I have always wanted to be a mom. Always! I never knew what career path to take because all I knew was that I wanted to be a mom, so it was hard to think about what I wanted to do alongside or instead of that. Jason and I got married on a beautiful, warm, and sunny day at the end of March 2013. It was perfect. Happiest day of our lives! A few weeks prior we had a meeting with one of our church leaders. He told us that when we were getting married there would be angels in the room, and some of those angels were of course loved ones who had passed away, but some of them were without a doubt our future children. This was a very special, memorable moment that both of us will remember forever.
(Photo by the incredible Alexia Wardell)
I wanted to wait at least a year to start trying to have kids because I felt like we were pretty young. But in November of that same year I decided to stop taking my birth control pill just in case it took a little while. We weren’t “trying” exactly, but we weren’t preventing it either. In April 2014 we finally felt like we were ready and that’s when we say we started trying.
It’s recommended that if you have regular cycles and have been trying for a year unsuccessfully, that’s when you should see a doctor. First I just went to an Internal Medicine doctor because I honestly had no idea where to start. I didn’t have a doctor in Utah and basically just called the first one on my insurance. She did a regular blood panel and everything was normal, so referred me to an OBGYN (seems obvious, but I had no idea). So I went in June and he said my blood work looked great and did no other testing at that time. He said we could either have Jason tested or start me on Clomid. In short, Clomid is a fertility drug that helps you ovulate. I jumped on this option because it was the least expensive and it seemed like a magic pill that would get me pregnant, so foolishly my hopes were high. (I was not educated at all at that time, but looking back I would have asked for more testing first, probably Jason then myself. My cycles were completely normal and always have been. There was no reason to believe I wasn’t ovulating.)
I did 3 rounds of Clomid (3 months) with literally zero side effects, which was nice. I have no idea why. Many people have extreme side effects like crazy mood swings and extreme headaches. But lo and behold, it didn’t work. We finished the Clomid rounds in October. After that we were super bummed and didn’t really even think about more testing until after Christmas time.
After the new year we decided to have Jason do a semen analysis, and everything came back normal. Next, I did an HSG, hysterosalpingogram, which is an X-ray of your uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure there are no blockages of any kind. (This one was pretty painful.) This test also came back normal. It was pretty funny actually because the Radiologist told me that sometimes women will have just small blockages but the dye pushes them out and clears the tube, so sometimes they will get pregnant after the test. He said that one time he was in the grocery store and a woman ran up to him and said “Dr. So and so, you got me pregnant!” Pretty funny. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case for us.
(It’s a pretty conflicting feeling actually to have so many tests done and have them all come back normal. It would *almost* feel better to have something wrong just so we know what the problem is. It’s sometimes difficult being told everything is fine. No, everything is not fine, because we don’t have a baby!)
The biggest step we’ve taken was in November 2016 we did an IUI, which is Intrauterine Insemination. Basically they took Jason’s sperm and put it directly into my uterus to shorten the distance the sperm has to travel. My friend Brooke put it best when she said it “took what little remaining romance there was left in this equation and threw it out the window.” Luckily, we had pretty good attitudes about it. And to give my doctor credit, he did let Jason do the actual procedure which is kind of cool. Since we went to my OBGYN instead of the specialist, we had to go to two facilities. First we went to the specialists office for them to do the “sperm wash.” That took about an hour. We gave them the sperm in a tiny container, so we were expecting we’d leave with the same kind of thing. Nope! They gave us a huge cardboard tube to carry it in! It was pretty hilarious. We even took a picture to document it. After all, we were hoping to get pregnant that day. Why not take a picture??
Then we took a well-deserved trip to the Puppy Barn to celebrate.
Also in this 3-year time frame Jason has had his blood work done and we did 2 more rounds of Clomid. I’ve also been tracking my Basal Body Temps for the entire process which is extremely helpful. Because of it, I know that I’m ovulating.
Since the IUI was unsuccessful, we’ve pretty much been at a standstill. This struggle is financially, emotionally, and physically draining in every way. We felt we just needed a break from the testing and treatments. We’ve still been trying and tracking my ovulation, we’ll probably never stop doing that. We do believe in miracles after all. Our next step is to see a functional medicine practitioner in the area, but we’re working on building up our finances and courage right now. In the meantime, we’re really working on our nutrition; obviously I removed refined sugar and most gluten from my diet; I’ve been using the “Think Dirty” app and I’m working on switching my home and beauty products to cleaner, less toxic options. But this is also expensive, so it’s a process.
It’s been 3 years and we have no idea how much longer it will take. We are completely open and excited about the option to adopt, but that’s also a huge financial burden. We really don’t want to have to do IVF, because once again, financially, emotionally, physically hard on you. But it’s not out of the question. Right now, though, I can’t fathom putting the money and hope into it only to be heartbroken as I’ve seen happen to so many friends of mine.
For the most part we are very optimistic. But some days are harder than others.
As a nanny, it’s difficult at times to take the kids to the library or the park and see all the mamas, most of which are younger than me, and think about how much I wish I was in their place. Sometimes Jason and I still struggle when we see a pregnancy announcement on social media. It’s not all the time, sometimes I feel complete joy for them and other days I want to throw my phone at the wall. It’s hard not knowing the future and if we will ever get that blessing that we want more than anything.
I do have to point out, I NEVER want anyone to hold back their excitement for their own pregnancy, their own little one’s milestones, or anything else of that nature to spare my feelings! Everyone who is struggling with infertility is handling it differently, but personally I don’t want you to diminish or downplay your joy and excitement for this time in your life just because of my struggle. Most days, I am completely happy for you and actually relish in those moments vicariously through you. Please, please, please remember this.
On another note for those facing this same battle, this struggle is real. Whether you’ve been struggling for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or your entire marriage, whether you know the issues or you have unexplained infertility, it’s painful and hard and feels impossible no matter what. You are allowed to feel all the emotions. Do not downplay your situation because someone has been facing it longer than you have. BUT please don’t let your grief overcome you either. Allow yourself to be sad for a little while, but then pick yourself up, wipe away your tears and enjoy the life you are living right now before it passes you by.
Many people facing this struggle find themselves bitter, resentful, sensitive to the comments of others, etc. Honestly, at times it’s hard not to feel those things, but for the most part I don’t let the comments made by others affect me. People who haven’t gone through it don’t know the struggle, therefore usually don’t know what to say (this isn’t always the case though, I have a few friends who know exactly what to say despite not having gone through it themselves. Find those people ;). People are not trying to hurt you. Give them grace.
(Photo credit goes to Elizabeth Blank Photography)
We haven’t given up hope. We just pray every single day that it will work out the way it’s supposed to and that we can feel hopeful and have peace in our hearts in the meantime. We’ve been extremely blessed. Blessed with the ability to handle it well and strengthen our marriage instead of letting it tear us apart. We’ve been blessed to have so many children in our lives that we love deeply even if they aren’t our own. We’ve been blessed with an incredible support system in our dear friends and family who encourage us and pray for us, and we are more grateful than they know. We’ve been blessed with optimism, hope, and faith. We know that God has a plan for us and loves us more than we can imagine. We know he is aware of our struggle and wants that blessing for us as well. But He knows what’s best for us, and we trust Him completely.