Even Pregnancy Can’t Cure Infertility

I thought getting pregnant would fix my infertility. And maybe in a way, technically speaking, it does. But as time goes on, and my baby bump continues to grow, I am learning, for some things, there is no cure. 

In an attempt to make sense of my mind, I have read article after article and study after study over the mental and emotional effects of infertility. One thing that is clear is that they are lasting. A 2021 study shows that nearly 50% of women who undergo fertility treatments develop PTSD. 

To be honest, this didn’t come as a shock to me. The emotions that I have felt for the last thirteen years, and more specifically the last year, have felt beyond my control. In my mind, I’ve labeled it as anxiety triggered by baby showers, pregnant women, and Mother’s Day, just to name a few. 

I’ve wondered how these things would change now that I’m pregnant. I’ve hoped that pregnancy would cure the side effects of infertility. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

Earlier this week, I was scrolling Facebook and came across a story that felt like it knocked the air out of me: OKC Bennett Fertility Clinic to Closing at the End of the Year. 

For those who don’t know, this is the clinic we used for the last year. This is where we finally found something that worked- something that, for the first time in my life, caused ovulation. This is where we lost two babies. And most importantly, this is where we found our miracle – the one that has been cooking inside of me for the last 16 ½ weeks. 

To say I was heartbroken, would not touch the tip of the iceberg. I am not entirely sure why reading this story rocked my world to the extent that it did. I went down the rabbit hole of trying to discover the reasoning behind this closure. I have read the letter from Dr. Reshef to his patients explaining the abruptness of this decision and the complete shock in which the entire clinic was left. 

Like every female, Facebook stalking, wannabe FBI Agent, I have developed my theories – none of which I can confirm. I do know the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade left devastating effects on fertility treatments, of which Dr. Reshef and fertility specialists across the country have been very vocal. But regardless of the “why”, it’s the “who” that I can’t stop thinking about. 

Several people have reached out to me, asking if this was my clinic. They have all said the same thing. How relieved I must feel that my timing worked out as I was, very recently, released from Dr. Reshef’s care. Common sense would say I should feel relieved – thankful I dodged this bullet. 

Instead, I was devastated. All I could think about was the huge number of women – current patients – sitting at home, suffering another heartbreak on top of their already impossible situation. The woman who was waiting on a call to go over yet another set of lab results, only to answer the phone to find out that they no longer have a doctor. The women who, four months ago, was me. 

The night after reading this story, I had a recurring nightmare. I woke up five times in the middle of the night to some variation of the very same dream. It was after my anatomy scan that is coming up in a few weeks, during which we learned something was terribly wrong with the baby and I wouldn’t make it through the full pregnancy. And in every single dream, I kept searching for my clinic to resume treatment, only to be told it doesn’t exist. 

Like a broken record, this dream played on a loop. The next day, I was a mess – crying almost every time I was alone. That evening, I walked in the door, after a very long 12 hour day at work, balling. Justin, thinking  something was terribly wrong, was baffled when I couldn’t explain why I was crying. And though I am trying with this blog post, I still can’t put it into words. 

I tell you all of this to say that some things are unrecoverable. There’s simply not a cure for everything. And sometimes, just when you think you’ve found it, you learn that even the obvious fix can’t cover all of the scars. 

But that’s okay. It is the scars that make us stronger. It is from hard times that we grow. And I often think of the person I would be if, like it is for the majority of women, all of this were easy for me. I don’t know who that person would be…but it definitely wouldn’t be me – the knocked up, 40 year old woman who wears her battle scars like tattoos. 

(nine. twenty-eight. twenty-two)

Obligatory Update: All is well with momma and baby! Baby’s heart rate was perfect at the last appointment, and I really can’t complain. I have two more doctor’s appointments this month. One of which we will, for sure this time, learn the gender. Most people tell me they think it’s a girl. I still have no gut feeling. It’s a baby. That’s all that matters to me.

Waiting to Exhale

I feel like I am getting through this pregnancy one “landmark” at a time – always trying to make it to the next point where I can exhale. 

Here’s a snapshot of what  it has been like so far:

  • Just let me hear the heartbeat(s)….big exhale around 6 weeks (but still nervous because of my age and PCOS, my chances of miscarriage were still higher than 40%)
  • Just make it to 8 weeks for my first drop in miscarriage chances…only slight exhale because I lost one baby at 7 weeks and ALL the nerves returned
  • Now, just make it to 10 weeks to be released from the care of Dr. Reshef to the care of a regular OB…exhale. 
  • Get the genetic testing results…exhale.
  • Make it through the first trimester…exhale. 

I have officially made it to the second trimester with my next (and fourth) ultrasound on Tuesday, at which point I’ll be 15 weeks. I don’t know if I’ll ever walk into an appointment full of confidence. I think I will always be holding my breath until I see my baby moving around on the screen and hear the doctor say the words that my little one is looking good. But for this appointment, I can’t contain my excitement. I am hoping this will be the one where we finally find out the gender. 

As I mentioned earlier, we did the genetic testing more to rule out chromosomal abnormalities that lead to Down’s Syndrome than determine the gender. However because my pregnancy started as twins and I still am carrying both babies, there is no way to differentiate the gender of my healthy baby from the one I lost. Justin thinks it’s a girl. I am totally without a gut feeling. There are some days I am convinced it’s a girl and others where I am already calling the baby “him.” Either way, we will both be totally surprised. And happy. 

I know gender reveals have become incredibly trendy in recent years, but this is something I will not bend on. Maybe it’s because everything has been so public so far, or maybe it’s my introverted side, but I cannot wait to share this quiet moment in the doctor’s office with my baby daddy. Don’t worry, though…after we’ve had our time to celebrate together, we will share the news with all that are waiting to find out. This has been thirteen years (full of heartache and loss) in the making, so we are going to soak up every single precious moment.

I should also be getting close to feeling the baby move. This will be another BIG exhale. 

All in all, I feel incredibly guilty about how easy this pregnancy has been. I spend most of my time eating, sleeping, or peeing, but honestly, I feel really good. I do have frequent headaches, and I’m already having minor back pain, but these feel like a small price to pay and not anything I would ever complain about. 

I’ve had lots of questions about the nursery and if I’ve decided on a theme. Most of the time I  say we are waiting to determine the gender – which is partially true. We are. However, a large part of me has been too scared to start clearing out the guest room. This is a level of attachment that would be devastating if something happened. Just one more exhale and I’ll start working on it. 

14-week Bumpdate

(nine. fifteen. twenty-two)