God, I really never thought I’d be writing a post like this. I thought I was one of the lucky ones. The ones whose husbands looked at them and they got pregnant. Trust, I’ve had to deal with a lot of shit in my life, and I’ve often felt like I’m never the lucky one who has amazing things happen to her (which I’m starting to realize is more because of my mindset than an actual existence of luck and all that but for another time), but I felt like babies was my thing. I got pregnant so quickly with James — we got pregnant the first month we tried — and had a really easy pregnancy and a smooth delivery and recovery. I loved being pregnant (which I know a lot of women don’t), but I just felt really happy and content, which if you know me, I never am. I was much calmer and just happy. And I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but nothing prepared me for how much I love it. I mean, I would have ten kids, and I am not totally kidding. But that’s the thing about the universe. Just when you get smug and think that you’ve been blessed and you’re not going to have to deal with the pain of infertility that you’ve seen so many of your friends, colleagues, fellow bloggers, celebs even, go through… Yeah, I guess I should have known. Some people are that lucky. They just blink and they’re pregnant. They can have as many kids as they want. But it turns out, that may not be me because it seems we’re dealing with secondary infertility.
I wasn’t going to share this because I am still a pretty private person. But I’m also the person who just blurts out things and tell a stranger I got botox, so I guess maybe I’m not. But I also felt shame and embarrassment. I also didn’t want to admit that I was struggling to get pregnant or my greatest fear, what if I can’t have another baby? Pre-James, I had always said (and genuinely felt) that if I couldn’t have kids, I would adopt. That instead of paying for IVF, I would adopt. And I am still open to adoption and have a deep pang when I think of kids not feeling loved or needing a family and a desire to help in some way. I do think later in life, that will mean for us adoption. But I can’t help but really want to be pregnant again to have another baby. It’s hard to explain. I don’t even fully understand. But I have an overwhelming desire to have another baby and a urgency I can’t turn off. Maybe biology. Maybe hormones. Maybe pressure from myself/others. Maybe a need to control my life and family. Maybe a combo of it all. But until recently, I never fully understood the pain of infertility. The heartbreak. The fear. And I never envisioned my life with anything else besides a lot of kids, and the idea that I might not have that big family I’ve always wanted breaks my heart in a way I’ve never felt before. It makes me feel like I can’t breathe. And so I try not to think about it.
I know logically, I’m lucky. I”m so lucky to have one beautiful, healthy, amazing son who I am madly in love with and wouldn’t trade for the world. I tell myself I should be satisfied with that and savor him all the more. That maybe that’s what this is. Time for me to savor that. But it’s hard when I can’t help but long for more and for the siblings he could have and that big family I always dreamed of when I was a lonely kid. I know some people can’t have any kids, and that there are other ways to have a family and that probably, hopefully, I don’t know, I will get pregnant again — just not on my timeline, perhaps and maybe that’s what the universe is trying to teach this control freak. But I fear something is really wrong, or that if it’s been this hard to get pregnant again, how will I have the three or four kids I always wanted (more really, but I think my husband would leave me). I never understood before what sadness getting your period could bring. I had lived most of my life, like many of us, being grateful each month when I got my period, knowing it meant I wasn’t pregnant. Now, I wish I had started earlier, even if I wasn’t ready. I am mad at myself, at my husband for not being ready sooner. I’m mad at myself for not taking birth control after James. Maybe that would have regulated my period and hormones (both which seem to be out of whack). I’m mad at myself for not getting back in shape and eating better after James. Maybe that’s a cause. I’m mad at myself for stressing and my constant anxiety (which I live with and tbh, have never really dealt with) for maybe being the culprit. I’m mad at every pregnant lady I see walking down the street, every mom I see holding her baby, everyone who is debating having another because they get to have that choice, and I don’t know if I do. And I’m mad at myself for being this person. The person I said I would never be because there are so many babies out there looking for someone to love them and for a home.
I’m mad because now I’m one of those women who goes to see my fertility doctor each week, who is dealing with a barrage of appointments and hormones and needles. I’m mad because I’m now contemplating spending money we set aside for vacations, houses, etc. to get pregnant. I’m mad because I’ve put my life on hold basically to get pregnant because we don’t really need a house in the suburbs or a bigger apartment right now, but with another baby we would. I don’t know if I should plan a ski vacation because I could be pregnant then or if I should take that bucket list trip we had planned this fall or save that money because I might need to do IVF. I’m mad because I don’t know what’s wrong with my body, and I’m mad because why did this have to be hard for me. Why couldn’t this — the thing I want most in the world and have wanted since I was a little girl carrying around my baby dolls like they were real babies and a ten year old who couldn’t wait to babysit and when she was finally old enough at 13, babysat every weekend — why couldn’t this one thing be easy for me, or at least not this hard or impossible? I’m mad because I want to know it will happen even if not on my timeline. And that’s the thing about infertility, you don’t know if it will ever happen. People spend years trying, thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars, and for some it works out. For some it doesn’t. There’s the tale of how it happens for people when they stop trying, but I just don’t see a day where I’ll really stop trying. I’ve spent too long trying to track my ovulation and all of the things you do when trying that I don’t think one day, I’ll just accidentally get pregnant. And with something I want so bad, so deeply in my bones, and because each month, I have that glimmer of hope that this will be the month.
