Two years ago, Conrad and I were “trying” on our own with temperature charting, as advised by my first fertility specialist. That didn’t work. One year ago, I was taking Estradiol in preparation for an embryo transfer that would happen mid-May. Today, my 12 week old baby is happily cooing in his swing behind me. What a difference a year or two can make. National Infertility Awareness Week: a week where many women decide to come out with their story of suffering through infertility. But many women remain silent, as they are embarrassed or ashamed by their issue. A year ago in February, I decided to go public with our infertility struggle on my blog, which I had been writing in Microsoft Word for a couple of months, just for my own benefit of remembering everything. Writing became cathartic as I put my feelings into written words. Going public was so relieving and brought so much support that I never expected. It informed my readers how much is really involved in fertility treatments. It also brought forth more people than I hoped that were going through the same journey and hadn’t told anyone; for some I gave them courage to tell others, and for some I gave them hope. For all, I sent up some prayers that we would all be successful in creating and growing our families, for this is not a club anyone wants to be a part of.
Infertility never leaves you. Just because I had a baby does not erase the fact that we couldn’t get pregnant on our own. Conrad and I are in a “funny” place right now. When we first got married, we weren’t ready to start a family so we prevented pregnancy (although I guess we didn’t need to). The next two years were spent trying to get pregnant. Now we’re back to preventing it. They say you’re super fertile after giving birth, even a lot of times for women with PCOS. I don’t know, and will never know, if this holds true for me. For one, I’m not ready to be pregnant again just yet or have two babies so close in age, and two, we have our 2 snowflake babies (frozen embryos) waiting to join our family over the next few years. We would like to have 3 kids and will definitely be transferring those embryos. If I were to get pregnant naturally, we could potentially have 4 children, which is not our plan. If God blesses us with a surprise after our other 2 snowflakes, then of course we would be happy. But kids are expensive! Four kids is just too expensive for us to afford and still be able to live the life we would like with traveling, a nice house, and being able to do fun activities without having to question whether or not we’ll be able to afford it.
As happy and blessed as we are that we have our 2 snowflakes waiting for us, it’s still nerve-wracking to think that they might not take. What if they don’t implant? Am I missing my chance right now at being fertile and getting pregnant naturally? These questions go through my head ALL.THE.TIME. A part of me is also sad that I’ll never be able to surprise Conrad one day with a pregnancy announcement. On the same note, we get to experience the joy of seeing each 5-day-old embryo as it’s transferred to me; who gets to see that?! We also know that our 2 snowflakes are genetically normal and healthy and we know their genders (no, I won’t be sharing what they are until each pregnancy, and no, we didn’t, nor will we in the future, choose which gender to transfer. Still leaving a little bit of this up to God).
Earlier today, I was Facebook messaging with a friend…well, a distant (by marriage a few times) family member in another country. She told me that she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for 10 years. 10 YEARS. They’ve seen multiple doctors, who can’t find anything wrong with them, and in turn, will not proceed with any treatments. I guess they’ve never heard of “unexplained infertility”? It absolutely breaks my heart knowing that they’ve been trying for so long, have sought help, and have been denied. I wish she lived here so I could send her to my amazing doctors.
This also made me think about how it took us just about 2 years of travelling down this awful, bumpy, pothole-filled, hellish, but totally worth it road to get to our beautiful baby boy. It doesn’t matter if it takes 6 months or 10+ years; the pain is the same month after month, failed cycle after failed cycle. The tears are the same. The anger is the same. The questions are the same. The hope is the same. That is, if you’re able to hold on to that one little shred of hope. The hope that grows a bit at the start of each treatment and the hope that is torn away when it doesn’t work.
Infertility is a road no one should have to travel. It is a road that too many people these days are on. Why? Is it something in the food we eat or the air we breathe? Why are there so many people, both men and women, suffering from it now? Was it the same percentage of people in the past but now seems like more because our population has grown? I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to that yet.
As I wrap up this post, I want to remind you to think before asking someone questions like: Why don’t you have kids yet? When are you going to have a baby? Aren’t you going to give your child a sibling? They may answer politely with a smile, but inside, they could be crying, with their hope dying a little more each time a similar question is asked. If you know someone struggling to get pregnant, just listen. Don’t offer advice. Just listen and be a shoulder to cry on. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone suffering through infertility, this week, and always.