Infertility isn’t a journey anyone should travel alone, and sometimes our biggest supporters are others we haven’t met physically, but have interacted with countless times through social media.
Last month, a sister came to us with a question about what others did to help an embryo stick after a frozen transfer. We posted the question on our Instagram because we knew you would answer the call. You did not disappoint or let this gal down! The responses were so amazing, we wanted to share with the whole community!
Here are some of the highlights:
“…good ole fashion Chinese medicine and acupuncture! Most docs will say no to the herbs but yes to the needles. Best thing I ever did.” – @katiedlwood
“I also agree with acupuncture. I did my doctoral study on acupuncture and embryo transfers.” –@vacay_girl_ali_dnp
“Acupuncture! I did it for 4 weeks prior to transfer then the day before and after transfer.” – @dawnsterzzz
“My acupuncturist gave me a Moxa treatment several days before my transfer.” – @pamelaf77
“I agree about acupuncture! It didn’t help with any medicated cycle but my first FET stuck and I’m 33+ weeks pregnant!” – @kwmcm
Diet and lifestyle:
“I did acupuncture leading up to my transfer, and right before & immediately after the transfer. I ate pineapple (the core) for a few days leading up to my transfer and then a few days after. No caffeine (even chocolate and decaf coffee were cut out sadly) to increase blood flow to the uterus. The Circle & Bloom IVF meditations were great for me, too. My doctor required bed rest the day of the transfer and the day after and I really loved that time to relax and take it easy!” – @vmmayer
Agree with Circle & Bloom meditations and walking helped my mindset too. I did acupuncture along with the transfer and during the TWW.” – @simplywellcoaching
“Circle & Bloom guided meditations! They have them specific for FET and I really think they helped me relax and visualize success.” – @lyndsaysmiles
“I’ve read about a ton of stuff. They say pomegranate juice and Brazil nuts could help.” – @latersbaby0829
“I did a Lupron FET…and it was successful! I also took 30 Viagras that time to help with my lining.” – @mrs.kuddles
I used Viagra for my lining, but just a week and had endometrium scratching.” – @little_beea
What did you do leading up to and during your successful FET cycle? Drop your experience and advice in the comments below! And be on the look out for our next post from WTF sisters around unique ways to raise money for those expensive fertility treatments!
It is important to note that What The Fertility is not a medical website and the content here is in no way a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. You should always consult with your physician or reproduction endocrinologist about your course of treatment, what is best for your body, and address any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Written by Nichole Czarnecki-Cayer, guest blogger
March 2017. It’s been one year since my fiancé and I started trying to conceive after my first laparoscopy and endometriosis diagnosis. A year of high hopes that slowly diminished with each cycle. Our dreaded “infertili-versary”. An anniversary really not called for any sort of celebrations; except for a pregnancy announcement posted up on social media.
They were the first of our friends to announce a pregnancy (which is truly exciting) through the time we’ve been trying to conceive. But of course, when it rains it pours and it just happened to be announced a week after calling my gynecologist to book our “when we hit one year with no two lines” appointment (to make this time even more exciting, my gynecologist just so happened to give birth to her baby a week prior to our phone call. We didn’t even know she was pregnant because it’s been so long since we seen her!). At this time our friends did not know that we have been trying to conceive, let alone now officially being diagnosised with infertility.
In that moment, staring blankly at my phone screen, I have never felt such a twist of emotions between jealousy, disappointment, disbelief, and guilt. At the first glance of that pregnancy announcement, the guilt set in quickly after jealousy flowed through. I felt like such a terrible person for being so envious of our friends. The jealousy and guilt sat so heavily in my chest. Our good friends were announcing their first pregnancy and a new adventure in their life! We should be genuinely happy for them and jumping for joy! Instead, I sat there bawling, consumed by how upset I was and disappointed that it wasn’t us making an announcement.
End of March 2017. I began my first social media break. I had to for my own sanity and emotional health. As much as I loved seeing others’ hobbies, travels, art, and smiles, the pregnancy announcement and other people’s adventures with their children tore through my heart. Any time I opened up Facebook, the only posts that my mind would absorb was anything pregnancy, baby, or family related. Every time I caught a glimpse at a pregnancy announcement while scrolling, my heart hurt. I already know that removing Facebook and Instagram from my phone was not going to hide our friend’s pregnancy, but it helped remove me being consumed with comparing how “terrible” my life is and how great other people’s lives were.
