My Infertility Journey so far…

Infertility…….. Where do we begin?

Anyone who has gone through it knows that it is one of the most confusing & gut wrenching experiences of all time. I will try to be as blunt & transparent as possible about our journey. Sugar coating never gets me anywhere, I want to talk about the good, bad, and ugly of our experience. The sense of loneliness that I felt was indescribable. For the past 3 years infertility has followed me around like a dark cloud. To date, this has been the hardest thing my husband & I have ever gone through. We continue to struggle, but continue to persevere. We know that the end result will far outweigh the struggles. 🙂

I apologize to anyone in the medical field if my not-so-medical brain misinterprets anything. This is all from my personal experience.

 

We started our process with months of crying, questioning and wondering. I had been off the pill for over 6 months & we were starting to worry. We researched everything. I took my temperature, peed on countless sticks to track ovulation, and went through so many negative pregnancy tests, I can’t even begin to count. Each month came the reminder that I was not pregnant & with each month the heartbreak got stronger & harder to bear.

You mean to tell me that a 16 year old girl can get pregnant after her first time, but after years of strategically planning my sexual intercourse to my husband of 4 years, we still can’t have a baby?

We are financially stable-ish, we have jobs, 401Ks… Everything that would consider us to be full fledge “adults”. Yet here we were, month after month of heartbreak.

The first question you ask is why? And of course WTF?

Don’t get me wrong. We are blessed individuals and we are so thankful for all that God has blessed us with. We truly believe that God has heard our prayers, but when you want something as precious as a baby, it is so hard to be patient.

After a year or so of trying naturally, we went to an infertility specialists were I had to go through multiple ultrasounds and blood work. They found a mass during an ultrasound that could be one of the following: a tumor, a cyst, or ENDOMETRIOSIS.

They can’t necessarily determine if a woman has Endometriosis until they are in the process of laparoscopic surgery. That’s right… they don’t know you have it until you are getting it surgically removed.?.?.  They scheduled me for surgery & my doctor was confident that the mass was Endometriosis. I was scared that we would be wasting our time and our resources with this. I had very few, if any of the symptoms that go along with having Endometriosis. I just knew this was a waste. But, to my surprise, I had stage three Endometriosis.

We were thankful that it wasn’t a tumor of course, but endometriosis was now our “cause” for infertility, which means, Bye Bye Insurance…

There it was…we were diagnosed. No longer did insurance cover ANYTHING. We were in fact, infertile, screwed, and completely, financially on our own.

Endo surgery was on Feb 2016 & afterwards they gave us 6 months to “try” on our own.

My demeanor during these 6 months was totally chill. The summer months were coming and I was ready to relax and chill by the pool w a beer and not worry about a thing. That’s what everyone says right, DON’T TRY…Don’t worry about it…Stop trying….Stop thinking about it… So we did. We chilled for 6 months.

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#butseriously

 

Then the 6 months were up and we were back to our fertility specialist. Once again, WTF?

The next process was IUI. Intra-Uterine Insemination. To us ranchers, we call it AI.

The process seemed simple enough. You bypass the cervix and inject the sperm straight into the uterus.

The $$ of this process seemed crazy, especially for a middle class couple. But we were willing to do anything and we were extremely confident in this process.

We had been trying for around 2 years at this point and we were finally taking steps and using special medication to help with our infertility. We were on the path to get us a baby! We were confident!

We did IUI a total of 5 times. 5 unsuccessful times. We would do 3 cycles and then take a break. Another one, take a break, and then our final one. Nothing.

They never tell you when you start infertility treatments about all the breaks. This is how come so many people struggle for YEARS before they do IVF or adopt. The Dr. kept wanting me to take breaks. Whether it be the holidays, busy schedules, or my emotional well-being.  Even though it was the last thing I wanted, they were well worth it. This was the most trying thing I had done emotionally and physically in my whole life. We would take a few months off and then start the process again, with fresh minds and fresh perspectives on the outcome.

These 4-6 months were torture. I found myself at my mothers house confused and crying and trying to hold it together, while at the same time completely giving up. I thought I was being punished by God. I thought I was unworthy to be a mother. That I would just have to go the rest of my life child-less. Explaining to others why it was just my husband and me. My friends didn’t know how to comfort me (although they did more than they know). My parents didn’t know what to say or what to do. Even my husband couldn’t get me out of the funk that I so-often fell into.

Even the nurse who did our 5 IUI’s would sit and pray with me. She was a wonderful, God fearing women, but nothing was going to make it better.

The rollercoaster of emotions during this time was UNREAL. You are mad/sad when it doesn’t work. Devastated that you have to spend the money and go through the procedure again.

You are confused, dumbfounded and a little bit bitter towards every single person in the world.

You also feel like a complete tit-bag. There are people around you with cancer, going through miscarriages, losing loved ones, and somehow, you selfishly make everything about you and the shit you are going through. I couldn’t help it. I knew things could be worse, but in those moments, this was hell.

