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My Infertility Story

I always wanted children from a very young age. In kindergarten we were told to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I drew a picture of me with 10 kids. In high school I thought about maybe being a pre-school teacher or something, but really I just wanted to be a wife and mother.

I never even fathomed that I would be unable to have children. Growing up I didn't know anyone that didn't have kids, and the only person I knew of that had "fertility problems" was my mom, who was told at 15 that she wouldn't have children, ever. I am the oldest of four, two of us being "oopsy babies". When I was 20 I met my friend Laura, who had conceived her twin boys via IVF. This concerned me a little, because I had always thought of infertility as something associated with aging, and she is only a year older than me.

I had gotten married at 19, and after we were married for about a year I went off of birth control. Michael didn't really want a baby yet. Honestly we were not in a good situation to have a baby at all, but I didn't want to wait. I wanted four kids before I was 30, so I wanted to get pregnant! We used the (supposedly ineffective) withdrawal method of birth control for a year or two until he decided he was ready to have kids too (TMI much?). I don't honestly remember when he decided he was on board, but I know that total I have been off of birth control since May 2006.

I had gotten the Depo Provera shot a couple of times when I was 17/18 because I had heard it would stop your period. It didn't, it just made it crazy. And it has NEVER been naturally normal since. About a year after my last shot I was tired of spotting all month, but never really having a period. So I went on the birth control pill. I stayed on that (and used the patch and ring sometimes. Variety is the spice of life right?) for just over a year. I did stop taking it once right after I started being sexually active, and again once after I got married, because I was really unconvinced of the morality of it, but both times Michael was pretty unhappy with that choice, so I went back on the hormones. I actually was pretty upset and in tears about the prospect of being on it after I got married (Michael didn't know that though), and I flushed all my pills down the toilet and I am pretty sure I told God I wouldn't take it anymore. Actually now that I think about it, that could be why I can't get pregnant, I told God I wouldn't do something, and then I did. That months cycle was AWFUL! I was a few days late, and crying from the bad cramps. Years later I think it might have been an early miscarriage, which would be my only pregnancy ever, but we will never know. I had never had a cycle like that. So between the pain and the fact that Michael was NOT happy with the flushing of the birth control I got back on it the next month.

A year later I got off of it for good, and was TERRIFIED that my cycle would be miserable. It wasn't, which is why I think perhaps the other one was a miscarriage. In almost 10 years of trying to conceive I have never had a cycle even close to that one.

I have tried various things to get pregnant: vitex, progesterone cream, ovulation test, preseed, evening primrose oil, maca root, etc. I am really bad at trying things for long periods of time, which probably works against me in the herbal remedies department. If it didn't work in the first month of trying I gave up. I also did 4 cycles of Clomid, and one IUI. None of it worked. I didn't ever get much testing done, because I didn't want to spend money on it when we could be spending money of treatments. I know it sounds stupid, but if we paid for testing, we couldn't pay for treatment, so it was a choice between knowing what was wrong and doing nothing about it, or trying stuff but not knowing what the problem was.

Finally, December 2012, we agreed to stop trying and work on adopting in the near future.  I felt good about giving it up, but if I am totally honest, I still really hoped to get a miracle baby.

In April 2013 we did classes to be foster parents, and we got our first placement on July 18th.  Miss Baby was an 18 month old little girl, and she lived with us for 18 months.  Having her leave was the saddest thing I have ever experienced, but I loved her so much I would go through all the infertility and the sorrow of losing her again if I was given the option.

Our second placement was Little Guy, who was 6 months old on Halloween 2013, which is when we got him.  He is our baby now, things were finalized at the beginning of 2016, but I don't even remember the date because he has been ours since we met him!  As much as the years of infertility were miserable, I am 100% okay with suffering through them, because I can't imagine life without Little Guy.  I love him so much I think it must be the same as ladies that birth their babies feel, because its an insane amount!!!

In summer 2015 I was given a diagnosis for my infertility.  A super crappy one.  Premature Ovarian Failure.  Basically I am in menopause, my ovaries are inactive.  The likelihood of me conceiving is about 5-10%.  Not in a month, but ever.  So probably not going to happen, but better than zero I guess.

I go through very long periods of not thinking about being infertile.  I was hoping to figure out something in summer 2015, which is why I went to the doctor.  I would really like to have more than one child, and though we plan on continuing foster care, its a LOOOOOONG process to adopt, and I would like Little Guy to have a permanent sibling at some point.

