I’ve been really hoping I would be able to share with you guys good news this summer regarding my fertility struggles, but it still just hasn’t happened for us. We thought that the surgery I had in April was the answer to our problems, but it’s been five cycles since surgery with no luck.
I told myself that I was going to enjoy the summer and try not to think about getting pregnant too much, but in all honesty I have not done a very good job with that. It’s literally impossible for me to stop thinking about how badly I want another baby and the cloud of infertility is weighing heavier than ever.
Our official diagnosis is “unexplained secondary infertility” AKA “we have no clue why you can’t get pregnant again.” We’ve been through all the tests and everything comes back normal. The maddening part of this diagnosis is that treatment consists of doing nothing or doing EVERYTHING. There isn’t an effective in-between.
The emotional roller coaster of infertility is exhausting and taxing. Each month starts out with hope (doctor says there’s nothing wrong – this is our month!), then anxiety about whether or not you are timing things “right,” then frustration and worry during the TWW (two wait week) and finally overwhelming sadness, confusion and depression when it doesn’t work. Again.
I want off this roller coaster so desperately.
The hard part about having secondary infertility is that you don’t have the same help open to you if didn’t already have one child. Doctors are very hands off because they just assume you are still fertile because you’ve had one. You don’t get the same emotional support. I tried to join a local infertility support group, but was told it was insensitive for me to be a member since I already had a child. Finally there’s no way to escape the baby scene since you’re already entrenched in the mom life. It seems like all my friends are pregnant or have newborns. I am SO happy for them, but it’s also hard to see pregnant bellies on a daily basis.
I know I shouldn’t complain. Many women have it way worse. I really am so thankful to have Lila. It’s still painful though.
I’m not going to be writing here much about our treatment plan. I have been told by several people that I shouldn’t share that part of this journey because people have very strong opinions about fertility treatment. It makes me sad that there’s still shame and judgement around infertility. This is a medical issue, not a personal failing or a sign of my character. At the end of the day, we need to make decisions based on what’s best for our family and I can’t let myself be swayed by outside opinions.
Speaking of opinions…. If you want to help support me or any other friend/family member going through infertility, the best thing to do is just to check in regularly to see how things are going and offer your love, support and prayers. Let us talk about the details of our cycle or treatment (we don’t have anyone else to talk to usually and our husband’s are tapped out by this point).
Check in on big days (like a doctor’s appointment) to offer support. I have a wonderful friend who brought me flowers last month when I got another negative. She hugged me and cried with me, and she herself is pregnant. That meant the world.
Things NOT to say include:
– Just stop trying and it will happen. (The worst! That’s basically saying because I want a baby so badly I am in fact preventing myself from getting pregnant. Nope.)
– Maybe this is God’s plan for you. You should just pray more. (I pray A LOT about this and I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t want me to just give up and be miserable. I’ve asked him to remove my desire for more children if that’s his plan for me, and that desire is burning stronger than ever.)
– Just be patient and it will happen. (How do you know? Do you read the future? Have I not already been patient? So many questions with this one…)
– Have you tried XYZ? (Yes, I’ve tried it all. There is nothing you could recommend I try that I haven’t already.)
– You want one of mine? My husband literally looks at me and I get pregnant! (Congratulations.)
– Why don’t you just adopt? (There’s no “just” in adopting. It’s a very long and expensive process if you want a healthy infant (avg 2 years and $40k), and it has to be the right thing for each family.)
– Lila really could benefit from having a sibling. There’s going to be so much space between her and a sibling now. (Literally what I cry about at night. Thank you for bringing it up.)
– Saying nothing at all. (If you think avoiding the topic with me will protect me, please know that is actually worse. I would rather you say all of the above to me than just pretend it’s not happening. This is consuming for me and it is a huge disconnect when you don’t acknowledge it. And please don’t hide your happy baby news from me. I appreciate you trying to protect me, but it hurts more to realize infertility is now also affecting my relationships.)
If you’ve said one of the above to me, please don’t take this blog as a dig. I know you are just doing your best and it’s hard to know what to say when you haven’t experienced something first hand. See, we’re all growing and learning together! :)
I’m sorry if this post is a bit snarky. It’s not me, it’s the infertility talking, I swear! I’m still holding out hope that soon I will have positive news to share with you and this nightmare will be over.
Until then, I’m doing my best to handle it.