By: Danielle Foulk
Part 3 of 3
The day I met our new doctor was a day I will never forget and this time for the good. I signed in at the desk and as I found my way to a seat In a very calm and quiet waiting room I saw the walls lined with babies but also framed awards and articles of the success this doctor had accomplished. While I had grasped on to hope, the proof and success of this doctor’s work had me feeling slightly confident that this all may work out just fine.
I remember sitting on the couch in the patient room with the doctor and discussing what was now in the past. He looked at me and with confidence said, “you don’t have amenorrhea.” There was something about his strong sense of self that gave me comfort and some relief. He ordered a battery of blood work, talked to me about modifying my diet, and emphasized how important exercise was. My first thought in my mind when I heard the word exercise was a grunt with a slight whine to it. But then I quickly checked myself and remembered this was not a time to be selfish and time to more or less “buck-up!” From this point on there was no room for negativity and only room for positive thinking.
After my first visit with the doctor, the infertility roller coaster began. I had left the doctors that day feeling like I was more understood and that there was a really good chance we would one day conceive, now when that day was who knew, but I didn’t think about that. Having the big picture in mind sometimes would lead to frustration but when thinking about the process we were going through and feeling like I was in control helped me to feel hopeful and productive in the process.
Shortly after the initial appointment with the fertility doctor, I was scheduled to come in for an ultrasound to see if I had PCOS. Now, being totally naive and having only watched a baby story from time to time on TLC I assumed all ultrasounds were taken on your belly-don’t judge me! The Dr. came in pulled out a wand with what looked to be a condom and was ready to take a look. Well let’s just say sitting there fully dressed I asked for a minute. Talk about embarrassing!
From this point on, I started out the months hopeful and rode the roller coaster in hopes of conceiving. When we weren’t successful we took the time to be disappointed and to grieve what should have been easily done. I was in and out of the Dr.’s office at 7 am and at work by 8. This monthly routine became our new normal.
When we weren’t being successful, I had a hysterosalpingogram and following that the Dr. gave a new cocktail of drugs, and a shot to be administered strategically-he even marked where on my tummy because it’s that important. Along with all of that, we decided it was best to do an IUI (intrauterine insemination).
I remember telling my girlfriend that we were going to have to insemination and how I felt like an animal. This isn’t natural! She reassured me it really doesn’t matter how you get pregnant and who cares! Her upbeat attitude let the insemination business seem minor and just a step closer to the big picture-our baby.
The first IUI wasn’t successful and I knew right away because the Dr.’s keep a close eye and take blood at so many days after. So again, we went through another month of medicine, a shot, and this time acupuncture along with the IUI.
I remember that day lying on the table. Looking at my husband, I couldn’t believe we were there in an office trying to get pregnant. But from everything we went through up to this point, we found a deeper love for one another. My respect for my husband went to a different level and somehow we were still holding it altogether-with very few people knowing.
Over the next days as we awaited the results of the IUI, it seemed everyone around us was announcing their pregnancies. Trying to remain hopeful and stress-free, I found a way to be happy for those who were so lucky to be carrying. How was I to know what they had or had not been through to conceive? It wasn’t fair to be envious or jealous. However, I developed a new pet peeve. Hearing complaints of being pregnant was like nails on a chalkboard. To this day I can’t help but be annoyed with people’s complaints about something some are so desperate for.
TRYING TO BE “NORMAL”
Throughout the process of trying to conceive, I always was looking for ways to mentally tell myself I was still normal and that our process was just a little different. So when it came close to finding out whether or not the IUI worked, I went out and did what most women do-buy boxes of pregnancy tests!
Now this wasn’t the first time I’ve done this. So opening the box this time wasn’t much different than the last. I had myself mentally prepared that I would likely not be pregnant but had my fingers crossed too. I stood in the bathroom and to my surprise it began to show two lines! I ran into our workout room and as my husband is on the elliptical I shoved the test up in the air near him and he said, “what?!”
