Secondary Infertility

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This is the 25th anniversary of National Infertility Week (April 20-26) and I thought I would tell you about my struggles with secondary infertility. According to Resolve.org (The National Infertility Association), secondary infertility is “defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.”

When The Professor and I decided to become more than a family of two, it was fairly easy.  We weren’t actively “trying;” we were just not preventing. It ended up taking nine months, but like I said–we weren’t “trying.”  Then we decided to make S a big sister.  

I was not yet that magic age of 35 when most doctors consider you in advanced maternal age (seriously–I know, I’ve been called this), so when things didn’t happen right away I didn’t worry. But after a few months and some appointments with Dr. Google, I did begin to worry. Fast forward through months of tests, ovulation kits, fertility drugs, and finally 3 IUIs, I got pregnant… with twins.

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We were elated; don’t get me wrong. But a toll had been taken. I was emotionally spent and our marriage had been tested. Month after month, I had been denied the one thing I was hoping for. Did you notice the “I” there? All the treatments were my idea. Of course, I consulted with The Professor and would never do anything that he didn’t support, but I was the driving force.

I blamed myself every month that I didn’t see that little plus sign. I broke down during every shower and cried myself to sleep most nights. I had no idea why I wasn’t pregnant and the doctors didn’t seem to have a reason. And I felt so alone during this time, too. I chose not to tell family and most friends about about my treatments. This is the first time most of you are learning about it. Mainly I chose not to because I didn’t want the pressure of people asking if it was working, but also because I was afraid of their reactions. We already had one happy and healthy child, so shouldn’t that have been enough? That was the question I kept asking myself through our whole 13-month journey.

When I look at our three children now, the only thing I know is how much I adore each of them and how much joy they bring to our family. I’m so blessed to have each of them no matter how we got there.

Have you dealt with infertility? I would love to hear your story and offer you support.

 

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16 Responses to Secondary Infertility

  1. shelli April 21, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Dr Doody is the magic man in my story!!!! After trying to get pregnant for 2 and 1/2 years and taking months and months of fertility meds w my old dr, dr doody took 1 look at me and said – lets check your tubes. Sure enough 100% blockage in 1 and 80-90% in the other. 1 surgery and 1 IUI later I too have twins!!!! I hated showers and was crushed when friends told me theyre pregnant. It was hard to fully be happy for them. But now I appreciate everything I went thru bc it gave me the best things in life!!!! My lil buddies and I could not be happier!!!! :o)

    • Katie April 26, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      Dr. Doody is a pretty popular guy here in Knoxville. I have many friends who have seen him with great results. And yay for twins!!!! My hardest time at a baby shower was the annual church shower where I was celebrating quite a few friends and one friend who knew I was doing treatments said that they’d be celebrating me the next year. I hoped, but my head was realistic that it might not happen. It was like a dagger in my heart. But, they were celebrating me that next year!

  2. Melissa April 21, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    I dealt with it for 14 months trying to get pregnant with M. I don’t know that I have ever felt more alone than going through the testing, shots, medication, poking, and prodding. I remember crying on a nearly daily basis and the heavy tole it took on our marriage until we finally gave up and I came to terms with the fact that my becoming a mother may just never be in the cards. I got hurt moving and had to have surgery on my elbow, so for three months we stopped all infertility, the trying, everything. I focused on setting up our home and preparing for surgery and the day before I went in for some routine pre-surgery blood work and got a call that night saying my surgery was cancelled because I was pregnant. I know our struggle wasn’t near as exhausting as some but for us it was a heartbreaking journey that lead us to the greatest possible outcome!

    • Katie April 26, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      Thank you for sharing, Melissa. I can’t tell you how many people I know that had fertility treatments and then took a break and became pregnant on their own. Thank you for mentioning the toll on your marriage–that is one side effect of fertility treatments they don’t warn you about. It is so important to listen to each other and just be there for the other person. A friend had warned me, but we still felt the struggle.

  3. Brooke April 21, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    My infertility journey lasted for 2 years. We suffered a miscarriage during this time as well. Finally, with the assistance of Chlomid we were able to conceive 9 months after our miscarriage.
    My daughter is now 18 months old and we have started thinking about baby #2. We recently suffered another miscarriage (a surprise pregnancy) at 9 weeks. I’m worried when we do start “trying” that it won’t happen. It’s something I struggle with daily, the constant worry of not being able to have another baby.

    • Katie April 26, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      Brooke, I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. The worry and stress that you are dealing with is so hard. I hope there is someone you can talk to and that your husband is being supportive of your concern and worries.

  4. Linzy Cotaya April 21, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Thanks for sharing your story! Like you I did not share my struggle with anyone because I didn’t want the questions and to have to relive the experience every time someone asked. I am so glad that your story had a good outcome!

    • Katie April 26, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      Thank you, Linzy. I know from your post that you are deciding now what is right for you and your family. Fertility treatments are hard. I won’t lie. They make you feel like a different person, they test you and your marriage in no way that I’ve felt before. But if they work, then you have a miraculous little bundle (or two) to love on.

  5. Jennifer April 21, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing your story; infertility is still something so many families deal with behind closed doors because it’s so personal… and often painful. I was 38 when we started trying to get pregnant, so my wonderful doctors didn’t wait a second before launching into full-on fertility mode. After 2 failed months with Clomid, I was referred to a fertility specialist. Thank you, Dr. Harris, who finally diagnosed my PCOS. 4 months of pills and shots later, I was pregnant. I consider myself so blessed that our journey was relatively short and I was able to carry our little nugget to term. She is now almost 2, healthy, precocious, sassy, and wonderful. My heart goes out to those on long journeys, those who have lost little ones in the process, and those for whom it never works. I thank you for being brave enough to open up the discussion so that we can have a place to share.

    • Katie April 26, 2014 at 8:01 am #

      Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer. Fertility issues are so emotional and can be incredibly draining. I’m glad your journey was short and that you had doctors that listened to your needs early.

  6. Elizabeth April 22, 2014 at 12:45 am #

    I think we all should be more educated about infertility. I remember when a family member said, “Why do you need a doctor to show you how to ‘do it’?” It is so hurtful when others can be ignorant or lack empathy for something so difficult. I was unaware that it was this week. Thanks for reminder. Let us support one another.

    • Katie April 26, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth. Fertility is often taken for granted unless you are the person having difficulty. I’m sorry you had hurtful things said to you.

  7. Elisabeth July 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    I have been trying for a third child for almost three years now. I have had three miscarriages and we are now onto injectible medicine and just did out third iui. I am almost 35 and exhausted. My last successful pregnancy was almost 6 years ago. I’m so tired of this. We are looking into ivf but I’m terrified it will fail too. We have sperm morphology issues and I have a folate problem that’s hopefully resolved with a food drug. I’ve been poked and prodded to death. I am so very sad. I am in the two week wait now of the iui with bravelle. I hope it worked. Thanks for your story. I am so glad you had a happy ending!

    • Katie August 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

      Elisabeth,
      Thank you for sharing your story with us. Infertility (no matter what kind) is a hard road, and I only wish the best for you. I hope you had good results, and pray for a peaceful heart if you did not.
      Katie

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  9. Mandi November 15, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    I have been trying for now two years for our second child. We got pregnant the first month we tried with our son who is now 3. It’s been a long road. I’ve felt all of the emotions you shared. Just started my period again today and just move on to the next month when I still don’t get pregnant; BUT I have given this desire to the Lord and just hope and pray He will give me the desires of my heart. Thanks for sharing.

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