A few weeks ago now I received one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received in my life and it was incredibly unexpected.
Yes. That’s a onesie.
No. I’m not pregnant.
But I’m trying to be.
In fact, I’ve been trying for a little over a year now. 17 cycles and numerous tests, pills, blood draws (bruises in my elbow to prove it) and ultrasounds, three intrauterine insemionations (IUIs) and I still can’t say those two beautiful words- “I’M PREGNANT!”
After 1 year of unsuccessful trying (for couples under the age of 35; 6 months for 36+), doctors consider a couple to have INFERTILITY. A word that is often spoken in whispers and tones of sympathy or pity, but is more common than one would think. Our journey began in March 2015, when my husband and I decided to add the pitter patter of tiny Tinkler feet to our (already rambunctious) home. And that first month, I was convinced I was pregnant. But when the end of the month came, I wasn’t. I wasn’t pregnant the next month, or the next month, or the one after that.
6 months came and went and we were nowhere closer to our dream of a family. I was trying everything under the sun to make it happen (green tea? Mucinex? Maca root anyone?) and joined an amazing online community of women for support and advice… but every month we fell short of victory.
Given my history of hypothyroidism, I decided that we should see my OBGYN and see what she said about it. She was very optimistic and said that everything looked great! Even the blood work she ordered, just in case!, came back normal! To be sure, the doctor then ordered a test called an HSG- where they fill your uterus and fallopian tubes with dye to check for blockage-which I had at the end of September.
The HSG was AWFUL. It was incredibly painful and emotionally tolling. The doctor performing the procedure was less than sympathetic and did not explain why he left the room after a few minutes with a worried look on his face. Thank goodness for the nurse who held my hand the entire time. When we got the results two days later, I was informed that their might be a slight blockage, probably nothing that would require any action, but that I would be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) for a 2nd opinion. I made the appointment right away.
October 10th was probably one of the hardest days of my life. When you start trying for a baby, you never think that you will be one of “those couples”, 1 in 8 in the US as a matter of fact, labeled infertile. I sat in the RE’s office with Jon trying to hold back the tears I knew were coming… At that initial consult there was some confusion with the results of my HSG and the RE informed us that I would most likely have to have my fallopian tube removed and do IVF if we had any hope of conceiving. I was devastated. I held it together the best I could but once we got in the car, I couldn’t hold it back anymore. Desperate to have any issues resolved as quickly as possible, we scheduled a follow up appointment with my OB/GYN for pre-surgery consultation.
About one week before my consult, the RE called me- she hadn’t actually looked at my HSG results before informing me to remove a part of my reproductive system, but she NOW recommended that I not have the surgery at all. I was furious- I made a follow up appointment with her right away and sat down to discuss our next step- IUI.
The next few months after we decided to do IUI are kind of a haze now- I’ve taken medication (Clomid and Femara/letrozole and FSH) to overstimulate my ovaries, injected myself with hormones to release an egg for fertilization and finally had insemination procedures three times now. I’ve had a cycle cancelled due to overproduction by my ovaries so that I wouldn’t become the next “Octomom”. I’ve cried countless tears, said countless prayers and done things most 25 year olds would consider crazy to get a baby. And here I sit. No baby for us in 2016 and hope fast fading that I will ever get to carry our child.
Confession: When I started this blog, I’d hoped that I could soon turn it into a pregnancy blog for my family and friends to keep up with our growing little family. Never could I have imagined that our story would head in the opposite direction. I decided to finally write this post, which I’ve started probably 8 times over the course of the last year and a half, because of the generosity I’ve experienced from those close to me who know our struggles. My dear friend sent me the onesie just before my first IUI cycle as a reminder to be strong and that the pain I’m experiencing now will be worth it when I finally get to hold my own little one in my arms. I wanted to share my story so that if anyone else out there who happens to stumble upon this blog is struggling, they can know that they’re not alone in this terribly isolating process. There is a community of women out there just like you- who know what it feels like to have your heart shattered into a hundred million pieces on the journey towards those two pink little lines and can offer support in previously unimaginable ways.
On Tuesday, I started birth control pills to suppress my ovaries and prepare the eggs in there for IVF. I have found it incredibly helpful to read the blogs of other women and know what to prepare for in the journey ahead of us. It is my hope that I will add one more blog to the list of ones to read for those who are starting a similar journey.
Thank you for reading this post- it means the world!