After a year of trying to get pregnant without success, my husband and I were referred to a fertility clinic. I was hoping it would be a simple case of “unexplained infertility” that would require a straightforward solution. We were not so lucky. My doctor explained that they found fluid in my pelvis, which could be a sign of scar tissue. This scar tissue could be getting in the way of the sperm and egg meeting, so in vitro fertilization (IVF) was our best shot at getting pregnant. Getting this news was devastating to both my husband and me.
In my teens and early twenties I had three major surgeries as a result of a gastrointestinal disease. Before the first surgery, my mom and I asked my surgeon if this could in any way affect my fertility later on. My surgeon gave us a definite and absolute no.
Looking back on it, I was furious with my surgeon. I kept thinking if I had known, maybe I wouldn’t have had the surgeries. I also blamed myself. I felt terrible for the stress and the financial toll that this would put on our marriage.
After getting those results, I spent a few days crying. I didn’t want to speak to anyone and I didn’t know how to deal with what was happening. Finally I realized in order to move on, I had to let go of all the anger towards my surgeon; it wasn’t helping me. Regret wasn’t helping me either. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t go back and change anything. All I could do was think of my next move.
Our choice to do IVF and the emotional roller coaster that ensued put a lot of stress on us. Had we handled things differently, our marriage could have fallen apart. Lucky for us, we survived and may even be stronger for it.
If you are struggling to get pregnant, here are a few suggestions that worked for us and might help you to decrease stress and keep perspective.
1) Keep talking to each other. Sharing feelings can bring you closer together and remind you that you are not alone.
2) Do things that are fun and make you happy. This could mean spending time with friends or a weekend getaway.
3) Have sex for fun. Remember in high school when you used to just fool around? Go back to the bases. Make sure your intimate time is not only about baby making.
4) Exercise. The endorphin release will help keep the blues away.
5) Do activities with your partner (not just dinner!). Going out for dinner is nice, but there’s not much to do other than talk, and talking too much will inevitably lead to discussing your fertility issues. Play a game, see a movie, or go to a museum. Anything that will create new and interesting things to talk about.