It’s not common to discuss fertility problems publicly: for some people, this topic is too intimate, while others feel ashamed of it. However, we aren’t embarrassed to complain about back pain but we’re too afraid to admit that we may be having some difficulties getting pregnant. Even though modern medicine can help in both cases.
My name is Julia. I’m 39 years old and 8 years ago I faced the problem of being unable to conceive: I couldn’t get pregnant and bear a child. I want to share my story and support women who are in the same situation. Especially those who may be worried, frustrated, disappointed, and unable to make a decision.
This article can be also helpful for 5 Fun Facts readers who haven’t faced this obstacle. It can help you better understand what your colleague or a friend may feel and just give her the support she needs when people tell her it’s time to have a baby because “her biological clock is ticking.”
My biological clock started ticking.
I started to consider having kids after I turned 30. In my perfect world, I’d have had 3 children. So it was high time to start giving birth to them.
When nothing happened in the first year, I wasn’t too disappointed: I thought I had at least 20 years before menopause. But I went to the doctor just in case. I did some research and figured out that I should visit a fertility specialist right away.
Then our long journey began and it lasted for about 4 years. We spent loads of money to run medical tests and my husband and I became regular visitors at the doctor’s office, but nothing changed. During this time, we passed almost all the existing blood tests. Well, maybe except the one for the plague. My husband also didn’t waste time and even treated a non-existent disease. But, the miracle still didn’t happen.
I met other women with a similar problem online, read about the probable causes of this condition, thought about it a lot and was extremely worried. Every woman who’s faced the inability to conceive probably asks herself: “Why did it happen? What’s wrong with me? I’m probably different if I can’t even give birth. Or maybe it’s a sign that I shouldn’t have a baby? I can live without children, right? Oh, no, it’s not a sign, I’ve never believed in signs and I want a baby! I want it!…”
I was in this my mental state for years. In the end, I was so mentally exhausted that I decided to start psychotherapy. And it worked, but not immediately.
After 3 years of going to doctors, I realized that I had no place I could go anymore. We’ve been to all the clinics in the city with a population of a million and our final result was just a thick folder with medical test results. That’s it. No baby. No definite diagnosis or prognosis. I’d lost hope in other doctors during these 3 years too: we had to run so many tests and they didn’t show anything terrible, but no one knew why we had no children.
But if you don’t stop…
I tried to be grateful for the things I had in my life. I tried to reconcile with the fact that I may never have children. There won’t be a newborn with a delicious baby smell, no toddler asking questions all the time, no constantly irritated teenager…
But… we were told to go to another clinic in a different city. This recommendation ended up being really good. We had nothing left to lose so we decided to go there.
And surprisingly, everything happened fast and without any empty promises. The doctor had a look at our medical history, examined me, and asked my husband to run one more test. Then she got results and shared her prognosis: I could get pregnant naturally, but the probability of this happening was only 5-10%. Well, miracles can happen, right? But I was already 34 years old.
It turned out that my husband’s medical results weren’t the best and I had a problem as well that made it impossible for an embryo to implant. We could solve these problems with IVF and supporting drug therapy.
And it didn’t take weeks or months to get this information! It only took a day! We came to the clinic in the morning and we were going back home in the evening. I had really mixed feelings: I was amazed at how quickly we got the results as I had been trying to get some clarity for 3 years. But the idea of IVF really scared me.
Despite the fact that IVF was logical and foreseeable, it was difficult for me to make a decision. I knew that it was a huge stress for the body and I’d have to take enormous doses of hormones. I did a lot of research before undergoing the procedure, to calm myself down. But the question was still there: “Why me?”
I couldn’t find an answer. However, I just accepted it at some point. I don’t know how and why it happened but I felt relief. My psychiatrist also played an important role in this process.
I visited the clinic 3 more times in the next 3 months. And 3 years later, I came there to undergo IVF. But for me, it wasn’t like I was going through a certain medical procedure. I was going to have my child.
It turned out to not be so scary.
If we’re talking about expenses, we spent 2.5 weeks and about $2,000 on the procedure. It was less than the cost of all the tests and procedures we’d done before. And it wasn’t depressing at all.
I started to prepare for IVF at the end of April — it’s a nice and symbolic time of blossoming and birth. I came to my doctor and got a prescription to buy all the necessary drugs. I also met a funny girl at the hospital and we rented an apartment together.
I went to the doctor every day: she did an ultrasound and told me how much of the hormones I should take the next day. I could go to the nurse at the hospital to get the shots done, but it turned out that doing them myself wasn’t as scary as it might seem. So I was too lazy that decided that I could do it. When I had free time, I did remote work and walked around the city.
No weird changes happened to me because of the hormones: I didn’t cry or laugh without a reason, I didn’t lose or gain any weight. Everything was normal, but I was in a different city for some reason. It was even nice: I walked a lot and visited cafes often. In 1.5 week my husband met me — it was his turn to participate in the process too.
The crucial moment
The day before egg retrieval, my doctor told me to buy a certain drug and take it at a certain time. The egg retrieval was scheduled at 8 a.m. on the next day.
Coincidentally, the procedure took place on the 1st of May. I imagined how that morning, I would go into an operating room where an anesthesiologist, who would be in a hurry to go back to their family, would give me anesthesia and the doctor would do her job as quickly as possible and leave. But I was wrong: the clinic worked as usual and there were a lot of patients there.
Everything happened fast and in accordance with the plan. I woke up from the anesthesia by 10 a.m. and was free to go. In the evening, a got a call from my doctor saying that they managed to fertilize 5 eggs.
And then came the day when the embryos had to be transferred from the tube to me. It’s a completely painless procedure. By that time, I had already gotten used to medical manipulations so I didn’t have any problem with spending 40 minutes on a gynecology table.
After the embryos had been transferred, I had to lie down for half an hour in the same pose on the chair. But you don’t think about inconvenience when you realize that this process can change your life forever!
Then I just got dressed and went home. I had some rest there too. And a couple of days later, we went back to our hometown.
P.S. It was a bit difficult to write this text because my 3-year-old son was constantly running to me trying to get my attention.
I sing songs from A Blue Truck every day, we have a potty with Winnie-the-Pooh on it, and our apartment is a mess. I don’t get irritated with toys lying around the house. I look at my son every day and think that I got extremely lucky.
And yes, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you can’t get pregnant. We need and should talk about this topic. Find like-minded people. Talk about your problem and your feelings. It gets easier when you realize that you’re not alone.
…All the women I talked to back then are mothers now. And that happened because they didn’t stop.