For a while now, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about something incredibly personal and close to my heart. What’s held me back is not being sure my words can capture these experiences. In fact, I’m certain I can’t capture them as fully as I’d like. However, what I know for sure is that they have to be shared. Our journey may encourage others and give them a gift I’m sure many have left behind: hope.
My husband Dave and I met in 2003 in the most romantic of locations: the juvenile justice unit of a group home for boys age 12-18. I know – how could we not have fallen in love against such a backdrop? We dated for two years before getting engaged and then married in August of 2006. We were young: 24 and 25. We had so many goals and dreams: buying a house, traveling, finishing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and eventually – having children.
As newlyweds, we decided we would wait two years before starting our family. Two years seemed like a decent amount of time to accomplish some of our goals and settle into married life before bringing a little one on board. We moved into our house. We visited Jamaica, Washington, D.C., and Italy. Dave finished his degree and I continued taking classes toward my Master’s.
The summer of 2008 arrived – two years had passed! – and we decided we were ready to start trying. Each month, we waited; we hoped. Each month, we were disappointed. The first few months weren’t bad. We knew it often took a few months for conception to occur once couples started trying. But as summer turned into fall and then winter, we started to get a bit discouraged. Every month, I’d fool myself into thinking I was pregnant. Oh – I think my sense of smell is heightened – I must be pregnant. I’m tired today – maybe I’m pregnant!
Many of our friends were announcing their pregnancies. We waited for the day we would announce ours. But as the calendar turned to 2009 and then 2010, our discouraged feeling turned into concern. Why wasn’t this working? We thought we would have a baby in our arms by now. Heck – we thought we’d have a toddler! What was going on? Something had to be wrong.
I talked to my doctor. She ran some blood work and didn’t find anything amiss. She recommended going to see a specialist who could complete additional testing. So we made an appointment at a local reproductive center ($$$). We got tested. The results: We can’t find anything wrong. But we can try a hysterosalpingogram. (For those who don’t know, a hysterosalpingogram is a procedure where dye is injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes to see if the tubes are open or blocked. For those who do know about it, I’m sorry. It probably means you’ve had one and they are hella painful.) The results: You have a beautiful uterus. Okaaaaay, that’s nice to hear? Weird, but nice. And now, dear doctor, tell me why I haven’t been able to conceive a child in my beautiful uterus.
The doctors could not find anything wrong with my husband or me. But they decided to treat me anyway. Six years later, I still have a problem with that. How can you treat symptoms without knowing the cause? Because the fact of the matter of this: infertility is not a diagnosis. It is a symptom. It is a symptom that SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON. But, this doctor was not of that same opinion. So he decided I should go on Clomid.
Here’s the thing – you cant just “go on Clomid.” Oh no. You have to come into the office for an initial ultrasound ($$$). Then you take your Clomid like a good girl and deal with the wonderful side effects of nausea, weight gain, etc. Then your husband has to give you a shot to make you ovulate at the appropriate time ($$$). Then you have to come back in for another ultrasound to see how many follicles have developed ($$$). And it goes on and on – every time you arrive at the office, you take out your checkbook – and you are totally willing to hand over the cash if it means you’ll end up a parent. Every time you hope and pray it’s going to work. Something that they’re doing, something they’re trying is going to work.
But it doesn’t.
The testing, the procedures, the medication – none of it works. There is no resolution.
There is only heartache and arms that remain empty.
Teddy bear photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/61629383@N08/16133347587″>Flash of the Blade</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>