OK, perhaps it is about time that I discussed this one. Now is a good time to post about it, because I am not feeling emotionally wrapped up in any particular aspect of it. I am not waiting on a cycle to start (or not start), I am not taking any fertility medications, and I am not counting days between cycles. Let me tell you…it feels really good.
I will say this: infertility sucks. It is horrid. It is a heart wrenching, emotional rollercoaster that no one should have to go through. And it is entirely unfair.
Why is it that one person can get pregnant without trying (or even while preventing), but another can try for months or years and nothing happens? Why is it that hospitals are overflowing with babies being born and the population of the world increases daily, but fertility increases annually too? Why does it affect me, but none of my friends? And why can I not have a baby that is a gorgeous combination of me and my husband? Not fair.
Here we are, completely beyond ready to be parents (well, as "ready" as someone can be). We are financially comfortable, we have the house, live near great schools, have a great support system, and we are not too young and not too old. On paper, we are good to go.
Once we were "paper ready", we went for it. We stopped preventing and decided to see what happened. OK, well, nothing happened for 4-5 months. Then we started actively trying - you know, timing things and such. Still…nothing. After about a year, we sought help. I was tentatively diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This is an obnoxious syndrome that messes with your ovaries and can prevent ovulation. It can also go hand in hand with insulin resistance. To make a long story short, we worked on treating the symptoms.
My doctor put me on glucophage/metformin to treat the PCOS. I don't know if it did anything other than give me annoying side effects.
A year or two later we moved back to Nebraska. I began seeing a different doctor here who agreed with the PCOS diagnosis. The new doctor did not agree with the insulin resistance part, and saw no reason for me to be on glucophage/metformin. They ordered a bunch of tests to be done on me and on Ryan. After quite a few months of "fertility workup" it pretty much came down to my ovaries being a bit dysfunctional and not releasing eggs.
So, the next 8-10 months involved frequent visits to the fertility clinic. I would go at the very beginning of my cycles to get a "baseline" ultrasound measuring follicles on my ovaries. (One follicle is supposed to release an egg in the middle of the cycle - hence, ovulation.) I would then take Clomid for 5 days. Then I would return to the doctor on about day 11 of my cycle to see if the follicles had grown and if there is a dominant one that looks like it would release an egg. If there was one that appeared dominant, then the doctor would give me an injection with the intent of triggering ovulation on day 15 or so. One bummer was that more than half the time I couldn't even do the Clomid because I had small cysts, which are exacerbated by Clomid. So, we didn't even have a chance of taking the medications each month.
To make a long story short - the months of this were (obviously) not successful. They were heart wrenching months full of disappointment. Each month brought tears - sometimes from leaving the doctor's office, sometimes over negative ovulation or pregnancy tests, and sometimes over just thinking about it all. We then had our next decision to make: How far would we go with fertility treatments?
I will admit that there was much more we could have done with fertility treatments. We stopped short of doing intrauterine insemination, and stopped well short of in vitro fertilization. My doctor didn't seem thrilled with either option for me. The first, intrauterine insemination, wouldn't work unless I ovulated and an egg was actually released. If that was possible, then we would be successful without artificial insemination. The second, in vitro, is very expensive and doesn't have very good success chances based on the cost. After taking much time to weigh these options, we were ready to throw this disappointing phase behind us and be excited about having a child. Adoption was the decision! And that is where this blog begins, in January 2007.
This is really the short version (although I'm sure you beg to differ based on the length of this post). I am actually very content to discuss this with anyone. It is part of our journey. Too many people are confronted with infertility in one way or another. I think our society should be a bit more open to comforting those who go through this. It is a real issue. It is an issue of grief, loss, love, and family. It tests your strength, your relationship and your faith. It is the worst, and quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me.