Fertility Journey: One Year Later
I stopped taking birth control one year ago this month. Since then, we have had 4 positive tests and I have spent 16 cumulative weeks pregnant.
Prior to this year, I remember hearing stories of people who struggled to have a baby; I felt sorry for them. I'm sure at some point I thought, "I can't even imagine" because that's the kind of thing you say when you hope never to find yourself in the shoes of someone going through something difficult. As it turns out, the shoes are a Cinderella fit.
If you have followed along with my story for very long, you'll know that I try to find the positive in even the toughest seasons. Maybe that's why I haven't had too much to say about this past year: aside from continuing to gush about my amazing husband, I've had a hard time finding the good.
Truthfully, this past year has taken an immense toll on us - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
There have only been a few weeks since December where I haven't been to the doctor's office. I've had blood draws (including a full genetic panel), ultrasounds, and procedures (HSG, D&C). I've taken a variety of oral meds, and I've had injections (including hormone injections and Lovenox, which I've received during each of the last two biochemical pregnancies until those failed). I've experienced mild ovarian hyperstimulation and even had a hematoma from a Lovenox shot hitting a blood vessel in my lower abdomen. Then there are the side effects that accompany pumping your body full of hormones month after month.
Emotionally, we've been on a roller coaster. From joy with the first positive test to heartbreak at that 8 week ultrasound, to uncertainty when we got the 2nd positive, to relief when we saw a heartbeat, to heartbreak again when that pregnancy failed. Then came a season of anxiety as testing was completed, followed by worry when we got the 3rd positive test (which didn't make sense), followed by heartbreak again when that one failed. We began to hope once we started at the fertility clinic, but even that has had ups and downs - frustration when cycle tracking revealed an ovulation disorder (in addition to a few blood clotting disorders that had already been diagnosed), uncertainty when our 4th positive had low HCG, heartbreak again when that pregnancy also failed, and disappointment when treatment hasn't worked.
Spiritually, we're hanging on. We haven't stopped believing, nor have we stopped praying for our miracle, but there have definitely been low moments. I've experienced apathy and frustration - frustration at the outcomes and frustration at the timing of things (for example, the 3rd positive came the day before we left for Greece; I was literally only pregnant long enough to impact our trip... a trip to the island of relaxation... and wine). When our 4th pregnancy failed on the 2nd day of 21 days of prayer, I was in a pretty low place. But I don't know how to live without faith. It's part of my nature, who I am. So at the beginning of each new cycle, my hopes are renewed. They're tempered, but renewed.
The one aspect of this past year that hasn't struggled is our marriage. We've had a crash course in truly getting to know your spouse, as a year like this reveals all vulnerabilities and causes a couple either to come together or fall apart. Thankfully, the experience of this year has drawn Dustin and me closer to each other than I ever really thought possible. It hasn't been easy, and this is a journey I wish he didn't have to walk, but I'm grateful to have him by my side.
So a year after we began this journey, we press on.