National Infertility Awareness Week: Our Story

Did you know that 1 out of every 8 couples struggles to get pregnant or sustain pregnancy?? Pretty sad right? I bet that someone you know has gone through infertility struggles, miscarried, etc but it's NOT something that is widely talked about. I have always been very open about our journey but I know that not everyone is comfortable with sharing their story or others aren't comfortable with talking about it with them. I can understand that but I think it's important to share our story so others know that they aren't alone. In true Jessica style, I am going to share a lot with you in this post. So grab a snack, a beverage, and get comfy. This is going to be a long post!

We started trying to conceive almost four years ago. Just typing that makes me so sad. Four years of actively tracking ovulation and every little symptom, scheduling things around when I could conceive, doctors appointments galore, medications, shots, negative pregnancy tests, and the constant rollercoaster of emotions that comes with all that. It's exhausting and sad.

We were trying for about a year and a half before we went to a doctor. I knew that the "average" amount of time to get pregnant is about a year and then you add in my husband's crazy schedule, it makes it a little hard. In hindsight, I should have seen a doctor earlier because I knew that something had to be wrong. The doctor ordered a plethora of tests for me including the lovely HSG and saline sonogram. The tests concluded that I have a bicornuate uterus and PCOS. Now the weight gain, hair loss, and inconsistent cycles were all making sense.

My doctor decided to put me on Letrozole for a few months to see if that helped. Sadly, it didn't and she decided that we needed to see a specialist. Going to see the specialist was the one of the best medical decisions I've ever made. Spoiler alert: I didn't get pregnant while going thru fertility treatments there, but I learned so much from them.

The specialist was kind, explained every little detail to me, gave me a realistic outlook on what we were dealing with, and was no nonsense (in the best kind of way) when it came to putting my health first. He urged me to get another saline sonogram because he truly thought the images that were done before, weren't up to his standards. I fought tooth and nail against it because I had just had one done a few months before and it was so awful for me. Finally, I did what he said and low and behold, I had multiple polyps in my uterus. Polyps can stop you from getting pregnant, so this was a big deal.

A few months later, I had a surgery to remove them and to try and fix the shape of my uterus. It's VERY heart shaped, which can also lead to problems sustaining pregnancy. They ended up finding even more polyps and removed them and then worked to fix the shape of my uterus. It's never going to be 100% when it comes to what they want to see, but it's better.

After that, we did more rounds of Letrozole with ultrasound monitoring, all leading to negative pregnancy tests. They decided we needed to move to IUIs. We did 6 in total, all with trigger shots and  the last one including injectable medication. That one was the worst because we paid a ton of money and I had high hopes, but sadly no pregnancy. They were at a loss for why I wasn't getting pregnant and have now concluded that our infertility struggles were "unexplained."At that point it was time to say goodbye to our doctor and leave for Virginia Beach.

I left SD feeling sad for so many reasons but a BIG one was because I had to start over with another doctor. My previous doctor knew all my history, would call me and check on me on the weekends, and was so compassionate and caring. I became very attached and it was hard for me to imagine connecting with another doctor that way.

When we got to VA Beach, I sought out a primary care doctor so I could get referred to a specialist. Everything with the military takes longer because you need referrals. Finally, I was able to see someone and she agreed that the chances of an IUI working were slim and it was time to move to a more aggressive approach... IVF. To be honest, I was/ am terrified of IVF. The whole idea scares me because of everything involved. I look at others' stories of their successful IVF transfers and I know that in the end it will be worth it. It's the in between that makes me nervous though. I hated giving myself one shot a day, I can't imagine several a day and some of these are intramuscular. :( It's just a lot to take in. But with that being said, I want a baby. I still want a chance for us to try and I know this is the next step, so I completed the immense amount of paperwork and testing to get approved to start through the A.R.T. Institute in Bethesda.

So that's where we are now... waiting to see if we will get the a-okay to begin this summer. We started to get really excited and then I hurt myself and the potential of knee surgery is looming in my future. Everyone keeps saying that IVF can be done later but it works little differently with the military and my husband's schedule. So now we wait....

Some days are full of rays of shiny hope and then others feel so bleak and disappointing. There are moments where I feel strong and confident in the Lord's plan and just as quickly I see someone post about a second or third pregnancy and I feel jealousy rear it's ugly head. I hate comparing myself to others and I especially dislike feeling upset when it should be such a joyful moment. It's an inward battle that never ceases to end.

With all that being said, I am thankful for our story. I have connected with so many women who have had similar struggles and who have reached out wanting to talk or just share their story. These moments remind me that the Lord connects us all and gives us a community in the midst of these tough times. I have also found the most amazing support system. I have friends and family that consistently check in with me about how everything is going. They know when I am going to my appointments and they pray with me every step of the way. I am so grateful to know that these amazing people are invested in me and our potential family. They make this burden easier to carry.

I couldn't write this post without mentioning how amazing my husband has been through this whole process too. He has been my rock ad absolutely steadfast in knowing that we will have a baby one day. His faith has never wavered and he helps keep my eyes on the Lord. I love you Mark!

I hope that collectively, by sharing our stories, and learning to ASK others about their stories, that we will change the stigma that comes from infertility. I hope that this doesn't make you feel bad for me but rather it gives you a little insight into our journey so far. I know our story is far from over and I pray that whatever you are going through that you find solace in prayer and the people around you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, Jess. I have read a few stories this week about the ups and downs of infertility and like yours, they have faith and hope. I appreciate your strength in sharing and moving forwars, and I know you and your husband are going to make wonderful parents. God must have the most amazing plan for the two of you. Lots of love to you, Sista!