My Fertility Journey: And What Helped Along the Way
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be considered medical advice.
Always consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment.
It was very important that throughout our journey, my husband and I never gave up hope to have another healthy child.
Having struggled with an eating disorder in my early 20s with irregular periods most of my life, I always feared that I would face infertility when it came time to start a family. My fear became a reality when we started to try for our first child. After a year of trying naturally, I decided to seek further help from a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). My OB was wonderful, but she felt that I needed more help and attention. I would later come to realize through my struggle with secondary infertility that I was blessed that on my first intrauterine insemination (IUI), I became pregnant and gave birth to an amazing boy.
It was when we attempted to have our second child that we really struggled. In the span of a year and a half, I went through 1 round of IUI, 6 rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and 6 separate miscarriages. After much discussion, we decided that I would travel to another city to change my doctor and protocol. My husband stayed home with our then 3-year-old son. All the heartache, tears, sleepless nights, and most of all the patience and hope finally paid off when I became pregnant and gave birth to our second son. I know that my self-advocacy, optimism, and perseverance are what allowed me to not give up and ultimately succeed.
I know that my self-advocacy, optimism, and perseverance are what allowed me to not give up and ultimately succeed.
I was so fortunate to have insurance that offered to cover up to a certain amount each calendar year. It worked to my benefit with my first child, but with my second, because it took a much stronger course of action and many more rounds of IVF, it ended up costing us a pretty penny. Even so, we were lucky to have the amount they offered us. Every little bit made a difference.
I was lucky that I did not experience the high highs and low lows from the hormones like many others talk about. The emotions came more from the exhaustion of the day-to-day routine of doctor visits and the years of unsuccessful tries, miscarriages, and D&Cs. I remember feeling guilty leaving my then 1-year-old every morning to get my labs done. After nearly 2 years of that routine, I started bringing my son with me to my appointments to lessen the burden on my husband and the guilt I felt.
I remember feeling guilty leaving my then 1-year-old every morning to get my labs done. After nearly 2 years of that routine, I started bringing my son with me to my appointments to lessen the burden on my husband and the guilt I felt.
There was a point during our journey where I felt like my husband got stuck with a “lemon,” and that I couldn’t provide him with what should come naturally. I felt like I was failing him and our family each and every time I couldn’t hold on to the pregnancy. He was incredibly loving and supportive without fail, but knowing the person you love most in this world is hurting is one of the hardest pains to overcome and cope with.
I felt like I was failing him and our family each and every time I couldn’t hold on to the pregnancy.
Another difficult part was trying to explain to people that the doctors couldn’t find a specific reason for why we were having so much trouble. People always assumed it was because I’m petite, or they assumed I didn’t consume enough food, or they thought I should quit exercising, and so on. It was very frustrating initially trying to explain that some people just have unexplained infertility. People felt there had to be an answer and THEY felt deserving of one. At some point, I decided that I wouldn’t be swayed by the negativity or uneducated (and offensive) thoughts and opinions that others had.
It was very frustrating initially trying to explain that some people just have unexplained infertility.
It was very important that throughout our journey, my husband and I never gave up hope to have another healthy child. Most importantly—we never gave up on each other. What helped me the most in getting through the daily struggles of infertility and miscarriage was talking. I found it very therapeutic to talk to not just my closest friends, but also many acquaintances. Many people struggle with similar issues and never talk about it. I found that being open about my own story made other people decide to share their stories with me. Feeling the love and support from so many strong and beautiful women really helped me get through each day. It helped me look forward to a better tomorrow.