Shameful “I” word, a personal journey

The concept of infertility can be one that means different things to different people. It seems strange that such a simple concept can be incredibly complex. The main stream definition is a couple that can’t conceive or maintain a pregnancy. However, people tend to take this infertility definition and stretch it to mold into their life. Sometimes it lends them to have an identity that’s different from the norm. Some take this and use it for personal gain. Such as attention seeking to find their own identity. There are even couples that flaunt their success in having children by constantly referencing their infertility struggles, expecting to be the center of attention. I have seen this many times, people taking the plague of infertility and making it a life style. A true infertile couple is one that has tried to have a child for YEARS with no success. Some couples have periods of infertility, like two years or so. Then through modern technology or natural miracle they conceive giving birth to a child. This is incredibly hard on couples, even a short term incidence of infertility is emotionally taxing. There are even some couples that can’t overcome the pain of infertility thus beginning the end of their relationship. The couples that experience ten plus years of infertility are the couples that can really fit into the classical definition of being infertile.

 It’s hard to not be bitter of the couples that say they were infertile for a for a year and then ended up having a baby. It’s like plunging a knife in the heart of the people that have been trying for years that end up with nothing but miscarriages and massive amount of pain. I for one am bitter at times even though I try to not be. Eleven years of infertility plays with you in a way that shakes the core of who you are. My husband and I had no clue that we would have these issues. We both always wanted children together. This is a snapshot of what we have been through on our infertility journey.  Do not be fooled not every infertility story ends in a happy ending, this is reality. My story is one that is hard to share but I feel I should try giving my story to those who may be touched by it.

 We got pregnant within four months of our wedding date. Only to end in a miscarriage that rocked our small little world. Then the incessant trying for another pregnancy started right after, the fertility charts, the sex charts, the body temperature charts, the ovulation inducing drugs, then the big gun infertility treatments. Three years of nothing not even a positive pregnancy test launched a platform of insecurities. Am I good enough for my husband? Does my failure to maintain and get pregnant mean I am less of a woman? Will this pain ever stop? Will Mother’s Day always be the hardest day of the year? Will I always miss my child that was miscarried? Will I ever forget the love I felt for my baby from the moment I was pregnant? Is my body failing me? These are small sample of what I felt at the time. Something had to be done, I desperately wanted to have my husband’s child.

 We then got into the fertility treatments. IUI was the first step.  We did this seven times, failure each time. We did some cycles naturally and then some with medications. All through this I was told serval times I was too Fat and that’s what was wrong. This is an excuse for the failure of the fertility treatments. It’s the number one thing doctor’s day when things don’t go right. Lose weight it will work then. I can attest to the fact that no it will not work then. Then came the IVF, a huge financial and physical commitment. The first cycle was cancelled halfway though, no eggs formed my body let us down. Second cycle came and went, had eggs but the surgery to retrieve them was complicated and only two eggs were retrieved. Each fertilized, then placed back into my uterus for the huge two week wait. Then came the devastating call that none of the eggs took, I was not pregnant.

 Then enters the third round of IVF. Another crazy hard cycle with only one egg. Thank goodness it did fertilize. The little perfect egg was placed in the uterus for another excruciating two week wait. Then the call, congratulations your pregnant! My husband and I were in shock and the happiest we have ever been. At last my chance to hold my child and love them here on earth. Pregnancy progressed, happiness issued. One day I felt kind of weird, I had been having horrid morning sickness and a multitude of pregnancy symptoms that intensified greatly. I called the Ob doc that I had been being followed by and she said let’s do another ultrasound today, I had several before. So I called my mother, asked her to come with me since my husband was working, I knew my mother would love to see the ultrasound of her grandchild.

We go in the room, and the doc puts the jelly on the ultrasound wand and placed it on my belly. She looks around then she says they are both doing fine. My heart stopped, wait , what? They? HUH? My mom shot up out of her chair and looked as the doc turned the screen towards me there were two babies! TWINS! How can that be, they put only one egg back? There in front of me where two perfect babies in two separate sacs. I expressed my shock to the doctor asked if my husband and I followed the IVF rules.  No sex during the two week wait and not till after the first ultrasound. I had already had several ultrasounds, so this was a huge surprise. I bashfully told the doc that my husband and I never stopped having sex the whole time. We had gotten pregnant from IVF and naturally at two different times. Twins, amazing, we are so blessed. Mom and I left the docs and went home to plan a way to tell my husband and father about two not one baby. When we broke the news there was stunned silence, then the tears of joy.

