It is still so crazy to me that Ian and I have experienced infertility, adoption, and pregnancy. All three parts of our journey have deeply affected who we are – as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.
Every person has a unique story. Often our stories overlap in places – those moments when you feel a connection of “yes, I know what that feels like!” Throughout my life, I’ve always been greatly encouraged by hearing other people’s stories – both ones that I can easily relate to, and ones that widen my perspective of the different experiences that people have. I wanted to take some time and share our story – so far. I wrote most of these posts a year ago, but I wanted to wait until we had another little person and not just a pregnancy before finishing the last part. Well, apparently I ended up waiting 10 months. Anyways, here you go – in three parts over three days, so you’re not stuck reading it allll at once!
Part One: Joining the Infertility Club
A few months before our 3-year anniversary, Ian and I decided that we were ready to add a little one to our family. We eased into it – not particularly “trying” to get pregnant, but leaving ourselves open to it happening. Around six months or so of that, we started being a little more intentional (ovulation charts, anyone?). When we still hadn’t gotten pregnant after about a year of that, we decided to do some testing to see what was up. Even though we really wanted to be pregnant, we were pretty chill about the whole thing, and were surprised that the doctor immediately gave us the label of having “infertility issues” simply because we’d gone a whole year without conceiving.
After a series of tests for both of us, they gave us our results, and they weren’t super promising – their recommendation was for us to pursue in vitro fertilization, and the most aggressive approach of IVF at that. They said it was highly unlikely that we’d get pregnant with anything less than that procedure.
At this point, let me just say that while I don’t wish infertility on anyone, I have been immensely thankful that we have been able to have multiple friends with infertility challenges. Without those relationships, I think I would have felt so alone. And even at the very beginning of this journey, while I didn’t understand all the emotions that it would bring, at the very least I knew we weren’t alone, and that made a huge difference when hearing our diagnosis. (So if you are experiencing infertility – reach out to someone you know – it helps SO MUCH. Heck, email me if you think you don’t know anyone that’s walked down this road).
I’m not sure what other fertility clinics are like, but our experience was so bizarre. The doctor delivered this heavy news to us, then we were immediately ushered into another office to meet with someone about scheduling and financing an IVF procedure. No joke, she pulled out a calendar and rattled off the next few potential dates and what that would look like for us as far as injections, timing, etc. And of course the $15k+ financing options were discussed too. And everywhere you looked in this clinic, there were photos of happy babies – success stories. It was so strange! Luckily Ian and I were on the same page and walked out of there with a simple “yeah, we’ll think about it.”
While I wasn’t super emotional during that appointment (shock, I suppose), that evening I pretty much fell apart. It felt like my heart had been shattered, and I continued to feel intensely hurt for the next few weeks. I definitely questioned God’s goodness, and whether he even cared about the details of my life. Yet, even in the midst of sorrow, I was able to see glimpses of his grace – particularly his gentleness to my delicate heart. There were many ways that we could have discovered our infertility diagnosis, but the way it came about – sometimes phone calls from doctors that were slightly out of order, or premature – I felt like God gently eased us into hearing the news. For that, I felt extremely grateful – like I just barely survived emotionally because of his gentleness to me.
Nevertheless, infertility is a huge shock. I know there are some people that grow up knowing that they have infertility challenges due to a medical condition or some other known reason, etc. But for the majority of infertile couples, it comes as a complete shock. Having kids is just something you expect to happen – it’s perfectly natural for people to ask, “when will you start having kids?” because for most people, you just decide to go for it and it happens not too long down the road. Even more, infertility and pregnancy loss are still not talked about very openly, so even though lots of people experience struggles, it’s not always out in the open.
Even for us – personally knowing other couples that couldn’t get pregnant – it was a shock. Sure, it happened to them, but we had no reason to suspect that we would have any trouble conceiving. So it took time to adjust to this news that seemed so big and daunting. Again, I am SO thankful for our friends who have walked with us. This was a dark and difficult time in our journey of growing a family, but thankfully it was only part of the journey…