updated Feb 7, 2010
I thought that marrying young would guarantee
my being a young mother – something I’d
always dreamed of. When we started trying to conceive,
I would count down the days (and sometimes the hours)
until my next period was expected & it was frequently
late – sometimes two weeks late. Every time I
got my period, I saw it as a new beginning, a new opportunity
to finally become pregnant. But I didn’t. It was
only after an entire year went by that I even made an
appointment. It was so clear to me that nothing could
be wrong. I was young, I was healthy...
Most of the tests were fine, but about two months into
the testing, I got back one of the results. I knew it
was bad. It was my 22nd birthday and I stood at a pay
phone to call the doctor to give him the results. He
explained them to me and said he was very pessimistic.
I stood there crying and then I gathered myself together
as best I could and went to work. I wasn't able to think
of anything else the whole day.
I was 22 years old, six-thousand miles away from my
parents, and I was battling very real fertility problems.
I felt very isolated.
I went to the library, trying to gather information.
I read everything I could get my hands on. And
while I was there, I peeked at some information
about emotional aspects of infertility. The article
I came across was so powerful that I photocopied
it, took it home and read it over and over.
It talked about the things you commonly hear
like, “oh, just calm down and you’ll
get pregnant!” and “My friend adopted
and she got pregnant right away.” and then
pointed out that if you said you had a brain tumor,
people wouldn’t tell you to “calm
down” to make it go away. I kept that in
mind while I heard people’s uninformed and
hurtful comments – as if I was somehow either
responsible for or making too big a deal out of
my infertility. I felt that discussing the details
was an unnecessary invasion of my privacy and
was able to reassure myself that my situation
was very real and that none of my feelings were
exaggerated or ridiculous.
My emotions were very different from my husband’s.
In retrospect, I don’t remember his ever sharing
his emotions, but I do remember his not understanding
anything that I was going through. My pain had to do
with letting go of a dream and my frustration at an
unknown future I felt I had little or no control over.
We tried various medications (some I had suggested
to the doctor), none with any results. After the medications,
we started IUI (intra-uterine insemination) and signed
up for adoption. I hated the IUI,
found it painful, torturous, and not particularly hopeful.
After a few cycles, even the doctors gave up and let
us move on to IVF
We went to visit my husband’s grandmother who
tapped my stomach a little too hard (I felt as if I’d
been punched) and said about the only word she knew
in English, which was “baby”. Double-punching.
At the time, she already had more than ten great-grandchildren.
Believe me, my baby was no big deal for her and a very
big deal for me. I smiled and nodded. I didn’t
speak her language either.
With my cycles being as far apart as they were, everything
took a long time, so it was only after over 2-1/2 years
of “trying” that we had our first IVF attempt.
Our doctor recommended a medical center two hours away
from our home. It would have been OK, except for that
we only had one car and it usually wasn’t available
to me. They let me do most everything nearby and I only
had to be there a few times – this was an advantage
in terms of traveling, but throughout the treatment,
I didn’t feel that I had any support – they
barely knew who I was.
It was finally time for the egg retrieval. There were
about 13 eggs, but only one was fertilized and even
that didn't split properly (it was 3 cells when they
transferred it). We came back two days later for the
embryo transfer. I started to bleed before I was scheduled
to have the pregnancy test. It was part of the procedure,
so I went anyway and the test came out positive. I didn’t
actually think that I was pregnant and when I called
to give them my results, the nurse brushed it off saying
“Oh, that number’s too low.” And then
hung up. I had to call back to understand that what
had caused the test to be positive was actually the
shots that I had gotten in order to support the pregnancy
(had there been one).
Some of our friends were already having children. At
first, I was cool about it, but as time went by and
I felt like having a baby wasn’t going to happen
for me, it got harder and harder. I stopped going to
baby showers. I only went if they were really good friends.
I had trouble smiling and being happy for other people.
Our best friends provided tremendous support. Calling
and asking how things were going, taking a real interest
both in my emotions and in the process. Even the failures
were easier because of them.
It took another six months to start the next treatment.
Despite all our previous failures, I started each treatment
with an optimistic attitude and the feeling that I was
a part of modern medicine. I actually found it both
fascinating and exciting.
We switched medical centers to one that was nearer
our home, which turned out to be a much better experience.
I remember walking down the hall thinking of Kevin Costner's
line in Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves: "so it
begins..." I too was starting my journey.
I learned to give myself the injections, so I didn’t
have to run around as much. 15 eggs were retrieved and
4 were fertilized. They transferred all of them (this
was back in 1992). 18 days after the transfer, I discovered
I was pregnant. I continued to give myself daily progesterone
shots for an additional 10 weeks. My daughter was born
a little less than 4 years after I started trying to
conceive. I was 24.
My daughter and me, just
minutes after her birth
Having a baby left me just as infertile as before and
I wasn't willing to let go of my dream to have a big
family. The technology was improving and the next cycle
also led to 4 embryos. None implanted. The treatment
after that was phenomenal, leading to 8 embryos. We
transferred 4 and froze 4. Another failure. Then, surprisingly,
embryos led to a healthy twin pregnancy.
I was just 27 and mommy to three children… and
My marriage, which probably had been strengthened by
the infertility – we had had a common goal –
basically fell apart shortly after the twins were born.
I kept trying, but finally realized it was hopeless.
I also felt the dream of ever having another child fading
away. I forced my husband to let me try again. The twins
were already 5. I got pregnant on the first try, but
there was a big hematoma in my uterus and my early beta
HCG levels were poor
and didn’t double properly. The embryo grew
normally and survived until the end of the first trimester
and then the hematoma washed it away. After all of the
bleeding I’d had, it was partly a relief to know
it was over. Coming home from the hospital to my very
unsympathetic husband let me know that something else
was over too. Less than six months later the divorce
I am now remarried. Shortly after I got this site going
we celebrated the birth of our beautiful daughter, Abigail,
born on March 14th, 2005. (See Abigail's
birth story). Amazingly, another fantasy of mine
became a reality - I had always fantasized about wheeling
a stroller while being very pregnant. When Abigail was
less than 5 months old, we learned we were expecting
again! Our daughter, Nomi, joined us on March 25th,
2006 (read about Nomi's
birth on the fertility
blog). In June 2007, we learned that we were expecting
again (yes, it was planned :-)) - Our February 23, 2008
due date came & went... and then the chance to have
a February 29 baby... and then ended week 41 and even
week 42. Finally, after 42 full weeks I went into labor
spontaneously - you can read the birth
My infertility journey is over. We made the decision
not to have any more children - obviously not a very
difficult decision when there are 6 kids in the house
- and 3 of them are still very small. Infertility will
always be close to my heart, but it doesn't hurt me
anymore. It ended well for me, and it's easy for me
to accept that it was all part of G-d's plan for me.
When I was pregnant with Nomi, before I started my
real blog, I kept an amnio
blog as we waited for the results of the amniocentesis.