When I think of my journey with infertility, the word “inadequate” comes to mind because that is how it made me feel. Before I faced infertility, or even marriage, I felt inadequate. I was a bit older than I would have expected or liked to be when I got married in my 30s. My husband and I did not want to put undue pressure on ourselves to start trying for a baby as soon as the door to our getaway car shut, so we waited a bit. Instead, we spent that time getting to know each other and enjoying the honeymoon stage that first year can often be. I am so thankful we did; it was an amazing year!
When we still weren’t pregnant near the end of our second year of marriage, I felt my biological clock ticking, bringing back my feelings of inadequacy. It was clear that we needed to see a fertility specialist. After the first visit, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. On one hand, a weight had been lifted because many of the symptoms I had endured the past several years were explained. On the other hand, I was facing an autoimmune disorder that would impact the rest of my life.
One month after I started taking thyroid medication, I got pregnant. Whew! Not only did we get pregnant on our own, but we also didn’t need any fertility treatments. A few days after my positive pregnancy test, I began to experience breakthrough bleeding. I was informed that is okay but not common. This fact didn’t make me feel any less anxious every time it happened, which was daily. As each week progressed, the bleeding became heavier. We lost our baby at seven-and-a-half weeks. We were devastated! Shortly thereafter, we sought fertility treatment.
Seeing a New Specialist
This time we went to a fertility specialist at a different clinic than the one that diagnosed my hypothyroidism. I decided to see a new provider because I did not like the previous doctor’s minimization of my autoimmune disease. After the diagnosis, there was no guidance on how to live with this disease, nor was I connected with another medical professional who could help me. (I only mention this because I believe it is important to take care of your health and understand your specific situation before or alongside of getting pregnant. Likewise, you need a doctor who respects and understands how important that is.)
My concerns were validated by the doctor and staff at the first visit to the new clinic. A routine test revealed underlying issues that were impeding my ability to get pregnant again. After laparoscopic surgery to remove a septum on my uterus and mild endometriosis, I began a letrozole cycle. We didn’t get pregnant on our own after a couple of letrozole cycles, so we began IUI treatment alongside the drug. By that point, my faith was the only thing getting me through my fear and feelings of inadequacy. I chose to release this burden completely to the Lord because my lack of control over the situation was debilitating.
Hard Decisions & Little Miracles
After the second IUI failed to get me pregnant, I told my husband we could try one more IUI, but if we couldn’t get pregnant at this level of fertility, I needed to take a break to consider our next steps. After the third IUI, I was pregnant! We were elated, excited, and pretty much on pins and needles due to our previous miscarriage. While I had breakthrough bleeding in the first few weeks of this pregnancy, it subsided just before the second trimester. I carried this baby to full term and gave birth to a healthy girl. Thanks be to God! When my daughter was around 15 months, we got pregnant again, this time on our own. We had another healthy baby girl nine months later!