Q. Tell us a little about who you are.
I’m Melissa. I’m 31 years old and live in Indiana. My husband, Adam is 33 and we have been married for 9 1/2 years. We have two amazing little boys, Tyler and Alexander. Tyler is almost 5 and Alexander (who we call AJ) just turned 1. I work in the sales department of a utility vehicle manufacturing company, doing accounting and administrative work and my husband works for a flooring distributor and runs an EBay business on the side.
Q. What sort of infertility struggles have you faced?
After conceiving our oldest son fairly easily (it took about 8 months), we struggled with unexplained secondary infertility while trying to conceive AJ. We TTC’ed for a year on our own, which ended with an early miscarriage in June of 2010. After my miscarriage, I was referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I was never diagnosed with a particular form of infertility, but my RE suspected that a shorter than average luteal phase and low progesterone levels coupled with late implantation contributed to our failure to conceive on our own. I was prescribed Clomid and did four rounds of it with no success. He also put me on progesterone support following ovulation. My RE recommended injectable hormones when I didn’t get pregnant on Clomid, but since they weren’t covered on our insurance, my husband and I were working on saving up for an injectable cycle, so he prescribed Letrizole (Femara). During my second round of Femara, we chose to have a more monitored cycle, with follicle scans and an HCG trigger shot. We found out we were expecting in January of 2012. AJ was born on Oct 12 that year.
Q. What was the lowest point in your journey and how did you handle it?
The lowest point for me was definitely my miscarriage. We’d been trying hard to get pregnant for a year and it was over almost before it started. I felt robbed, like it had all been a sick joke. We’re pregnant! And then we weren’t, so quickly. I had gotten the bfp the day before Father’s Day, and it had felt so perfect. On Father’s Day I started spotting a little and that continued the next day, so on the third day after my positive pregnancy test, I went for a blood test. The next day the nurse called saying I was never pregnant, that my hcg level was 3 and that there was no way it had dropped that fast. My doctor assured me later that wasn’t true, that the miscarriage (sometimes called a chemical pregnancy, a term I despise because it seems cold and clinical, like it’s not a “real” loss) was very early and my hormone levels weren’t that high to begin with. But in that moment, I felt devastated and the nurse made me feel like there was no reason to be upset, that it hadn’t been real. As for how I dealt with it…I cried a lot. I hugged my son, that was the first thing I did. I was so thankful I had him, and I wanted to remind myself of that. I prayed for the acceptance. For a few days I alternated between keeping busy to avoid thinking about it, and allowing myself to take some time to grieve. After a few weeks, I found that focusing on getting to a doctor and seeking treatment helped. It felt so daunting at first, starting all over with TTC after you thought you’d reached your goal. Trying something new helped me to be hopeful and motivated to start again.
Q. How has infertility affected you as a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual being?
Physically, I struggled with feeling betrayed by my body in terms of infertility. I felt like it was another example on how my body doesn’t “work right”. It can be really frustrating to fight your body to get it to do something that is supposed to be so natural, supposed to be something we were made to do. Infertility has also made me so much more aware of my body. I gained a little weight while we were ttc and my body has definitely changed after having two kids, but it’s also become a motivator. I am so thankful to have my kids and I might decide to try for another baby someday, and that coupled with the knowledge that being healthier could help my fertility in the future has made me want to lose weight and get healthy. Infertility reminded me that I want to be around for my children for a long time.
Spiritually, I found it most helpful to pray for patience and acceptance than for God to answer a prayer for a baby. I found myself praying for babies for my other TTC buddies, but for myself I always asked for patience, guidance, and acceptance.
Q. Were you able to find a silver lining in your struggles?
The silver lining in my struggles was definitely discovering the online infertility community! I have made such amazing friends and I have been blessed to get to follow the stories of some incredible women. There are days I’m daunted by the number of blog posts I want to read and comment on. Sometimes I catch myself literally grinning at my computer screen while reading their good news, and other times I’m reaching for a kleenex as I read about their heartbreak. After I had my rainbow baby, I worried that I might not belong in the community anymore, but no one has ever made me feel that way. I didn’t want to lose the bonds I’d formed just because I was resolved in my infertility and I am so happy that I didn’t have to. I also discovered that infertility is a subject I am passionate about. I have tried to find ways to stay involved, as a cheerleader and now with my new blog, trying to help and inform other women struggling with infertility.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to women who are currently in the middle of their journey?
It’s not really advice, but a friend told me something that stuck with my while was struggling. She said that my baby was meant to be born at a certain time. It made me realized that there is a reason for it all and a reason I had to wait. As heartbreaking as it can be, month after month, I had to believe there was a reason, and now that I have my son, I know that any other month, the baby I could have conceived wouldn’t have been HIM. I don’t know if that advice will comfort others, but it did comfort me.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I just want to encourage the woman that are out there struggling with infertility to continue to speak out about it. Share your story, whether it be by blog, or in a support group, or an online forum, anywhere you are comfortable. Infertility is often considered to be a taboo subject and I think it’s so important to try to eliminate the mentality. Women (and men!) shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about infertility. And if you don’t feel like you’re getting the answers and support you need, be your own advocate and don’t stop asking questions and seeing doctors until someone listens and tries to help you. Everyone deserves to be a parent, whether by conceiving, adopting, or fostering, so if being a parent is your dream NEVER let someone else make you feel like you should give up on it.
Many thanks for Melissa for sharing her story! Please leave a comment below to let her know you appreciate her. And consider pinning this image so others can find her story.