Infertility Struggles

Those of you who get pregnant with a sideways glance from your husband can skip right over this one.  ;)

Some of you know our story.  Without rehashing all the details, just understand that when we were ready to have a baby, we were ready now.  And we expected it to happen nowAnd it didn’tWhy didn’t anyone tell me that it might not be easy to get pregnant?!

I suppose it was because, for many people, it is easy.  Problems aren’t planned for.

While there may be absolutely no way to spare you the heartache of infertility, whether it be temporary or permanent, it certainly can’t hurt to be as mindful of your body as possible.

For the women who commented and emailed that they “plan to have a baby next spring… next year… just got married… etc,”  I hope for you, dear ladies, that your plans work out just as you dream they will!

A few resources for the 1 in 6 couples who will face infertility at some point:

  • This post from Katie, Natural Family Planning:  Natural Parenting Can Start Before Conception, resonated with me.  We took our Natural Family Planning class once it became obvious that “it’s not as easy as it looks.” Although I still kick myself for not taking the class before we were even married, I’m grateful that we did it at all.  The first thing the doctor did when we went in for our initial appointment was to hand me some blank charts.  We were, in turn, able to hand him months worth of completed charts.  Learning NFP saved us so much time as we set out to heal.
  • Naturally Knocked Up — How can you not click over to a website with that title?!  Donielle shares her own infertility story (again with a happy ending) and provides many resources for natural reproductive health.

I know that getting healthy won’t solve the vast array of infertility issues that hinder a couple’s dream of having children.  I can’t help but wonder, though, if someone had told me these things… would we have had to suffer so?

If you are or have in the past suffered infertility and are able to share comfort or encouragement, please do so in the comments.  Resources and personal story links welcome!

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Comments

  1. Amy~ Thank you for the wonderful post! Here is another great resource: http://www.fertilityfriend.com/

  2. I haven’t posted before, but this is a topic near and dear to me. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at 19 and was told in my early 20s that I would probably never have kids. When I met my husband,I told him and he accepted me fully. I had yet another surgery in August 2003 and we discovered (exactly 6 years ago today) in May 2004 that I was pregnant. When my daughter was 14 months old, I weaned her and then immediately got off the pill. I was pregnant within the month. When my son was 6 months old, I again came off of the pill knowing that we wanted one more. That was three years ago and we are in our final few months of fertility treatments. If it doesn’t happen with this, it won’t. I am at stage 4 endo and will be having a hysterectomy sooner or later. Sooner if I don’t get pregnant, later if I do.

    I am incredibly lucky to have my two children and I know that we’ll be okay either way, but the longing for a child isn’t one that can be turned off.

    The really sad thing for most women that deal with infertility is the lack of insurance. I have a great coverage plan, but they cover nothing for infertility.

    I commend you for blogging about this very difficult subject.

  3. Stacy Pike says:

    We have struggled with infertility for over 8 years. I have to say one of the most wonderful books I have ever read is Hannah’s Hope by Jennifer Saake. Jenni walks you through her journey while looking at the life of Hannah in the Bible and her struggle and desire to have Samuel. I have created an infertility ministry at our church and when I find out someone is struggling, I give them a copy of this book. I hope it may be helpful to some of your other readers. God bless you!

  4. We didn’t think we could get pregnant. Then after 8 years of marriage, I heard about the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”…what an amazing book. I think every female from puberty to menopause could benefit from this book. After “charting” the first month, we got pregnant with our daughter. Then we were ready again, so the 2nd time, it took 2 months of charting and BINGO, we got our little boy. Currently I’m 36 with 4 yo and almost 2 yo. My life is busy and full. I also have a 13 yo stepson. We are so blessed and happy. I know many who were not able to conceive but adopted and are truly happy. Having little ones in the house are a joy!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story, Amy. I hope it will be a help to many!

    I wouldn’t really say I ever struggled with infertility… at least I never labelled it that way in my head. But it did take us 15 months to conceive our first child. I had always heard my mom talk about finding out she was pregnant if someone breathed the word “pregnant” around her… or my sister who planned right down to the month when she would have her babies. I never, ever thought it would take me– a healthy woman in her 20′s coming from that family– over a year to conceive. I happened to be that cliche who got pregnant when I stopped obsessing about it… I got in really good shape (I had already been thin, but I started exercising regularly) and totally stopped tracking my cycles. That being said, you won’t ever catch me saying, “Oh, just stop thinking about it and it will happen!”

    • Ah, I remember that phrase well. That and a joking “Don’t you know what you’re doing?” and others… painful.

