Our Infertility Journey – The Beginning

The Salesperson

Or, Shopping for Furniture and Getting Chastised Instead

Adam, Elle, and I had just moved 2,000 miles across the country to start Adam’s first real job. We took part of our relocation bonus money to one of the nearby home furnishing stores, looking to buy our first real master bedroom set and living room set. We had hoped we could try to navigate the showroom floor without the assistance of a possibly pushy salesperson. But, alas, our hope were in vain and a very southern and very mature woman stuck by our sides the whole time.

At the end of the showroom tour, we hadn’t fallen in love with anything, so we tried to politely leave. Ms. Salesperson was a pro and didn’t let us get away that easily. We talked about pricing, quality of materials, and on and on until she could see we were genuinely not interested in her store’s offerings. As we prepared to leave, our 3-year-old daughter took one last dramatic seat on the couch closest to the exit doors. This prompted the following conversation,

Salesperson: Oh, aren’t you so cute. And you’ve been so well-behaved while Mommy and Daddy have looked.

Elle: [Politely smiling while rubbing the textured cushion of a nearby chair]

Salesperson: So, when are Mommy and Daddy going to give you a little brother or sister to play with?

Me: [Politely smiling while tightening the grip on my purse]

Salesperson: [Oblivious to the change in my posture and talking to me and Adam now] You know, she isn’t getting any younger. And I’m sure she’d love a baby brother or sister to play with.

Me: Yes, we would too. Thank you for your time.

Salesperson: Well, if you change your mind about the pieces I showed you, I’ll be here until closing today.

And we left. And even if they had the best, most amazing bedroom and living room sets for 50% off I wouldn’t have gone back to that store. Unknowingly that salesperson opened a wound that wouldn’t heal until many years later.

Approximately 3 million women experience secondary infertility. |

In the Beginning

At the time we were looking for home furnishings (circa summer 2010), we’d already been actively trying to conceive another baby for a year. Cycle after cycle, I couldn’t turn a pregnancy test positive. Infertility wasn’t our “normal.” Our “normal” had been to conceive without really trying after 4 months of marriage, miscarry at 9 weeks, then conceive again on our first try after a 3-month waiting period. So, it hadn’t been just a year we’d been trying to conceive (or TTC), it’d been 12 menstrual cycles.

Those first 6 months or so of trying were so difficult. If only I had known then that I had 5 and a half more years of tears, anxiety, hope, resentment, and longing to endure.

As relatives and friends were getting pregnant with their first, second, and third babies we popped pill after pill, drew lab after lab, and got so many ultrasounds I could read the screens myself. My husband, reluctant at first to be tested, eventually had just as many infertility-related appointments as I did. All the while, Elle grew up and little comments here and there continued.

Don’t let her hold the baby, she’ll get baby hungry.

Elle is so cute. You should think about having more.

Aren’t you so glad you don’t have more?*

You guys are so lucky that you only have one.

So, when are you going to have some more?

*To be fair, this usually came from super exhausted but very devoted moms who looked at our situation like it was a vacation. Which, at times and in some ways, it was.

After meeting with several family physicians, gynecologists, urologists, and two different reproductive specialists in two different states, we finally figured out what was going on. We both had developed medical obstacles that created our infertility. The most frustrating thing was that no one could tell us why it had been so easy to get pregnant as newlyweds but have everything change in under 3 years.

Setbacks and Breaks

Along our journey we encountered several devastating – and time-consuming – setbacks. Our first setback cost us two years when Adam was prescribed medication that was supposed to increase his testosterone and, therefore, his sperm count. However, it did the exact opposite and nearly annihilated all his sperm. Another setback occurred when a doctor put Adam on Clomid (yes, Clomid) to increase his count. That didn’t work either and we lost another 6 months.

During our infertility journey, we took breaks. We needed to re-center ourselves as individuals, as a couple, and as parents to a beautiful and fast-growing daughter. We couldn’t allow ourselves to be completely wrapped up in a baby that might never be.

“The Only Way”

After seeing many doctors and some specialists, we “graduated” to a real reproductive specialist. The office was an hour away one way. After more of the same testing and examinations had been done, the specialist said the only way we’d conceive another child would be through IVF. Being a needle-phobic individual, he might as well just said, “You’re never having another baby.”

We decided it was time for another break from our fertility journey. While discussing an upcoming move, however, we researched fertility centers in the area we’d be living in “just in case.” We were moving to Utah, specifically Utah County, which I’ve nicknamed the Fertility Belt because of its many large families and rich abundance of reproductive centers.

Utah: A Roller Coaster Ride

Not even a year after moving to Utah, I missed my period. We both were still on a break from discussing our infertility, but we both were silently hoping and praying that the nausea, fatigue, and cravings I was experiencing during this time meant I was miraculously pregnant.

Then my period came.

I had Adam run and get a pregnancy test to see if I was miscarrying, if I had been pregnant at all. It was negative.

I laid on the bed and cried.

The next business day I called an OB/GYN and made an appointment to make sure everything was ok. An ultrasound showed everything looked normal and lab results showed my hormones were still funky. My doctor decided that if I missed another period he’d consider putting me on a progesterone pill.

That same weekend we visited the house of one of our Sunday School kids. His mom answered the door as well as our student. We chatted briefly, dropped off what we were there to drop off, and then our student’s mother announced she was expecting.

Pregnancy Announcements

Pregnancy announcements have been a mixed bag over the years. Some have put me into a deep, depressive funk for days while others have me excited to go shopping for the baby shower. But this one, this one was different. This one lit a fire within me that I hadn’t felt in years. A fire that meant no matter what, I wanted to get pregnant.

By the end of the following week, Adam and I decided we would go to an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) consultation. We scheduled the appointment for the earliest availability, April 1 – about a month away and on April’s Fools Day. We hoped the date didn’t foreshadow things to come.

Our IVF Journey

Our IVF journey is a long post in and of itself which I’ll save for another day. (You’re welcome.) Suffice it to say it is one of the most physically and emotionally difficult things I have ever done in my life.

Spoiler alert: It was successful.

{You can now read about our IVF Journey here.}

Our experience with secondary infertility. |

4 thoughts on “Our Infertility Journey – The Beginning

    1. I’m glad you appreciated the post, Laura. I’m sorry you also went through similar things. But what a blessing to have endured faithfully and now get to snuggle with the 4 beautiful kids who call you mom. 🙂 Thank you for your comment.

  1. You’ve captured so many feelings in your post. I felt your pain at the furniture store, and the fire that was lit to “get pregnant,” It is amazing the full range of emotions we can feel going through infertility issues! I look forward to tomorrow’s post!

    1. Thank you, Lori 🙂 It has been a crazy ride. One that continues with such a large age gap between our two girls. But it’s all been worth it to have these two beauties in our lives.

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