Mothers Day should be a day to enjoy and celebrate no matter what. I have realized that if you make up your mind to be happy despite struggles you can be. But yesterday I honestly almost fell into the trap of negative thinking, which I have also learned can consume and ruin an entire day. I believe there is something to be celebrated for those of us struggling to become mothers. We can celebrate the fight within us for the opportunity. We can celebrate the strength we will receive from the uphill climb and when the time comes for us to rear children we will be so much more grateful for the blessing. I believe that if we keep fighting Motherhood will be achieved one way or the other.
I would like to share my story on the blog. After all this is the hike of my life! I wrote this article a while ago and it was featured on @triumphsandtrials. But would like to share it again as I have recently won a contest with @cnyfertility and @carissabarzee and am so grateful for the opportunity I get to fight without having to worry so much about finances. I wish everyone struggling with infertility could have the opportunity to win!
I didn’t exercise today. Instead, I came back from babysitting everybody else’s children (the life of a teacher) to my big childless home and rested in pain on the couch until 9 pm. The culprit? Cramps. The kind that come around every month as a reminder that pregnancy has eluded you once again. I woke up this morning with that lovely reminder as well as the realization that our fourth round of IUI didn’t work. All that money, hope, and discomfort wasted, four times! Today I taught my students about mental and physical strength with help from the quote, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” So let me tell you just how strong those who struggle with infertility actually are. The thing about infertility is that if you want a child, you must fight for it. There is no other way.
Getting pregnant isn’t just going to happen for you like it does for others. Instead, you must give yourself over to doctors and medical personnel who will then proceed to poke and prod at you during countless appointments that are uncomfortable and disappointing. You will give all hope and trust to these doctors only to learn that nothing is guaranteed even though you are also giving away all your money. And finally, you will realize that having a child may never be a reality and that you might just have to deal with it, regardless of how hard you are fighting.
Of course, there are other options but the heart break that inevitably comes with the knowledge that you cannot do what a woman was made to, despite that fact that you have consciously lived an active, healthy lifestyle, is a struggle, many times without answers. But falling apart and feeling like a complete and utter failure every month gets old. So, let’s put this in perspective. Getting pregnant is not a skill. It is not something you can learn how to do and become better at. In fact after a certain point it is pure biology. Pregnancy therefore is a blessing. And your infertility isn’t caused by something you did or didn’t do. Sometimes the plan you had for your life just isn’t reality. You can ask why, but the answer isn’t always clear.
Aaron and I weren’t having any luck getting pregnant and that was our reality. I haven’t even gotten pregnant once the entire three years we have tried. No faulty pregnancies, no miscarriages, not that I want one. I just knew something was wrong because after trying for so long, pregnancy just never happened. So we went to the Circle of Life in Ogden and did an HSG test which is probably the first thing you’ll do when having infertility issues. It hurt a lot. I had friends tell me it didn’t hurt at all, so of course I’m one of the lucky few that found it quite painful. I was then told I had a kinked or collapse fallopian tube, possibly.
Apparently Ultra sounds and HSG tests are never completely accurate. My doctor said I might need surgery to remove the possibly faulty tube, but the only way to find out for sure is to open me up, look at it and then decide during surgery. They also told me that removing the tube may not necessarily increase the risk of pregnancy either, as it may not actually be affecting anything and if that’s the case, having only one tube could actually lower the chance of pregnancy. So, we went on to test Aaron, my husband. He participated in the “test of shame” as he likes to call it, although I told him that he had the easy part. They told him he had an issue with Morphology, which is where a specific percentage of sperm is oddly shaped. Everything was just so up in the air! We didn’t know what actions to take, as nothing was certain. We scheduled an IUI with them and decided to go from there. I then got a phone call from them shortly after setting up the IUI and they told me I would never have children unless I did IVF. I was so angry that they would call and tell me that over the phone, let alone after only two tests. I was also in awe that they had allowed us to schedule IUI only to have them cancel it and tell me IVF was our only option. It didn’t make any sense.
So we went to the University of Utah for a second opinion. They continued to tell us that going straight to IVF after two tests was jumping the gun. There are many other options to try first. They retested Aaron saying sperm samples change every single test and one sample will be different from the next. The results told us that his morphology percentage looked acceptable, which ultimately meant there weren’t enough oddly shaped little swimmers to be significant and could still get pregnant. As for me they said they would watch my fallopian tube as we did IUI. We have done IUI four times over the last several months. all of which have failed. So IVF is our next options. Maybe circle of life was right after all.
I know that we have only begun our long medical journey towards whatever the outcome will be. But knowing that this is going to be my future for however long it takes or for whenever we decided to pull the plug is frustrating. I honestly believe that eventually we will have children, I am just not sure as to how that will happen. I have heard countless success stories when it comes to infertility. My story just isn’t there yet. I realize that infertility is very discouraging and I am occasionally filled with fear that I will never be a mother. And just for the record, I ask, “why” all the time. Although, I believe I have learned the answer to that question.
Why do we struggle?
We struggle so we can see and prove our strength. Learning that you are strong enough to fight and keep fighting failure after failure is actually success. You learn that you can handle it, that you can do whatever it takes to succeed and if at the end the result isn’t what you hoped for, you grasp for everything else you have gained in the process. This struggle can strengthen your knowledge and therefore your ability to help others who are also struggling, it can strengthen your relationship with your husband if you work together, support one another and have the right attitude, it can Strengthen your ability to see good despite the bad and live as fully as possible without children and It can give you the opportunity to be an example of strength for others who may be feeling weak. Learning that you can still have a happy influential life despite our struggle is success and the point of life if you ask me.
So fight and gain from it because, “Without struggle, there is no strength.” And I would like to add, without gaining strength there is no success.