  6. I struggled with infertility with our first son, and now that we’d like a second child, I’m having the same issues, only worse. After going off birth control, I didn’t get my period for over 6 months. After a round of progesterone, things starting happening, but my cycles were 40 -80 days long. Thankfully it only took 3 tries for us to conceive our son.

    Now, two years after my son was born, I haven’t had my period naturally. The only time I had a cycle was the 2 months that I was on the pill, hoping that it would start things going again. Now I’m going to acupuncture to get things moving. Progress has been slow, but there has been progress.

    I’ve bee guest blogging over at Naturally Knocked up for the last couple of months. Check out my posts, and leave me a comment or two.

    http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/?s=acupuncture

    • I’ve never tried acupuncture, but you’re not the only one who has brought up that treatment here. Hope it works for you!

  7. Eunice B says:

    thanks, amy, for sharing your story….i had read it before, and was extra happy for you when you announced you’re expecting again! :-) my dear husband & i have been married over 8 yrs, and deal with unexplained infertility. my older sister and husband also have the same diagnosis from a different dr. after testing and years of charting and riding the roller coaster, we’ve decided that God will bless us in His time if He choses to give us this blessing. It still is hard to hear of those that “get pregnant with a sideways glance” at their husband though! ;-)

  8. I found out that I had PCOS in my twenties. I knew that there was a posibility that it would be difficult to have children. Fast forward to the age of 30. I was getting married and we knew right away that we wanted to start a family.

    Due to my PCOS and my age it was suggested that we not wait the year and go ahead and see a ferility doctor. We did the temp charts, injections and blood draw after blood draw. We were told that invitro would be our only option. I was never able to get to the point of trying intvitro. It just wasn’t working. I was an emotional wreck. To the point that I felt broken and unworthly of my husband. I even offered to leave him so he could go and have the family he desired. He is a great guy and said all the right things. I was the only one he loved and we were in this together.

    I don’t know why but I changed my prayer from wanting to become pregnant and starting praying to be a mom. This was a life changing moment for me. My heart opened to other options and we decided to adopted. We waited three years for our adoption. When I was 36 we traveled to China to bring our daughter home.

    Megan was 9 months when I first held her. She is now 3 (4 in July) and is the light of our lives! I believe that if your hearts desire is to parent then don’t give up! God might just have an alternative plan for making you a parent.

  9. What a great post! I didn’t realize you had fertility problems.

    You listed some awesome resources, and I can’t speak any highly of NFP, we have been using NFP for about 4 years now and I love knowing what’s happening with my body.

  10. I would never consider us “infertile”, but we faced some rough times in the 10 months is took us to conceive our son, during which it seemed everyone around me was getting pregnant with no effort at all. The emotions are all the same when you want something so badly and it just isn’t happening. Here’s our story if anyone wants some encouragement. My husband and I now have a healthy and happy nine month little boy who is our world. God’s timing is perfect.
    http://amybmoss.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/our-ttc-journey/

  11. Thanks for the link, Amy! I’m so glad you’re writing about this.
    Blessings,
    Michele

  12. We’ve been married for over ten years, and have never been able to conceive, but God has given us two blessings by way of adoption. God apparently knew what He was doing – fancy that! – because we adore them and they fit perfectly into our family!

    We have been on the real, traditional foods journey as well. Not so much for infertility reasons, but to be good stewards of our health/body.

    Last month I discovered research indicating a link between white flour and infertility that was very interesting. If you like, you can read it here: http://likeabubblingbrook.blogspot.com/2010/04/why-grind-your-own-grain.html

    Thanks for a great post!

  13. 13 years ago I decided I wanted a November baby so I would just have to get pregnant in February right? Well, it didn’t exactly happen that way. But through much prayer, research, testing, and finally medical intervention (clomid) – I now hold my 11 week old baby girl. Miracles do happen – never give up.

    My favorite resource was/is the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”

  14. Great post! I was one of those women that could look at my husband sideways and get pregnant, until I had a miscarriage. We had two wonderful children and were trying for a third, we picked the month when we would like to have our child and started trying accordingly. I got pregnant, but things were not quite right from the start – I ended up miscarrying around 7.5 weeks. After the appropriate ‘wait’ time we decided to just start trying again right away. My body had a different idea. It took six months (yes I know in comparison that’s not very long, but after being able to get pregnant immediately it felt like forever) of trying to conceive until I got pregnant. This experience has taught me so much, and made me so much more sensitive to others, especially since during the time we were trying to conceive I heard of at least 15 (not even joking) friends/aquaintences that announced their pregnancies. This time around I have decided not to make a big deal about announcing my pregnancy, trying to be sensitive to those that may be having difficulties.

