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Our Journey with Infertility: Year 8

I'm Haley. I have been walking a journey with infertility for about eight years, and those years have changed me. While my experience may not quite qualify as a marathon, I am worn out from the race to have a baby. I'm tired of being sore at injection sites, dealing with migraines, and fighting fatigue. More honestly? I'm a bit bitter that reproductive specialists and their staff in the Chicago suburbs have seen my lower half more than my husband has. Well, maybe it's not quite that extreme, but it has to be pretty darn close when an internal ultrasound at 6 a.m. is not only normal, but so normal that I don't even shave my legs for the occasion anymore.

My race to conceive does not just involve me, of course. My husband, Derrick, has certainly earned his stripes, too. He has stellar marks for reeling me in from complete nervous breakdowns, tiptoeing around me during the two-week wait to take pregnancy tests, and picking up the slack when a migraine confines me to the couch. While I was the cheerleader in high school, Derrick tends to be more rah-rah nowadays for our fertility treatments and plans. Most of the time, I appreciate the encouragement, but I have been known to tell him where, very specifically, he can stick his pom-poms on difficult days.

He is tired. I am tired. Infertility is not for the weak—that is certain But, we are plugging along, sucking up our grief, saying our best prayers, and saving our money for our upcoming rounds of IVF. Why? Because we know it's worth it.

You see, three years of trying gave us our son, Jackson. He just turned 4, and he is, without a doubt, the love of our lives. He has Derrick's easygoing personality and my dark eyes. He has olive skin like his daddy and can shimmy and shake like his mama. He was finally created after three years of multiple cycles of Clomid, timed "baby dancing," boxes of ovulation predictor sticks, and, finally, from Menopur injections and our second intrauterine inseminiation (IUI).

I am convinced that you if you suck at certain conceiving/pregnancy/postpartum steps, you can be redeemed through other parts. For us, getting pregnant was hard, but staying pregnant wasn't. We had an uneventful and easy pregnancy, and after Jackson was born, I breastfed like a champ to 14 months. So you see, I at least could feel somewhat accomplished, and not like a complete failure, when my pregnancy was smooth sailing and I had a freezer full of breastmilk.

But here we are again. Still walking, although somewhat differently this time, through our infertility journey. We have always known that Jackson might be our only child. I relished his kicks in utero, and I have savored every stage of his life. If we are meant to be a family of three, we are thankful for that chance. We are joyful to be a team of three.

But we are hopeful for one more. Our four IUIs since having Jackson have not worked, and new medication protocols have not given us the results we want. I'm older now and a little worn from being on the infertility road this long.

But we are hopeful for one more. We have never been able to afford IVF. But now, with a surprising new job for Derrick, we have been blessed with insurance that covers IVF. Insurance that kicks in July 1, 2014. Insurance that might give us another member for our family.

I'll be spending the next few months leading up to our IVF cycles getting ready emotionally and physically. I'll be facing insurance, doctors, procedures, yoga, parenting and emotional roller coasters. Would you consider joining me on my journey? I promise to keep it real while striving for a balance between telling too much (do you really want to know how big my follicles are?) and keeping it honest and vulnerable (I love ice cream, but I am pretty sure I need to cut down on sugar; Lord help me and my husband). Whether you are experiencing infertility or not, I could use some extra people on my road. Lace up your shoes, it is sure to be an eventful trip.

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