One woman’s advice for couples with infertility
Guest Author: Laura P.
I’m not a doctor, a therapist, nor an expert in infertility. I am simply a woman sharing my story about wanting a baby and the advice I have for couples who struggle with it as well.
I’ve always wanted to hear the pitter patter of little feet toddling through my home. Children can enrich life like nothing else. As a young girl I had the idea in my head that I would grow up, get married, have children and live happily ever after, simple as that. Well, it hasn’t been quite so simple. When my husband and I got married in our early thirties we didn’t take any precautions against pregnancy. We were happy to just let the chips fall how they may, but hoping a pregnancy would be sooner than later. After a while of trying with not really trying we began to track ovulation in an attempt to be more purposeful about trying to conceive. Any woman who has ever tried to conceive can tell you that after you have tracked ovulation and timed intimacy, waiting for the results of a pregnancy test is torture. You are so hopeful as you stand in the bathroom starring at the test waiting for the lines to appear. When the lines don’t appear you sometimes try and convince yourself that there is a line, a really really faint one. You hold it up to better lighting willing a line to appear as you get a better look. You ask your neighbor to come over and take a look to see if they think they can see a line. You want it to happen so badly you sometimes take another test in hopes that the first one you took was defective. At times you even go as far as to get the test out of the garbage to see if maybe those two magic lines have appeared. It’s an awful feeling to want something so badly and to not have it happen like you thought it would.
After two years of trying to conceive on our own we decided to enlist the help of a fertility specialist. After many test and trips to the clinic they determined that it would be “unlikely” for us to conceive on our own. So now we have started the process of IUI (insemination) and possibly IVF (in vitro fertilization). So far we have had one unsuccessful IUI and we are waiting on the results of our second attempt. Our doctor has suggested we only try IUI one more time and then move onto IVF. We’ll see about IVF, we are still trying to decide what will be best for us. So in the meantime, I would like to pass on bits of advice I wish I’d known before we started this process. Let me preface this by saying, I am not a doctor, nurse, or any other medical professional for that matter, I am just a woman who is dealing with infertility and the following information is what I’ve found.
This is the time when you two need each other the most. Turn to each other for the love and support. Some couples will hyper-focus on the process and completely neglect the relationship. Don’t forget to nurture one another, go on date nights, and leave the “baby-making” talk at home once in a while.
Take Care of Each Other
Finding out you are infertile or that you may need extra help conceiving can be very hard news to hear. This can cause personal stress and can also cause a great deal of stress in your relationship. Be prepared to be sensitive to how your partner chooses to deal with the stress. I wanted to talk about it until I couldn’t talk anymore and my husband didn’t want to talk about it right away. It was important for me to give him the time he needed and so I chose a close friend to talk to. When the time was right for both of us we were able to talk about what was going on together.
Family doctors are great for initial diagnosis. They can order and read the initial blood tests for the female and let you know if
hormones are low. They may also be able to prescribe medications to help with low hormone levels, but there can be so much more to the problem that only a specialist can properly detect and diagnose. Specialist can also get to the problem faster and are specially trained in finding solutions. We have been seeing an endocrinologist who is also a fertility specialist. We have been impressed with their knowledge and the timely manner our test have been done in. You can learn more about our specialist at www.fertilitydr.com
Call Your Insurance Company
Many insurance companies will pay for diagnosis and treatment of the underlying problem. Fertility testing and treatment can be costly so don’t shoulder it all on your own if you don’t have to.
Do Your Homework
There are programs out there that sponsor IVF and also help with the costs of the medications IVF requires. Find out if there are programs in your area that you may qualify for. Also, keep in mind that many fertility clinics offer low interest financing. If you can’t qualify for financing find someone who does and ask them to take the loan out for you and you make the payments.
Remember the Romance
Don’t make SEX become a JOB (even when it kinda has to be one). When going through the fertility process there will be times when you will need to schedule intercourse. Talk with your partner at the beginning of the month to make sure you are on the same page and have similar expectations. For some couples, scheduling intercourse for fertility purposes can easily become a “job” instead of what it should be…FUN. Give your partner a candle lit massage, give light kisses from head-to-toe, or have good make-out session! Do what you can to make sure you keep some sort of spontaneity, excitement, and arousal even though it’s scheduled.
Spice It Up With Date night!
Have a weekly date night where you agree to not discuss anything fertility related. When you are in the thick of fertility testing, taking a million different medications, and frequenting the doctor you sometimes forget you have a life outside of trying to have a baby; date nights will help you remember.
Discuss All Options
Talk with your partner about the lengths you’re willing to go. How much money can you reasonably invest? Are you open to embryo adoption? Sperm donation? Would adoption be a better option? This conversation is a must have, it is crucial that you and your partner are on the same page.
Oh The Things People Will Say
Good intended people may try to comfort you, yet they may go down the road of saying some dumb things. Be prepared for people to tell you to things you already know but don’t want to hear at the moment, such as “have faith” or “you just need to relax.” The same people will also want to give you some kind of miracle vitamin or essential oil that they swear will magically make you fertile, everyone has a magic cure. I suggest just smiling and nodding, then going home and screaming.
Don’t Do it Alone! Get Support NOW
Many communities have support groups where you can meet people going through very similar situations; it feels great to talk to people who can truly relate. Also, don’t be afraid to share with your close friends and family what you are going through, you shouldn’t go through this alone.
If you are struggling with infertility, please know that you aren’t alone.
One thing I have yet to mention is that my husband and I were blessed with a sweet baby boy through the miracle of adoption 8 months ago. We love him and treasure him and want more than anything to make him a big brother someday. Often times when people hear that we are pursuing fertility they say, “at least you already have one child.” Yes, we do have one and we are grateful for him every day, but that doesn’t take away the desire to have more children. I will say that if were able to adopt all of our children we would be elated. To follow our fertility and adoption journey please feel free to visit my personal blog at www.elephantgame.blogspot.com Oh and if you or someone you know is interested in placing a baby for adoption, we are interested in meeting you.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653