Our friend’s life is great. Their joys are meant to be celebrated and not brought down with negativity and sadness. I wanted to show them that we will love and support them through this new journey in their life. But first I had to love and support myself through our own journey. Choosing to remove social media was giving me a chance to refocused my emotions and allow me realize how amazing my life was also.
A couple weeks into my social media break, which ended up being more of a complete break from people all together, my fiancé visited with our soon-to-be-parents friends for the first time after their pregnancy announcement. My fiancé had mentioned to me that through conversation with them, he had shared about our fertility struggle. I actually felt a weight lift from my chest knowing that we weren’t in the shadow any more. Knowing that our friends may now have a better understanding of why we did not respond to their social media announcement. I thought maybe this could be a way for us to be more honest, comfortable, and closer as friends?
After a few weeks of solitude, meditation, and reflection with myself, I felt a calling to log back into Facebook. The first post I saw was a ‘pelvic pain support group’ our friend tagged me in. My heart fluttered – she did understand and she does care! Even through her joys of pregnancy, she also cared about my health and our journey that she just learned of. And I know that they will be there for us through every step in our journey as we will for them.
It’s now March 2018. We have still yet to see two pink lines on a pregnancy test. We’ve been working with a naturopath to guide us on living a healthier lifestyle with a better diet, vitamins, herbal supplements, seed cycling, castor oil packs, essential oils, testing, tracking, blood work, semen analysis, acupuncture, a second laparoscopy. Basically “the holistic works” of infertility trial and error. I’ve grasped better control of my anxiety with social media posts and other triggers. We’ve also opened up on social media and to family and friends about our infertility struggle.
I still take mini social media breaks as soon as I start feeling the sad, anxious, or negative feelings arise when I see baby or pregnancy posts from others.
Our friends are now parents to a beautiful girl whom we, and everyone, absolutely adore. They are so supportive, open, and understanding with conversations about their life as parents and our life as a couple experiencing infertility. We have gained so much emotional support from everyone, including our friends, family and acquaintances that have become parents/pregnant through our 2 years of infertility.
My fiancé and I are determined that this year will be our last year of infertility. In 5 days, we have another appointment with my gynecologist to discuss further fertility treatments and hopefully begin our first round of treatment. But until then, happy(?) 2nd infertili-versary to us!
One thing (well, one of the many) that we love about the What The Fertility (WTF) community is the compassion towards others and willingness to share! Whether that means sharing stories, advice, tips, or just joining in on all the feels when someone is celebrating or needs a pick-me-up!
Last month on our Instagram and Facebook pages, we asked you: “What was the best advice you were given while trying for a baby?” And boy, did you answer! Here’s what some of our TTC sisters had to say:
About marriage while TTCing:
“I’ve learned to take the advice with love, no matter what. But in return, I give them the honesty of my journey. I was depressed. I’ve lost friends. But through it all, I lean into the love of my marriage more and more. That’s saved my soul.” – @bloomingwithcare
“Some of the best advice I got was to remember my husband through the process. Trying for a baby can be all consuming and feel very “mechanical.” Even more so when experiencing infertility! Take time for your partner, check in on their feelings, and remember that you are in this together.” – @laurenjbennett
No success on the actual baby making but just keep talking to your significant other…keep good lines of communication open because chances are they are struggling as much if not more than you are. Keep each other close, don’t let not being able to conceive get in between what brought you together in the first place LOVE. – Alexis
On paying attention to your body:
“Be proactive, get your body checked out to see why infertility may be occurring so you don’t over look or not look at important aspects!” – @sexdoccarli
“Listen to your body. It knows what it’s deficient or nutrient rich in and if I can support you and a growing baby.” – @shreeberry
Taking the journey in stride:
“Some of the best advice that I received was try not to put so much stress on the process. Take your meds, relax, get a massage, and leave it in God’s hands. Once I really relaxed and put it all in God’s hand it worked. I was on my last cycle of IUI before IVF. Due later this year.” – @mrsnatvirture
“The best is for someone to listen to you and offer no advice.” – Carrie
“Get a support group and block out all the advice and lean on the ones who offer nothing but love- no advice no nothing but being there. And know your partner is in this too- and they might not reach out but they need a person to lean on too.” – Talia
Do you have TTC advice that you would like to pass on to others looking to start a family? Drop them in the comments below! And be on the look out for our next post from the WTF community around ensuring a successful embryo transfer!
