Our Infertility / IVF Journey – Part 1

It’s taken me a long time to start this post series. Partially because I was so sick with morning sickness, then had to recover from surgery while pregnant (read about that whole saga HERE), but also because this is a hard and convoluted story and those kinds of stories take time to tell. I want to do this part of our lives justice because I have a hope that our story will help others in similar situations, even if it all it does is let one single person know they are not alone.

Our IVF Journey

Infertility is no joke – it’s a bitch, actually, and I would never wish it on anyone. Did you know that 1 in 8 couples has trouble conceiving? That’s surprisingly high, no? 1/3rd of these cases is caused by infertility issues on the female side, 1/3 by infertility on the male side, and 1/3 by either both partners or unexplained causes. Millions of people around the world see infertility specialists and/or have fertility treatments performed. That’s a lot of people struggling with infertility. And yet, no one ever seems to talk about it. It’s almost an invisible illness; it makes people uncomfortable – for some reason everyone is just supposed to be able to procreate at the drop of a hat, and if you can’t, then you are seen as inadequate or broken, and people don’t like bringing that up.

 

 

Our journey to parenthood started in November of 2015. I remember driving up to my parent’s mountain cabin for Thanksgiving while one of my very best friend’s was in the hospital giving birth to her daughter at that exact moment. I remember talking with my husband, Nate, about how exciting that was and it inspired a conversation about how we both agreed that we wanted to start a family. We had been feeling ready for a while, but hadn’t pulled the trigger on stopping birth control yet. But during that car ride, we decided together that now was the time to start trying for children. It was such an exciting and exhilarating decision that made my heart soar – I was so ready to be a parent with my husband.

Our IVF Journey

{Also, I’m just going to put in random photos of me and Nate to break up all this text hah}

And so we joyfully threw out the rest of my birth control pills and excitedly waited for the good news of a positive pregnancy test. Only it didn’t come. The first few months passed with nothing, and I wasn’t too worried at first – everyone says it can take a little time for your body to adjust after birth control, and it would take some time to get the timing right. No big deal. The next few months after that I got a bit more serious – tracking my cycles, taking my temperature daily to see if I could pinpoint ovulation times. We varied the amounts and intervals and positions that we made love in. I bought ovulation strips to make extra sure we were hitting the sweet spot. And we were hitting that coveted ovulation window every. single. time. And yet nothing. We were doing everything perfectly, and yet my womb was still empty.

Our IVF Journey

During this time, it felt like the world was exploding with pregnancy announcements. Friends, family members, acquaintances, everyone it seemed, was getting pregnant, and seemingly without difficulty. Each new joyous announcement was sort of a slap in the face. You’re broken. What’s wrong with you. Why aren’t you pregnant like them. Don’t get me wrong, we were overjoyed for all of our friends and family, but when you are going through infertility, these kinds of things can really sting and eat away at your heart, especially if you aren’t expecting them. I remember going to a party and 3 separate couples announced they were pregnant over the course of the night and we just left with heavy broken hearts and feelings of inadequacy. I stopped checking Facebook as often because my heart couldn’t bear another surprise announcement. My heart would flop every time I saw a beautiful woman with a pregnant belly or a baby in her arms. Would that ever be me? There was definitely some depression there that we did our best to hide as we continued to try and try fruitlessly every month. It really is a roller coaster, to be SO hopeful, to think that every month is *the* month, only to be let down when your period comes or you see that negative on the pregnancy test.

Our IVF Journey

At around the year mark of trying we decided it was time to see a fertility specialist. We ended up at Seattle Reproductive Medicine where we were both run through a gamut of tests. After being poked and prodded and tested we were given a couple of diagnoses: I had irregular periods, which wasn’t great, but wasn’t too limiting in terms of getting pregnant; and my husband’s sperm count/motility was low, which is called Male Factor Infertility. Male Factor Infertility is the cause of conception problems in 40% of cases of infertile couples, and 30 million men around the world deal with MFI. And this number may in fact be higher, but because our society places such ridiculous expectations/ideals on men in regard to “masculinity” that many men don’t come forward or get help. It’s actually really common and yet another thing that people don’t talk about. But I digress. We finally had our answer as to why we weren’t getting pregnant.

Our IVF Journey

We talked to a couple of different doctors at SRM (one of which was far too blunt and had no bedside manner) but we were eventually told that our only hope of conceiving a child would be through IVF (in-vitro fertilization). The less invasive/expensive/rigorous IUI (intra-uterine insemination) option wouldn’t work for us, nor would any other treatments. Our hearts sunk. The only way we could have a child of our own would be through an extensive, expensive, vigorous, and invasive set of procedures. And that was something we really had to consider before moving forward…

Our IVF Journey

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! To keep things from getting insane, I’ll be breaking this story up into more readable chunks. Stay tuned for Part 2! I’m also going to do a separate post on what to say/not to say to people dealing with infertility, and infertility & Christianity. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please, do share this with anyone you think could use it. Lots of love. <3

cheerserica


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