Today’s guest post was written by my friend Nicole from Little Blog on the Homestead. She has struggled with infertility and all the stress and heartache that comes along with it. I know you will all enjoy reading her story. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, here is how.
May 2011, it’s been almost 4 years since I heard the news from my doctor that traditional, non invasive measures of fertility treatments weren’t working. I had reached the line I had drawn for myself almost a decade ago. There was little modern medicine could do to help me fulfill the dream of being a biological mom. It was a hard blow, one that no matter how prepared you are, cuts to the bone.
I’ve known most of my life that there is something wrong with me, I know it sounds weird but I’ve always just known that my girl parts weren’t right. When I was younger I didn’t mind so much, who has time for periods and other girlie stuff when you’ve got so much going on. I told myself I didn’t want to be a mom anyways, that I had to many plans and goals. But as hard as I tried to convince myself of that (and I tried pretty hard) my heart overruled my head pretty quickly.
When my husband said he was ready to start trying for a family I knew it would be an uphill battle. In that time frame I’d been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), so my doctor and I knew that it would be difficult to get pregnant naturally, but we set out to try naturally for 6 months anyways just to make sure. Every month it was a roller coaster of emotions as I tried not to get my hopes up, and tried not to be too hurt when I still wasn’t pregnant.
During that 6 months we also started working with the local Bethany Christian Services to start the process of becoming foster-adopt parents. It was a calling that I had felt from a young age and was excited to start. We decided that we’d put our hearts and efforts into both and whichever was successful first would be how we became parents. Pretty quickly it became clear that foster-adopt was going to win.
Of course that time also happened to be the same time of the worst recession since the Great Depression and finding a job locally was not working. So when an opportunity came up to move to Arkansas for work I struggled. I wanted to be a mom, but I’d also spent a LOT of money getting a degree that was being wasted. With a breaking heart I told my case worker that we were moving, he was incredible and even called us a couple months after the move just to see how we were doing.
Figuring we’d pick up the same plan in Arkansas I went to a meeting with their foster-adopt agency, it became clear that I’d been spoiled with the great treatment and support of BCS and so we decided to focus our whole effort on having a baby instead.
I found a doctor, a great women’s hospital and quickly made my appointment with a fertility specialist. Because of my years of amenorrhea (absence of periods) and diagnosis of PCOS we settled on a course of hormones to induce menstruation, Clomid to increase egg production, and then another drug cocktail to increase the likelihood of pregnancy…I feel like crying even remembering how hopeful I felt after that first appointment. We had a plan, we knew what we were going to do, and I had absolute faith that it would work, that this was the kick my system needed to be successful… we were wrong.
I got to know my doctors office and pharmacist very well, a different prescription every week, and appointment every 2-3 weeks, ultrasounds, lab tests, blood tests, pregnancy tests. Hours of sitting in a waiting room full of expectant parents. If there is such thing as hell, that was it for me. In addition to the stress and emotional havoc of trying to get pregnant I had every bad side effect you can imagine from the drugs. Weight gain. Water retention. Mood swings. Hot flashes. Irritability. Insomnia.
As you can only imagine I was a joy to be around. Laughing manically one minute, crying hysterically the next. I could no longer trust my emotions and struggled to know if I was feeling something because it was genuine or because of the drugs. My marriage which had already been strained due to the move was beginning to crack. But I kept at it. Kept hope that it would be worth it when I finally got pregnant.
Then came the first appointment where we’d see if everything was working and if we were ready for the last drug meant to increase our chances of getting pregnant…I laid there as the ultrasound technician took the images. Tried to decipher what all the squiggles she wrote meant. Tried to determine if being told to wait for the doctor was a good thing or a bad thing…It was a bad thing. Even with all the hormones and Clomid my ovaries weren’t showing anything more than a blip of production. But surely this was just because it was the first round. So we gave my body 2 weeks to try and menstruate naturally (it didn’t) and then we started
Because of the fertility diagnosis none of this was really covered by our insurance. We paid out of pocket for the drugs and the ultrasounds, and were able to code the regular appointments as being related to my PCOS so didn’t have to pay for each of those. But just as before my ovaries never changed. The bottle of medicine I’d bought after our first appointment (the one we were supposed to use to increase likelihood of pregnancy) sat on the counter. Taunting me. My body was worn out. My heart was broken. And my spirit couldn’t take it anymore. I felt an anguish I still struggle with so many years later.
Round 4… The last recommended round from our specialist, and our bank account. And still, nothing. After all those rounds of hormones and Clomid there was just barely a hint of improvement in one of my ovaries. All that time. All that money. All that pain. For nothing. I walked out of that appointment and cried for almost 30 minutes before I could drive home. I never felt more alone in my life. The doctor wanted to talk about in-vitro. But I was done. I was glad I set up that line for myself years before because I honestly don’t know what I would have chosen otherwise. I had an opportunity to take a job back in Michigan and I hoped that would save my sanity and my marriage….
I’ve really struggled since than to find myself again. By 2013 I was divorced, rebuilding my life, and still struggling with the idea of what infertility means to my sense of self. Now in 2015 I am on the brink of getting married once again and I am with a man who knows my heart like no other. He’s held me as I’ve cried at baby announcements. Woken me from the bad dreams that still plague me. Given me hope and comfort and laughter like no other person has before, “There are worse fates in life than to be Carl and Ellie” is a constant refrain in our house. I still don’t know what course we’ll eventually land on. Whether we’ll be parents biologically, through adoption, or just be the best aunt and uncle ever. But I do know that I’ll never have to sit at an appointment alone again. I’ll never have to cry alone again. And no matter what I know I’ll always be loved.
If you enjoyed this post you can read more about my infertility journey here!
Nicole blogs over at Little Blog on the Homestead, sharing with readers her attempts to create a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle. When she isn’t writing about homesteading, you’ll find posts on the zombie apocalypse (more commonly known as emergency preparedness), her homestead wedding, real food recipes, and every day life living on a suburban homestead. Follow along for yourself at www.littleblogonthehomestead.com