I am no stranger to sharing things. The good, the bad, and the seemingly personal, but this, this is extremely personal. There's been a struggle within me about sharing such an intimate thing with the internet. Do I or don't I? Why or why not? After having a few talks with my husband and getting his blessing and encouragement to open up, I started to consider it. I scoured the world wide web and found nothing current about TTC (trying to conceive) pertaining to our struggle. And having no one in my life going through what my husband and I are going through is difficult. No one quite understands, and most people get kind of uncomfortable when sexual health comes up. Strange, I know. With that said, I've decided that I am ready to speak up about our struggle with fertility.
We (I am saying we because my husband and I are in this together) suffer from mild male factor infertility. In a nutshell, that means his healthy sperm count is a little low. I knew something was wrong when six months went by last year, and we just weren't getting pregnant. I went to my OBGYN to express my concerns, she suggested, that since I have carried a pregnancy to term before (my daughter is now 8), and that since my husband and I are young, we should keep trying. If nothing happened in another six months, we would be referred to see a fertility specialist. We tried and tried and nothing. No baby.
Around the ten month mark, we started the process of having tests ran on the both of us; I was nervous. Perhaps something was wrong with me? Maybe the termination I had a year after my daughter was born cursed my womb. Both of those thoughts were terrifying. Often, you read that infertility falls on the woman, that alone was another thing to shake my world. Thankfully, all of my tests came back normal. Tubes were clear, uterus and eggs were healthy, blood work was great with the exception of my vitamin d levels being a little low. My OB was pleased with the results, and I was sent on my way with some vitamin d supplements. Now, it was hubby's turn to get checked out; the culprit came back as low sperm count and morphology (correctly shaped sperm cells).
When the nurse called, she was not at all alarmed by Ry's results. She said, "It will just take you guys a little longer to get pregnant, that's all." Low and behold a month later we got our first positive pregnancy test, low sperm count and all! After about a year of trying and failing. Sadly, that pregnancy ended around 5.5 weeks due to a miscarriage.
Dealing with the failing pregnancy was hard. Super hard actually and it still is some days. We were advised to keep trying by our doctor as soon as we were ready. And we did, for five months. Nothing.
Fast forward, our first appointment at a fertility clinic was a couple of weeks ago. We had our first unmedicated cycle of IUI (intrauterine insemination). For those of you unfamiliar, IUI is defined as a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reaches the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization (americanpregnancy.org).
Yea, that's a lot, right?
We chose to do three unmedicated cycles to start. Hubby is taking vitamins and Clomid to help boost his numbers-- they've been helping which is a great sign.
Now we are here. Cycle day 22 and a negative pregnancy test later. Our first IUI was not successful. We were prepared for that, kind of. The fertility specialist informed us that it might take a few rounds before we get our positive. Both, Ryan and I, felt extremely optimistic about round one. Realistically, we are bummed that we didn't get a positive today. However, we aren't giving up. Round two is roughly two weeks away, and we are ready.
Exercising this type of patience is challenging. I feel like everyone around me is getting pregnant but me. People who weren't trying, people who were just winging it, some who didn't even want to be pregnant. And yes, while their journey and blessings aren't mine, it's hard not to compare. Going on social media and seeing all the baby bumps, baby announcements, and newborns makes me excited and miserable all at once. It makes me feel very human and remarkably left out. That sounds absolutely ridiculous as I re-read it but, right now, that is my truth. To help curb the longing, we have a baby box, where we collect baby items while we wait. That helps.
I am not sure what these posts will turn into, but I want to be a voice and resource for other women. Specifically, other women of color facing what my husband and I are facing. Searching online and finding nothing that helped or inspired or represented us wasn't fun. So, when there isn't a way you make one. I am making one. I want to build a community of mothers and mothers to be, fathers too. This journey has inspired me to create a community of family. Near and far. Feel free to share and journey with me.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for not judging. And thank you for being kind.