Written by Heather Holden Leddy, guest blogger
I’m a mom and Casting Producer in Los Angeles. I’ve worked on a ton of shows over the last decade which has kept me more than busy! I’ve helped cast everything from Shark Tank to even traveling to Samoa to help with the cast of Survivor a few seasons. It’s been fun and at times not as glamorous as it sounds…but I do get to meet a lot of interesting people and that is what keeps me going. I love hearing people’s stories and it’s always amazing to me how much we all have in common!
My new project has me on an exciting path – I’m working on searching for surrogacy stories with people who used or are planning on using a family member or close friend as a surrogate. This project has become extra special to me because I too have struggled with my own fertility issues. It was a long road for my husband and I and I’m happy to say that at 39, I’m now six months pregnant with our second baby girl!
Going through what we’ve been through really gave me a new perspective into the world of trying to get pregnant and made me realize that it’s not that easy for everyone. I have a much greater appreciation for the fertility journey now and know how lucky I am that we were finally able to conceive, not once…but twice.
And now, I’m turn to the What The Fertility community! My hopes are that I can find some inspirational and real stories about the process of gestational surrogacy – from you!
This new docu-series focuses on people that are considering, have undergone, or are currently undergoing the process of gestational surrogacy – from both the prospective of intended mother and the surrogate. A lot of the women I have spoken with have extremely inspirational stories to share about how they have overcome the many obstacles they’ve faced. Family and friendship stories that dispel some of preconceptions of surrogacy are really important and we want to add elements of hope and female empowerment to our storytelling for this project.
So what do you say – will you share your story with us?! Help be the face and voice of hope for so many people who are longing to be parents!
If you have used a family member or close friend as a surrogate and would like to share your inspirational surrogacy journey, please SurrogateStories@gmail.com.
By Tasha Blasi, guest blogger
I did ten rounds of IVF to have my children. Hudson was round two and Mila was round ten.
When I share this party trick of mine, I can tell if someone has also experienced fertility issues by the next question that they ask me.
For those that have not needed fertility treatments to conceive, they ask, “Wow, how much did that cost you (in dollars)?”
For those that needed fertility treatment to conceive, they ask, “Wow, how much did that cost you (in mental health)?”
It cost us tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe $100K? I will never know. I know that we paid out of pocket in full for one round, and then had some insurance covering the other nine rounds, but I am not masochistic, so I carefully avoided adding up the overall total even though I had our IVF bills in one place.
While the financial toll of IVF came and left quickly for each round (like ripping off a band-aid), the emotional toll of IVF came, never left, and just kept growing and changing (like an infected wound that you never uncovered to look at and just kept hidden under a band-aid).
At first, I was cocky. I was doing IVF in NYC. They had to be the best if they are in NYC, right? Also, I was young and healthy, and our fertility issues were due to my husband’s low sperm count so we would have no issues creating tons of healthy embryos, right? Plus, I was successful at anything I worked hard at, so IVF will be the same, right?
Of course, I was wrong about all of those things. Soon, my attitude changed from confident to hopeless. I was not cocky anymore, I was afraid.
Watching round 6,7, 8, and 9 fail, without even a positive pregnancy test, unraveled me. It didn’t make sense. I had been pregnant before, so my body knew what to do, and I didn’t have any known fertility issues.
I was confused and felt lost, but I was not ready to give up. For the last round, I made some hard changes. The first was changing doctors for the fourth time. I also worked on environmental and mindset issues that could be getting in the way of my success.
I am proud of my path and my very pricey children. I don’t have any regrets in my fertility journey. In fact, my only regret in life is not spending the money to see the original cast of Hamilton. 🙂
But I don’t want anyone else to make my mistakes and go through what I did for those years.
