As most of you already know, baby boy will be here around July 5th. We are oh so excited, and cannot wait to meet the little dude. I have been dreaming of this day for what seems like forever, though I’ll admit that I no longer thought that dream could be rooted in reality. This little baby has been a long time in the making …
Rewind 15 years ago, and I was jokingly told, “With those boobs and hips, you’ll be a baby-making machine!” and I believed it. I always wanted a larger family, likely because I didn’t have one growing up. So, after I got married at the ripe old age of 23, it wasn’t long before we weren’t preventing. “Let’s just see how quickly it happens,” we thought. However, a year later, still nothing. The planner in me started to freak out; I needed to take charge of this thing because clearly the “let’s drink, and go to Mexico, and get surprise knocked up” idea everyone kept telling us about was not a reality.
I bought books about eating for fertility and how to deal with fertility issues, I watched videos and read articles which led me to become somewhat of a sperm expert, I bought a basal body thermometer as well as a fancy ovulation predictor kit that looked like a Gameboy. I figured armed with all of this information, my BBT temps, and my special fertility app, there was no way we wouldn’t be pregnant within the year.
As you’ve already guessed, none of that worked. I went to my OB, and told her what was going on. She told me she had no reason to believe it was me. My cycles were regular, and I had no family/medical history or signs of any thing like endometriosis or otherwise. She told me I needed to get my husband checked out. Honestly, it had never occurred to me that it could be him. I think as women, we often just assume we are the issue (especially when a true cause is unknown.) I don’t remember if it was difficult to convince him or not, but he did go. I do remember that it wasn’t the most dignified or positive experience for him, but I was grateful he was wiling. I thought that would fix everything, to know the issue and if we could fix it.
A couple of days after the “deposit” the reports came back saying he had a common issue called a varicocele. I’m not going to be all medical about it-it’s basically a varicose vein in the balls which causes the sperm to overheat and thus morph into wonky things with two heads, two tails, etc. Great news because we could still probably get pregnant-it would just take longer, OR he could have it fixed to increase our chances. It was a minor surgery, but it could help us. The doctors also recommended IVF if we didn’t want to be patient.
Two things I’d like to note here, at some point we decided to adopt during all of this. I can’t remember exactly when in the process, but I had already told my then husband that I wanted to adopt long before I knew we’d have issues. The second thing is we both decided not to pursue IVF. It just didn’t make sense to us to spend money on something that wasn’t a given when we could adopt some kiddos in need of a home for almost the same price. Of course, everyone must decide what’s best for their family and at the time, that was best for ours.
In the midst of our decision making processes, we got all sorts of advice, some worthwhile and much of it unsolicited. We were told things like:
“Just go ahead and adopt. Everyone gets pregnant after they adopt. “
“You need to be on top. That’s how I got pregnant.”
“Do a headstand or hold your legs above your head for at least 30 seconds after sex so the sperm can get there faster.”
“Don’t drink soy milk or almond milk.”
“Just do IVF; you make enough money and you want your own kids”
“You’re thinking about it too much. You just need to get drunk and do it. I mean just look at all the unwanted pregnancies from one night stands.”
In the end, we did adopt two lovely kiddos from Hungary (you can read a little bit about that here.) However, I could never get my then husband to have the surgery to fix his varicocele. In fact, he started insisting that there must be something wrong with me, too. I went back to my OB to discuss, and she very kindly but firmly told me she couldn’t send me for any further testing (covered by insurance that is) because we knew that there was an issue with my partner. The testing would be about $800 out of pocket, and when I discussed it with him, he scoffed at the amount (not like we were hurting for money either). So, we just kept trying and nothing worked. I never had a really late period, miscarriage, or anything. People always talk about a rainbow baby, and I remember always thinking they were lucky in some small way. At least they knew they could get pregnant. I realize that statement might make some people angry. “Who wants to have a miscarriage?!” you might be thinking. I am just trying to give you an idea of the state of mind when you’re desperate. You just NEED some sort of sign that it’s possible for you to have a child. You can beg, you can pray, you can workout, you can do all the right things and still nothing.
