I have two amazing children. Matthew, my three-year-old, is an inquisitive, bright, tractor-loving country boy, while Ben, my almost-two-year-old, is a playful, hilarious, sweet bull in a china shop. I cannot imagine not being their mother.
But for years I could not imagine that I ever would have the chance.
In 2006, after two years of marriage, Kenny and I decided to start a family. We didn’t really know many people with young children, and only a very few of our friends had experienced a pregnancy in their marriage. So we really had no idea what to expect in the process. I truly believed that we would become pregnant immediately. In fact, I remember that we started trying to conceive in October, and I had already begun practicing how we would tell our family that we were pregnant at Thanksgiving. After we discovered that we were not pregnant, I shifted my hope to the next month. And then the next. And the next.
This went on for about a year. I met with my OBGYN a few months later and recieved the diagnosis that would define me for years: unexplained infertility. This type of diagnosis doesn’t really mean that something is necessarily wrong with your body, it just means that there is no obvious explanation for your inability to conceive.
Soon after my diagnosis, I started taking Clomid (Clomiphine), which is usually the first treatment for those with unexplained infertility. Clomid helps your body release the hormones needed for ovulation. I did this for three cycles, and it never worked. Around this time, I started experiencing significant anxiety and depression. I assumed that whatever was wrong with me would be easily fixed with these treatments, so when it wasn’t, I feared that I would never become a mother.
While I was going through this, several of my closest friends became pregnant. This was such a hard time for me. I couldn’t figure out how to be happy for them. Every time I heard the news, I felt like I was being physically assaulted. It was so difficult to figure out how to seperate my situation from theirs. I deeply wanted to celebrate with them, but their joy brought me great pain instead. I became a bitter friend, and I often isolated myself in an effort to numb myself from the hurt. I knew that this wasn’t fair, but I couldn’t figure out a different way.
After about three and a half years of trying to conceive (including three rounds of Clomid, a pelvic surgery to remove endometriosis, four intrauterine inseminations, and three rounds of injecting myself in the stomach with follicle-stimulating hormones) Kenny and I (through much prayer and study of scripture) decided to attempt to embrace a childless life. This didn’t mean that we wanted to stop trying or that we weren’t open to adoption. What it did mean was that we had to figure out a way to live a fulfilled, joyful, meaningful life no matter our circumstances.
We sold our condo, bought a four-bedroom house, and traveled to Europe. Six months later, we began praying about in-vitro fertilization, which at this point was our only hope. We finally decided to move forward with that treatment option. In the month before a woman begins in-vitro, most doctors will have her do a Clomid challenge test, which is used to examine egg quality. We did the challenge test, knowing that it would be purely for evaluation purposes (as that drug and others like it did not work for me in the past). A couple of weeks later, we made an appointment to meet with a loan officer at the bank to pay for our in-vitro treatments. Our appointment was scheduled for a Friday, but we had to cancel it. Two days earlier, we found out we were pregnant.
All week long I will be blogging about infertility. Please comment below if you have any questions or if there are some specific issues related to infertility that you would like me to address. Also feel free to post your own stories below. Thanks for reading!