You had a difficult time getting pregnant, right?
“Yes I did.”
How long did you try?
“We tried for about five years before we tried to get help.”
What was the reason you had a hard time conceiving?
“They originally thought my hubby had low sperm (count) and I enjoyed teasing him about that, but in the end, it wasn’t that. It turned out the sperm needed to be put in the right place. So they assisted with that. They did artificial insemination.”
Getting help conceiving can be frustrating and expensive. What did you have to go through to make it happen? And what was the final straw for you to decide to move forward with getting help?
“The final straw was having me think it would happen immediately when we were ready and then having it not happen at all month after month after month. Before we sought assistance I did research. I took my temperature every morning before I got out of bed, did all of the things that people talk about doing when they’re trying to get pregnant. For five years we just kept trying and trying and I was getting older. So I had heard of this great doctor who had assisted many people in the area and I made an appointment. It was actually easy when we decided to do it and put our minds to it and followed the protocol and hoped and prayed that it would work. You hear horrible stories of it not working. People spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on in-vitro, and that would have been our next step.
I was luckier than most. I simply had to take a medication called Clomid to make the eggs larger for a period of a few months. Get ultrasounds periodically to measure the size of the eggs. I was on a shot of some sort but I don’t remember what that was. That was only when I went in for visits. With artificial insemination, they take the husbands sperm and place it. In fact my husband was able to place with like a little turkey syringe of sorts, in a very clinical setting. It was interesting. I still remember sitting there in sweatpants thinking I should’ve dressed up for the occasion (laughter). The funny thing is, the doctor came in the room before we did it to show my husband, who’s an investigator, the syringe and said “just showing you. This is you. Your name’s right there.” He’s paranoid. It was quite comical. Then we just went home and waited.”
In your case, it was first time luck?
“It was. A one time insemination and it worked.”
How long before you found out it worked?
“I wanna say two weeks, but I had to go in and have blood levels taken. At one point my HCG (pregnancy hormone that tells you if you’re pregnant or not) was so high, they were predicting twins. I don’t know what the actual numbers are, but for example, let’s say 100 is a normal level, mine was 500. So that indicated there may be more than one. After they do the blood test, you can still lose it. You’re not bona-fide pregnant. So we didn’t know until I got a phone call about two and a half weeks after the procedure that I was pregnant. I called my husband, who was at a funeral, he’d been waiting and waiting too. He had to go to a funeral of a co-workers family, a big police funeral. I called him and told him and we were so happy. He said he’ll always remember sitting there thinking that one life was ending and another life was beginning. It was really surreal and we were really excited.”
You now have two children. Did you have to go through the same measures to conceive your second child?
“Absolutely not. My lovely second child was a surprise. After trying so long for our first, then just not worrying about anything regarding pregnancy. And I don’t know why, but I felt like I had to pee on a stick. I had so many leftover from all the other tries. I don’t know why I felt I had to do it, though I had been feeling a little nauseous. It was the best thing in the world to see that. I was in total shock. I got to go to my husband and say “Come here and look at this!” and have him be dumbfounded and say “What the hell’s that!?” So I got the best of both worlds. I had to try for so long and have it work and then to have a surprise a year later. It was pretty exciting.”
Was there any explanation as to how you got pregnant with your second child after having such a hard time with your first?
“I think a lot of times, women who have issues getting pregnant and it’s unexplained, their body is more fertile after they have the first child. So their body’s more accepting of the process and it’s ready to go. They tell women, after they have miscarriages, not to try for a month or two, to let their body heal. A lot of times they will get pregnant right away. My body was still fertile. I was still breast-feeding. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. My body was just ready for it. It was meant to be and it was great.”
What went through your head!?
“When I got pregnant with my second, I still didn’t believe I was pregnant, even though the stick said that I was. I was excited, so I made the doctor do a test. Then he did an examination and I was still questioning him and he’s laughing at me because he knew the trouble I had before. He told me to relax, that everything was fine. I wanted ultrasounds all the time because when you go to a fertility specialist, you get ultrasounds all the time. But this was my regular OB who doesn’t do ultrasounds all the time. And I’m like “If I’m pregnant, I wanna see it” (laughter). He was just like, “no, it’s fine.” So it was a different process, with the second one, but it took a while to sink in that I was really pregnant.”
Were you nervous throughout the pregnancy? Were the pregnancies different?
“No, not so much (nervous). Once I knew I was pregnant, and started feeling pregnant, it was easier than the first one. With my first one, I had carpal tunnel in both arms, that was pregnancy induced. I was tired all the time. I just wasn’t ready for it, used to it. And with the second one (pregnancy), I still had a little one running around.”
Do you have any advice for someone who may be going through the same thing?
“I would say to try to relax and to seek help soon after you realize it’s not happening for you. Sometimes it is that easy. And there are people who wait and think “we can do this on our own”, and there’s so much stress involved in it. Just having a consultation isn’t that expensive and may be easily fixed like my problem. I had a good friend that was going through the same problem at the same time as me. She had like 16 miscarriages. She was giving herself shots every day. She was on prednisone. They did in-vitro and it didn’t work. They used all their life savings and it didn’t work. They stopped everything. Six months later, she got pregnant.
I’d also say to not let “well-meaning” people stress you out when they say “When are you two gonna have a baby?” You know…you got that question of “When are you gonna have another?” It’s nobody’s business! So when people are having trouble, and other people don’t know that, they tend to think that you just don’t want kids and it’s hurtful.”