Finally, my husband and I were able to be a part of something normal for once. No matter how it happened, I got to take a test and share privately with my husband the most exciting news-we were pregnant! Having gone through the struggles, it made that particular moment so special and memorable. It left us feeling grateful and so excited for our next adventure together as parents. Shortly after finding out we were pregnant, I went to the Dr.’s took the appropriate blood tests and they confirmed we were in fact pregnant (I still have the voicemail saved on my phone! Better message than the first doctor!!). I was scheduled for an ultrasound and we were on cloud nine.
Now unfortunately my husband couldn’t be there for the ultrasound because he had to take a test that day out of town. I went in and the Dr. found the baby and then he said,” you’re going to need two car seats.” “What?!” I was stoked! Two! I knew it was a possibility to have twins with how we went about getting pregnant, and I have to say instead of freaking out I was over joyed. God was blessing us for having trusted and believed.
Okay so my husband…..when you are in and out of an infertility office these appointments become very routine feeling kinda like going to the bank or the dry cleaners. I know that may sound odd, but it’s just a routine feeling we felt. Not thinking about the test he was taking I messaged him and said we’re having twins! I know, I know, I really should have called but he certainly remembers the day of receiving the news. Thank God he had just finished his test! Otherwise I think he would have been a little distracted with the news of twins.
HARDLY THE END
So, is this where our story ends? Not really, we had a scare of miscarriage but it turned out it was nothing and I rested for the rest of the day. The roller coaster continued in a different way for us now. We continued seeing the infertility doctor each week until it was time for us to join a new group of doctors like everyone else. That created some anxiety after our first experience but our infertility Dr. had recommended the group. Having longed to be normal, I now struggled with leaving such a wonderful doctor that I had grown to know and trust.
When transitioning to the new Dr.’s Office it felt unnatural not checking in on our babies every week. Going to scheduled appointments ever so often made me feel anxious… Little did I know I would soon find myself monitored day and night while on bed rest at 24 weeks until I delivered at 35 weeks and 4 days. Read about that journey here.
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM OUR EXPERIENCE
Trust. From our experience with infertility, my husband and I gained amazing trust in God. We relied heavily on him and continue to show what amazing things he can do. If you’re going through this challenging process of infertility allow yourself to have the ups and downs. But find a way in which you can find some positivity in the mist of all the disappointment and heartache. This is how I found my bliss in parenting.
Rely on close friends. Find a friend or two who you can open up to-even if you’re stuck on repeat about your current cycle or you just need a good distraction. By finding a friend outside of your spouse, it will give you another outlet, which is not only helpful to you, but also to your relationship with your spouse. They will help get you through some of the most difficult times.
Does it seem like all of your friends are pregnant? It’s okay to be jealous and upset. But don’t let it overcome you. Reflect on your progress; find the positive-even of its minute. Grab on to that positivity and let it move you forward in your journey. You may find it helpful to start a journal to record and reflect to help remind you of where you once were and how far you’ve come.
If you’ve just began the journey of infertility, take a deep breath and know you are not alone. Find a support group of that is what you need and let them help you along the way-if that’s what you need. They can help you understand all that is foreign to you around infertility and give you a heads up on what to expect in the days ahead.
I promise you, when your day comes whether it’s in a month or in five years, and you successfully conceive it will be the most amazing feeling and experience. You will look back and be thankful for all the pain (I know it sounds crazy!) because the pain you endured will be replaced with the deepest thanks and appreciation you will ever know. Even three years later I look at my children and feel an indescribable gratitude.
Are you wondering if we’re going to have more kids? It’s okay if you were wondering but please don’t ask those around you! After surveying a group of women of various ages, most agreed this question is just as obnoxious as asking if your twins are natural.
I honestly have struggled with this because now that the PCOS is gone, miraculously might I add, I feel like I need to prove to myself I am not ‘broken.’ Deep down I know we’re done having children, but coming to terms of never proving to myself as a women is a current struggle. And with being 30 now I feel like my window is closing in-added pressure to make a decision. I think this will be another part of infertility that, even four years later, will be something I have to grieve and work through. I also remind myself that God had a plan and that i need to be thankful for what was gifted to us.
Bottom line is, don’t ask invasive questions people! MYOB (mind your own business) and just be happy for people! And whether you are struggling with infertility or maybe going through a different experience I hope in the end you will find a way to lead a blissful life!