Infertility: Toni’s Story
Infertility: Toni’s Story
I was the poster child for birth control and never had unprotected sex. I loved my career, so my husband and I decided to wait to have kids. Then I got a stomach ache. In a round of tests I found out I was lactose intolerant but, when cutting out dairy didn’t help my abdominal pain, I was advised to have an exploratory laparoscopy to see if everything was alright.
It wasn’t. In fact, the surgeon who performed the surgery told me this: “Your insides are a mess. You’ll never have a baby.” Talk about bad bedside manner.
We were devastated, never thinking this would be the outcome. It turned out I had Stage IV endometriosis, and some scar tissue from a benign ovarian cyst I’d had removed when I was 17, and another ovarian cyst when I was 24. I was 32, had never tried to get pregnant, and was being told I never would.
Boston is a great place to live if you need medical care. My husband and I started asking everyone we knew who we should see. A microsurgeon who dealt with infertility was my first stop. He told me he didn’t know if he could help my fertility, but he was certain he could help my pain. He was southern and the kindest person I’d ever met. In fact, aside from the fact that he was excellent at his job, he was the perfect antidote to the awful doctor who had so crassly informed me that I was infertile. I put him on hold and went to an IVF clinic. But the night before I was to begin my IVF cycle, a nurse called to tell me my ovaries were blocked by so much endometriosis and scar tissue they would not be able to find the egg on my ovary to perform the procedure.
We went back to the microsurgeon and booked a surgical laparoscopy to see if he could “clean out” my insides. It took five hours but he was elated to tell me he felt I had an excellent chance of conceiving naturally. The IVF clinic told me the clock was ticking, and I needed to get pregnant as soon as possible. We began to try.
A few months later, my pregnancy test was positive and I told the entire world. I floated around for a few weeks before finding out the heartbeat, that the ultrasound technician had found, had disappeared. I had miscarried. I felt a new kind of despair. My doctor told me how common miscarriage was, but I was inconsolable, sure that this pregnancy was my one and only chance of having a baby.
We kept trying to determine exactly when I was ovulating and kept on having sex at the “best” times. Every month was the same story. My pregnancy tests were negative. The doctor put me on progesterone, in the second half of my cycle, because tests revealed I didn’t have enough and this is what holds pregnancies. Another year went by, people were getting pregnant all around me. Nobody I knew was having infertility issues. I felt alone, isolated, weird, and like I wanted to devour all the “Ben & Jerry’s” Ben & Jerry made.
We continued to try, but I got very depressed. Nobody tells you how hard it is to have to keep trying to get pregnant, even when you’re mad at your husband. You have sex when the thermometer tells you it’s right. It’s stressful when the end of the month comes, and you get your period again. You begin to feel hopeless.
I found out about the Mind Body Program for Infertility at a local hospital. I was so depressed I couldn’t figure out how to even keep going with the idea of having a family. It was there that I learned to meditate, met other women who were in similar situations, learned some cognitive restructuring techniques and went from 20 on the Beck Depression Scale to a four.
When I was still not pregnant a few months later, my doctor did a hysterosalpingogram to see if my tubes were open. As it turned out the endometriosis had damaged one of my tubes beyond its functionality. I now had one tube to get pregnant with. My blues were starting to come back. You ovulate on alternating sides, so now I only had six times a year to conceive. I was 35. My odds were becoming lower and lower.
Apparently that one tube was enough. A few months later I got the coveted positive pregnancy test. I was nauseous and absolutely thrilled. But this time, I was cautious and waited to tell people until three months had passed. I gave birth to a healthy seven-pound, six-ounce boy in late October. Two years later, I tried again, and only two months of trying I was pregnant! I literally couldn’t believe it. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl a month early, though she was seven pounds, four ounces, so nobody really knows why. I had ridden the infertility roller coaster for three years and, even though my story ended happily, I will always remember how hard those years were.
Pregnancy seems like something everyone can do, without even thinking, and when you can’t it disconnects you from the bigger world, the norm. It’s important to try to stay positive, and surround yourself with a support system who can help you when you hit the rough patches. There is more and more good medical help out there than ever before.
It’s also good to remember there are other ways of creating a family, like adoption and foster parenting. It’s important to keep in mind that everybody has a different path, and not to compare yourself to anybody else’s story.
Finally, I learned not to ask people if they are planning on having a baby because they could be going through infertility. Although you think that question is a simple one, it can be a very hurtful one. Infertility is really emotionally charged and challenging. I realize how lucky I was to have conquered it, and become a mom.
- Posted by holx-admin
- On February 4, 2016