This post is part two of a follow up to an earlier post I wrote about at Self Magazine article on how isolating infertility can be. You can read my infertility story part one and part two. A friend read my first post and offered to share her story with me.
photo © 2010 Julie V | more info (via: Wylio)Like many women, Sam was surprised and pleased when quickly she became pregnant with her first child. Twenty-eight and happily married, she an her husband conceived their daughter A with only a couple of months of “practice”. About 3 years later, they decided they were ready expand their family again.
Hello secondary infertility,
Mother Nature had other plans. After a year of practice with no success, Sam was getting mixed messages from the medical field. Some said she hadn’t tried long enough, others said it was time to see a specialist. Sam trusted her gut and went the specialist route. Sam and her husband endured the usual battery of diagnostic tests with no conclusive results. Sam even endured the dreaded hyserosalpingogram (HSG) sans ibuprofen! The doctors prescribed Clomid and the mixed messages persisted. She was told her infertility was due to PCOS (this would later be disproved), she was told is was due to her weight (after losing forty pounds she STILL didn’t get pregnant).
Throughout this process, despite being close to her family, she didn’t share her struggles with them. Her husband was very supportive, but still she felt ashamed and wondered ‘What’s wrong with me?’. She wondered is her family was complete. Something told her no, she wasn’t finished having kids yet, so she shouldered on.
The next level of drugs her doctor was recommending was not covered by her insurance. A nurse at her doctor’s office recommended her for a study where IVF and the associated drugs would be paid for. It was time for some soul searching. She and her husband weighed the issues including the practical, travel and the logistics as well as the more complex, the higher risk of multiples and the issue of who would get custody of any unused embroys? Suddenly it wasn’t just “making a baby”. After many heart to heart talks Sam decided she couldn’t go through with the study. Her husband was relieved and supported her decision whole heartedly. In November, she stopped taking all medications and went about enjoying her daughter that much more.
One chilly December morning, she made her morning coffee and was utterly repulsed by the smell. At first she questioned the coffee and wondered what she did wrong. Belatedly it occurred to her that she hadn’t be able to stomach coffee while pregnant with her daughter. Bingo! Her son D was born the following August after 22 hours of labor. Six years after his sister.
Looking back, Sam is grateful for the support of her husband and the nurses at her infertility doctor’s office, but still it was a lonely time. Her advice to women struggling with infertility is to reach out, to find support. It is a very personal problem, but it can be less of a burden with support. Take the time to build a support system that works for you. She also advises educating yourself and advocating for your needs politely, but strongly.
After D’s birth, Sam knew her family was complete. She admits the age gap presents challenges, but deep down her children love each other and she’s grateful to have them both.