 Then two days later, I started to bleed. Not little bleeding, copious amounts of bleeding. My husband rushed me to the ER, I sat there screaming and crying in the waiting room. It seemed like hours before they took me in the back, to them it was nothing special they see this all the time. To me it was the end of the world, it was happening again, I was a failure. At some point I felt the need to go to the bathroom urgently with horrid back cramps, and there on the hospital toilet I delivered two tiny (extremely tiny) little ones. They were gone, it was over. My husband was trying to hold me and the screaming started, the utter devastation in the screaming still haunts me today. The pure emotion behind that scream of pain wasn’t physical it was my heart breaking. I was walked back to my hospital bed and then I heard a nurse say “That’s so gross I am not putting my hand in the toilet”. I still hear her voice to this day, those were my children. They had to take the contents and the tissues that were delivered to the lab for testing. What happened to them next? I have no clue; all I know is I had vivid nightmares about our babies in a trashcan for years.

 The cruelness of the events astounds me even still today. Two days after the beautiful news of two children the thoughts of being blessed to utter devastation. I was inconsolable for a long time, but then I decided to get up move on. Love my children, love my husband but pick up the pieces of my life. We did return for a fourth round of IVF after taking a year to heal. The fourth round was my last, I knew I could never do it again. I had so many complications, the egg retrieval was absolutely horrid. They did all they could, one little egg, that fertilized and was the highest grade possible. However, after the two week wait another phone call that was earth shattering, no pregnancy. We were done, it’s over.

 We took another year to try to figure out the next move. We tried international adoption through Poland, they turned us down because of my health. The Behcets disease was active, they didn’t want to adopt to us because of it. So we were left yet again, in emotional state of turmoil. Things were just not working out for us. However, my marriage was growing stronger and stronger. We became so close with a bond that most don’t experience. We stopped pursuing for a while, my husband ended up retiring from the Air Force and we moved. We settled into our new place with no intention of battling to have children at all. Then I got a call about a young lady that was having a child and she was looking for adoptive parents. She was 8 months pregnant. We went to meet her and her family, she was a “recovering” drug addict. This was actually her seventh child, and she choose us after meeting us to adopt her child.  Things from there went along fine, my parents helped us hire and pay a lawyer to help us in the process. The law office actually went to the jail and got the signature from the father to let us adopt the baby. Then things got weird the mother was acting sporadic we found out she had no prenatal care. She told us to meet her at the hospital for an ultrasound, we waited for 8 hours for her to show up. We ended up having to pick her up and take her to labor and delivery because she actually had no appointment. So up on the maternity ward in the hospital it is found out she has incredibly low amniotic fluid levels, the baby needed to be born. The mother said no and started crying and she left. She actually left. I had a sinking feeling then that this was a mistake. Then the next day I got a text that she wanted $5,000 for us to adopt her child. It was a scam, a cruel, horrific scam. We told her we are not buying a child that it was illegal for us to do so, but that we would gladly pay medical fees for her. She then got very nasty with us over text so we cut off communication. She did contact me after the child was born to tell me it was a girl and that she was ok but needed to stay at the hospital. The baby was then entered into foster care, with no chance of us adopting her. My heart still has a scar, that little girl will always be in my thoughts.

 This whole experience was one that I will never forget. We picked up moved on in our life again. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. There are times that the emotional toll of what we have been through is too much. At that point I cling to my husband relying on the love we share to pull me through.  At this point in our lives, we have stopped pursuing having children. There are days I am ok with that, there are other days I am not. There is a pain that we both carry with us, but the pain doesn’t take over our life. We feel it, acknowledge it but then we cling onto the joy we have in each other. Infertility is something I would never wish on anyone, it’s a journey that you choose if it breaks you apart or if it pulls you into a relationship that is astounding in its intimacy. Choose life, choose to move on, tear down the bitterness, live life with joy. Find the joy through the pain.  May peace find you my dear readers.

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