We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part I

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). The goal of NIAW is to raise awareness about the disease of infertility which affects 7.3 million Americans.
Some of you know that we struggled with infertility before we were both blessed and lucky enough to successfully undergo fertility treatments to get pregnant with our beautiful children.

Some of you, both old friends and new, did not know this was a problem for us. I want to share my story with you here.

I promise you that I won’t go into all the specific testing we went through, or name the names of all the drugs I had to take, or use a bunch of technical jargon that would just bore you to tears; instead, I’ll tell you about the emotional part of it…and give you the shortest version possible.

Hubby and I had been dating about a year or so before we got engaged. When we got engaged, we seriously started talking about having kids. We decided it was time for me to go off the pill since my doctor recommended it because I’d been on it for so long (10+ years). Once we were married, we weren’t ‘trying’ for a baby, but we didn’t prevent it either. Honestly, I just assumed (yes, I know what happens when one assumes) that I’d get knocked up in a few months.

Fast forward a year later: no kids. So then we started ‘trying’. I began tracking my periods and noting when I thought I was most fertile. Fast forward again a year later: still no kids. No late periods. No maybes. Nothing.

So now I’m getting frustrated. I come from a very fertile family! One of my grandmothers had 9 kids, my mom had 5 kids, both my sisters (at the time) had 2 kids. All of my aunts on both sides had more than 1 baby. No issues on hubby’s side, either. It never occurred to me that I might have any problems getting pregnant, or that I wouldn’t also be Fertile Myrtle like the rest of the women in my family. Frustration and baby making do not mix well together.

‘Trying’ was no longer fun. ‘Trying’ became a job. ‘Trying’ was a scheduled event, and no longer spontaneous. I read all these books and did all kinds of things (some good, some just crazy) that were suggested by them, and by others:

• Try elevating your legs after doing the deed and lay that way for a half hour.

• Stand on your head with your legs against the wall (yes, I tried it).

• Try ovulation kits.

• Try relaxing.

• Have hubby drink coffee or a lot of caffeine before doing the deed to speed up his little swimmers.

• Try to quit thinking about it, and before you know it, you’ll be pregnant! (This one is my favorite….it was like nails down a chalkboard when I heard it. This one always came from women who ‘tried’ for a few months and then got pregnant. Bitches.)

• Quit drinking.

• Eat certain foods.

• Missionary style, only.

• Take vitamins.

• Go to the chiropractor.

• Pray.

• Avoid certain activities.

• Use the basal temperature method.

And of course, none of that worked. We decided to get some basic fertility testing done to make sure his man parts and my women parts worked. We found out that everything looked fine. We were told that nothing was wrong…sometimes it just takes awhile…to just keep on trying.

Ahhhh! Just forget it! We talked ourselves out of wanting decided that we really didn’t want kids. We were enjoying our life! Traveling, spending money on whatever we wanted, doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to do it. Having two incomes and basically no major responsibilities. We had nieces and nephews. Life was good. That is what I was telling myself, anyways. Can you say denial?

And it went on like that for another year and a half or so, but the entire time we still weren’t preventing getting pregnant, and I was still keeping track of my periods. And we were still both hoping it would just happen.

It seemed like I was being followed around by pregnant women everywhere I went! I’d turn around, and there’s somebody pregnant. In line at the grocery store? Pregnant lady in front of me. One time, hubby and I went to Target and he ran into the restroom really quick. I only stood waiting for him for maybe a minute, and 5 pregnant women walked into the store! Some even had other children with them! How was that fair? How could God give them more than one when all I wanted was only one??!

Girlfriends of mine kept popping up pregnant. I remember one friend, who had a problem staying pregnant once she got pregnant, invited me to lunch to tell me she was pregnant. This was a huge deal because both of us were each other’s support system. Only somebody that can’t get pregnant, or has problems getting pregnant, can truly understand the complete sense of failure and desperation that comes with every month you aren’t pregnant again. “I’m pregnant, and I wanted you to be the first friend of mine to know since we are in this together”. I was so excited and happy for her! Until I got home. Major water works and I just couldn’t stop crying. I was SO jealous. I was mad. It wasn’t fair.

And after realizing that every time I’d make a wish on a star or birthday candles, or throw a penny in a fountain, my wish was always the same. I don’t even think I need to tell you what it was. It’s 4 and a half years after we got married of trying and praying and begging that we realized we had been talking ourselves out of wanting children because we had tried and couldn’t get pregnant.

