Saturday, June 27, 2015

Secondary Infertility

Not knowing and having to wait for answers has got to be one of the toughest things in life.  Can I get an amen??  I still remember being in the NICU, holding our full-term baby Ellie all hooked up to monitors and an IV, waiting to find out what on earth was going on.  It was heart-wrenching.

Similarly, one of the hardest things for me about navigating this infertility road has been not knowing WHY we couldn't seem to get pregnant.  The first time I'd heard the term "secondary infertility" was in the comment section of a favorite blogger's post about her journey to getting pregnant.  I have to say, it FREAKED me out.  My husband and I had just had a miscarriage and I was still healing before we could try again.  And all of a sudden I was terror-stricken that we weren't going to be able to have another baby.

The Lord gently reminded me that in Him there is no fear, and I'm so glad He pushed that aside so I wasn't daily living in that fear (I swear I think it would've crippled me).

The good that came from that was it corrected something I was mistaken about--that it gets easier to get pregnant each time.  I don't know why I thought that.  Maybe I'd heard so many instances of that after it took us a bit of time to get pregnant with our daughter, Ellie.  I hoped for that ease for sure.  So learning about this thing called "secondary infertility" helped me realize that that wasn't necessarily the case.

For those wondering--secondary infertility is basically where you've successfully had a baby before (without fertility treatment), and now you're either not able to get pregnant again on your own, or you keep miscarrying.

I gave it a year, knowing that it could take a year for even a young, healthy couple to get pregnant.  I even gave it a little more time, thinking it was bound to happen soon.  Right?  It had to happen soon... Okay, any day now... No, still not happening?  My husband had just changed jobs and we hadn't figured out our new insurance yet.  But with each negative pregnancy test I started to feel like something must be up.

My husband and I went through every thought in the book--maybe it was because of a new medication I was taking.  Maybe something had gone wrong from the miscarriage and emergency D&C.  Oh look, this website says to stay away from hot tubs and boxer briefs.  This one says to take these supplements.  Okay so that should help.  Still nothing.  I thought it had to be me.  He thought it must be him.  Maybe my tubes had become blocked.  I even wondered if this was going to be God's way of alerting us to some bigger health scare that was going on.

It was horrible not knowing.  I was finally able to schedule an appointment with a general practitioner who would then refer me to an OB, and I started down the road of physicals and blood tests, etc.  David got good news on his end so we kept wondering what it could be.

My referral for an OB took longer than we thought, and then a mishap with the referral letter and a new insurance number prevented me from being seen.  (Oh the tears of frustration that day!)  The new referral letter came, and I was disappointed to see it was for an entirely different doctor's office. (I'd already filled out paperwork, etc. and had an appointment ready to go at the first one.)

But what do you know, it was for a fertility specialist.  Hey!  That might be even better! I thought, and called to schedule an appointment right away.  (This was in February of this year--2015.)  The cheerful voice that greeted me asked if I'd be available Monday, June 15th at 1:30pm.  Inside my heart sunk, but I quickly picked my jaw up off the floor and said, "Yes, that should be fine."  (Haha, as far as I knew I didn't have any plans for FOUR MONTHS OUT.)  I tried to stay optimistic.  Maybe by June we'll know what problems we're up against and may need the fertility specialist!  "Would you like to be called if anything earlier opens up?" the receptionist asked.  "Sure, that'd be great!" I answered.

Y'all... that very week she called me back with an opening for the following Monday.

I couldn't believe it!  Thank you, Lord!! I laughed and was so excited.  Until I opened my email with the paperwork and saw how much the initial consultation was... $$$  Cue heart sinking again.

Soon I was able to get a hold of our insurance provider to ask what coverage (if any) we might have to see a fertility specialist.  And what do you know--thank you husband's job--the consultation was covered!  Lab work, ultrasounds, appointments, medications--everything for testing and diagnosing had a very reasonable copay, and the only thing we'd be up against was if we needed treatment.  I was so surprised and thankful.

And after that glorious first consultation with our fertility doctor, the best way to describe how I felt, was I could finally breathe. *big exhale.*

I finally saw potential for a light at the end of the tunnel.  I didn't have to keep assertively trying to schedule appointments at different places and press doctors to tell us the next step we should take.  We might actually find out answers soon. (!!)  There was more hope than ever before that a baby could be in our future after all, and we were relieved to be in such good hands.  We're so thankful the Lord led us to this doctor!

It's been a few months now of routine appointments--so much so that Ellie has gotten the drill down pat (where to get her lollipop, where to stamp our parking pass, etc. haha).  With each test we've done, we've anxiously awaited the results, and with relief (mixed with confusion) we've continuously gotten good results.  Which is great and all--but the doctor knew if we found a problem, she could fix it.  We were starting to feel discouraged (or mostly confused) again, until the day we did our post coital test.   (Sounds so scientific huh?!)

Well... it's with great relief that I can FINALLY say we have figured out at least one of the contributing causes for our infertility.  And it's not as scary as I thought!  It's even something that can change over time (which is why we were able to get pregnant before--and who knows, maybe things will go completely normally for future kiddos.)  But for now, it's looking like IUI (intra-uterine insemination) will hopefully be a great treatment for us.  That was a relief for David to hear, too, as it's MUCH more affordable than IVF.  So hopefully this will be what God uses to grow our family!!

So there you have it... our journey to--first realizing we're facing secondary infertility--to then navigating it, and finding our first steps in hopefully beating it.

We know it can take several times doing IUI before it could potentially work for us (and obviously there's no guarantee--there could be something else going on that we haven't come across yet).  But it feels amazing to know we're taking steps forward, and that there's actually a chance that I COULD be pregnant soon!  While I'm teetering between hopeful and realistic, I'm just beyond thankful that things are happening.  I'm incredibly thankful for our doctor.  I'm grateful to be walking this road with such supportive and prayerful friends and family.  And I'm just feeling ready to ride out this roller coaster to see where God leads us.

Hopefully it's to baby town!

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