When you get married in your 30’s, you can’t help but sense that cliché: that ticking clock. You couple that with everyone’s well meaning intentions of telling you that it takes months –even a year– to get pregnant, so start soon.
We thought about it, prayed about it, and “tried” to time it out. It did not take a year or even months. We were beyond thrilled, and though it wasn’t the easiest of pregnancies, our family did grow. We knew right away that we wanted to continue growing.
“It Didn’t Take This Long Last Time”
After a few unsuccessful months, I began to worry. “It didn’t take this long last time.”
I remember one of my best friends seeing a fertility doctor here in town, so I reached out to her. It still didn’t register . . . that word: fertility. Or infertility.
I certainly had never heard the term secondary infertility. I tried to stay away from Google because I quickly saw that I was going to be overwhelmed. All of those acronyms: TTC, PPT, IUI, IVF. They’re never ending. My friend recommended making an appointment because there was no harm in that. She even went with me for that extra support.
Tips I Learned Along the Way
Tip One: Let people in. Let people love and support you. There’s a large community out there. You would be surprised by how many people have been touched by this or are walking through it, if you start to look and listen. Helpful hint: your husband will want to be supportive but may not know how. Be gracious and honest.
I was pleasantly surprised by the appointment. The doctor was extremely positive. He felt like based on everything he saw and the fact that I had gotten pregnant before, I should be pregnant in no time. A few months later, still nothing except more medications, more negative pregnancy tests, more blood work, more time off, and more invasive procedures.
A lot goes into infertility because there are a lot of potential causes, which at the end of the day, can still land you in the “undetermined cause” category. That’s another thing about secondary infertility. There’s frustration, but there’s also a lot of guilt. I felt like I was letting people down. I already had a child. My body had done it before. It felt like a very personal betrayal.
The doctor finally said that it was time for laparoscopic surgery. I was more nervous about the fact that it was going to take a few prospective months off of our ‘calendar’ than the surgery itself. You see, fertility did give me something. It gave me a sense of control which I was desperately wanting. I was able to throw myself into keeping the plan going day after day and month after month. Side note: you have very little control during this. All it really led to was me being able to perform a stellar self-injection and becoming really tired.
The doctor diagnosed me with Stage 2 Endometriosis. After a little healing, he again felt like we were right on track for a positive pregnancy. Then came the cysts. We had to treat those before we could continue trying. I quickly saw that In Vitro Fertilization or IVF was our next option. I just couldn’t do it. I was so weary.
After much praying and a mountain of research, I nervously presented adoption to my husband. He was beyond supportive, even excited. I didn’t know how we were going to do it. The mountains of paperwork and the money! Insert more stress and vying for control.
Tip Two: Let go of the control. Being a believer and surrounding myself with others who love Jesus helped. There were days that it was too much. I couldn’t even pray, but I knew there were others who were standing in the gap. I saw God’s kindness more clearly than I have ever seen it before. This growth, for me, made the journey worth it. I’m only able to say that now.
We finally made it to the home study portion of our adoption process. Anyone walking through adoption knows what it takes to get to this point and how far there’s still left to go. I went on to set up my follow up interview. Six days before the interview, I found myself at Psalm 20:4, “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all of your plans.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I knew God was about to do something. Two days before I was to go in, I got my positive pregnancy test (PPT). There are no words or combination of words that can accurately describe the feeling of that moment.
There’s no right way or one route to take with secondary infertility, and everyone’s story ends differently. Bottom line is that any event that doesn’t meet expectations can lead to disappointment. Infertility, in any form, is so hard. It’s sad. It’s exhausting. For those of you who are walking this road in any manner, I stand with you and pray that your story will find hope and joy. For those who have walked it and are on the other side, I pray that the lessons learned from perseverance serve you well and that you too have joy.
Tip Three: Be kind to yourself. Figure out how to show grace to the one who needs it most, you. No matter which direction you choose for navigating this road, it will work out just how it is supposed to. I listened to that a lot, but I couldn’t really “hear” it. I can see that now. My hope is that by adding one more voice, you too can believe it.