After two years of trying, and getting a glimpse of what loss of control felt like, I decided to see a fertility specialist, who would respect my Catholic beliefs, and keep me in compliance with The Church’s teachings (no IVF), because I still wasn’t pregnant by my daughter’s 4th birthday, and, painful as it is to admit, my bio clock is a-tickin’ away, friends. I kept my cool for awhile, because my husband and I were both tested, and no concerning results arose. A sperm test returned sterling results! Of COURSE it did! We had one already, right? A FemVue* test returned normal results in my favor, too! ROCK. OUT.
*FemVue is a revolutionary device that allows your doctor to easily check for any blockages in your tubes as part of your initial infertility work-up.” To the Squeamish, look away: During the FemVue procedure, the doc basically inserts distilled water intravaginally, and watches the fluid on an ultrasound to make sure it travels through and out your fallopian tubes with no obstruction.
Again, nothing to see here! Results: normal.
Countless pokes and prods, and PNVs (it’s how the cool kids abbreviate “prenatal vitamins”), blood tests and uncomfortable bi-monthly intravaginal ultrasounds; hormone pills, and HCG trigger shots (in other words, the “ovulate on-demand” shot); and perfectly timed intercourse; and ovulation kits; and countless embarrassing conversations; and more hormone injections, upon blood thinning injections to fend off blood clotting episodes (another story from another chapter of my life); upon intravaginal hormone pills (to stabilize a possible pregnancy, but makes you mentally insane in the meantime); as well as off-label usage of cancer drugs for follicle stimulation; upon three separate endometrial laparoscopic surgical interventions to see if that works as a last-ditch effort; upon countless hormonal/emotional breakdowns later, it still wasn’t happening, and sex became a job instead of the holy gift of matrimonial intimacy that it was supposed to be.
Great. Everything works. So, why isn’t it working?
So, how much do we really want this?
As I said, I started out strong, then started casually slapping away feelings of doubt I didn’t realize I had about my own egg health with each monthly cramp that came, and still comes to this day. Round after round with the fertility clinic, two to three times a month for a year and a half, and after four months of pity pharma samples of a very expensive follicle-stimulating drug ($700 each cycle) with no success, the doctor’s shoulder shrugs and dreaded words finally came:
“There’s nothing more we can do. We’ve exhausted every avenue we can, without trying IVF.”
“What’s left to lose?
You’ve done enough.
And if you fail, then you fail,
But you gave it a shot.
And these last three years,
I know they’ve been hard,
but now it’s time to get out of the desert and into the sun.
Even if it’s alone.”
—”On Your Porch,” by The Format
But, God never left, and here is how I know:
I mentioned before, we consider our first daughter a miracle, and perhaps that strengthens our gratitude for her, so praise God for all that we’ve been through, and for helping us realize just how many things had to go right to have her, because my little girl made it against all odds, apparently.
In the midst of all the fertility treatments, about three or four months before the terminal-but-not, “there’s-nothing-more-we-can-do” conversation, in April of 2018, we heard that our niece was pregnant. The thing is, we knew she wasn’t doing well, and hadn’t really been doing well ever since she was sixteen years old, when she lost her mom, unexpectedly. Resultingly, and perhaps somewhat hereditarily, she struggles with addiction and mental health, and we knew this couldn’t be a good situation for a baby, but we prayed for her and Baby, nonetheless.