A year after our miscarriage my husband and I were still trying to get pregnant in the “normal” way. I was glued to the calendar and knew the exact days I could become pregnant, but to be sure we decided to make love nightly.
Being physical with your partner is a beautiful expression of your emotional connection. It takes what the heart sings and makes it physical. However, when the physical act becomes a “chore” to be performed regardless of your level of desire, exhaustion, emotional distress or any other thing that may interfere, it is no longer an act of love, it’s a job.
As months pass without getting pregnant, the darker emotions take over. Anger, jealousy, envy and ultimately the hurt creep in and steal your heart. We knew people who could sneeze and get pregnant, people who had not one but multiple “woopsies” that resulted in beautiful children.
Also crashing down on us was the usual “when are you two going to have a baby?” from family and friends. Parents in particular can be an emotional land mine when navigating their well-meant queries about when we were going to make them grandparents. Piled on even thicker were the “well-wishers.” I dreaded hearing “just RELAX and it’ll happen.” Harder still, people around us were having babies like they were the new “it” item of the season. I was devastated; my husband remained strong.
I finally asked my physician to refer us to a fertility doctor. I was ashamed and embarrassed that I could not give my husband a baby. Hence began our foray into the world of fertility treatments.
First up was fertility testing to see what the actual problem was. I was tested, as was my husband, to which the doctor announced that my husband was an Olympian in the fertility department while my hormone levels were rapidly decreasing and due to extremely heavy menstrual cycles I was dangerously low on iron. I did not have any physical blockage but I was not ovulating on a regular basis.
After discussing the types of treatments available, we decided to start at the shallow end of the pool with IUI (intrauterine insemination) before doing IVF (in vitro fertilization) hence the shots began. I was doing a hormone shot every day before I did a “booster” shot to have my eggs drop. My husband had to give them semen and I had to give myself shots–shots that altered my mood, gave me bruises and made me irrationally think that I was a horrible person and was being punished. And the cost, the cost is astronomical. The doctor is thousands of dollars, up front thank you very much. The hormones are massively expensive and with the exception of the initial exams, NOTHING was covered by our insurance. We were solely responsible for any financial incurrence.
Much to our delight, I became pregnant with the first IUI treatment cycle. We decided to be reserved emotionally about the pregnancy as it may not end well. It didn’t. At my 8 week checkup the doctor let me know that the fetus had stopped developing and I was in a miscarriage situation. Once again, we were devastated. This time I decided to miscarry at home and not do a DNC. That was a huge mistake; I would never advise anyone to do this. I know some women don’t have a choice, but I did and for me it was a bad choice. The physical pain ended after 4 days but the emotional pain cut even deeper than the first time.
My husband and I made the decision to cease fertility treatments. Not only is it financially crippling, it takes an untold emotional price when it fails. Since I was adopted and my husband’s sister was adopted our next obvious choice was adoption.
We began the adoption process soon after our decision. The process is straight forward. The paper work is daunting, but it’s the emotions that are harder to navigate. We are now officially on the waiting list. It took us 2 years to fully work through the emotions, to work out the anger and disappoint and to get back into a healthy head space.
We are now waiting; we were warned by the adoption agency that this period of time would be the hardest of all, but at the end of the wait we would receive a brand new addition to our family. So now we wait, but with joy and anticipation. We gleefully look at baby furniture, baby clothes, recite baby names and contemplate what items we need initially and later.
Best of all, my husband and I no longer carry our emotional “baby” baggage and us making love?…It’s no longer a job.
About the author: Kathleen Littell spent 17 years working in massage therapy at Las Vegas resort spas as well as in management. After her massage career she moved into post-secondary education and mental health. Now Kathleen is a freelance writer and CEO of a company run side by side with her husband. Together they rescue animals, especially Beagles and look forward to the day they become parents. You can reach Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org