I’ve started this post in my head a hundred times. Each time, I make mental edits, or scratch the whole thing and start over. I shouldn’t be the one writing this—surely I’m just imagining things anyway. The missed periods, the impossibly long cycles, the year of trying with no pink plus signs. It must be all in my head, right where the draft of this post will remain.
I don’t really have fertility issues, do I?
The evidence of blood tests and ultra sounds are hard to ignore and, yes, my husband and I do have a problem with infertility.
What started out as a hunch that I may have fertility issues—my twin sister had a similar experience not long ago, but I am now the proud Auntie to the smartest, sweetest, sassiest toddler I know—has led to the determination that, not only do I not ovulate every month and have irregular menstrual cycles, but my husband has low sperm count and low motility as well. This double whammy that hit us a few weeks ago leaves us with the crushing reality that we will not be able to get pregnant on our own without intervention. Our situation is such that IVF is likely our only option to have biological children of our own.
After taking some time to process this information, and our emotions, I’ve determined some things worth holding on to, and others worth letting go of…
Holding on to the hope that we will be able to have biological children of our own. My health insurance covers three lifetime tries of IVF. Three. Lifetime. Tries. As if the odds weren’t already stacked against us, I now feel unluckier than ever. I realize there are other avenues to becoming a parent, should the IVF treatments not work, but I’m not emotionally ready to consider those options. In fact, I’m holding on for dear life with this one.
Letting go of the notion that fertility issues are taboo. I completely understand why couples choose to keep this to themselves. I have a “why me” moment just about every day, and I’ve gone through all the emotions—sadness, exhaustion, frustration, hopelessness, feelings of failure and inadequacy. But I also realize that infertility is not something we “did” to our bodies or ourselves. It’s just the reality of our situation. Facing it openly and candidly with each other, our families and even with complete strangers (hello, readers!) has actually been a huge help, not facing this alone.
Holding on to my husband, as we face this time in our lives as a team. We’ve always made a great team, and this experience will only strengthen us as a couple. I’m the planner, obsessed with the details of appointments, insurance and keeping documents in order. He’s the calm, reassuring one, confident this will all work out for the best. Thank goodness we have each other to make this work.
Letting go of some of the work of becoming pregnant. For months, I had been charting my body temperature and other fertility signs to figure out what my body was doing (or not doing). I was sure to wake up at the same time each morning, even on my days off, to be sure that I had accurate readings and the charting software could do its best work. My husband and I knew if and when I ovulated, how long my cycles were, and if my temperatures were dropping or rising. Yes, the romance of making a baby was lost on us. Trying to conceive became a lot of work, with now being no exception. But at least we can hand over some of the responsibility to our team of doctors and nurses, and what a relief that is. I no longer obsess over charting my temperatures, taking ovulation predictor tests, or making sure our timing is right. While I’d give anything to do this on our own, I am so, so relieved that I can hand over some of the “work” to our doctors. Even though I feel stress over other aspects of this journey, another weight has been lifted.
I must hold on to what I can control of this process and let go of what I can’t. That way, I am free to move ahead in this journey to the best possible outcome. For us, however we arrive there, I know that means a family.