For this reason, I left my career and started the FU Project so women can go through their fertility journey so much easier, cheaper, kinder, and quicker than I did. My customized “Method to Motherhood™” for women is simple and streamlined. I focus on the four elements that need to be solid for IVF success rates to get close to 100% (within two embryo transfers)* vs. the average 35% national success rates for IVF.**
The four elements are Science, Environment, Mindset, and Support.
Today, I work with one woman at a time. Soon, my “Method to Motherhood™” will be incorporated into the top fertility clinics around the world. They are already calling, but I am holding off on any partnerships for now. I need more time to just focus on my program. I am just getting started!
If you would like answers to what is stopping you from getting or staying pregnant, please call me so I can help you. I offer complimentary strategy sessions so women can learn what might be the missing link in their fertility journey that will finally make them successful.
I am so grateful and proud to know that soon IVF will focus on more than just the woman’s uterus and ovaries. And all women will go through a kinder, easier, and quicker IVF journey.
I see the future of IVF and ‘it’s finally positive.”
Tasha Blasi (@tashablasi IG, @thetashablasi FB) is a fertility coach and founder of the Fertilitites Unite Project (FU Project). She offers complimentary fertility strategy session for some women considering or doing IVF so please take advantage of this opportunity. You can apply for one at www.tashablasi.com/connect.
*FU Project’s Method to Motherhood success rates based on 100+ women.
Written by Brooke Papp, WTF Contributor
One of your oldest, best friends, someone you respect SO incredibly much for their good doings in life, someone whom you have been through so much with…
Tells you their pregnant when you’re struggling with infertility.
They tell you, and instead of hugging them and showing them ALL OF THE LOVE, you shake, crying [ sobbing ] uncontrollably.
It’s not that I don’t want this for her. I actually think she will be one of the best mommies I know. She has the biggest heart, an infectious smile, extreme intelligence. She’s warm and caring. She’s one of those people that LISTENS to you, instead of waiting for you to finish so they can talk. She remembers everything. We can all learn something from her.
Plus? Her and her husband are supes cute and are going to produce ridiculously adorable offspring.
It’s not and never will be that I don’t want this for her, or any of my friends – it’s that I want it for me, too. To go through this journey WITH them.
I left her with the feeling of guilt. I said to myself ‘I just don’t want to talk to any of my friends anymore’, ‘I never have good news’, I will just seclude myself so I don’t show hurt’.
‘I’ll talk to them when things improve’ when I’m ‘less hormonal’.
I called someone, pretty much the only one who knew what that felt like and she begged me to not go into hermit mode. Day to day, I can’t say that I am strong enough that I don’t want to do that. But I’m trying.
Each time I pull up social media I see a new announcement, a new baby picture. I saw S I X announcements on New Year’s Day. A year to the date we conceived last year. Ouch. It’s like a sting I’ve never felt before.
It’s been almost a year since my miscarriage and almost 10 months of trying for another little babe. We found out in November, that I don’t ovulate. Or at least not regularly, at all. So yes, we did get pregnant. But it’s going to be hard to plan and succeed without help.
I start my first round of clomid soon and I’m S-C-A-R-E-D, y’all. Have you ever read the side effects? Um…maybe you don’t want to talk to me for the next few months. Cause? Crazy lady walkin’.
But, with nerves comes crazy excitement. Time to try something new and the hope for the future is real.
Hope for a healthy babe, hope for not being overly crazy and hope for understanding.
I’ll keep you updated, until then…fingers crossed
Written by anonymous, guest blogger
So the saying goes “First comes LOVE, then comes MARRIAGE, then comes BABY in the baby carriage”. What this saying DOESN’T say is “Then comes a miscarriage,” or “then comes the dreaded 2ww with a negative result on the pregnancy test,” because lets be serious… then the saying wouldn’t be as popular and as fairy tale as it portrays. This saying comes off as something that is natural and easy – and should come at the drop of a pin, or at least that is my perspective on it. Which for some, it does come that easy, and those individuals are very blessed. But for many, the reality is that it takes a little bit more time, and some tedious calculations which you were never told about before.
