This summer, my husband and I started the process of fertility testing and trying to find a solution to years of not being able to have a baby. To say it has been an emotional rollercoaster for me is an understatement. My husband has been an amazing support to me through it, and while he does not always feel the same attachment and hopes every month that I do, the let downs and discouragement that he feels are from watching his wife go through such a rollercoaster. He hates watching me go through it, and has been such an incredible support in it with me. I can’t imagine doing this journey without him.
Over the past 6 months, our doctor ran numerous tests on both of us, and came up with what everyone thought was a guaranteed solution: that we would do one IUI procedure and come out pregnant. Not with one baby, but with multiples. That’s how sure they were that it was going to work. Well, that procedure came and went, expectations were not met, and here we are trying procedures again in hopes that eventually it will work. Fertility Treatments fall into such unknown territory for so many of us, and yet day after day as I sit in the waiting room, I count the number of couples that are there. There are a lot of us! And this can be a scary thing to face. So in hopes of calming you, the fellow momma-at-heart, waiting for her turn to have a baby, here are some things I want you to know before starting these procedures. Some of these things I already knew, some I wish someone had told me before our first round, but all are important:
- DO NOT take any at home pregnancy tests. There is never a time where you can trust the results of it. Part of this procedure is that they inject you with a hormone shot to control when you ovulate, and that hormone can stay in your body for a week or two after the actual shot. No one told me this, so I learned it the hard way. I cheated and took two pregnancy tests, both came out positive. My husband and I celebrated, rejoiced, started planning what life would look like with a baby, and then the following week took two more tests that were negative. The doctors confirmed with a blood test that I was never actually pregnant, it was just reading the hormone still in my body.
- You may feel pregnancy symptoms almost immediately, but it does not mean you are pregnant. This was one of the hardest ones for me. As if it isn’t cruel enough to us women that PMS and pregnancy symptoms are often the same, now we have a third factor throwing “pregnancy symptoms” at us, but are really just side effects from getting a hormone shot. For that first week after my shot I had heightened smell, I was nauseous, felt dizzy, had an increased appetite, and fatigue. And yet I was never pregnant. Oh I convinced myself I was, but now I know it is most likely just side effects, not early pregnancy symptoms.
- Privacy? What’s privacy? I’ve been pricked and poked all over my body. There is no shame left to be had. The number of people who have seen me in my full glory is much too high for my liking, but part of their job is to be as thorough as possible and to find anything that could be preventing you from getting pregnant. It is a necessary evil, so find ways to laugh about it if it that embarrasses you at all.
- Ask Questions! Your doctor deals with hundreds of couples who have been doing this procedure for months or years at a time, so I found that they sometimes forget to walk us “newbies” through our emotional expectations. This whole thing is such an emotional process and a lot of times, I would go in with questions that I would completely forgot to ask! You get very wrapped up in the moment of whatever procedure you are in for that day, so my emotions became a sort of blockage to my processing capabilities. So I started writing down any questions I would think of at home and then ask them in the office.
- Enjoy this time of getting to learn about your body. This is a FASCINATING process! It is absolutely astounding to me how our body works, and how these professionals can examine your body to find out more information. Anytime I am in there for an ultrasound, they walk me through what they are seeing on the screen so I can watch as they they are doing it. It is absolutely amazing to me, and something that just completely solidifies my faith as I watch the miracle of our reproductive systems. Enjoy this privilege of learning about your body and the complete miracle that it really is that anyone gets pregnant at all.
- It is a time-consuming process, and it is a very last-minute process. Have a talk with your employer explaining that you will often have to leave the office without much notice. Work with your employer to figure out how to make it work for you. And if they cannot accommodate that request, you may need to find another job or temporarily quit working all together during this process. Yes, you may take a financial hit, but weigh that in with the stress it may be causing your body and allow your body the time and focus it requires for these procedures.
- Your intimate life will take a big hit. It has already been years for most of you that has brought you to this point of needing a specialist. Those years on their own are daunting and you may have found that sex became too much of a job rather than something spontaneous to enjoy with your spouse. Well, it gets worse my friend. I told my husband one night that I often feel like a science experiment. Now combine that with needing to constantly count days and knowing there are only limited days you are allowed to have sex. I have found that the days we are allowed to be intimate are the days I often don’t want to be intimate. I encourage you to push through it. It is SO important to keep that intimacy with your spouse. None of us know when this will all end, and the last person I want to be pushing away is my husband. The best thing you can do is keep very open communication about your changing needs. You may need to find new ways that work for you during these procedures. You cannot always count on a week you don’t feel sick or nauseous, because even if you’re not pregnant, you may get those side effects from the HCG shot. Communicate constantly and openly and you won’t be sorry you did.
- You are allowed to take a break if you need to. This process is absolutely an emotional rollercoaster. And while my body may be able to handle the pricks and pokes every month, I don’t know how many months my emotions can handle the ups and downs. This will be different for all of us. My husband and I agreed we will take it month by month and just decide together if we want to keep trying or the a break. If anything, we may need the break for the sake of our intimacy! Just communicate with each other and decide what’s best for your needs. Take a vacation and get your mind off of it for a month, and then try not to feel guilty about missing a month of procedures.
- It’s never guaranteed to work. Obviously, the doctor told us this. But it is easy for any of us to get our hopes up as we get involved in the process and the excitement of it. There will never be a 100% chance of this working. That is why they aim for multiple eggs dropping to increase our chances of getting one. So even though the doctors thought we were definitely pregnant, we ended up not being pregnant, and it made me even more of an emotional mess. Keep reminding yourself that it will happen in God’s perfect timing.
- God has you! There is not a single person in this world who knows your heart and your desires the way that God does. And He loves you so much! He desires for that baby right alongside with you. But He also wants what is best for you, what is going to shape you to see the world the way He does. Gratitude is the best way to take the focus off of your own circumstances and get your focus back on the big picture. Focus on Him, and your heart will be filled with joy, no matter the outcome.
(Original image found here)