My husband and I struggled with infertility for years. After trying to conceive for six months, I feared that there was something wrong. All of the women on my side of the family conceive quickly. We are both very healthy, active adults, so we couldn't imagine why we weren't able to conceive.
Luckily, my OB-GYN agreed to start screening me for infertility after six months. (Most doctors make you wait a year.) I "failed" the first test: a blood test to determine if my hormone levels were high enough. They were "borderline." The next test was for my husband, who balked at the idea of having to undergo a semen analysis. His results were also "borderline." After one more test, which we also "failed," my OB-GYN referred us to an infertility specialist for artificial insemination.
We were excited to try inseminations. After all, how could we not conceive?? My doctor prescribed Clomid to get my hormone levels up and increase my chances of ovulating. He warned that there could be some "discomfort," such as a headache.
Calling it a headache is like calling a lion a cat! I have never experienced such an intense migraine in my life. And the Clomid caused me to have numerous hot flashes, even after I stopped taking the hormones for the month. It was quite embarrassing to turn beet red and pour out sweat in the middle of a business meeting. The worst side effect (according to my husband, anyhow) was the extreme mood alteration. I am normally an easy-going person. The Clomid made me extremely aggressive, and I would rip my husband's head off for the slightest infraction.
The insemination itself was painful. Let's just say that a pap smear is now a walk in the park to me.
After the inseminations, I would take progesterone to support the baby if a pregnancy occured. This drug made my body react like it was pregnant, and the drugs made me depressed. I would cry and cry from the hormones.
The only thing that kept me going each time was the hope that this time it would work, that we would conceive a baby. We never did. Each round of inseminations got harder for us. I had to start taking medically-prescribed barbituates to endure the Clomid migraines. The doctor had me come into the office for follicle tracking (to determine exactly when I ovulated), which meant taking more and more time off of work. And insurance didn't pay for the inseminations. So, each month, we saw another $350 fly out the window for nothing.
Despite all the physical hardships, the hardest part was the emotional roller coaster. I would find out that the insemination hadn't worked, but didn't have much time to cry about it because it would be time to start all over again.
In addition to more than a dozen inseminations, my husband had surgery to correct his end of things, and I had surgery (a laparoscopy) to remove endometriosis. Thank goodness insurance covered both surgeries.
After all of the surgeries, hormones, and failed inseminations, we reached a point where we couldn't go on emotionally. The doctors wanted us to try IVF, but we decided that enough was enough (both because of the costs AND the emotions involved). Having the doctor "in our bedroom" was taking a toll on our marriage, and our lives revolved around my cycles. We finally asked ourselves, "Is our goal to make a baby, or is it to become parents?" We realized that there was another way to become parents -- through adoption.
We are now the proud parents of a beautiful nine and a half-month-old boy. He is absolutely our world. We now understand why we had to endure so much pain. We truly feel that it was God's plan for us to become THIS BABY'S parents. If we had conceived, this wouldn't have happened. I thank God every day for blessing us with such a wonderful baby. We never take him for granted. Although the pain of infertility was enormous, it doesn't come close to the incredible joy we feel in being our son's parents.
For those of you who are struggling with infertility, the end result is worth every single second of pain and every single tear. The joy you feel when you hold your baby in your arms outweighs all the agony. And remember that conception is not the only way to become a parent. I couldn't love my son more if I had carried him in my body for nine months. In fact, I think I love him even more because I went through so much to become his mother.