Dealing with Fertility Problems
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, unsure of what I wanted to say—or if I wanted to say anything at all.
I made the mistake of opening my big mouth last year and proclaiming that we’d be trying for a second child soon. And honestly, if I could go back in time and keep myself from publishing that post, I would. Because I feel like I opened up a can of worms when I wrote it—I felt so sure that having a second child would be as easy as it had been to have the first, and so I thought it was no big deal to share that we had our sights set on expanding our family in the near future.
Of course, now that it’s taking a lot longer than I’d hoped, I wish I’d just kept my big fat mouth shut. It feels like a classic oversharer move:
The thing is, I don’t consider my blog to generally be a place of oversharing. Sure, I’m open about my life (mostly my food) on here—it’s not like I’m keeping any big secrets from y’all. Except for my heroin habit, but who wants to read about that?
But, again, I felt pretty safe posting about our desire to have a second child—I figured by the end of the summer (at the latest), I’d be pregnant. I was open about it with friends and family too—I told one of my friends that if I wasn’t pregnant at her wedding in October then something had gone wrong.
Something’s gone wrong.
I wrote about going on Clomid here, so I might as well update you about that—it didn’t work. I mean, obviously, right? I had my doubts about it because I’ve never had ovulation problems (regular cycles, regular ovulation once I started tracking it, etc.), but my doctor also told me that Clomid can sometimes be helpful with unexplained infertility, so I was also hopeful.
That’s the thing about where we are now—EVERYTHING feels like it might be the answer. I get my hopes up by each new trick we throw into the hat, only to feel crushed when we pull out nothing again. Clomid, accupuncture, hundreds (seriously) of dollars worth of supplements—they all get sold as some magic solution. And the online forums don’t help, with each new person exclaiming that “x” worked for her—big fat positive right after we started using x! Baby dust, y’all!
And now the latest in our line of failed solutions: iui. I finished my second iui (aka, the medical turkey baster method) last month, to no success. Our doctor at the fertility clinic (did I tell you we’re going to a fertility clinic? We’re going to a fertility clinic. It’s forty minutes away from our house, so that’s fun.) said (again) that iui’s can be helpful with unexplained infertility. And that’s the word that keeps coming up with us: unexplained infertility.
Which essentially means that they have no idea why this is happening. We’re both healthy. We’re both young. My fertility doctor said, upon our first meeting, that he suspected Ryan was the problem (story of my life, right? ), but after giving his first sample, our doctor said that Ryan’s numbers and motility were fine—great, even. So yeah…no reason for this, really. Other than bad luck.
I think that’s supposed to make it easier—there’s nothing wrong with either of us. But in some ways, I think it makes it harder—there’s nothing wrong with either of us, and therefore there’s no ideal solution. It feels like we’re throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. And none of it is sticking.
Can you tell I’m feeling frustrated?
We’re going in for a third iui, and then our doctor said we’d sit down and talk again to discuss where to go from there if this one doesn’t work. That’s scary to me, because I know the next step will probably be ivf, and neither one of us knows if we want to go there. It’s expensive. It’s invasive. And frankly (and this is the big one), I don’t know if I could handle the disappointment if it didn’t work.
I assumed that having a second child was a given, but I’m having to accept the fact that maybe it’s not. It’s like an ulcer that I can’t stop pressing my tongue against—it hurts, but I can’t stay away from it. My mind is constantly wandering to that place: what if we never get pregnant? I told Ryan that at some point, we have to decide when we’re going to be happy with what we have—one child that is healthy and happy. Which is more than some people have, I know. That’s the thing about secondary infertility—it makes you feel selfish and unappreciative. It makes you feel stupid for thinking that because it was easy once, it would be easy again. And it makes you feel guilty—guilty for not appreciating the baby days. In some ways, I feel like I spent a lot of time wishing away Lila’s infancy—because she was a hard baby, and I was exhausted, and it never occurred to me that she would be the only baby we’d have. I wish now that I had lingered in those moments—even the hard ones.
It feels strange to be writing to openly about this—but at the same time, I know this is a struggle that many women go through. I was shocked when my doctor told me how common it is for couples to struggle with having a second child, even if they didn’t have problems conceiving the first. So I guess I’m hoping someone who needs this post will read it and feel not so alone.
Maybe even me.