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Battle With Infertility

by Lindsay Birge about a year ago in humanity
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A Battle with PCOS and Infertility

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Most people who decide that they want children have sex and get pregnant. However, it isn't that easy for some. Some women and men are diagnosed with infertilty and face a difficult journey to parenthood. It may involve invasive tests, painful procedures, and medications that take a toll on the mind, body, and spirit.

For me, the battle with infertility began at a young age. When I was 17 I began having irregular periods. I also had hirsutism -more commonly known as facial hair- which is humiliating for a 17 year old girl. Based on my symptoms, my doctor diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. He informed me that when the time came, I may have difficulty conceiving, or may not be able to at all due to my irregular periods and lack of ovulation.

Hearing that you may not be able to conceive at such a young age is something that changes the course of your life. It's devastating, painful, and something that is too much for such a young brain to comprehend. As time went on I kept this knowledge in the back of my mind, but decided not to let it completely define me. It wasn't until I was 23 that I started to think more deeply about it.

The Beginning of Our Journey

Our first photo together

I met my husband, Eric, back in 2015. We became best friends, and started dating that November. We quickly fell in love. Eric was in a wheelchair when we met due to an illness that doctors had been unable to diagnose up until then. He spent 23 years with this disability. He was shy to ask me out due to this, as girls had turned him down in the past when they learned that he was in a wheelchair. It didn't stop me. His personality, determination, and beautiful spirit drew me in to him. Not to mention he's incredibly handsome! 

He met a new doctor in 2017 that was just as determined as Eric to find a diagnosis for what was causing his disability. The doctor tried him on a medication and let him know that it may or may not work. If it does, we know what condition he has, if not it was back to the drawing board. The drug worked like a miracle. For the first time in 25 years Eric no longer needed his wheelchair and could function as if he had never had the disability at all. I knew that he would be a perfect example of someone who shows that perseverance, adaptability, and determination pays off. He was an example of someone with an unbreakable spirit. He would be the most amazing father to any children we may have in the future. I knew I wanted him to be the father of my children.

Enjoying the small things in life (like making faces at the camera)

We married at 26 in 2018. We decided to start trying for a baby at the end of 2018, beginning of 2019. I knew based on my diagnosis that it may take awhile for us to conceive. We tried for 5 months and got an unexpected surprise in June of 2019. I was pregnant. Our joy was immeasurable. We told our families and basked in the glow of our family growing.

Unfortunately, the joy was very short lived. Over my birthday I miscarried our child. The devastation was something that I could not put into words. I had never experienced such grief.  I had nothing of my pregnancy, no ultrasound photos, no child to hold. Only immense pain and a hole left in my heart. I decided that counseling would be the best way to begin to heal, and I went through an intensive counseling program. I went to an outpatient hospitalization program daily and had very honest and frank discussions about my feelings. I felt like a failure and like my body had betrayed me. Putting my grief into words and being heard was where I actually did begin my healing. The program lasted 8 weeks, and after completing that, we felt ready to continue with our journey, hand in hand.

My dandilion seed tattoo in memory of the little one we lost.

After a year of no successful pregnancies, we knew that we needed additional help. I worked with my OBGYN and began medicated cycles. After 4 cycles on medication, and no response from my body, she referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist. We felt hopeful as the doctor let us know that he would try an aggressive approach to get my body to do what it should. He started me on the highest dose of a medication called Clomid and also started me on an injection called Ovidrel. Unfortunately, this did not work. The doctor was willing to try it one more time to see if it would work the second time. However, the medication didn't work this time either. 

Where Do We Go From Here

My doctor sat down with us and we had a very open discussion. Since my body wasn't responding to the medication, our best hope of having children would be through IVF. I would have a good chance of having a healthy pregnancy this way. The only problem is that the procedure is $18,000. This is not something that we can afford (I don't know many who can). We have tried fundraising and asking for help, but we have unfortunately come up short.

The ache that fills our hearts is something that affects us daily. We want to be parents, to start a family of our own. Our arms ache and we long to fill them with a child. We have considered both IVF and adoption, but both come with a hefty price tag. We have decided to start with IVF, and have applied for grants. So far we have been unsuccessful at receiving any. If we get the chance to try it, and IVF does not work for us, we plan to move to adoption.

We are hopeful that we will become parents in the future, and that we are able to one day raise the funds to try. Until then we keep our hopes up and our fingers crossed. We know we want to be parents, we just have to find the way.

humanity

About the author

Lindsay Birge

My name is Lindsay and I have always loved writing. My favorite things to write are feel good stories and anything with animals. Thanks for reading!

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