We started trying to conceive in May of 2015 right after we bought our first house. It was an exciting time in our lives. My plan was to be pregnant by September. I didn't have a reason for this plan it was just what made sense in my head. Well there have been 3 Septembers since then and this year will be the fourth and still no baby.
We tried for a year on our own. During that time, I used a fertility app, ovulation predicting tests, read books and did a few sessions of acupuncture. All of that taught me a lot about fertility but nothing we did resulted in getting pregnant. After that first year our family doctor had my husband do a sperm analysis and referred me to an OB. The sperm analysis came back normal as did the blood tests and HSG test my OB had me do. By then it was January 2017 and my OB gave me 2 options... start clomid or refer to the fertility clinic. I chose the fertility clinic. Our first consult was in May exactly 2 years after we started trying.
The fertility clinic had both of us do blood tests and had my husband do a detailed sperm analysis. Our answers came soon after: the detailed sperm analysis showed that my husband had antibodies on 85% of his sperm. We had male factor infertility and the recommendation was IVF/ICSI. We were disappointed at first because we knew the cost and effort needed to go through IVF and with no guarantees, we were scared. As the months went on we became more comfortable we the idea and when we were finally ready to start our first cycle of IVF we were exited... we could potentially become pregnant soon!
Out first cycle of IVF/ICSI was in January, I assumed since we were male factor that everything would go smoothly. I imagined us getting several embryos so that even if this first transfer didn't work we would have frozen embryos to try again soon after. Again, I was proven wrong. I was slow to stimulate, and my right ovary was high and hard to see on some of the ultrasounds. Because of this the doctor was only able to retrieve 2 mature eggs from my left ovary. Luckily, those 2 eggs were fertilized and became our 2 embryos that we transferred 3 days later.
I took an at-home pregnancy test the day before I was to go in for my beta. We were overjoyed at seeing a positive test for the first time. I will never forget that feeling, I was so happy. Even more so when it was confirmed at the clinic with a positive beta test. Sadly, that pregnancy was more than likely just chemical/early miscarriage. My body didn't give me any signs of miscarriage because when you do IVF you take progesterone and estrogen to help your body keep the pregnancy viable, but those medications can also prevent your body from giving you signs of miscarrying. So, we spent a month thinking we were pregnant and went to our 8-week scan when the doctor told us she couldn't find anything. We did another blood test and found my beta was now only 8. We were devastated.
It has been a few months now and we are still unsure of where to go from here. We gave ourselves a break from infertility, but it still looms over us. We are faced with starting the process from the very beginning or moving on to different options. The constant in this journey is our desire for children... only time will tell how they come into our lives.
During these last 3 years I've struggled a lot with feeling left behind. I am surrounded by couples with children and it is difficult to be around so many people who have what you so desperately want. Its hard to understand that feeling if you haven't gone through infertility. My friends and coworkers have all been really supportive but there is no way to explain the tightness I get in my heart when friends talk about their children or when a co-worker visits work with her new baby. In the end you develop a shell to get you through these situations, you smile on the outside but cry on the inside. That’s why I am so glad to have found a few online fertility communities. These groups are supportive and are a great way to vent frustrations, answering questions and celebrating when there is good news.
Our story isn't finished, we are still fighting so its hard to reflect positively on our journey especially after these last few months. However, I still have hope, I still feel deep down that eventually we will be parents. For now, I hold onto that feeling tightly.
If you are new to this journey, know that probably nothing will go as you plan. Surround yourself in support even if its a Facebook group filled with strangers, you need people to talk to who understand what you are going through. Infertility is filled with peaks and valleys, but if we can make it to the other side, all of it will have been worth it.