Twin Cities Mom Collective

Infertility Awareness Week: We Never Stopped Trying

This April for National Infertility Awareness Week, we here at Twin Cities Mom Collective want you to know we see you. We see your struggles and triumphs; we see the pain and the love. And we certainly know you never stopped trying.

My mother recently stayed with us for a few weeks. Throughout her stay, she repeated a phrase that made me cringe: “Look what happened when you two stopped trying.”
We NEVER stopped trying. Why is it assumed that when a couple is suffering from infertility, they just need to relax or “take a break” from trying and it will all work out? How does one “relax” when the thing they want most in the world is out of their reach? Why is it assumed that if a couple does actually conceive after a bout of infertility, it is because they finally relaxed?

My husband and I experienced secondary infertility for a little over three years. That’s three excruciating years of ovulation kits, awful tasting tinctures, and hundreds of dollars spent monthly on health supplements. So many uncomfortable alternative treatments – vaginal steaming, abdominal massage, acupuncture. Three years of planned sex and marital stress; of constantly researching the various fertility treatment options. Three years of smiling through my pain as my best friends announced their pregnancies. Three years of examining every pregnancy test I peed on…is this a pink line? Maybe if I hold it in this light, it’ll turn pink. Are there two lines? Maybe it’s defective. All those mind games and superstitions. Three years. It really took a toll on us.

We were in the process of adopting a baby boy who was due to be born in June of 2017. During the whole adoption process, we never stopped trying. I envisioned this little boy being our glorious middle child, so loved and sandwiched between the two girls I hoped to have.

We were too afraid to tell anyone our adoption news, too scared to believe that this dream could come true. We finally told our family and friends about our intentions to adopt. I arranged for the time off from work. I finally allowed myself to buy baby boy clothes. A week later, I got over my superstitions and we decided on a name for him. It felt so perfect. This was God’s plan falling into place. And then it wasn’t. The day after picking out his name, we received the news that the birth mother had changed her mind, just a few weeks before his due date. This broke me more than any miscarriage I’d had.

Infertility Awareness Week: We Never Stopped Trying | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Being from Montana, mountain air and a vast open sky always heal my hurts. When I am in the mountains, my problems seem small and insignificant. Each time, I come back with a clearer head and a better relationship with God. So we planned a late-summer trip to Glacier National Park to try and magically heal.

A few months before our trip, I had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test done. An HSG checks to see if your fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked. I had read that if you have blocked tubes, the process of the liquid being forced through them is painful but will likely open them up. Short of kidney stone pain, this was the most pain I have experienced before. I was excited to see the results – they just had to have found a blockage as that test HURT. But everything came back fine, just like every other fertility test we had previously undergone. I am a planner. I like to take action and make things happen. So not having an answer or solution to our problem was maddening for me.

We made plans with my OBGYN to start hormonal injections as soon as I got home from our Glacier trip. Once home, my next cycle would involve intrauterine insemination (IUI). How’s that for marital romance?

We flew out to Montana and dropped our daughter off at my parent’s house. Then we headed out for our adventures in Glacier. We were quite exhausted after an entire day of hiking and checking out the local breweries. Our room at the lodge had two queen beds in it, which sounded glorious. If this had not been our first time away overnight without our daughter (she was almost 4), we probably would have collapsed into separate beds. Thankfully, we did not.

We returned home and life went on. Then the week before I was to start the hormonal injections, I began to feel sick. I was out of pregnancy tests and was at a point where I refused to buy them anymore. (Those darn superstitions again.) My curiosity got the best of me, so I ran out and purchased one in the middle of the night. Holy crap. There were two lines. How did this happen – my “green time” was not during our time in Glacier?!
I had a rough pregnancy, with weekly injections of Makena to prevent preterm labor. But this little girl, who we named Evelyn (life) Adrija (goddess of the mountains), was tough. And she was real. And our family was complete.

Infertility Awareness Week: We Never Stopped Trying | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo by Freckled Rae Photography}

Perhaps our blessing was due to the HSG test flushing out my tubes. Perhaps it was the exercise and fresh air (or maybe not – Glacier was on fire during our trip). Or perhaps it was the consistency of the supplements finally kicking in. Who knows why my body rejected life before. But I can assure you, we never stopped trying.

This Infertility Awareness Week, I want you to know that if you are experiencing infertility, my heart is with you. I may have a child on my hip now, but I will always remember and feel that deep hurt of empty arms and an empty womb. Whatever your story, I see that you cannot relax. I see you cannot just “stop trying.” I hope you, too, find a place that heals your spirit and brings you new life.

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1 comment

Amy W.
Amy W. April 23, 2019 at 4:48 PM

Thank you so much for sharing this, and so beautifully written. It took 3 years for our first and we’ll never know what did it for us either. We heard the “stop trying” so many times and it hurt every time. We haven’t started trying for our second yet and are unsure how it will go, so I really appreciate it when people open up about secondary infertility. I’m so glad yours had a happy ending with such a beautiful little girl.


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