….when I say all my symptoms went away, I don’t mean all Celiac symptoms. But guys, I could eat food like a normal person again. I didn’t feel like I was getting stabbed in the gut constantly, I was gaining some weight back (it’s not good to be unhealthily skinny), and I had normal bowel movements. TMI but this is a vulnerability post and I did say it was going to be personal.
Okay so after my stomach issues went away (again this was over the course of a year or longer and about $6,000 DOLLARS OR MORE later – yes just for the stomach stuff), back to our fertility issues. After being referred to the local fertility clinic, J and I decided that we would begin fertility treatments. We decided to start with doing IUIs. For those of you who don’t know the difference between that and IVF, you will want to look it up haha.
I had never talked to someone about fertility treatments in depth before and what those entailed at all. Again I think this was my naiveness. So I guess we both went into the whole process pretty blind. I didn’t think to reach out to others and ask for help or advice or support through the process (side note – if you are struggling with infertility, my advice is to get as much support as you possibly can). As I said before, I am not super open when it comes to personal issues unless you’re someone I know super well. But I kind of wish I had opened up more throughout the process.
I didn’t know that the statistics are like 98% of people will not be successful in getting pregnant after their first IUI… so I went into the process super hopeful. You get the procedure done and then two weeks later they do a blood pregnancy test – meanwhile you’re giving yourself progesterone shots, taking chlomid, and injecting progesterone suppositories – so you’re LOADED with all the hormones. This cycle is the absolute worst! I can’t even begin to describe the emotions felt during this process. And let me just start by saying that I recognize how blessed we are to have not had to do IVF and to have it only take us two years vs. five or whatever, because it was that hard for me.
After being loaded with all the progesterone, you develop pregnancy symptoms regardless of if you’re pregnant or not. So after the first IUI and feeling hopeful, I was like ok I’m for sure pregnant. Blood test two weeks later… negative. I cried and cried and then went home and did more research. We geared up for IUI #2, still remaining pretty hopeful and positive. IUI#2 complete… new symptoms developed and I was like ok I think I might really be pregnant this time! Blood test two weeks later… negative. I cried even harder.
When above I said that I can’t begin to describe my emotions – true story. I felt positive and happy at times, I felt sad and heartbroken at times, and then I felt truly angry other times. Angry at anyone who was able to get pregnant fast, angry with God for denying me something I wished for so badly, and then angry with myself for feeling angry with God! Geared up for IUI #3. This was THE one! The fertility clinics tell you that after three IUIs you need to consider IVF because you should become pregnant by the third. So I was like ok, this is our chance or we move to IVF. But by this point I was very negative about the whole thing, which I feel shameful admitting but it’s true. I already was dead set on it being negative – we were already talking about how we were going to possibly pay for IVF after spending $6k on my medical issues and I didn’t mention the $8k we had spent applying for dental schools at around the exact same time. We were both beyond stressed. We were struggling through all of our trials but somehow our marriage was getting stronger and stronger at the same time – we were in this together. We both knew how each other felt… for once there was no “you don’t understand” to be said!
IUI #3 complete…same symptoms as the month(s) before, unsure if I was pregnant and had very very negative attitude as I said before. Blood test two weeks later… negative. Despite how negative I had been in preparing for the third IUI, I don’t think I had ever cried so much in my life as I did at this time I found out it was negative. This was the one that had to work – and it didn’t. Why me? Why us? So many questions, no answers. Nights spent praying and praying, no answers. I was emotionally, physically, mentally drained. By this point we just really didn’t know what to do and we had a decision to make. Do we save up for IVF or do we continue down the same path?
Meanwhile…. J had applied to 18 dental schools throughout the nation. Again, 8k later and we were waiting for acceptances to schools. December 1st is the day they call “Decision day.” Supposedly by midnight on Nov 31st students start getting offers and literally the majority of our friends had received an acceptance that night or within a week or two after. Nothing for us. Hopeless! We were not getting pregnant and we were not getting accepted to schools. I feel like if you’re struggling to find a spouse all you see online are engagement photos, proposals, and weddings. When you’re struggling to have a baby it’s the same. All you see are pregnancy announcements, birth announcements etc. During the time of treatments I found out that one of my very best friends was pregnant and hadn’t even been trying. My sister in law announced her pregnancy to the family at one point during our fertility treatments and of course I was SO happy for them both. Also feel shameful admitting that I was completely heartbroken too, I was feeling very sorry for myself. I just remember bawling multiple times but also knew there was nothing anyone could do for me and nothing that would make the pain go away. I was trying so hard to keep myself together and was so happy and supportive of friends and their situations but was literally dying inside. This is where having a good support system is super beneficial.
J and I had done more research about the IUI procedures and were trying to figure out the best decision for us. We had spent about $15,000 or more between my medical expenses and his dental school expenses and had spent about $5,000 on fertility appointments and procedures already. If the 4th IUI wouldn’t work, that’s $5k we could have spent towards IVF. So we were down $20k and this was literally one of the hardest decisions i’ve ever had to make but at the same time a very easy one. We both around the same time found articles that stated 4-6 IUI’s with no breaks in between would give the best shot at becoming pregnant (even though the fertility clinic tells you three – and I think this is because they don’t want you to waste money if you’re going to need to do IVF). J found an article that discussed taking a supplement which helps the male sperm, while I found an article that discussed taking a supplement for celiac which can help gain fertility. Decision made. We decided on IUI #4.
IUI #4 complete. Blood test two weeks later… POSITIVE. WAS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? On December 30th we were out to breakfast with friends when I got the call and though I was expecting the phone call, I was not expecting to hear that I was pregnant. I was nervous but also still kind of expecting the worst I guess! I had to take a few mins outside in disbelief BY MYSELF, crying, with all sorts of mixed emotions and things running through my head. I was ACTUALLY PREGNANT. Then I had to go back into the diner and pretend that nothing was going on when all I wanted to do was scream to everyone that I was pregnant. Oh and not only that but I had to text my husband that we were pregnant. What a great way of finding out right? haha! He went into the bathroom and took a video of himself and his excitement. We have a bunch of those documented and hope to get them up on YouTube sometime in the near future.
I share all of this (with whoever is reading this) in hopes that if you or anyone you know might be struggling with infertility, find support for yourself or reach out to those you know! Those few friends who were aware and were there for me will never even understand the impact they made on our lives and our situation. Again, I recognize that everyone has their own trials and struggles and ours probably wasn’t so bad compared to the person you know who never could get pregnant and had to adopt or compared to those that took years and years to get pregnant when ours only took a couple years. But I will tell you that they were the hardest years of my life.
We move to Columbus, Ohio in 5 days because we finally received dental school acceptances. Our first acceptance on April 7th. Four months after everyone we knew had received an acceptance already. I firmly believe that sometimes we have no control over our own lives but somehow things ultimately work out for our good. I got pregnant at a great time, we received three dental school acceptances and one to a better school than we could’ve imagined or ever have picked for ourselves (a school not even remotely on our radar) and we are off to start a new adventure together.
It is okay to struggle – that’s the beauty of this challenge, we get to see a whole different side of those we might think have perfect lives. We are human, none of us are perfect and it’s important to remember that need to try not to compare our situations to others! We each have our own path with trials and struggles along the way. If you read my whole story… props and thank you!! I do have to admit it was hard for me to write this all out but also felt relieving in a huge sense. I feel super blessed to be pregnant with our baby boy who gets to join us in 3 short months! I can’t wait to meet him and can’t wait to be his mama!