Let’s back track to March 2017, when my husband and I got our first positive pregnancy test! Elated, shocked, and scared would be the 3 best words to describe the emotions we felt. It was the first time we tried, and it was successful! Or so it seemed. Fast forward a week and a half later, and I had a miscarriage. Cue a new flood of emotions: disbelief, depression, and shame. All I could ask was “What did I do wrong? Is this my fault? What could I or should I have done differently?” After talking to many, including my own mother who had 2 miscarriages, I learned this was far more “normal” than anyone ever cares to talk about and it was nothing that I could have or should have done to prevent this from happening. It just wasn’t our time.
We got the OK to try again from our doctor shortly thereafter, but I just wasn’t ready to move on yet. My Little Peanut was still in my heart and soul and I couldn’t bear the thought of trying again so soon. Mind you, in this time, I was asked countless times by family and friends if we were cleared and if we were going to try again soon. I know that it’s just because they care about us, but I often wonder why people think its ok to ask these questions! I’ve learned you never know what someone is going through, that’s for sure! Months and months passed, including my due date, and time heals. December came, we decided to try and also decided to keep this very much to ourselves. Until we have some good news to share, we decided not to share anything at all (hence some edited pictures and this anonymous post). And then comes along the DREADED two week window (2ww).
The 2ww, I have decided is the meanest, cruelest, and most irritating time period a woman encounters in life. I can’t remember a time when I have been more in my head then I have during this wait. I watch and wait for EVERY.LITTLE.SINGLE. inkling that I MAY be experiencing an early pregnancy symptom. If someone looked at my google searches during this time, I would probably be committed to an asylum. I, of course, try to eat as healthy as can be, drink tea, warm soups, the whole 9 yards to increase the chance for a successful implantation. No drinking, no medicine, try to stay active, and continue on with uplifting spirits and positive vibes, but the voice inside my head gets to me every single time. I look back on my “ovulated” days and I calculate when I should have implanted by. I look on my app countless times, and log/monitor every single symptom to see if I’ll have an update that tells me that this is a sure tell sign that I could be experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. And in the days leading up to either a big reveal, or disappointment I am probably the most irritable, anxious, and mean person to be around. My poor husband, I do feel for him.
I have the most regular cycle. It comes like clockwork, every month. So here is the day I should have gotten my period, and there was nothing. Took a pregnancy test, and…..negative. Wait until the next day – still nothing, and still negative. Well, my period ends upcoming 2 days late. And while I was disappointed, I was relieved in a sense, because now the cycle can start all over again.
UPDATE: Month 2 of trying has come and gone, except this time my period came 2 days early – with 5 days of spotting leading up to it. Sure that it was implantation spotting, elevated BBTs, sore breasts – you name it, I had it. While we will never know for sure, my acupuncturist strongly believes it was a chemical pregnancy. Talk about feeling defeated, and deflated. This journey is not for the weak.
This is the time that I try to pick myself back up, and indulge in a little self-care for just a few days. I have a horrible period, and let’s face it, when you get that negative test, for me it usually comes with terrible cramping and misery, so all you want to do is curl up in a ball, wonder why it wasn’t your time, and also wonder why every month is so excruciating. So I allow myself to eat what I want, have a glass of wine if that’s what I’m feeling, and when the worst of the period is over… I try to get excited to start what feels like an endless cycle all over again.
In ALL of this, I have learned that God will not give you more than you can handle. I have learned that for whatever reason, my Little Peanut that grew inside of me for a very short time, was not meant to grace us on this Earth. I have learned that this is NOT an easy process, and everyone has a very different and unique story to tell. And most of all, I learned that What Should Be, Will Be. Which is my motto that I tell myself every single day. And at the end of the day, that is what helps me through it all. “What Should Be, Will Be”.
Written by Courtnee East, guest blogger
The deep desire to be a mother has always been deep rooted within me.
As an adoptee, I always wanted to give and provide the nourishment of love to my children through a biological connection I didn’t know growing up. Not born from my mother’s womb, but within her heart has granted me the understanding of selfless love. At a young age, I felt a sense of disconnect from the life I was born into, not understanding why or how I could be just “given away.” Although my parents choose “Open Adoption” , my birth parents were not a constant part of my life. And as a child, I watched my brother and sister’s biological families become a huge part of theirs. My brothers adoption was even aired on the 1990 Special of Adoptions on 48 hours. However, I felt abandoned, not good enough and alone. This developed into issues of detachment, always pushing those away from me. I was never able to cultivate healthy relationships with people in my life.
