Our story is not that different from others experiencing unexplained infertility. For myself, I always dreamed of having a family, how many kids I would have, what their names would be, would they be in sports, 4-H, both? For my husband, he never really thought about kids, he just assumed he would one day have them. He has a child (it’s weird to refer to a 17 year old as a child) from a previous relationship, but always thought more would come along. Neither one of us questioned children, it was a given that we would have a family.
My husband and I were married in 2013. We waited one year after the wedding until we were both ready before trying for a baby. Even though we both knew we would one day have kids, we wanted to be sure we were both at the right point in time and ready to start trying. We did everything “right”. Started eating healthy, taking vitamins, both quit smoking. I booked an appointment with my family doctor to see if there was anything we needed to do to try to get pregnant. I began taking folic acid. We were excited!
We decided not to tell anyone we were trying for a baby. We didn’t want the constant questions from our mothers, unwarranted advice and god forbid, the “are you pregnant yet” questions if we didn’t get pregnant right away. We had already been dealing with these questions long before we actually started and had been using witty returns or saying we just weren’t ready yet. This was easier then answering all the questions if we told the truth. I guess we didn’t want the pity looks if it didn’t happen right away.
Six months later, nothing. No extra line on the pregnancy test. Okay, it’s not so bad. It doesn’t happen right away for everyone. One year later, nothing. We booked appointments with our family doctors who sent us for blood tests. My husband was scheduled for a semen analysis. Which by the way, when you live in a rural area 45 minutes from the hospital, you have to “conduct” the test at the hospital (in a public washroom as they don’t have separate rooms for this), and inconspicuously march your brown paper bag to the collection lab. A very humiliating experience for my husband, but he did it without complaint (or much anyway). Results? Normal.
Then, a referral to an OB/GYN. The Dr. was very reassuring and sent me for additional blood tests. Through the course of the next few appointments, we had pap tests, more blood tests and a hysterosalpingogram (basically a dye test for your uterus and fallopian tubes), which I must stay burns like a mother - . Results? Normal. No blockages, areas of concern, anything. We were told that usually after a HSG couples become “super fertile” but to use condoms for the next month so as to ensure leftover dye didn’t interfere with a possible pregnancy. Again, we were excited. Super fertile. That’s awesome right!? We were to come back in a few months if we weren’t pregnant. We came back.
Suddenly, “together time” wasn’t enjoyable. There was no spontaneity. Everything was very carefully scheduled, temperatures taken, check marks on the calendar. Oh we had company at our house until very late? You’re tired? Have to get up early? Sorry, it is baby making night, we have to do it. We ended up taking a few months “off”. We had to for the health of our marriage. Making a baby is a great thing, but not at the expense of our marriage.
A few months later, we booked another appointment with our OB/GYN. My husband couldn’t attend this appointment due to work constraints. I took the afternoon off work (like somehow I knew). It was this appointment I was told we were suffering from unexplained infertility. We were 1 in 6. All tests were normal. There was no obvious reason why we shouldn’t already be pregnant, or after 2 ½ years of trying, already have a child. I was heartbroken. When I told my husband, he was heartbroken, though god bless him, he didn’t show it to protect me from further heartbreak. Later discussions would show this affected him far more than he even thought it would.
So many feelings. Sadness, heartache, jealousy for those I knew who got pregnant without trying, or pregnant right away. For those who had gotten pregnant and already had their baby when if we had gotten pregnant at first, we would already have a child older than theirs. Relief. Relief that we weren’t doing anything wrong. Relief that there wasn’t anything wrong with either of us. Relief that I no longer had to question or worry what kind of parents we would be. Would we raise our children right? We could travel. We could get back to our lives that we had put on hold for the last 2 1/2 years. And right there after relief? Guilt. Guilt for feeling relieved. This emotion was by far the worst.
Suddenly the roles were reversed. My husband, who was initially against fertility treatments, IUI, IVF and the cost associated with it, was now for it. Myself who was initially for any kind of fertility treatment necessary, was now against it. I still am. I think. I cannot handle anymore disappointment. To go through all of this again, just to be let down again will be devastating.
We do have a referral to the Fertility Clinic in Halifax, though the wait times are outrageously long. I’m okay with that. We have both agreed not to make any decisions until we meet with the clinic and know our options. For now, we’re both enjoying our time together.
We no longer want to be silent. Although we still aren’t to the point to be able to openly talk about our infertility with just anyone, we’re okay with people knowing. We’ve done nothing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with either of us. We are compatible in every way except this one area. We didn’t realize just how common infertility was until we experienced it. For now, we are enjoying our life together, our son/step-son and our families.
My one regret? Not being open from the beginning. Looking back, it was harder to cope with everything all the while keeping this big secret. Talk to someone. Talk to everyone. Chances are great that there are others out there in the same position. Those always asking the “are you pregnant yet” or “when are you starting a family” questions aren’t being nosy (ok, some are), they’re happy for you. They love you and want you to have everything you dreamed of – kids included.
Don’t risk your relationships, friendships and your mental health keeping it all in. You’re not alone.