So finally, we went to a fertility specialist. Every test under the sun was done. And here was our final diagnosis: there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with either one of us!! We have this wonderful little thing called “unexplained infertility”. No reason we shouldn’t be able to get pregnant, but we couldn’t.

The easy fix with this diagnosis was to start me on some drugs that would make me ovulate a lot…they would make me release more than one egg when I was fertile that month. We did that for three months….nothing. The next step was either doing in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination. More on the process of infertility treatments here.

Comments

  1. natalie,
    you are amazing! how do you find time to do this? taking care of 3 kids and basically writing a book at the same time.
  2. Michelle says:
    Wow Natalie! I can't wait to read the rest of the story and here how you got your beautiful twins. Life is so unexpected! I have to say, a little jelouse though, you got time to spend with just you and your hubby. That is time I am sure you appreciate now that you are up half the night with the babies...I feel like I am sleep walking. We actually were thinking last night about when the next time would be that we could (ah uh...do the deed), my hubby said I'll pencil you in for October. Ahhhh! I am glad you got the best of BOTH worlds!
  3. thank you for sharing your struggle and story. i have several friends who struggled with this issue and all now have kids through fertility treatments and/or adoption. how frustrating to have 'unexplained infertility'! i'm happy i know this story has a very happy ending :)
  4. I had no idea - thanks for sharing. It's really tough listening to others' advice. About...anything, really, but kids especially.

    Way to go for not killing someone.
  5. I've told you this before, but I do not envy women with unexplained infertility. The not knowing would have killed me, and the fact that you were able to take it with so much grace is juts incredible!
  6. Enjoyed your post- found you through the blog frog and am your newest follower
  7. bbcd mama says:
    I'm so glad you did this post. :) It's so great.
  8. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am glad you are writing about it and letting others know it's ok to feel the way they do.
    Steve and I had a son Mason 13 years ago and he was stillborn. I have been meaning to write about our experience for more than a year now on my blog but I just have found excuses to not do it. maybe I will find some time to write it all down sometime soon. Reading about your struggles makes me realize how everyone has hardships that you just may not know about. I try not to assume things about people, you just never know.
  9. Inspiring post Natatlie, looking forward to tomorrow. I know it's not about us, but we fertile myrtle bitches do know how lucky we are (no matter how much I personally complain). I'm so glad you are on the other end telling your story and hope it gives comfort to those dealing with it now.
  10. Thats crazy- and now you have 3 beautiful babies! Blessed mumma! thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. :-)
  11. We were in the same boat and we are hoping that we will not travel the same road again as we would like to add one more. The pain is excruciating:(
  12. Hi Natalie, stopping by from SITS. On the edge of my seat waiting to hear the rest of your story. I find IVF, fertility drugs, etc all so fascinating. My heart goes out to women who have problems getting pregnant...it must be so difficult. Following your blog now!
  13. Wow, I can't even imagine. I was one of the lucky ones that didn't have that problem. How frustrating to have unexplained infertility. I have a friend whose blog I follow and she has been struggling for years. Her problem is like your friends. She can get pregnant, but she can't stay pregnant for more than a week or so. It is heartbreaking.
    I am so so glad you were able to figure it out. Your babies are beautiful. I can't wait to hear (or read) the rest of the story!
  14. Dr. Heckle says:
    That sounds awful! My ex-wife couldn't have children at all because of a previous medical problem that forced her to have a hysterectomy. I've seen the pain of infertility first hand...
  15. i'm no miss says:
    It's an inspiring story..

    You're blessed!
  16. Ah, Natalie..I did not know we had this in common! I nodded to everything you wrote. Check, check, check!! The pain is excruciating. I pray that I will never forget what it was like to want children so badly and not be able to have them. Ours is obviously a "story" that ended good...but there are so many that don't. Thank you for sharing with us. I'm sure there are many who will feel an instant connection to you for doing so!
  17. Oh Natalie, I can relate to this post on so many levels. The emotions, the painful wishing, the intense jealousy as friends would announce one by one that they were pregnant...I avoided Target for a long time because it seemed like every pregnant woman in my town was there right at the same time I was.