Since we started foster care, we have had 25+ placements, ranging in age from 6 months to 11 years.

Comments

  1. Oh Rachel! I'll be praying for you and your husband. I can't imagine what you must be going through.
    I posted this about 2 months ago:http://countrymousemusings.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-miracle-baby.html. I hope it's encouraging.
    Praying for you,
    Rebecca

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  2. Thank you so much for the prayers! Your friend's story is wonderful. I am so happy that she got her miracle baby :) Thank you for sharing the story, and for taking the time to read mine.

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  3. I think birth control has many more adverse effects than the general population realizes. I was on birth control for years before going off of it to try to conceive. I went back on the pill after Nolan was born. When I switched from the mini pill to a regular one after weaning him my cycle got all out of control. My OB/GYN suggested I stop taking it to give my body a break. I had endured years of Clomid/IVF/Pregnancy/Another Pregnancy/Breastfeeding. Ryan and I decided to try to not use any birth control and attempt to have that last baby. 18 months of nothing. I honestly think if we hadn't done the FET and then after they failed gone back on the Metformin Amelia would not have been conceived and we would have been done at 3.

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    1. I think birth control is just like a lot of unnatural things: perfectly safe for a majority of the population but can screw up a few people really bad. But no one tells you that it might screw you up, and lets you decide if that is a risk you want to take.

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  4. Girl, I so hear you. I have been there. I'm a blessed ending but not the usual way. After all our years of trying, drugs, test, etc., I have never been pregnant. God did eventually make me a mama though. Here's a link to where our adoption story was posted. http://www.hedua.com/blog/birthday-gift/
    Thanks for keeping it real.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I read it and left a comment. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. Forget to mention I dropped in from the Homemaking Linkup.

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  6. Have you taken a Natural family planning course? It can be a great help when you are trying to get pregnant. http://www.popepaulvi.com/ Find a doctor thru this website, or one who is knowledgable about bio-identical hormones and NFP, they can help you not only get pregnant but help get your body back to it's natural state. I had secondary infertility and NFP helped me get pregnant, and also helped me take care of my health :)

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    1. I have read everything I could find on NaProTechnology and and SOOOOO interested in it. Unfortunately there is not a center in my state, or anywhere within 5 hours of me. If there ever is one here, I will definitely look into it more. Thanks for the advice and stopping by :)

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  7. :( My heart breaks for you! I've had a much similar story (you can read it on my blog if you want). I actually was diagnosed with PCOS and I'm pretty positive it came from an IUD. I didn't get my period for at least 3-4 years. Totally not natural. I also went gluten free, which again you can read about on my blog and after 3 weeks I got my period and 4 weeks later another one and 4 weeks after that I was pregnant! Just a thought. I know giving it even more of your heart is so hard, but maybe you could try it just as a health thing and not for a baby. Adopting will be amazing and your baby is waiting for you somewhere right now. I will pray for you, your husband and your waiting baby :)

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    1. I have resisted making dietary changes to try to have a baby. I know it is super stupid, but the idea of being "miserable" (I like my junk food, what can I say?) to try to conceive and then failing is like adding insult to injury. I am going to start eating healthier as soon as I can go grocery shopping again, and based on what I have planned for the next few weeks, it looks pretty low in gluten actually. I have had it suggested to me by a few people now that I should try gluten free, maybe God is giving me a hint? Or maybe I just like to look for signs in everything?

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  8. Yeah. After reading what you did to yourself going on and off the birth control pills and other hormones for so long, I would humbly recommend going on Royal Jelly for at least 2-4 months. I'm not saying that you definitely get pregnant or anything, but it works GREAT for regulating hormones and it might help your body out. :)

    (Plus if you order through vitacost it's pretty cheap)

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    1. I have some Royal Jelly. Or rather Royal Jelly pills of some sort http://www.vitacost.com/ys-eco-bee-farms-triple-bee-complex-royal-jelly-bee-pollen-propolis

      I can never figure out how many to take. Plus I have bought SO many supplements that trying to remember them all drives me crazy. I will focus on the Royal Jelly though for the next couple months and see what happens :)

      Plus we can combine vitacost orders if we time it right!

