Odd Bird Out
Diagnosis: Unexplained Infertility
Easter 2018. We did our normal holiday routine; got up and put on our Sunday best and went to my Mom’s house to do an Easter egg hunt and have dinner. After, we did a little shopping with the kids and wound up at Toys ‘R” Us / Babies “R” Us. While the kids browsed the toys, we naturally wound up walking around looking at baby clothes, car seats, etc. and talking about how exciting it would be to start the next chapter of our lives. We knew from the time we met that we eventually wanted a baby together. We’d been married about 6 months at that point, but had been together and raising our two kids from my previous relationship for 6 years. We felt we were in the right place in our finances and careers to finally move forward and try for a baby and we didn’t want our two older children to get much more grown before expanding our family. So that day we excitedly agreed to start on our conception journey.
In the beginning and for most of that year it was just a matter of not taking birth control anymore, tracking cycles and assuming it would just happen. Neither of us had any pre-existing conditions that would lead us to believe we were unable to have children. By Easter of the following year nothing had happened. While my heart grew increasingly heavy with each passing month, I was still hopeful – always keeping a stash of pregnancy tests under the bathroom sink, pinning nursery ideas to my Pinterest board; we even had names picked out.
We tried to give ourselves some grace, knowing that with both of our jobs being stressful and José also going to school full time for his Masters - maybe it was just life stress working against us and we just needed a little more time and patience. We kept trying for the remainder of the year, until December when we decided we needed some answers. We met with my OB-GYN to discuss and explore some options. It was decided that we would begin testing to make sure everything was okay, and that I would have a Pap, and José a semen analysis to kick things off. After that came back normal, we were referred to a Fertility Specialist and with it came the slew of poking and prodding, sampling and testing. Colposcopy, bloodwork, D&C, bloodwork, rounds of Clomid, more bloodwork, AFC, genetic testing, HSG - you name it. Literally everything came back normal. All of that on top of it being 2020, was just mentally and physically exhausting, not to mention financially draining.
February 9, 2021. We had our follow up appointment with our Fertility Specialist at which time we were given our diagnosis of: Unexplained Infertility. He then explained that our options were IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).
I’d be lying if I didn’t already suspect this to be the case after so long trying with everything coming back normal, but hearing it come out of his mouth...I felt irritated, angry, broken and then just numb. José and I had discussed this possibility many times ad nauseam, and we both agreed that if there was nothing physically preventing us from getting pregnant we would take that as our answer. Something about going against fate, the Universe, God, whatever it may be, just didn’t set right with us. There was obviously a reason we weren’t able to get pregnant and it wasn’t physical - so maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. I know lots of couples that don’t feel that way and I support their choice and journey 100%, this was just our personal conviction/decision.
It’s interesting when I stop to think about this journey, or rather, just the plans we make for our lives in general. I remember when I met José and not long after we began dating I just knew we would have a child together one day, I could see it so clearly. I could see the baby’s big, soft cheeks, and it’s long dark eye lashes - just like his, and it’s wispy curly hair. I could feel those little exhausted sighs against my chest as it gave in to sleep, full and happy. I could hear José in my mind, talking in all his funny voices and just soaking up all the newness of having a baby. I could see the kids teaching it all types of silly things, and also being very protective and gentle. As time went on, I could see, hear and feel these less clearly. It was like being underwater - everything becoming blurry and muffled.
I am at a place now where I know I need to let go; if for nothing more than to save myself from drowning in the pain of it all.
My heart has been broken for a long time. I’m terrified that the inability to even have another baby will take me a lifetime to mourn. In the same breath, I don’t want what is not meant for our lives - no matter how much I think I may want it. I can’t see the big picture, I don’t know what’s around the next turn. I do know however, that I am more than grateful for the two amazing kids we do have and when they fly the nest, if we haven’t somehow wound up pregnant, maybe we’ll just get more dogs. We will cross these bridges as we get to them.
As it is now Easter again, I felt it fitting to finally get it all down on paper. Maybe getting it out of my head will be somewhat therapeutic, while therapy itself has been helpful in its own right, I’m able to articulate myself better when I write it out. I know this is something that will shape me and affect me for the rest of my life, but I really want to try to process it and move forward from this point, as much as I humanly can, while still allowing myself the space to grieve.