I quickly realized that the world of infertility can feel like a lonely one. While it is difficult topic to broach, I have found that being open about it helps me cope with the day-to-day frustrations this journey has brought us. This is our story.
Frank and I have a great life together, and an even better relationship. We did everything right in terms of the order of how life "should go". We fell crazy in love, went to college, got engaged, dog, wedding, careers, house...what comes next? Certainly not what we expected. We started trying to grow our family within a year of being married. We knew we wanted some time to enjoy our new marriage as well as purchase a home before bringing our first child into the world, but waiting was hard to do since becoming a mom is everything I have ever wanted for a very long time.
Even though I had no official diagnosis, I knew I was probably facing some difficulty getting pregnant due to endometriosis. My OBGYN was well aware of the pain I went through monthly, but after trying every type of NSAID they could think of with no relief, they told me that they thought I was too young to be on any narcotics to help with the pain, nor did they want to refer me to have an exploratory laparoscopy done to confirm my diagnosis and remove the adhesions. Basically a shrug and push out the door, but I wasn't much for making objections when a doctor told me the way they thought things should go (Too bad I've done a complete 180 on that since then). It wasn't until Frank and I had tried for over a year that I reached out to a fertility clinic. They ran the gamut of tests to figure out what could be preventing us from achieving pregnancy. I had already known I had hypothyroidism, which can make it difficult to sustain a pregnancy if it is not well controlled, but other than that and the endo, we weren't sure what the problem was. When the results came back, they gave us the label of "unexplained infertility". What a lovely thing it was to hear that there was no explanation why we weren't getting anywhere with baby making. The doctor offered to start IUIs (artificial insemination) with us and suggested I have the surgery done to help ease my pain and possibly increase our chances by 12%. Unfortunately, even working for a health-care-tycoon, my insurance covered absolutely nothing for infertility treatments. We reluctantly told them we would continue to try naturally for another 6 months or so until I could get onto my husband's insurance, who had great coverage for the treatments we needed.
Fast forward to just shy of a year later with new health insurance and no further success on our own, we restarted our pursuit of intervention with the same fertility clinic. This time, I was told that I also had a diagnosis of PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome). This causes most women effected by this not to ovulate, along with a slew of other complications. I was started on fertility drugs and we had our first IUI in February of this year.
My take away from all this is that suffering in silence is not healthy nor is it necessary. I hope that this can be an open explanation to family and friends of the struggles we have been facing as well as support for anyone else out there facing the heartbreak of getting negative pregnancy tests every month.
As I mentioned briefly on my instagram account about a month ago, we completed our final rounds of IUIs without success. The final month was a difficult one, but getting off the hormones got me back to feeling like myself again. As I sit here happily sipping a glass of wine and writing this, we are officially on a hiatus from fertility treatments. While we were both eager to move on to the next step after the final IUI, I think the universe had other plans for us. And who are we to question that?
With our upcoming vacation, it was too risky to attempt starting IVF before we left. Due to my PCOS (and my previous reaction to some of the fertility meds), I am at a high risk for hyperstimulation from the hormone injections that will cause me to produce a higher amount of eggs all at once. Not only was I not looking to having a bloat belly and cramping while on a dream vacation, there was no way I wanted to take a chance landing myself in an ER overseas. (Nothing against your healthcare Italy). So we made the decision to start IVF as soon as we get back from our trip.
We are getting everything nailed down in the next few weeks so there is no delay in starting once we get back home. Lots of papers to sign, deposits to put down, and appointments to attend. Regardless of the trials it continues to bring, we are super excited to be taking one step closer to our maybe-baby :) Our fertility journey continues into the world of IVF- Cross your fingers for us!