There are some days that infertility doesn’t really phase me. I’m sure that’s unimaginable for some people, but I’ve struggled to have children for so long that a lot of times, it’s just part of me, and isn’t something I really dwell on. I remember when I was married to my ex, and first struggled with infertility – it was so different. Infertility was inescapable. It was on my mind all the time. That was over ten years ago, though, and I guess if I hadn’t figured out a way to deal with all this by now, I’d have lost my mind.

I remember when my ex and I had been ttc for 6 months. I was terrified and sad – I just couldn’t believe this was happening to me. In all honesty, I freaked out. I would read about people who had been trying for a year or more, and I didn’t think I could stand it if I still wasn’t pregnant in six months, or even worse, a year. I took vitamins, I charted, I used opk’s…and we crossed into the territory of trying for over a year. I had some initial bloodwork and a HSG. My ex had a SA. I stopped drinking alcohol. I gave up caffeine. I bought a fertility monitor. Nothing worked. One year turned into two, and while I thought it would get harder, it didn’t. I think in some ways, I gave up. I finished my master’s degree, and ‘when we have children’ turned into ‘if we have children.’ I think I started to doubt it would ever happen. The more I was able to accept the fact that we may never have children, the more determined my (now ex) husband became. As we approached the three-year mark, we finally made an appointment to see an RE*. I felt like I defied the odds when I saw a long awaited positive on a pregnancy test a month before seeing the RE. I had 24 hours of shock and happiness before I miscarried the next day. We started treatment a month or so later. Six months after that, we stopped treatment and got a divorce. I was 31.

Deciding to try to have a family after getting remarried was hard. We were so happy, and I didn’t want to risk that. I was afraid what infertility might do to my marriage with M. That was the hardest part…well, that and the fact that I really didn’t want to deal with the disappointment of infertility again. When we passed the six-month mark, I knew that once again, it wasn’t going to be an easy road. I think I realized, then more than any time before, that there really was something wrong with me*. I was the common denominator in the struggle to have a baby. There were times I was sad, but it was nothing compared to the devastation I felt the first time around. We didn’t waste time and saw an ob/gyn at the six-month mark…had more testing…and no answers. I charted and used opk’s, but no luck. We tried Clomid. I don’t know if I really expected any of it to work out, so it was more frustrating than disappointing. I guess when your expectations are incredibly low, it’s hard to be let down.

We moved on, and took a break. At some point, we agreed that we would just accept that we couldn’t have children. In all honestly, after coming to terms with the decision, it wasn’t that hard. There were times that it was sad, but it wasn’t really part of my day-to-day life. I was infertile, and while I wished I wasn’t, I accepted it.

The problem, though, is that the option is always there to change your mind. A year after we supposedly came to terms with living childfree, I decided to try acupuncture. I thought that maybe since traditional medicine had been unable to find a solution (or even the problem), an alternative approach might work. I was hopeful, and almost optimistic. After four months, it became obvious that this, too, wasn’t working, and we decided – again – to stop ttc and commit – again – to living childfree. We’d been ttc for almost three years. I was 37.

I think, if things had gone differently, we might have continued along that path. But a series of events happened: I was diagnosed and treated for severe cervical dysplasia; my father was diagnosed and treated for a rare form of lymphoma (cancer); my friend, who dealt with infertility for seven years, got pregnant via IVF; and everyone we know who hadn’t had children yet decided to have a baby. We decided we don’t want to have any regrets, and we’re running out of time.

It’s hard to feel optimistic after all this time. Our first IVF cycle is approaching, and I obviously want it to work, but it’s so hard to believe that it could. It’s so hard to imagine it all working out. It feels like winning the lottery…I haven’t spent much time imagining it because it probably isn’t going to happen. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be ecstatic, though.

I find myself thinking about our current situation all the time – wondering how the IVF cycle will go and whether it will work. We can’t plan anything that would take place after September because we don’t know if I’ll be pregnant or if we’ll be trying more cycles of IVF. I don’t know if my eggs will even respond, and I don’t know what we’ll do if they don’t. It feels like the end of the road…we’ve put this off and procrastinated and tried to accept other options, but here we are. We’ll either come out of all this with a baby, or we won’t, but we’ll know we tried.

*Although we were initially diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility,’ our second or third IUI showed that my ex had almost no sperm. The suspicion was that he had an infection. Years later, he remarried and had a baby. I don’t know if his issues were resolved or not.

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