  15. We have been infertile our whole married lifes (unexplained – which makes it that much harder – they can’t figure it out) I hav had six miscarrigies that were extremely hard – My “ah ha” moment was when after another attempt at fertility treatment that someone asked me if I wanted to be a mom or have a baby – I wanted to be a mom – we adopted our son from Korea in 2001 and I wish we hadn’t done infertility and we would have been able to afford more adoptions – Infertility treatment is so expensive and the odds not that high in your favor – and it is not covered by insurance – Why? I don’t get that part of insurance at all – But remember God is in control when we let go of our control – my son is the highlight of our lives and darn cute if I may add!

    • @kris, Connecticut state law requires insurance companies to cover all fertility treatments “within reason” (i.e. they don’t have to pay for in vitro for a 70 yr old woman). I think we’re a rare state though!

    • @kris, Kris, I would love to chat with you. We think we may have had nine miscarriages, and I’ve met only one other person who was anywhere close to that number. If you’d be interested in talking about it, I’d love to hear from you. My email is blueskyandsunshine2006@gmail.com. Thanks, Maria

    • I wish adoption wasn’t so darn expensive. It frustrates me that many “unqualified” (I know, I know, who am I to decide who is *worthy* of having children…) women get pregnant at the drop of a hat, but that loving couples who would be awesome parents can’t adopt these children who NEED THEM because it’s so expensive. Frustrating!!!!!!

  16. I follow you on Twitter but never realized you struggled with infertility issues! I’m surrounded by women who get pregnant at the drop of a hat! My story in a nutshell is this: Took me 22 mos to get pregnant with my first daughter. Have every test done. NOthing wrong with me. Then, oh joy! it finally happened. Swore I’d never go on the pill again. Got pregnant with my second daughter when my first was 13 mos. MInd you, this was after a year of unprotected sex. However, it felt like perfect timing. It was *almost* a surprise. I thought maybe my first struggle was a fluke. Once 2nd DD turned 10 mos we decided to start trying again. That was 21 mos ago. Two weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. 6 days later I miscarried. Totally devastated. I have no idea how long it will take me to get pregnant again. We’ve come decide that maybe it’s just not God’s time yet! I’m totally grateful for my two girls but I would love to have two more. My heart goes out to women struggling with primary infertility. I struggle with secondary infertility now. I actually *just* started a second blog devoted to infertility and TTC issues. It’s a Christian support blog called “Reflections Of Waiting”. I’m hoping to get guest posters throughout the week to share their stories. I wanted it to be a place where we can vent, ask for prayer, share TTC TMI w/out embarrassment (lol) and get some encouragement from Scripture and each other. And maybe even swap relevant information and advice in regards to infertility issues. It’s also a place to discuss questions like “Where is God in my TTC struggle?” and for women to share their stories of faith in Him. The address is http://www.reflectionsofwaitingwombs.blogspot.com. I welcome new visitors and would LOVE to have people guest post. It’s brand new so I don’t have many followers and it’s just been me writing about once a week on there.

    Thank you for sharing these links. Oh, and have you found that FB is a super depressing place for women who are TTC or struggling with infertility?? LOl EVERY DAY someone is posting a pic of a positive pregnancy test or announcing their news. The other day I started screaming at FB b/c it looked like a friend had just posted a new profile pic with a pregnancy test in it. Turned out it was just an apple slice! Doh!

  17. Okay, so I definitely fall under that first paragraph up there myself. But, I am a child of infertility and was adopted as a result. I have never felt so vividly the pain my parents must have experienced than I have when reading both your and Michele’s stories. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that!

  18. We have 3 beautiful sons. The last 2 are only 14 months apart, so we panicked and I had my tubes tied. Big mistake! I cried the whole way home. We were able to have it reversed in November of 2007, but still no new pregnancy. It is very frustrating every month. People keep telling me to go back to the doctor, but it’s almost as if I’m embarrassed we haven’t gotten pregnant yet after the reversal surgery went so well. I keep some hope alive, but it is so hard to be in this limbo state especially after getting pregnant so easily before.

    • Any chance you’d want to tell your story for this series? I’m pretty sure you’re not the only one who has regretted a knee-jerk decision… you might be able to help other couples think twice before doing something “permanent.”

  19. Did you know last week was National Infertility Awareness Week? Really; there is a week for it. So many people deal with infertility…but when you are dealing with it, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like it is only you sometimes!

    My husband and I found out last year we would be unable to have children biologically. It was hard, and still is, but fortunately we realized that we can adopt. And adoption is just as much a miracle as giving birth to a child. We are waiting and so excited!