At the age of 19, I found myself pregnant with my son — alone, scared, and unsure of what life held for me and my baby. I decided that the only way to hold onto my family was to place my child up for adoption. A decision I was very unsure about, but was told it was the best choice I could make, the most selfless choice. With his due date fast approaching, I traveled from Arizona to California to choose an adoptive family for an open adoption.
Fast forward to October 29, 2006, after a very easy labor and delivery, I was holding my son Ayden, with tears rolling down my face. I knew in my heart, I couldn’t let go. I was unable to go through with the adoption, and had to let this beautiful family know. I was selfishly holding on because I couldn’t let my son go through the story of my own life. I chose my son. I chose the hard road. I chose to have people look at me as a teenage mother, who was uneducated and unaware of what it took to be a mother, but honestly, I knew what it was going to take. The one thing I never truly felt due to my own misunderstandings. Love. I had so much love for my son, that I would do anything and everything for him, so I marched on with my head held high. So when the next best thing came around, I attached myself — getting pregnant at 23, in a failed relationship.
2010 is where this story really starts. In May, I was implanted with Mirena, the IUD birth control used to prevent pregnancy. The day it was inserted was the day of our county fair. Just having a baby and breast feeding, I found myself going to the bathroom more than usual, and even had to stop on the way to the fair to use the bathroom on the side of the road. A week later at my follow up appointment, I was told the Mirena had fallen out, so I opted for the NUVA Ring. Between May and December, I had made 2 trips to the emergency room, with excruciating stomach pains, and turned away both times, looked at as though I was seeking medication.
The 3rd time, I told the ER doctor I wasn’t leaving until I knew what was wrong. After blood work and X-rays, it was found that the Mirena had migrated and implanted into my opentum (my stomach lining) requiring emergency surgery for removal. At the time of surgery, my tubes were tied with silicone Filshie Clips. (HELLO! I HAVE SILICONE ALLERGIES!!)
After this I was devastated, I felt scared, and alone, and lost. How could this be? How could I be left without the ability to have children at my own free will, what happens if I get married…..
As years pass, the stomach pain persisted so it was decided that the silicone clips should be removed. I felt if it wasn’t natural and of GOD, then get it out, and the only way my insurance would pay for it was for a exploratory pin surgery. During which, my left tube was cauterized, burned in half with the attempt to be reattached while my right tube was open, functioning as the doctors said. After this trying time, I turned my life over to Christ. With so many questions, the answer I always heard when I asked “Why?” was “The desires of your heart will always be met.”
I emerged deeper into my faith, where doubt turned to hope. My strength was renewed by the Lord. I felt a purpose again — a need to evangelize and to share my story. As I humbly waited on the Lord, the pieces of my life began to fall into place. I met my husband, who didn’t come alone, but with two amazingly perfect children, as did I. We were “Yours & Mine” in real life. Quickly as our love grew we were pregnant, and I mean QUICKLY, I believed he sneezed and conception was done. Out of fear and excitement, we didn’t share the news, and chose to wait until we hit our 2nd trimester.
Sadly, we didn’t make it that far. In May 2017, I was about 11 weeks pregnant to the day when my 30th birthday hit, and on that day, 30 years after I was adopted in love, I started bleeding. Bleeding badly. I knew in my heart that I was being emptied of not only all the faith I had, but of the child I so longed for to have with my husband. What a way to mark my 30th year on earth. My husband and I love and adore our children, and together desire a deeper connection of life together to share in the birth of our own. Month after month, we continue to try. Day after day, we try. Sometimes I feel like a receptacle for my husband, laying on my back, legs held high. Diet changed, month after month, new vitamin after new vitamin no success. My “tubes” tested. Everything seems in order. So we try Fertile Aide. Nothing but excruciating headaches.
So where does one turn next. I am 30, I am healthy and active. But what now?
“Fertility treatments” I tell my husband, that’s our answer! “But what about God? What about God’s promises? God’s word? What do you hear every day in your readings? What about your faith?” This is what my husband tells me to remember. So we pray. Before we invest in monies needed to acquire for the procedures, the time, the gas the missed days at work, we pray. We realized we aren’t alone.