Then you somehow brush yourself off and become stronger. I prayed for strength and kept telling myself that this is in Gods plan. Most of the time, in the back of my mind, I didn’t really believe that. But it made me feel better for a second and I moved on. I would drink wine with my friends and somehow find peace for a few weeks before starting the whole damn process over again.

5 times.

Before that it was tough, but this was unreal. We were spending money. I was taking medication. Shots in my stomach, blood work, pills that made me emotional AF. My husband had put more sperm in a cup than in me. (sorry to be graphic)

We were exhausted and upset. SO upset. But, surprisingly our marriage was stronger than ever.

We were each others rock. Him more than me. I was a crumbly mess and could lash out in any given moment. But he kept it together and reminded me to be strong, to pray for strength, and that no matter what…we were in this together.

Other people around me were moving on with their lives and going through their routines and I was the “infertility” mess. That’s all I talked about and all I thought about. Anytime we had book club or I was out with friends or with my parents, the topic of convo was my infertility. Blah Blah Blah, feel sorry for me, I cant have a baby.

Then we took another break…

A much needed and well worth it break. I prayed so hard for peace and strength, and I finally got it.

I was at peace for the first time in 3 years.

During this time my sister-in-law gave birth to beautiful boy/girl twins and I couldn’t be happier.

I wasn’t bitter, I wasn’t angry at her, I wasn’t angry that God gave her two babies and me none. I was over the moon, swooning day and night, in love with these babies. I had peace and I had two babies to pour my love into. I joke that Lil and Wyatt Grey filled a hole in my heart when I needed it the most.

Luckily in between the last 2 IUI’s, my fertility nurse suggested for us to go ahead and make an IFV consultation appointment just in case. I am glad she did, because they aren’t easy to get within a decent time frame. SO we made an apt with Dr. Phy out of Texas Tech University Medical Center in Lubbock. It was months away and NEVER in my mind did I think we would have to go to this appointment.

Idk why my naïve/oblivious mind would think that… Most people would’ve been preparing for this moment the entire time, but for me, I just knew that we would get pregnant before then. Somehow after 5 unsuccessful IUI’s and years of trying, I still thought this could happen on its own.

There was no way we would have to go through IVF. I had faith that God would give us a baby before then and this nightmare would be over before another dime was spent. Was it faith or a test? I’m not sure. But I was being stubborn.

AND I was wrong.

The day came for our IVF consult and I thought numerous times that I was going to vomit in the waiting room. What were we doing here? How did this even happen? The cost is WHAT?

We met Dr. Phy and I automatically felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

She is one of the kindest, most sincere individuals I have ever met. You can tell that she is passionate about her job and she wants more than anything for these procedures to end in a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby.

We were more than prepared for our apt and as she looked at my Endometriosis surgery pics, she kept nodding her head like she understood everything that we had done so far and she was smiling the entire time.

She explained that as my body attacks what is left of my endometriosis, it is also attacking Mitchells sperm…sorry honey!

We, most likely, had never even had fertilization happen. In all these years. WOW.

She said that once we put the fertilized embryo into my uterus that implantation should occur and we can bypass the sperm trying to fertilize the egg on its own. Easy. Peasy. Lemon squeezy.

She was so confident. She explained the process more in-depth and answered all 900 question we had with a smile on her face.

Towards the end I knew that all of this was too good to be true and waited patiently before asking the big bubba question of the day. How much?

Once again, we are middle class Americans. My husband works on his family’s ranch and I work in HR for an oilfield supply company. After everything we had been through, money was the deciding factor in whether or not we could proceed with IVF. Money! What!?

When we first started this process, there was nothing that could ever stand in the way of me holding our precious baby and all the joys that would come with motherhood. I would’ve walked through fire.

How is it that when money is involved it punches you in the face, smack, back into reality?

No one was going to ask me to walk through fire. No one was going to ask for my pinky toe to be cut off and sacrificed in order for me to bear a child. That’s not how any of this works.

We, instead, are asked to pay $16,000.00+ for the IVF process. That includes ultrasounds, medication, embryo retrieval, sperm spinning, blood work, etc.

I don’t even get my own parking spot at the Dr.’s office. Nor am I completely, 100% guaranteed a child.

The success rate is 75%. Not bad. But still…

We had ideas of cost before we went to our IVF apt. But there it was, in black and white.

They say fertility struggles can be the hardest thing for a marriage. Up until this point, we were good. Strong, supportive, comforting, and there was no blame what-so-ever. We were solid.

But, add money struggles along with infertility struggles and it will knock you on your ass. We were still solid, but the tension & stress of this was apparent.

One thing you should know about me… I love to shop. I love fashion, I love shoes, I am the girliest of girls when it comes to anything fashion. I want it and I want it now. I knew I had to change the way I went about money & really start to budget for this expense.

We started saving & budgeting & so far we are killing it!

Thankfully, I also have amazing family members who were willing to loan us the money interest free. We are so blessed by this and it makes my heart happy knowing that we can continue this journey to becoming parents.

So here we are, about to begin the process of IVF. I will keep everyone in the loop with our story.

God is good & we are completely at peace with the process that will be taking place in the next few months.

We appreciate any prayers!

XOXO- Ashlee

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