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    2. Yeah. Let me know next time you want to make an order and I'll add your stuff to mine and you can pay me back or whatever! :)
      I don't know how well it works for fertility, but I KNOW it works for balancing hormones, because it worked for me. I think it says on the bottle to take 1-2 twice a day, and I think I just took two in the morning, but that's because I"m lazy and forgetful.
      My period is all whacked out right now, and I'm out of pills so I"m going to get the actual jelly and put small amounts in smoothies, I think

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  9. Hello! I've been where you are. I'm excited to say we just recently adopted two more children for a grande total of 3! I'm praying that God will bless us with more this coming year. I will be praying for you and your hubby. Take care!

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    1. That is so wonderful you have been able to adopt three children (and counting!) I really hope I get my family this year :)

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  10. We're also looking to adopt, after three years. Family is family.

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  11. I could almost insert my name in your story. I very much believe that depo proverb destroyed my fertility...I was on the shots for 5 years and I have never returned to normal cycles. We have adopted three children now through state adoptions and they are a true blessing. Though each month when my period returns I can't help but feel dissapointed

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    Replies
    1. Anyone that advises people to get on Depo Provera should have to pay for their adoption! Obviously this wouldn't really work, but I REALLY hate "the shot". I am so happy that you have your family, and totally understand your monthly disappointment!

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  12. Didn't read through all the comments, but have you tried any herbs for your thyroid? A lot of times it's the problem with infertility.

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    1. I have looked into thyroid issues a little bit, but I am at a pretty normal weight, which is usually the biggest symptom of a thyroid problem. It is something I might look into a little more. I think another Google (actually I think its Bing on this computer) project coming up :)

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  13. i bet their is a child out there waiting for you to be their mama!!

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  14. Rachel, I feel what you are going through. We have struggled with infertility for 5 years and it's a very emotionally painful and draining process. We now have a precious adopted daughter that we love more than anything in the world. She was meant for us and us for her. If we would have been able to get pregnant when we thought the timing was right, we wouldn't have our little Cadence. God always knows best, and He has now graciously taken away that overwhelming desire to have biological children. Adoption is not for everyone, and of course many families have both biological and adopted children as well. My only caution would be to make sure that your hearts are completely settled that adoption is not a "last resort" or "second best option" when you take that life changing plunge. It's a beautiful, also emotionally painful yet blessed experience I wouldn't trade for anything. A great book on the topic is Adopted for Life by Russel D. Moore

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    1. My husband and I are actually in the process of becoming foster parents right now, only one class left and then on to the home visits. I have always been very adamant that adoption WILL NOT be the last resort, which is why I have been really hesitant to commit to anything like saving for IVF. I don't want to adopt after I have tried everything else. If I am being honest I do think it is the second best option to having a child "the normal way", but that is more due to my control freak nature that doesn't appreciate that whatever child I adopt will have been exposed to God knows what in the womb, and will have vaccines (and possibly medications) forced upon it while it is technically in the states custody. I am so happy that your story had a happy ending, and thank you for the book advice :)

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  15. I found out about my fertility issue (I have a septate uterus, a birth defect) after having lots of "unexplainable" pelvic pain in 2009. They did a pap first which was normal so they did an ultrasound of my uterus and I found out that way. My problem basically means that I have an 80-something percent chance of miscarrying. The cycle you described above sounds exactly like a miscarriage to me! I miscarried a twin (carried in one half of my funky uterus) during my pregnancy and it was the most painful, hormonal, and gory experience I've ever had in my life. If you like you can read about my experience with my uterus, pregnancy, and un-natural birth here: Where You Came From - Birth Story.

    I totally agree with you about birth control. My husband absolutely does not want any more kids so I have to be on it and it makes me feel like a completely different person. Good luck on your journey to motherhood!

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    1. The fertility doctor that I went to said it was possible that I have a unicornate uterus (where only one half of the reproductive tract matured), but that shouldn't stop me from getting pregnant, just make miscarriage and pre-term labor more likely.

      It is amazing that you had a baby in each half of your uterus, and terribly sad that you lost one.

      Have you thought about natural family planning? Maybe combined with a barrier method during the fertile times?

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  16. Praying for your journey to motherhood- whatever path God leads you down!

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  17. Hey, great share.....

    I am really happy for you.It really needs a brave heart to share your story in such a platform. Your post is definitely going to be an inspiration and a beacon of light for couples who have been going through fertility issues. I also went through similar phase of life few years back.

    I was really wretched and exhausted of trying to have my own baby but I realized later on that there isn't any point in getting disheartened. I went to Fertlity Solutions Sunshine Coast for my treatment and everything fell into place and now I am a happy mother of a baby girl.The key is to "never give hope".

    Thanks for sharing this post. Keep sharing more....
    Cheers!!

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