I don’t answer to people, “ LIFE SUCKS! Where has God gone? I’m over worked, emotionally exhausted, and feel like a failure as a wife and human being unable to give my husband a baby.” Instead, I answer, “Life is great. God is good and I am blessed.” I may be gritting my teeth, but I know I am blessed. I have four beautiful kids, a husband who loves and adores me and has patience with the desires of our heart. I am blessed.
So I ask myself every time I feel down and every time I break down, What about GOD, Courtnee? That’s when I look up and realize, really what has he really said. Family isn’t about blood, this I know from my own life. Family is love, support, commitment, and understanding. Family is God. Family is togetherness no matter what and you know you aren’t alone.
I pray for every couple struggling and every woman feeling you are not enough, you are more than enough. Miracles do happen, I know this because I look at myself in the mirror and have realized I am that miracle God created me to be in my life.
Written by Nicole Briand, guest blogger
I read a statistic that near 80% of marriages end up in divorce after the loss of a child. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This whole process—infertility, miscarriage, and child loss, is a tough road to travel.
Growing up I had this idea of what life would be like. You get married, buy a house, pop a few kids out, etc.
When I look back at that naivety, I laugh.
After dating for a few years, my husband and I got married after a short engagement in a intimate October wedding. We closed on our first home just a few weeks after the wedding. So far so good, right?
I went off birth control a few months prior to the wedding because we knew we wanted to start a family right away. My husband is 10 years older than me so that was definitely a factor. But more so, I just felt this strong desire that I was meant to be a mom.
After not getting pregnant the first couple months, I became obsessed with trying to conceive. I was charting my cycles, taking my temperature, peeing on every type of stick I could get my hands on, and examining every bodily fluid with a fine tooth comb. As I’m sure most people in this community know, when you are determined to get pregnant, sex can become very not sexy. At least that’s how I felt. It became so transactional. “I’m ovulating so we have to do it X number of times in X number of days.” And afterwards I needed to lay with my legs in the air (as if that actually makes a difference.) Talk about taking the magic out of the honeymoon phase. The more time elapsed that we weren’t getting pregnant, the worse my anxiety got. I became obsessed and desperate to have a baby.
As we started fertility treatments, things only got worse. My husband would often say things like “ I want my wife back.” And he was right. I had become a monster with one goal in mind-a baby. After learning that our fertility issues were my own, I became angry and insecure. I was so angry at my body for letting me down and I took a lot of that anger out on him. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have blamed him if he threw in the towel right there. The man is a saint. I don’t give him nearly enough credit.
Even when I finally got pregnant with our twin boys, my anxiety never let up. Having such a difficult time conceiving and miscarrying just a few months earlier, I had a very difficult time allowing myself to enjoy the pregnancy. I lived in constant fear that something bad would happen. I began to socially isolate myself because I just wanted to stay home and protect my babies. This was especially difficult for my husband because he is, by nature, a very social person.
When we learned that one of our boys, William, passed away, just a few weeks shy of our delivery, our world was rocked. In the moments following when the doctor said the words, “I’m so incredibly sorry, but there is no heartbeat,” I remember thinking about how thankful I was that my husband was by my side. I just wanted him to hold me, which was something I hadn’t wanted in a very long time.
The coming weeks were the most difficult of my life. It was little things like hearing my husband sobbing in the shower, that broke my heart in a way that I can’t even begin to describe. However, as difficult of a road as it was to get to that point, I began to realize that he wanted to start a family just as much as I did.
In grief counseling, we talked often about how men and women grieve the loss of a child differently. And I can imagine that it is very similar in how we deal with the struggle of TTC and infertility. I would often get angry with my husband and accuse him of not caring—about starting a family, about miscarrying, about losing our son, because he wasn’t grieving in the same way I was. But what I have come to realize is that we just express these feelings differently.
This whole journey has changed me. It’s changed my husband. And it has changed our marriage. Some days are good and some are really damn tough. But I’ve learned to hold my husband closer, instead of pushing him away. In an unlucky situation, I have been very lucky to have him by my side.