Starting a family didn’t come as easy for my husband and me as it does for others. We struggled with unexplained infertility and it took me to my darkest place emotionally, up until that point in my life. I was bitter and angry at every single woman who was able to get pregnant with no problems.
Honestly, that bitterness is still there in the background. Almost six years later; one miscarriage, one D&C, one stillborn son (Asher), and two living twin daughters later (conceived via IUI), it’s still there. I see the women who seem to be perpetually pregnant, popping out baby after baby, year after year and I think to myself, “must be nice.” The bitterness pops back up and I’m annoyed at the fact that we had to struggle.
My experience with infertility didn’t lead me into the world of IVF, but it did lead me into Clomid, the HSG test, self-injections, blood drawls, transvaginal ultrasounds (I never knew these existed until we started treatment. The movies lied to me!), IUI, progesterone suppositories, ovary checks, sperm counts, and so much more.
The scars of our struggle are rooted deep within my soul. They may fade with time, but they will always be there.
If you have or are struggling with infertility, you’ll relate to this list … and likely can even add to it.
You know you are dealing with infertility when…
• Other people’s pregnancy announcements make you cry.
• Hearing the word “relax” angers you.
• Hearing people complain about their kids makes you think “you don’t know lucky you are.”
• Walking past the baby section in any store makes you tear up.
• Hearing a child say “Hi Daddy!” can literally make you lose your sh*t in public (true story, this actually happened to me in the middle of the IKEA cafeteria).
• Pregnant people start popping up everywhere! You can’t escape them!
• Talking about making a baby becomes clinical and sterile.
• You attend baby shower after baby shower, wondering when it will finally be your turn.
• You know more about the intricacies of how a baby is made than the average person.
• You drive to the fertility doctor with a specimen bottle of sperm in between your legs to keep it warm.
• “Trying” becomes work.
• You overcome your fear of needles after having to have blood taken a billion times.
• You no longer say “when we have kids” but “if we have kids.”
• You break down monthly when “Aunt Flo” arrives.
• You delete the Pinterest board you had for your future children.
• Seeing photos of people’s babies make you simultaneously happy and jealous.
• Social media becomes your worst nightmare (avoid Facebook at all costs!).
• You pray daily for to be provided with a child.
• You go through cycles of bitterness.
• You seriously start to consider getting a second dog.
• You have an app on your phone to track your monthly cycle (even though it has done jack to actually help you determine anything).
• You have a secret “infertility” board on Pinterest (we all know you do… I do!).
• Your closest friends and family know all about the status of your uterus and your husband’s swimmers.
• A simple diaper commercial can reduce you to tears. (Damn you, Johnson & Johnson!)
• Your annual bonus gets announced at work and your first thought is “that will pay for a lot of fertility appointments.”
• When a pregnant person complains about morning sickness, you scream “STFU! At least it means you are pregnant” in your head.
• You have to un-follow any Pinterest board involving children.
• Your refrigerator has a shelf dedicated to your injectable fertility meds.
• You have your own personal sharps container for all of your used needles.
• Your partner doubles as a nurse and learns how to give you injections, or you learn how to give yourself injections.
• You have an infertility playlist to help keep your spirits up.
• You text about infertility and treatment so much your autocorrect tries to change every day words to fertility ones — “any” to “AMH,” “on” to “OB,” “click” to “Clomid.”
• Your abdomen is bloated, bruised, and sore from the injections and hormones.
• You have to talk to your employer about your plans to start treatment and the need to leave for multiple appointments, sometimes at a moment’s notice.
• You realize you are stronger than you thought.
• Each month (as hard as you try not to) you hope for the best and do it all over again.