What is infertility? What is our infertility story?
Warning - this is the whole story. I don't consider any of it an overshare, but I will say it's also not breakroom conversation - I wouldn't have it on here if we were uncomfortable with you knowing, but read on if you choose. Actually, this is my disclaimer for the entire site. There's nothing that you can ask that will offend or embarass us, but please know that we will also answer anything you ask and respond to your comments - both in person and over the blog. So, make sure you're ready for it, too.
We got married in May of 2009. We both wanted to start a family right away, but agreed that we wanted to wait to start trying until the end of the summer. We also agreed that we didn't need to do anything to prevent it from happening - we were content with letting life happen. In July of 2009, my sister got engaged(!), so we decided we would wait until after her wedding to really try, but continue "not preventing" in the meantime. Also during this time, Bob started traveling more for work, so we wanted to allow ourselves time to get used to the change before really focusing on starting on a family. Again though, if I had gotten pregnant during this time, we would have been thrilled. My sister's wedding was in May of 2010.
By December of 2010, I still wasn't pregnant. By this time, I had an app on my phone to help me count the days in my cycle, I was taking my temperature every morning, and reading up on "tips" for getting pregnant. I felt like I was constantly counting - from the beginning of my period to when I should ovulate, then from ovulation to when I should have a positive test. Even though it had really only been 6 months of real "trying" I felt like something just wasn't right. Since I didn't officially have an OB yet anyways (my family doctor had always been enough up until this point), I figured it was time to start looking for one so I wouldn't be so overwhelmed once I was pregnant. I was recommended to an OB and made an appointment.
We met with her and explained our history, telling her that we had really only been trying for 6 months, but not preventing for longer. Since Bob is older than me, and because I had a history of irregular cycles, she thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and do some tests on both of us. Her goal was more to ease our mind so that we could enjoy the process. We were so happy to find a doctor that listened to what I said from the start, and didn't just tell us was hadn't been trying long enough.
In January, we went back in to get results. It was the middle of the week, so we met at her office, expecting to hear that we needed to "relax" and just let it happen. Instead, she told us, in the most compassionate way possible, that we were infertile. Yes, I said We. We both had issues that left us with a 1% chance of getting pregnant naturally. (even if it was just Bob or me, I would still say We - this is our journey. Together.) I think she went on to say some really comforting things. I think she told me that I would be mad, and sad and confused. That Bob and I would fight and cry and have some really bad days. That people would get pregnant and one day we would be so excited for them and the next day it would cause breakdown. I even think I remember seeing tears in her eyes. I say I think because I don't remember. All I really heard her say was "You can't have a baby." She was amazing. She gave us both hugs, gave us information for the local fertility doctor, and told us she hoped to see us back in her office very soon.
Bob and I left her office and didn't say a word. Like I said, it was the middle of the week, and I was in the middle of a huge project at work. We hugged goodbye and walked to our own cars. I got in, sat for a minute, and then I absolutely lost it. I called Bob and he talked to me while I drove back to work. When I say talked to me, I mean cried with me. I got to work and told him I would be home as soon as I could. I lasted for about 45 minutes at work before I told my boss that I had to go home. I called my sister on the way home and remember choking out the words "I can't have babies" and then just holding the phone while she tried everything she could to calm me down. When I got home, I avoided Bob for awhile. I knew that if he tried to hug me, I would hyperventilate and cry and I didn't know if I would be able to stop. Eventually, I let him hug me, and I was right - we cried forever. Later that night, we went to dinner with friends (only because we already had it planned). It turned out to be a nice little get away. After dinner, I came home and got in bed right away. Bob held me all night.
That's kind of how the next week was. I cried. He cried. I yelled. He yelled. (Yes, we were yelling at each other. No, we weren't mad at each other). We didn't know what we were crying for. We didn't know what our options were. We were sad and scared and confused and felt like we were the only two people in the world carrying around this giant weight of infertility. Luckily, the uncertainty didn't have to last forever, because we were able to get in and see the fertility specialist pretty quickly.
The fertility specialist confirmed what we already knew - our only option for getting pregnant would be In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This doctor has an extremely high success rate. Because of my age and everything we're dealing with, we have about and 80% chance of success on our first try of IVF. Also, because of my age, we have about a 50-60% chance that I will have twins. (this percentage is higher because I'm in my 20's.) The entire IVF process will cost anywhere between $15,000-$18,000.
Even though at this point we had answers, the weight was far from lifted off our shoulders. We now had to determine where the money would come from, when we hoped to start, how to deal with pregnancies and babies all around us, how to keep our relationship strong, and, some days, how to function. We had to decide who to tell, how to answer people's questions and figure out how to support each other. We had to learn to go out with our daily lives without burying our feelings. And, we had to learn how to support each other without bringing the other one down.
Since we've started talking about this, we get a lot of the same questions. So, here's our infertility FAQs:
Did you get a second opinion? - Yes, we did get a second opinion. He said the same thing as the first doctor.
Will you be able to have more kids in the future? - We hope so. It was always both of our dream to have 3 (or maybe more) kids. Now, we're both just praying for 1. Anything after that will be icing on the cake. But, I will say that if everything goes well with the first round of IVF, the process for future round should be quicker and less expensive.
Can you pick if you're having boys or girls? - Well, technically, yes, we can. For an added cost, they can screen the embyos for genetic birth defects and determine the sex of the embryo. Since we wouldn't have done the genetic screening if I had gotten pregnant on my own, we're not doing it now. Also, if I had gotten pregnant on my own, we wouldn't have been able to choose the sex, so we're not going to now. And besides, it's and extra $5k.
Are you gonna end up like Octomom? - Haha, I hope not. Our specialist will only implant 2 embryos. That means there's a high chance of us having twins. But, since twins don't run in either family, there's not a high chance of the embryos breaking off further to create 3 or 4 or more babies. Twins should be the most.
Well, believe it or not, that was a brief overview of our life for the past year. Like I said in the beginning, I'm happy to answer any questions. Please just be respectful.