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Dealing with Fertility Problems

February 18, 2015

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? Winking smile), 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.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. amberbusyboldblessed permalink
    February 18, 2015 2:33 pm

    I’m so sorry. Sometimes I think about this a lot… I don’t have any kids yet, but what if I spent the last decade trying to prevent pregnancy but then when I actually want it, it doesn’t happen? It’s definitely scary to think about.

    One of the bloggers I read is dealing with the same feelings you are… she had no trouble with her first, but now she’s on a TTC journey with her second. You are not alone.

    • amberbusyboldblessed permalink
      February 18, 2015 2:35 pm

      Also maybe you should take care of that heroin habit 😉

    • February 18, 2015 8:22 pm

      Yes! I actually just found her blog, and that was one of the first posts I read– it was really comforting to know that she was going through similar problems.

      I know what you mean about the prevention thing too– when we’re younger, I feel like we get sold on this idea that you can get pregnant just from looking at someone, ha. It feels like such a slap in the face when you learn that it actually might not be that easy– and in fact ,might be very hard!

  2. February 18, 2015 3:23 pm

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. I hate that you’re feeling guilty about Lila’s infancy though. A newborn is hard and you don’t have to cherish every moment, only child or one of many.

    • February 18, 2015 8:23 pm

      Yeah, it’s totally irrational. I know I’ve had friends who have it it work the other way as well– they struggled so hard to get pregnant, and then when they got pregnant, if the pregnancy was difficult, or if the baby was giving them trouble, they felt like they couldn’t complain at ALL, because they had had to work so hard to get it, you know? Such a complicated issue. Sigh.

  3. February 18, 2015 3:31 pm

    Sorry you are having to deal with this, Anna! Good luck with the iui – praying that the third time is the charm!

  4. katherine83 permalink
    February 18, 2015 5:47 pm

    Oh Anna I’m so sorry! Emma was our iui baby (third try) so I feel like I’ve been where you are and it suuuuuuucks. So bad it sucks. And we are there again but have chosen the adoption route this time but it still hurts so much the second time around. And I’m grieving that loss of Emma’s baby days and not savoring them and trying to make peace with things. It’s so tough. Are you seeing Dr. Harper? I’ll be thinking and praying for you guys!

    • February 18, 2015 8:25 pm

      Thanks Amy– that gives me hope that maybe the third time will be the charm. And yes, so much to make peace with..always. We’re seeing Doctor Davenport– same practice as Dr. Harper, but I think he joined just this year? He’s really nice, and we love the nurses there.

      • katherine83 permalink
        February 18, 2015 8:44 pm

        Yes the nurses are golden. I remember it just being torture before we tried the third time knowing we probably wouldn’t do ivf. No matter what happens though it’s going to be ok! As lame as that sounds :/ Will you message me your address I want to send you something.

  5. Chelsey permalink
    February 18, 2015 7:53 pm

    I always appreciate your openness Anna. Much love to y’all!

  6. February 19, 2015 7:51 pm

    So sorry to hear you are going through this. I went through a big struggle to have my daughter (two miscarriages and went to a fertility doc as well). There wasn’t really anything wrong with either of us either, we think it was an egg quality issue, which is something that can’t really be diagnosed from what I understand. I totally understand wanting a baby and being so so frustrated that it’s not happening. We have not tried for a second yet and I’m not sure if we will or not. The struggle to have the first one really threw me off and kind of derailed the original plan to have another. Now I don’t know if I could get pregnant again or if it would just be a huge struggle. Anyway, I just wanted you to know I could relate and that I wish you the best and hope it happens soon!

    • February 20, 2015 1:27 pm

      Thank you, Brittney. I totally get what you mean– if we’d struggled with this the first time, I would have seriously considered not trying for a second. The emotional roller coaster it takes you on is no joke. Then again, I have friends who struggled SO hard with the first one, and then the second one was super easy (or even a surprise). Crazy how different each time can be.

  7. February 21, 2015 2:28 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’m finding the infertility phenomenon startlingly sad and lonely. It helps to know others are going through similar roller coasters of emotion.

  8. ginger635 permalink
    February 22, 2015 9:04 pm

    I’m so proud of you for posting this. You would probably be surprised to know how many people you have helped with your words. It is so helpful to know that other people are going through what you are dealing with. And I think people relate to blogs in a different way than they do to an article by a professional – blogs are “real life stuff”. Anyway, thanks for your courage, and good luck with your third try. Our fingers and toes are all crossed!

  9. csaidy permalink
    February 23, 2015 10:40 pm

    Anna, we went through all of this with when trying to have baby 2 – Acupuncture, supplements, Clomid, and unsuccessful iui. It took a long time and it was extremely taxing on both of us. I don’t have any advice, but I just want you to know that I’ve been there too. It’s hard.

    • February 26, 2015 1:02 am

      Thanks for sharing, friend. Taxing is the right word, definitely. It helps to know that others have been there too. It’s a pretty sucky club, but at least I’m not the only member.

  10. Amanda permalink
    February 25, 2015 4:52 pm

    I know what you mean about the infant stage going so fast. Kai is almost 6 months and I constantly second guess myself every time I go to bed…Should I stay up longer and read him another book? What if he doesn’t like BOOKS? Should I really be trying to do laundry instead of playing with him some more? WHAT IF HE DOESN’T LIKE PLAYING?

    Now I’m looking down the barrel of a hysterectomy. One and done has always been my plan, cervical cancer just cemented that. Good luck to y’all, and thank you for being so open. Since I’ve joined the mom club I’ve come to realize that we all have a lot of secrets that would ache a lot less with just a little more conversation.

  11. sarenashasteen permalink
    February 25, 2015 6:31 pm

    Oh friend, I’m am so sorry to hear you are going through such a hard time. We suffered 2 miscarriages between Jay and Max. I completely understand your frustrations. I felt so guilty to wanting to have another baby (why was one not enough) while also suffering from losses. You and Ryan are in my thoughts. If you ever need to chat, I’m always here. xoxo

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