our family

Secondary Infertility: Our Story of Unsuccessfully Trying for Baby #2

17 cycles.

My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for 17 consecutive cycles.

Really we have tried for longer than that – back in the summer of 2019, when my son Calvin had just turned 3, we tried a few times to get pregnant, but decided to stop because I ended up needing foot surgery. (Calvin is now 5 years old.)

About 7 months ago (March 3, 2021), I told my doctor at my annual gynecologist appointment that I was concerned about possible fertility issues. Literally yesterday (September 21, 2021 as of writing this) we had an appointment with a men’s fertility specialist, who wants to run more tests, and then possibly refer us to a different fertility specialist (for me) if we end up needing to pursue treatments like IUI or IVF. We were warned that it will most likely take between *6-12 months to get in to see this particular specialist.

At that point, it will be somewhere between 2 and 2.5 years that we will have been trying to have a baby, and we will only just be going to our initial appointment with the last specialist we need to see.

My advice for anyone who thinks they may be having fertility issues: don’t wait any longer than you have to before getting some tests done – you can always cancel the tests/appointments if you end up getting pregnant. I had no idea it could be this long of a process just to actually get the problem narrowed down and get in to the doctors I need to see. I’m not sure if that’s because there is a shortage of fertility specialists (there are none in Abilene) or if fertility problems are becoming more common, but it’s definitely been discouraging to think that we might not even be able to begin to pursue some of these treatments until Fall of 2022 (when I will be close to 36 years old.)

Honestly, I’m not totally sure if I really want to pursue treatments like IUI or IVF. Secondary infertility is a weird position to be in. If we had no children, I think perhaps I would want to try it. But we do have one, and when I think about the costs and (probably low) success rates associated with these kinds of invasive treatments, I’m just not sure it will be the right choice for us.

I feel like a lot of people don’t know how to respond when I tell them we are having trouble having a second child. Sometimes I get answers like, “at least you have one kid!” I don’t recommend saying this to anyone who is trying to get pregnant with their second. I’m very thankful we have Calvin and that we got pregnant so quickly with him. But it’s totally okay and valid for me to want a bigger family. That doesn’t make me a selfish person. I can be thankful and longing for more at the same time.

The most helpful and supportive things people have said to me, I’ve listed below:

  • “We are praying for you every day.”
  • “That is so heartbreaking to go through.”
  • “How did your appointment go? Do you want to talk about it?”
  • “Calvin is a great kid.”
  • “You’re a good mom.”

I put those last two in there because it’s nice to hear those things instead of, “when are you going to give Calvin a sibling?” or “do you guys think you’ll have any more kids?” These questions make me feel like others view my family as incomplete, or not good enough.

Read More »

Membership to the Infertility Club

My period started today.

That makes 12 months in a row of being acutely aware of each time my period begins.

My husband and I have hit the “one-year-of-trying-to-conceive” milestone, which also means we get the consolation prize of getting to join the infertility club.

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (depending on your age, the timeframe for qualifying as “infertile” may differ a bit.)

I never imagined I would be here. With my first child, we got pregnant in the second month of trying. Afterwards I literally said out loud, “I can’t imagine having to try over and over, month after month…”

Maybe I jinxed myself.

It’s weird to hit the point where you’ve been trying to have a baby longer than it actually takes to have a baby.

Around the 10-month mark of trying for a second child, I went to my annual gynecologist appointment. I mentioned that I wanted to start looking into why we weren’t getting pregnant. This meant doing some testing on my husband and I, and coming back in a month to have the doctor review the results.

A month later we found out there was a reason why it wasn’t happening quickly. We also found out it was something that (at this point) we couldn’t really do much about (we have some more follow up appointments, so we will see). Basically we were told we were doing everything right, but that there was an extenuating circumstance that made our chances of conceiving much less.

In some ways this was validating – I had been doing stuff right. The timing of intercourse, the charting of my cycles… I understood how my body worked, and in *most couples, it probably would have meant a pregnancy by now.

Read More »

So You’ve Decided to Try to Get Pregnant… A Saga

What does a woman go through when she decides she wants to try to have a baby?

I can only speak for myself, but in general, I would say she goes through a lot. Different women have all sorts of different journeys as they step into this process, but I thought I would chronicle my journey of trying for baby #2. It has helped me process my feelings, and perhaps will resonate with others on a similar journey. The following are journal entries of significant dates and events throughout this process – it was how I was feeling at the time, not right or wrong feelings, just feelings.
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

7/15/19
Today is July 15, 2019. By the time I post this draft, if I ever do, it will be a much later date. This is in part because it’s a little too fresh for me to share publicly. I’m taking time to write today mostly to process my feelings on the matter – but as I think about the purpose of my blog, I really want to let people see inside my mind and be able to experience what I’m feeling. I know I’m not the only person who has ever felt this way, so maybe some of what I write will speak to you and be something you can empathize with. If not, maybe it will at least give you a bit of an idea of what a woman might go through when she decides she wants to try to get pregnant. My experience certainly does not fully encompass everyone’s experiences, but I think it’s worth sharing. Thanks for reading.

Today is July 15 – it was day 30 of my cycle, and I had been waiting to take the pregnancy test I bought a few days ago. I told Dean I was 90% sure I was pregnant – I could tell. I had been feeling slightly nauseous for the past week, and I had even had spotting the day before – which I attributed to implantation spotting. I had planned on taking the pregnancy test this morning, but when I took my basal body temperature upon waking up, there was a drastic drop from the sustained high temps. I had gone from a 97.8 temp to a 97.1 in twenty-four hours. If you’re a BBT charter, you know that’s a big shift. You would also know that a temperature drop can signal that your period is about to start. I told myself that maybe it was a fluke, but I decided not to take the pregnancy test since I knew what it probably meant. The bleeding started a few hours later.

The first time Dean and I ever tried to get pregnant (before Calvin), I experienced the same thing. I had totally convinced myself that I was pregnant, but that time I confidently took the pregnancy test, and was shocked when it resulted in a single line instead of the positive plus sign. I felt like I had experienced a loss, even though I had never truly been pregnant, I just fully expected to be.

It’s a weird thing to feel like you’ve lost something you’ve never really had. I know this feeling does not compare to the experience of having a miscarriage or loss of a child – I have a hard time even fathoming the level of pain and loss on that scale.

So here I am, not actually on day 30 of my cycle, but back to day 1 – starting over again. Attempting to get pregnant is a huge waiting game – you wait for the right window of fertility (which is a bit of guessing game) in your cycle, hope that your attempts go well, and then you have to wait a few more weeks before you can find out if you succeeded or failed. Because that’s kind of what it feels like if you don’t get pregnant: failure.

I read something the other day that said only 38% of women will get pregnant the first month they try, and this number refers to women actually trying to time intercourse correctly for the purpose of getting pregnant. This percentage increases to 68% over 3 cycles of trying – but that still means almost one third of women actively trying for a baby won’t get pregnant even after three months.

Those numbers are both discouraging and comforting to me – discouraging because I know my chances of getting pregnant right away are slim, but comforting knowing that the majority of women are experiencing the same thing. Why am I holding myself to an impossible standard and feeling bad for not getting pregnant on the first try? This is my perfectionism kicking into overdrive and rising up to an unhealthy level. I know that and recognize it for what it is, but yet is is still hard to let go of.

Hopefully I will have the courage to post this soon – it might not be until after pregnancy is achieved and has been announced – though some have called me “brave” for writing and sharing about such sensitive topics, I typically only share when the bad times have passed, not while in the midst of them.
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Read More »