Welcome to our infertility story, but before you continue reading, I must offer the following disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: I am the poster child for WORST CASE SCENARIO. Our situation is incredibly unique, so while I invite you to learn from our story I must also caution you to not jump to conclusions about yourself. IVF is used in only 3% of infertility treatments. There are many less invasive treatments that most people are successful with before reaching the “big guns.”
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s begin.
To throw it way back, I was that little girl who played with baby-dolls way past the official age of when I was supposed to be “cool.” I drove my parents nuts by begging for a pet, literally any pet, because even at a young age I hated the feeling of my arms being empty.
Flash forward, I meet the most amazing man and we fall madly in love. We get married, and when we thought the time was right, we started trying to grow our family. It seemed so simple, everyone else we knew got pregnant really quickly. I started daydreaming, looking at baby stuff, and browsing through every pregnancy and motherhood book I could find. I made myself so busy that I almost did not notice that something was terribly off.
DENIAL: “Infertility only happens to other people”
“Um, babe…I never thought I would WISH for this…but my period hasn’t shown up in awhile.” We looked at the calendar and agreed something was strange, but chalked it up to my body transitioning off of birth control and decided not to worry about it. Infertility creeps up on you, like you’re silently suffocating with fear, but maybe if you don’t say anything out loud then it will go away.
BARGAINING: “I am not letting go of my plan, I am just rearranging it.”
Our plan was always to have one baby, adopt a sibling pair, then have one more baby biologically. Since my body was not participating with our timeline, we decided we would start our adoption process first instead. We would keep “trying” (can you even try without regular periods?) but we felt good about our new arrangement because we got our false sense of control back.
ANGER: “Literally EVERYONE else is pregnant.”
If I had to fake one more smile during yet another public announcement of pregnancy, I might just lose it. Also, my excuses for getting out of baby showers were getting more lame by the minute, someone would surely catch on soon.
My period finally made its debut but that victory was short lived thanks to 50 + negative ovulation tests. Who doesn’t love to start their day by peeing in a cup each morning to see if their body is functioning properly?
“Um babe…I don’t think I have ovulated in at least 8 months.” One step forward, two steps back. Our spontaneous wine and chocolate nights of passion had turned into very precisely scheduled activity and rituals, none of which are the least bit romantic. None of this seemed fair.
DEPRESSION: “Why are ALL the doors closing!?”
We finally accepted that fact that we needed to figure out what was going on. I swore up and down that I would only proceed with testing and treatments if everyone was on the same page that IVF was not an option for us. My doctor made an appointment with a fertility specialist and we proceeded with a hysteroscopy (basically a surgery that turns your uterus into a rorschach inkblot test.) Thus began one of the darkest weeks of my entire life.
Monday, I get a call while I was at work. The door on our adoption was slammed shut. DENIAL. Tuesday, we very reluctantly met with our specialist for a post surgery discussion and heard the words I never wanted to hear.
“Sharon, the only safe way is IVF.”
DENIAL. ANGER. DE-…NO…SO MUCH ANGER.
“NO NO NO NO, you must be wrong!!!!” I screamed in my own head. This has to be nightmare, I can wake up from this if I try hard enough, I thought.
“I am so sorry, but you have PCOS, endometriosis, blocked tubes, and MFI. The only safe way for you to get pregnant is IVF.
It was as if I was being shredded to pieces, layer by layer, but entirely numb at the same time. The door to motherhood was closed. I will never have a baby.
DENIAL. I thought, “I am going to find my own answers, yours suck” and I marched out of her office. I Googled infertility when we got back to the waiting room.
Google decided to join the bandwagon of crushing our dreams as I read:
Top 3 causes of infertility:
-Male factor infertility
I barely made it home only to collapse on our living room floor, sobbing harder than I have ever cried before. My husband picked me up, carried me to our couch, and held me in his arms.
We both eventually exhaled, because it felt like we had been holding our breath for hours. Neither of us were okay, and we did not know if it would ever be okay. We just knew in that moment that we had to inhale and exhale. So there we sat, literally focusing all of our efforts on simply breathing…and with our last ounce of strength, we decided to trust that God’s plans were better. They just had to be.
This is a process that I have not fully completed even now that I am a mother. I will let you know when I finally accept that all of this happened to us.