very adverse to putting anything unnatural in my body. I am a vegetarian, I see a naturopath, I avoid taking tylenol unless I absolutely have to. So, the idea of taking drugs to “treat” my infertility – especially when they aren’t targeted at any actual problem – was a hard thing for me to accept. For example, why would I take clomid to induce ovulation when I am already ovulating? How does that improve my chances? All the Dr. could tell me was: “We don’t know why it works, we just know that it does.”Well, that is comforting logic you can’t argue with!
So, given my drug aversion we opted to try IUI alone for a few months before jumping on the clomid bandwagon. That did not work so now – two years after we bought our first tickets for what we thought was the baby train – we are trying IUI with clomid. We are currently on our second round. I am not hoping for much, but we have to keep jumping through the hoops just in case!
Now you are all caught up on our infertility journey! I look forward to writing my next post 🙂