Today I want to speak to you about Infertility. As defined by Resolve, The National Infertility Association, Infertility is defined as below.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you are over the age of 35, the time of trying to conceive is reduced to 6 months. It is important to see a specialist or a Reproductive Endocrinologist, or in some cases your OB/Gyn or urologist for a complete fertility work-up and diagnosis.
The physical aspects of blood tests, ultrasounds, and procedures that force your body to do things it should be able to do on its own are incredibly draining on your energy and your bank account. As if that weren’t enough, the mental and emotional toll that infertility takes is the hardest of all. There are feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, heartbreak, anger, and despair, just to name a few. Each passing month that a woman suffering from infertility goes through without that positive pregnancy test is torture.
This post is meant to help you realize that there can be hope after heartache. Every woman’s story and journey will be different but there is always hope.
Matt and I have dealt with Infertility, on and off, for 8 years. That is 90% of our marriage. After 8 years, Infertility has become a normal part of my life. I don’t know what it feels like to have a “surprise” pregnancy or to decide that I want a child and have it just happen. What I do know, is the yearning to feel my body changing and growing as my child grows and moves inside my womb. I know an ache to hold my newborn baby in my arms after ushering them into this world. I know heartbreak. I realize that I am luckier than most in that we were able to conceive eventually, but that in no way diminishes the feelings I have just mentioned.
OUR VISION OF OUR FAMILY
Matt and I always envisioned a life where our CHILDREN could grow up together, knowing the joys and pains of having siblings. We both had that and we wanted our family to look the same. After what we went through trying to conceive Addie I knew that it would be unlikely that I would be able to become pregnant on my own. So when Addie turned one, I told myself we would try for 6 months and if nothing happened we would go back to our fertility doctor and proceed with an IUI cycle. It seemed like a normal thing and I had no reason to assume that it wouldn’t be successful because it had only taken one IUI cycle to become pregnant with Addie.
When 6 months passed that is what we did. I sat in my doctor’s office and we discussed proceeding with an IUI cycle. Both of us assumed that it would be successful and I would happily be carrying our next child in no time. When I was one day away from going in for my blood test to confirm my pregnancy, I got my period. To say that I was devastated and angry is an understatement. Why would God do this to us? Hadn’t we been through enough? We paid our dues, we deserved for this time to be easier. I didn’t understand.
Before Addie, I was so sad, all of the time. This time, an anger consumed me like I had never felt before. I was angry at God, at my body, and at any pregnant woman I saw.
After that devastating moment, I just couldn’t go back right away for another cycle. I didn’t like forcing my body to do something that should come natural and I wasn’t ready emotionally for another disappointment. So we took a few months off until I felt ready again. The damage was already done, though, I didn’t trust myself or my body. Before Addie, I was certain that we would have a child, and we did. Before my failed IUI I was certain that we would get pregnant again. It was after two other failed IUI treatments that I couldn’t do it anymore. I started to think that we weren’t meant to have another child and the anger at that thought had consumed me. I was giving up hope.
A NEW APPROACH
It wasn’t until after our move to Iowa that my mindset started to edge towards the hopeful again. This time, I felt like the answer was to stop just treating the symptoms and finally treat the cause. It was then that I found Gabriela. Gabriela is one of Australia’s leading natural fertility experts and she built her practice based on the steps she had taken to become pregnant herself. There was something about her that called to me. I cautiously participated in her 14 Day Fertility Challenge.
The steps she asks you to take are a huge lifestyle and diet change and since we are living with my parents, it wasn’t just Matt, Addie and me that would be making adjustments. We proceeded on Gabriela’s program though and spent the next year making changes to our diet, lifestyle, and way of approaching our infertility. The difference in our health and understanding of why we haven’t gotten pregnant has helped to cautiously renew our hope of finally conceiving another child.
WHAT INFERTILITY HAS TAUGHT ME
I don’t know if we will grow our family by becoming pregnant, or if we’ll decide to adopt or decide that we’re happy just as we are as a family but I do know that we’re on the right path. I’m also thankful for my Infertility. I’m so thankful to God for bringing us our Addie and I’m thankful for the strength this struggle has given to me. Infertility is teaching me to be thankful for the things I do have. For better or worse, Infertility is a part of my family’s life and we have chosen to work with it instead of trying to futilely fight it.
Are you struggling with Infertility? What are some of the things you struggle with the most? Please know that you are not alone and I would love to hear from you via a comment below, or you can feel free to contact me personally via email or by completing the form below. Stay Strong and Hope.