Let me start off by saying that we are the lucky ones. I understand the blessings we have been given and recognize that so many still suffer; suffering that often remains hidden. But infertility affects one in eight couples, and we are one of those eight. (Infertility 101: Fast Facts).
As a part of National Infertility Awareness Week, I feel compelled to share a glimpse into our story in the hope that it can encourage others to share their stories, and so that those struggling know they aren’t alone.
Our son, Sawyer, was born in May of 2017, after three years of trying.
After trying and failing for a while to have a child, Matthew and I went to a local reproductive endocrinologist (Boston IVF if you’re in the Evansville area) to figure out why things weren’t working out. After a battery of tests, we were told that there’s no obvious reason we shouldn’t be getting pregnant, we just weren’t. We were part of the 10% of patients with “unexplained infertility“.
Which only left us asking “why?” and “what next?” with no obvious path forward.
For me, my biggest struggle was the idea that my body was failing to do what it was literally made to do. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it and for a while, I couldn’t forgive myself. I could not give myself grace. In my mind, I had failed as a woman. I had failed Matthew and myself. I realize now that those feelings were unwarranted, and it made me pretty unbearable to be around, I’m sure. When students would ask when we were having kids, I know they probably didn’t understand why I never knew how to answer the question well (or lectured them unnecessarily about why it’s not a good question to ask). Others getting pregnant (while I was truly and sincerely so excited for them) also reminded me of my own perceived failings. It’s not always easy for friends and family, those who had children easily, to understand and it’s easy to feel isolated in this struggle. “Just keep trying, it’ll happen eventually,” is a heart breaker of encouragement. We told ourselves we’d be the cool aunt and uncle who’d spoil all the other kids in the family.
But then, after a few years, with the help of the awesome doctor and nurses at Boston IVF, we were able to bring Sawyer into the world. He was (and is) the answer to so many prayers.
But as most people who’ve had children know, the question of more children comes up. So we tried for another with the hope that this time around would be way easier…
… only to discover that just because you have one child, doesn’t mean it’s easier to have a second.
It was doubly frustrating this time, because I knew it was possible. All the feelings from our first go-round came rushing back in quickly. We went the same route as we had with the doctor to have Sawyer, and it failed. My hopes had climbed so quickly, that the only option was for them to crash just as quickly. We looked at and ruled out a number of options, knowing they weren’t for us.
So we stopped trying. I even wrote an (unpublished) post about raising an only child.
But knowing there was a small possibility with a different medicine, the thought kept poking at the back of my brain. After a few months off, we called the doctor again and, being told it probably wouldn’t work, decided to go for it anyway as a last ditch effort. If it didn’t work, I could have accepted that we had exhausted all options that worked for us.
But I’m thankful to say that if all goes well, kiddo #2 will be here in October.
God is so, so good and modern medicine is simply amazing.
Knowing the struggles and trials we went through to bring children into the world helps me to better appreciate those rough days and hard nights of parenting. It helps me to appreciate better what we’ve been given, because I know how much it took to have to begin with.
But there are so many families that go through so much more, often without success and great tragedy, and a lot of the time it’s not obvious to others. I’ve linked to a page called For Friends and Family to help others better understand what some familes may go through and how to be supportive and encouraging.
I know compared to the struggles of other families, ours may not seem that bad, but it was our struggle and one that so many other families deal with.