So after trying for a year, we decided to see a fertility specialist. I was concerned something was wrong but also feared it. Deep down though, I thought it was unexplained infertility, nothing was wrong, and eventually I’d get pregnant. But I also want our kids relatively close in age, so I didn’t want to waste time. Really, I was ready for the next one as soon as I popped out the first one
We started our first fertility treatment last month. We did all the tests and were just going to monitor the cycle to see what was going on but 23 days into my cycle, I hadn’t ovulated, so we decided to try Clomid to help spur ovulation. Mostly, because I felt I couldn’t waste another second. It seemed to work and I felt like I must truly be pregnant. We’d be the silly people who went to see a fertility specialist and didn’t end up really needing it. Or I must have not been ovulating before and now I did, so boom, problem fixed, I’d get pregnant. But then on our vacation last week, on the Fourth of July, I went for a run and went to jump in the shower and saw blood in my underwear. I sort of knew it was my period but we convinced ourselves it could be spotting, implantation bleeding, etc and I didn’t workout the next two days in hopes I wouldn’t jinx myself. Sadly, by day four my period came in hot and heavy and there was not doubt I wasn’t pregs.
To say I was devastated was an understatement. I couldn’t stop crying. I wanted to make the most of our vacation but I was so deeply sad. I want a big family so badly and a sibling for James so much, and the fear that it will never happen hurts so much. It’s like when you have your heartbroken and nothing else matters and all you want to do is change their mind but you can’t. You’re powerless and even though you have so much else in your life, you feel so lonely and hopeless. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this level of devastation and despair that it’s hard to remember what to do except now I can’t wallow in bed. I have a child, a big job, a blog to grow, a husband, a dog, responsibilities. A vacation we were supposed to be making memories on and savoring for little James. So I just keep going.
I went to the doctor when we got back to see what was up. My progesterone levels were a bit low so that could have been it. I also may have blockage on one of my Fallopian tubes that they found in my initial testing but they can’t be sure without surgery and since I had one child it’s unclear if the results were really accurate and the only way to tell is via an invasive surgery at which point it would probably make more sense to do IVF. So now, it’s not just one thing wrong that we can fix. It’s not unexplained infertility where everything is working. It’s like all these things that could possible be wrong although there’s no certainty which is and I feel the chances of getting pregnant are slimmer and slimmer and more and more despair. And then I am scared because what’s causing all this. What’s causing my cycles to be irregular, my periods to be long, my progesterone levels to be low, my tube maybe to be blocked. I should ask more when I go to the doctor, but I’m usually trying so hard not to cry, that I forget all the things I wanted to ask. And I don’t now if I really want to know. I don’t know that I want this to be real. I don’t know.
I start another round of Clomid this week and then the plan is to take progesterone when I ovulate. Maybe an IUI this month or maybe we’ll try that next. Or maybe this time it’ll work and my body won’t betray me and I won’t feel this fair cloud anymore.
TMI? It feels like it to me. Writing this has in some ways felt cathartic, but I wasn’t sure I’d share. In fact, I thought I probably won’t. But I keep thinking about how much it’s helped me to read about other people’s struggles and what they tried and how they felt even. To know that I”m not alone in this. That I’m not the only one whose body is betraying her. That it works out for some people. That I’m not selfish or greedy for being so unhappy over the children I don’t yet have when I have so much. That I’m not crazy for letting this consume me. Maybe there’s a reason I’m on this infertility journey. I don’t know. Maybe if it was something we all talked about more, it wouldn’t feel like something was wrong with us when we struggled. Maybe there would be more help, resources, tools for diagnosing and cures. I don’t know what else to do or write about when this is all I can think about. Idk. Maybe this is one thing that no matter how much we evolve, we will never control. Maybe the miracle of life isn’t something we get to control as much as we’d like. Maybe James was a miracle baby or maybe I just have to learn to find contentment even when I can’t get everything I want or control the timing of my life. Maybe this is how I will learn to trust the timing of my life and to stop always wanting more.
I don’t know. But what I do know, is that for anyone else struggling with this too, know you’re not alone. Know someone is there crying with you every month when you get your period, hoping each time you try again, rooting for you and the family you dream about. And I hope by sharing our own struggles that maybe it’ll make at least one person feel less alone.