Our (In)Fertility Story: Part 1
You might want to grab a cup of coffee and settle in. Because this is going to be a long one. This is part 1. As I sat down to write this all down, I didn’t realize how long and hard this would turn out to be. So, it needs to be more than one part. So here goes. And just fair warning: I’m going to be talking in depth about our fertility story. And I don’t intend for this to be a sob story, or to invoke pity, but if it can shed light on a subject most don’t feel comfortable discussing, I’m all for it. And if it can help one couple see the light, it will all be worth it.
Do you see those babies down below? That was Clay and me… way back in 2009, just a year after we met. In the summer of 2008, we met at Camp Bethel in Wise, VA. He was a cabin leader. I was his boss. He came in wearing a Duke hat. I immediately said he needed to be fired. (I was obviously only kidding… y’all know I love my Heels.) And that’s how our relationship started. Maybe one day I’ll have to write out our love story, too… because, oh man, was that a doozie! But I digress.
Five years after we met, Clay and I got married in the exact place we met, at Camp Bethel. Since Clay was about to begin his 4th year of medical school and, the following year his internship for residency, we knew it would be at least 2 years before we had children. And we were okay with that. I started birth control and we lived our lives. We rented our first house together. Made our first big move to Kentucky together. Met amazing friends and made wonderful memories.
During a routine check up with my OB/GYN in October of 2014, he asked when we intended to start having children. I told him sometime during Clay’s 2nd year of residency. He counted on his fingers and told me that if I were to get pregnant that night, we’d have a baby at the very beginning of Clay’s 2nd year. So I went home and talked it over with Clay. He knew I felt a calling and a longing to be a mother. A desire so deep in my heart, it had been there as long as I could remember. And since I was going to be 30 the following April, we decided we’d go ahead and start trying. We knew it would probably take us a few months, so Clay would be well settled into his role as a PM&R resident and we could blissfully tackle this thing called parenthood together. But we had no idea what lay in front of us.
After 8 months of trying, and 8 months of negative pregnancy tests, I went back to my doctor. And Clay came with me. We were both healthy, surely, it shouldn’t be this hard. My doctor told us it can take up to a year in some cases. He put us on “a schedule” and told me to keep taking my folic acid. And of course, he told us not to worry and stress. That wasn’t going to help. If nothing had happened in 4 to 6 months, we were supposed to come back.
And in late March of 2016, we FINALLY got what we’d been praying for. That second pink line that said we were pregnant. It was faint, but it was there. I took another pregnancy test the next morning. Yep. Still positive. I showed Clay and we cried. And then second guessed ourselves. I sent a picture of the test to my sister. And she quickly replied that it was absolutely a positive test and she was so incredibly happy for us. I counted backwards from our calendar and realized I was just shy of 7 weeks pregnant. We made plans to tell the rest of our families since we were making a week long trip to Virginia the next day anyway.
We went through the week, filled with love and excitement (and the chips and salsa I just couldn’t get enough of). But before the week was over, I had miscarried. I was so thankful that I was home in Virginia, surrounded by family. My older sister had just had her 3rd little boy, so I stole as many snuggles with that sweet redhead as I could. But the fact remained. The baby that we’d hoped and prayed over for nearly 18 months was gone. The dreams we’d already had. The plans we’d made. The names we were mulling over. Our baby was gone. When we got back to Lexington, we asked the question: how long should we wait to try again? The response: there’s no medical reason you can’t try right away. It’s all dependent on YOUR emotional readiness. So we cried. And we grieved. And about a month later, we decided we could try for a baby while still mourning our tiny little one we’d never meet. So we started the process again.
But by the end of 2016, we were still timing intercourse and getting incredibly frustrated with the situation. Clay and I weren’t communicating, we were barely talking. We were like robots. We watched a lot of TV. Ate a ton of takeout. We had both checked out and were just getting through the day… probably me more so than Clay. I figured he had no idea what I was feeling. I was the failure. My body was the one not working properly. It was my fault we didn’t have a family. So, it was back to the doctor we went.
And I’ll pick up next Friday right here. Where all the “infertility” came into view. I’ll finish off the story from my view. And Clay has graciously agreed to write a post from his point of view, which I think often times gets lost in the infertility shuffle. I’m so grateful to have a supportive, caring, most-of-the-time sensitive husband who knows when to pick me up and help me dust myself off. But I also know that it was a struggle for him, so I’m glad he’s open to sharing that side with you all as well.