If my eighth grade sex ed class had not solidified my pro-life stance, my infertility would have definitely done the job.
All newlyweds experience the constant questioning: “How’s the married life?” ” When are you having kids?” “Are you pregnant yet?” “I bet your parents can’t wait for those grandbabies!” We were no different. It was a bit humorous though: the fast engagement had people shaking their heads in judgement, but immediately after we said “I do!” the babies were a given. The questions were hard to swallow, because I did not know the answer. “We are on a five year plan.” “They will come when they come.” I would often tell people, “I am a barren wasteland.” and eventually, people stopped asking.
Once I was in a place to know the answer, we had a long conversation with my doctor. We discussed the various options, and decided to give Clomid a try because my charts were giving no indications of ovulation. We were warned it could take a few cycles, so it was an incredibly joyous shock to see a positive pregnancy test on the first cycle. My eyes welled up with tears of joy, relief, anticipation and a bit of nervousness. I was going to be a parent. I was a parent. The next few weeks were a whirlwind. I had an ultrasound at six and a half weeks, and saw the heartbeat with my own eyes. I had some blood drawn for lab work at that visit, and it came back with my progesterone levels dangerously low. My doctor recommended progesterone shots, and I drove to his office as soon as I could. A few weeks later, I was at a Christmas party when I noticed some spotting. It quickly turned into more than that and I called my doctor feeling very anxious. That Monday, he scheduled another ultrasound for me. The tech searched around for what felt like hours, and kept reassuring me that things were probably fine. What I had seen on the monitor just a few weeks prior was gone. I had lost the baby. I waited for him to confirm and listened to his incredibly kind words over the phone. I called my husband and my supervisor to let her know I would not being coming in, and I openly sobbed in the office for a good twenty minutes before I had calmed down enough to drive home.
I had seen the life inside of me. It was every bit of real, and it felt like every bit of a miracle. It was a devastating loss for me. Why couldn’t my body work properly? I doubted myself. I had a follow up appointment the next week so we could determine whether or not everything had been cleared out on its own, and what sort of plans we could make. My doctor looked just as upset as I felt. He assured me that we now knew pregnancy was an attainable goal, and we knew what to do if and when we wanted a next time. He teared up, and handed me a note with some bible verses in case I needed comfort. He advised not taking the Clomid for three cycles to give my body a chance to recover, and we would talk again.
The cycle after the miscarriage, we were surprised with another pregnancy. We had a course of action, and we have now successfully made it through three pregnancies without any fertility treatments.
I feel as though I am a recovered infertile woman. Sometimes, it is the worst of both worlds. I over-think every cramp, every spot, every temperature dip for the entire first trimester of every pregnancy. I am near a panic attack from the moment the test is positive to the moment I am able to have an appointment scheduled with my OB. Every lab draw, my stomach is in my throat. I almost convince myself that I will lose the baby just so that I am already prepared to see the empty monitor. I am woefully nervous and cynical when friends and family announce their pregnancies “early”. I have nightmares about losing the baby, and all this, on top of the normal stress of being pregnant! On the flip side, other women that are struggling with infertility can no longer identify with my journey. I also struggle with having a regular enough cycle to get a handle on what my fertility actually looks like. After our oldest son was born, every pregnancy announcement has been filled with snarky comments about rabbits and sterilization.
It is worth it every time.
The last ten years of my life have been wrought with the pain of infertility and a body that works differently, but also with the joys and challenges of parenthood. With every pregnancy I am reminded how very real and alive the child inside of me is, and how truly dark the circumstances are for those that believe their only choice is abortion. It is not possible to go through the kind of agony infertility provides and not believe the child’s life begins at conception.
I know the heartache that accompanies infertility all too well. I empathize with mothers and fathers that, for whatever the reason, do not get to meet their children on earth. So, I do all that I can do: I seek to eliminate the reasons women feel abortion is their only answer. I promote holistic healthcare for women that seeks real solutions instead of merely treating the symptoms. And with this post, I seek to open up the conversation about miscarriage and loss because it is okay to grieve your children.
photo credit: Daquella manera via photopin cc
What You Never Learned About Your Period and wish you would have known a long time ago! By Jamie Rathjen, M.A., C.F.C.P “Congratulations!” my mom exclaimed as I sheepishly told her that I had just gotten my period. My face flushed and I tried to signal to my mother through