It has taken me months and months to be able to write about my son. I am not sure why today I feel ready; maybe because I don’t feel like I’m going to make it all the way to 40 weeks and I feel like the time is ticking away, or maybe it’s because people have been asking me lately to share his story. Either way, today is the day. Bear with me as I know this post will be quite long.
Mike and I were married on October 7, 2006. We were both 23 years old. We knew we wanted to wait a couple of years before starting a family. In the back of my mind, I always had a nagging fear of a diagnosis I was given at age 16. I was told I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Then after running a few more test, the doctors told me that because my Testosterone levels were not high, I probably didn’t have it, but either way I wanted to be prepared so I started researching it. PCOS is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look (facial hair, weight gain, acne). If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Not only did I have the fear of NOT GETTING pregnant, I had the fear of GETTING pregnant. On top of the PCOS (which I was re-diagnosed with after Mike and I started trying to conceive), I have Degenerative Disc Disease, for which I have had two failed back surgeries, and I also have Fibromyalgia. My desire to be a mom trumped my fears though, I knew without a doubt this is what I wanted and no amount of pain or bed rest would keep me from trying to have a baby.
Mike and I started TTC (trying to conceive) September of 2008. We tried for almost a year with no results so I went a saw a fertility specialist in June of 2009. This is when I was re-diagnosed with PCOS. My periods were very out of whack so it took until January of 2010, with hormone treatment, to get my cycle regular enough to start infertility treatment. The time between June and January was extremely frustrating, feeling like we were just wasting precious time. During that time I had a test done called a Hysterosalpingogram or HSG, in which radiographic contrast (dye) is injected into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. The uterine cavity fills with dye and if the fallopian tubes are open, dye fills the tubes and spills into the abdominal cavity. This shows whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked. You can imagine the pain of this procedure, not to mention the lingering pain afterward. By God’s grace, the test showed my tubes were not blocked! There was a chance I could conceive, I just needed to actually ovulate.
In January of 2010, I started treatment for my infertility. I started taking a medication called Clomid. Below is a chart stating the chances of conceiving with different treatments of unexplained infertility (which is what I had).
Type of Treatment Approximate Chance for Pregnancy Per Month
Try on own – no treatment 1.3-4.1%
Insemination, no ovarian stimulation 3.8%
Clomid + intercourse 5.6%
Clomid + insemination 8.3%
Injectable meds + intercourse 7.7%
Injectable meds + insemination 17.1%
From: Guzick D, et al: Efficacy of treatment for unexplained infertility. Fertility and Sterility 1998;70:207-213.)
So as you can see, for 13 months, Mike and I had a 1.3 -4.1% chance of conceiving. After starting the Clomid, it was bumped up to 5.6%. Not the most encouraging number, but we were willing to give it a try. Clomid was originally developed for treatment of anovulation. The medication will often induce ovulation in women that do not develop and release an egg (ovulate) on their own, such as in women with polycyctic ovaries. That’s me! Each doctor is different in how the prescribe Clomid and how to take it, but this is what I had to do – On day 3 of my cycle (day 1 being the day my period started) I would take 100 mgs. of Clomid each day through day 7 of my cycle. Clomid has some nasty side effects, such as blurred vision or vision problems (spots or flashes), breast tenderness, dizziness, enlarged breasts, enlargement of the ovaries, flushing, headache, hot flashes, lightheadedness, mood changes, nausea, pelvic pain or bloating, stomach pain, and vomiting. You name it, I had it. I have to say the worst side effects I experienced were the pelvic pain and the mood changes. Sometimes the pain in my ovaries would take my breath away and make me double over. I did not feel like myself. I can’t explain how I felt, I just knew I didn’t feel right.
So after taking the Clomid for 5 days, on day 10 of my cycle, I would have to start testing to see if I was ovulating and Mike and I would have to start timing intercourse , every other day until day 20 of my cycle. At first it was just weird. Those of you who have struggled to conceive and have had to do this, you know what I mean. Whether we were in the “mood” or not, it had to happen. After 7 months of this, it became torture. Not only did we have to deal with the emotions and disappointment of not conceiving every month, but we had to deal with losing the feeling of intimacy with each other. We no longer saw each other as lovers, or being intimate as a special blessed time, but as a chore, an obligation, a forced act in order to make a baby. I went through times of feeling worthless, knowing that Mike wanted to be a dad and I couldn’t give him a child. There were times I wished he had married someone else, so that he would not have had to suffer through this. Mike was always supportive; he let me take the lead. I knew he would continue this treatment for as long as I wanted to, and that made me feel even more guilty. I was putting him through this, all because my body didn’t work right. He would always tell me that it wasn’t my fault, that it was no one’s fault, but that didn’t change the way I felt. I felt I had ruined his life, that his dreams were shattered because of me. My relationship with the Lord also suffered. There were weeks of silence between us; I felt angry and betrayed. There were also times of unexplained feelings of hope and comfort I knew could only have come from the Lord. I am still blown away at the faithfulness of our God when we stray or can’t face Him because our feelings and thoughts.
Because the long-term side effects of using Clomid were not very documented and what I had read really scared me (higher chance of ovarian cancer), I decided that although my doctor would have let me take the Clomid for up to 12 months, we were stopping at 9 months. Baby or no baby, 9 months was it for us. My body, mind, and spirit could not take it any more.
We pretty much gave up hope of having a biological child (since In Vitro Fertilization was not an option for us because the chance of multiples is so much higher and we weren’t sure how my body would be able to carry one baby to term with all of my health problems, and let’s face it, the money). I started researching adoption, domestic and international. We decided we would save up to adopt and that was how God was going to give us a child. For me, my goal was not to be pregnant, my goal was to be a mom. I wanted to carry a child and experience that miracle, but if God chose to give us a child in another way, I was okay with that. Mike was a little more reluctant, but he was willing to be supportive and go along with my plan since my desire was so strong.
I became pregnant with my miracle baby on the 8th month of Clomid. I took a pregnancy test on day 30 of my cycle. I didn’t think there was a chance I was pregnant, but I felt compelled to take the test that morning. Mike was at work and I called him and told him that the test looked positive. It was a little test strip that came with the ovulation test strips I bought. It looked positive, but I wasn’t sure, so I took another test. This time it was on a regular, one line or two line kind of test….I waited 5 minutes and then looked at the test – NOTHING! Not even the control line showed up! By this time I was almost hysterical…Was I pregnant? Was I not? It was like someone was playing a really mean trick on me. I took a 3rd test and it was definitely positive! I stared at the test for a good 10 minutes, tears running down my face, playing out the rest of my life in my head, feeling like the whole process was worth it, but wondering if I would ever get my relationship back with my husband, worrying I would miscarry this baby I had prayed for everyday for almost 2 years.
So that’s how it happened. That’s the journey we went through to conceive our precious baby boy. This was not easy for me to relive, not easy for me to type out for the world to see, but I hope it brings encouragement to people, men and women who are struggling with the same thing.
Here is part 2 of Samuel’s story-