    Thankfully, we both have happy endings but my heart still breaks for those couples still experiencing it. It's horrible...something I wouldn't wish on my own worst enemy.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your personal story. Can't wait to read more. You've probably helped many people who have stumbled upon your blog in search of hope and encouragement.
  18. Big Mama Cass says:
    Wait... where's the rest of the story!??!?!
  19. Oh, Natalie, I can completely relate.
    We tried for a year to have Katie. I ended up on clomid/shots/IUIs, but got horrible cysts every month.
    At my craziest, most obsessed point, I bought a microscope and made Craig give me sperm samples to analyze. (I blogged about that bit of craziness.) I really lost my mind.
    Then, on a month that we had to take a break from the drugs, we got pregnant.
    We had to try for five months for the baby we miscarried.
    It is so painful to want nothing more than to be pregnant and have your body refuse to cooperate.
  20. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    Wow, Natalie. I had no idea that you guys struggled with this. It must have been such an emotional roller coaster. I'm so glad you ended up with 3 little cuties in the end. Very brave post, Nat!! Love you.
  21. Anonymous says:
    Oh, yeah, that friend who had no problem getting pregnant, but couldn't stay pregnant. Sounds easy right. Just as an FYI to you... miscarriage is a bitch. Bleeding from a period sucks, I get it. Bleeding your BABY out. . . sucks more. So, you want to talk about unfair? YOU HAVE. NO. IDEA. About unfair.
  22. @Anonymous

    Oh, Anonymous - I hear your anger and your pain. And unfortunately, I do get it and I do know how badly it sucks. I do have an idea - believe me. I never, ever, EVER once said that miscarriage was easier or less painful to deal with...not ever. Because I don't think that's true at all. I know that it sucks and wouldn't wish it on anybody.

    I've had my fair of unfairness, including miscarriage.
  23. I am sorry to hear about your miscarriage.

    You are correct, you did not say one was easier than the other or that you wished it on anyone. What you DID say, however, was that you thought it was UNFAIR that your friend (who could get pregnant and not stay pregnant) was pregnant. And I think it's pretty lousy to be jealous of a woman who clearly was a good friend to you - taking you out to share her news first. I understand the jealousy for the unknown melon bellies at the Target or your uber-fertile cousin who just announced baby #8 is on the way, but not for a woman who you know has suffered a loss. I guess kudos to you for being honest. Infertility makes us all have some pretty evil thoughts.

    And, for the record, I am glad you have your babies. And I don't have mine yet.
  24. @Anonymous

    Evil thoughts...even though we know they are wrong, we can't help the way we feel. Which was my point.

    I'll be thinking about you and hoping that you someday are able to conceive. And I'm glad you are staying in touch. If you ever want to talk more, you can email me. I meant in no way to make this post negative - only women that have struggled with infertility can understand the terrible feelings that come along with it. Feelings of jealousy and bitterness.
  25. infertilenanny says:
    As someone who is currently fighting (and barely surviving) infertility I find you very inspiring. And that video, moved me to tears. Thanks for sharing what I imagine was a pretty painful story about your life!
  26. TwinMamaTastic says:
    I went through the same thing. We "didnt really try" for awhile, then did all the testing only to be told that nothing was wrong. So we continued on..... Finally 4 years and several infertility treatments later we have our Boy/Girl twins. Reading this post made me remember all the crazy emotions, laugh at all the things we tried, and remember all the unsolicited advice and criticism. We were the last of our families to have kids, and the only ones to have problems. And I had the same jealousy when friends and family would tell us that they were pregnant. Especially when the circumstances werent the best, the pregnancy was unwanted, or they hadnt been trying. Your excerpt on the "try this, try that, etc" had me cracking up. Ive done it all. And I still cant stand to hear people say "Your trying too hard", "When the time is right it will happen", ", "Quit trying, and it will happen", etc. I also cant believe how many times I have complete strangers ask me if my twins are natural. No, their not natural. Their aliens. Or how many say "I dont know how you do it." Well, what should I do? Give one back? Anyways. I enjoy your blog and just wanted to say that your story mirrors my own. Happily Ever After :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] during last year’s NIAW. You can read about my unexplained infertility in these posts: We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part 1 and We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part [...]
  2. [...] am thankful that after years of unexplained infertility, I was able to have three beautiful [...]
  3. [...] than to say I know we are blessed and very grateful for having babies…especially because of our struggles with infertility. Please remind me the next time I’m complaining that I’m blessed, lucky, and have a [...]
  4. […] feeling the worst I’ve ever felt during what should have been the happiest time of my life. We struggled with infertility for six years before we finally conceived Ethan. I couldn’t understand why I was so sad when […]