Orlando Infertility Counseling with Life Counseling Solutions highlights an Orlando woman who is stepping out as an advocate and writing about “Her Story”. She is a voice for other women who are feeling alone and struggling with infertility.
When my husband and I started trying to get pregnant, we just assumed it would happen naturally and quickly…the way that 50% of women get pregnant within 3 months, 75% within 6 months, and 90% within a year. After about 9 months of no success, I finally got a referral for a reproductive endocrinologist, and that is when our journey began. We learned that we had some mild male factor infertility and a low ovarian reserve. That was a blow to find out, because, at only 32, I still considered myself young and healthy. Our doctor encouraged us to get started on fertility treatments soon since “time was not on our side.” We started our first round of IUI a few months later. Despite everything seeming ideal that cycle, we did not have success. I remember crying the morning I got my period and thinking that it might never happen for us. It seemed that everyone I know was getting pregnant. I dreaded going on Facebook because I just knew that someone else would be announcing her pregnancy, but yet I couldn’t resist checking anyway.
We did another round of IUI two months later and at the end of the month, we got the news we had been praying for…a positive pregnancy test! My beta levels were rising just as they should and we quickly spread the word among our families. I had a hard time believing that we could be so lucky. I read so many message board entries about women that have been trying for 2, 3 or more years. I was sure I was going to be one of them.
The first two weeks or so of my pregnancy I felt like I was hitting all of the typical “milestones”…sore breasts, tiredness, nausea, etc. Over time, however, I noticed these symptoms were not as noticeable. I told myself that it was all in my head and that I just needed to enjoy being pregnant. I think in my heart I knew something was not right, but I kept telling myself I was just being paranoid.
Finally the day of our 8-week ultrasound came around. I honestly don’t think I have ever been as nervous for anything. A few minutes went by, then a few more, and the doctor still had not said a word. I think I knew that it was bad news, but I was just waiting for him to say something. Finally he said, “I am so sorry to tell you this, but there is no heartbeat.” The baby had stopped growing at 6.5 weeks, exactly around the time I stopped feeling pregnant.
The rest of the day was a blur. I remember my husband, usually so strong and stoic, crying when we got home, which was definitely the lowest point for me in our fertility struggles. To see him so sad was even worse than feeling sad myself. To make matters worse, this all happened the Friday before Mother’s Day. We went from being ecstatic to celebrate our first Mother’s Day to absolutely dreading the day.
The most discouraging part was the fact that our doctor wanted us to take three months off before trying again. When you are trying to get pregnant, every month is an eternity. Eventually, however, I realized the three-month break actually was a blessing in disguise. I needed a rest from constantly obsessing over follicles, estrogen levels, ultrasound appoints, etc.
That brings us to the present. When we finally got the OK to do another fertility treatment, we opted for IVF. We started earlier this month and are anxiously biding time during the dreaded “two-week wait”, trying hard to remain hopeful but yet keeping expectations in check at the same time.
So that is my story in a nutshell. Anyone that has gone through infertility knows, however, that the story is about so much more than the actual treatments. It is about the range of emotions that go along with it. Sometimes I genuinely believe that we will absolutely have biological children. Other times I am plagued with doubt. I think the hardest part is seeing all of my friends start families and feeling like I am being left behind. My husband is incredibly supportive, but he does not understand why someone else’s pregnancy announcement evokes feelings of sadness for myself at the same time I am happy for them. I would love to find a support group of other women going through the same thing so that I can hear that it is normal to have such highs and lows. In the meantime, I keep reminding myself of my “mantra”…”We will have the family that we are meant to have, at the time when we are meant to have them!”
If you are struggling with Infertility and need a supportive confidential place to talk about your experience, Orlando Women’s counseling now offers a group called Concept Orlando. This group has been formed by Marva Caldwell, licensed mental health therapist (who’s had her own struggles with infertility) and the strong advocate/volunteer who shared “Her Story” in this blog. They both understand the “ups” and “downs” of infertility and know what it is like to feel isolated, alone and wanting to connect with other women who are going through this journey.
Reach out. Call us to connect, share experiences with other women who understand and cope with your feelings of anticipation, longing, grief, loss, depression, isolation, loneliness and anxiety.