Fast forward, a couple of years after all of this, and I was in the midst of a divorce. While fertility wasn’t the main reason for our marriage ending, it certainly didn’t help. It made things rocky, it posed us against each other, and ultimately it all worked out in the end for the better.
After years of not knowing, and thinking things must be wrong with me. I splurged and went to see a fertility specialist at the beginning of 2019. It was time I found out the truth. They ran every test they could, and everything came back as normal. “There’s nothing wrong with you,” they said. You should be able to get pregnant provided your new partner is all good. Kevin had already successfully fathered two teenage boys, so we weren’t too worried about him. However, he did, ever so kindly “donate a sample” in order to give me peace of mind. If going to a seedy feeling collection room where everyone knows what you’re doing, black lazy boy chair, with a pee pad in the seat, old porno mags, and having to get your rocks off isn’t love, I don’t know what it. He said it was one of the most awkward and demeaning moments of his life, but we thought it was necessary to share it so other men could know they’re not alone. Love you babe!
I started going to acupuncture specifically for unexplained infertility. I did that for about 6 weeks. I didn’t feel different, and I eventually gave up on it at the end of July. As much as I distracted myself with other things, every month, my period would come, and I would feel like I was broken. At some point, I realized I’d felt broken every time someone got pregnant on their first time, or had a whoops pregnancy, every time I was invited to a baby shower, and every time I saw women cuddling babies. It was hard not to feel like I was being singled out, like God had decided that I wasn’t fit to give birth.
September rolled around, and I remember that I was sick of the struggle, sick of the monthly disappointment, and I had decided to give it all up. I decided that I had two great kiddos, two bonus sons, the love of my life, and pretty much anything else I wanted. I took my fertility books to half price, threw away my ovulation sticks and kits, and decided to just be happy with my life.
Then, I found a lump in my breast. The year before, my mother had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. So naturally, I was worried and went to the doctor straight away. They asked me if I could be pregnant before they did my x-ray, and I realized I had to think about it. I was 6 days late, and I was never that late. I told them it was possible, but that I was sure it was stress. They sent me home, and told me to call them back the next morning with my results. I didn’t want to take a test, I reluctantly bought the cheapest ones because I thought it would be a waste. I’d had duds before so I bought two-two packs.
I could barely sleep that night, and I woke up extra early on Halloween morning. I took my test, and it turned positive almost immediately. I didn’t believe what I was seeing, so I took another, and then another. I felt like maybe I was still dreaming. So, I took the last one. It was 6:15 AM, and no one I knew was awake and Kevin was sleeping peacefully in Pacific Standard Time zone. I was so excited and so shocked, but then I was so worried. It’d taken me so long to arrive at a place of being pregnant, and all I wanted to feel was happy. However, I’d heard of so many miscarriages, and I wasn’t quite a spring chicken any longer. My mind started to race, spinning into a thousand scenarios, and I realized I had to stop myself. I had to take a deep breath, and just enjoy the fact that I was finally pregnant.
Today, I am 20 weeks pregnant, and feeling our little boy’s kicks every morning and every night. I wrote this to let you know that after 9 years, I got pregnant. I didn’t do IVF, I didn’t change my diet, or take crazy herbs. I did, however, change my mind set on thinking I “NEEDED” to have a baby. I am also, now with a man who made me feel loved and safe at all times. Was this my “infertility” cure? Truly, I’ll never know the answer. It could have been chance, if I believed in that. Really, I believe God gives us all things in the time in which he planned them (which, if I am honest, never seems to make sense when you’re in it, but then it all does in the end). So, don’t give up hope, but don’t lose yourself either. You aren’t broken, you aren’t less, and a child will never “complete” you despite what some people will lead you to believe. Don’t forget to LIVE while you are in the midst of infertility. I can’t promise you a baby, but I can promise you will regret spending every waking moment letting infertility consume you. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and in the end, a life is worth fully living with or without biological children.
Love and Luck,