  20. I’ve never struggled with fertility issues, but I have a dear friend who is going through this horribly right now. I’ve never felt so helpless because I don’t know what to do for her. I can’t relate to the feelings she’s having or the procedures she’s enduring and while I do check on her every day and just tell her that I love her, I don’t say much because I’m afraid I’m going to say the wrong and insensitive thing! Would anyone have a suggestion? Is there a way to point her toward some of these resources that wouldn’t be offensive? I just want to be a good friend to her. Help! :)

    • @Nell, Nell, If you can gently find a way to bring up the subject, give your friend a chance to talk about it. I’m always scared people get tired of hearing about my issues, so when someone shows some interest it feels so good. Many ladies in my church have come to me and said they’d heard about my miscarriages and just wanted me to know how sorry they are and that they are praying for us. It means a lot to have people just acknowledge it and say they care. –Maria

    • It might not hurt to point her to this series, simply because there are a lot of women sharing their very difficult journeys. She may find some camaraderie among women who have had or are going through similar experiences.

  21. Amy,
    So many women struggle with this so I am glad that you are writing about this. When I was waiting to get pregnant. All of my friends were pregnant and it was so painful. They hated to tell me and I hated to hear it. I was happy for them, but oh so sad for me. Where was my baby? How come God was not blessing us with a baby? I felt like I was being punished! I spent years dreading the “cycle” of waiting. Waiting for the moment to conceive. waiting for the moment to see if I would “start.” It was a crazy time to live for the every 2 week mark. Uggh!
    I am so happy to hear your prayers have been answered!
    I wish you continued good health in your pregnancy journey!
    Kristin

    I recently blogged on this too.

    http://thissweetcountrylife.blogspot.com/2010/05/question.html

  22. Just discovered your website (actually through a google flag when someone mentioned my name and Hannah’s Hope in comments here) and am headed to find you on Twitter now. :) We lived through 10 years of primary then secondary infertility, 3 known miscarriages and 7 adoption losses before bringing home our 3 precious miracles.

    If anyone wants to help support the cause of infertility awareness in general, I’ve recently been nominated as a “Women’s Health Hero” and am trying to gather votes at http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/2010/05/comforting-those-with-fertility-challenges-jenni-saake for their Audience Choice

  23. I don’t really think of myself as infertile – it took us 10 months to get pregnant; the last month being our first round of treatments. I don’t ovulate regularly which makes tracking my cycles and knowing when I’m actually fertile very difficult. –Pray can soothe any situation. The trying was hard, knowing something wasn’t right with me was even harder, there were rough times – but support and pray can do wonders. I talk more about my journey in my Prego Diaries series on my blog: http://www.frommytinykitchen.blogspot.com

  24. We completely credit acupuncture (and God’s timing!) to getting pregnant and staying pregnant. After reading The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis, I decided to give it a try. I didn’t understand it completely, and didn’t go in knowing this was the answer, but it was. Amazing, really.

  25. Hello.
    I wish to ask a question in this discussion space that I see as safe, and I don’t wish to offend anybody, so please take this as geniunely curious and wondering, not as anything mean.
    I would like to understand what drives individuals and couples to seek fertility treatments. I ask this as someone who has not known anyone who has been through this battle. What is the underlying desire? I understand the inability to get pregnant, and I understand the wanting to be a mother, but to me the logical conclusion is to then adopt some of the wonderful children who are unlucky enough to not have a mother in their lives. I say this as one who has 4 AMAZING adopted children in her extended family. I don’t understand, as of now, why the inner desire to be a mother leads to the pain and expense of fertility treatments. I also understand how adoption can be equally painful and expensive.
    Please help me to empathize with this battle. I would really like to be more understanding of it.
    Thank you.

    • Such a great question, and a difficult one to answer! I suppose the reasons are as many and as varied as the women who encounter problems. Speaking only for myself, there were certain treatments (surgery, medication) that we were willing to attempt in order to heal my body. The more expensive and controversial treatments… we always said we wouldn’t do. BUT — I’m not criticizing those who do, because we never had to “go there.” My problem was treated and we were able to have children.

      Throughout the process, adoption was at the forefront of our minds. We wondered if/when we’d reach the point where it was more important for us to be parents than to have a baby. We just never got to that point… I have a cousin who did, though, and they have been blessed with two of the most beautiful children by adoption!

  26. Laura Hunter says:

    Amy-

    I have enjoyed your posts about infertility. My husband and I have started trying to have a baby and it isn’t happening as easily as we would have hoped. Although, our journey has not been long yet I still feel the pain of longing to have a child and it just not happening.

    Our pastor shared the video with us in church this morning and I wanted to share it with you. I was really touched by this sweet womans testimony and I know a lot of your readers will be too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmDUtTTJVEU

    Thanks!

    Laura Hunter

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