Such a hard word for me to say. A word that has carried so much shame for me personally. A word that I have given way too much power over my life.
I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in 2012. I remember sitting in my doctors office with Sean, who was only a boyfriend at that point, and hearing her say I have PCOS. She was saying some of the symptoms and side affects of PCOS. God bless Sean because the second I heard infertility my heart stopped and I froze. I truly couldn’t tell you one more thing she said after that. But Sean. My question asking, hand holding champion took over. It was a total fight or flight moment, and he fought. I will never forget sitting in Sean’s truck in the parking lot of my apartment, and me, sobbing, trying to break up with him. We hadn’t been dating long but I knew he was the man for me. I’d seen him with kids and knew there isn’t a guy that walked this Earth that should be a dad more than Sean Robison. And knowing that I couldn’t give that to him, at least without a ton of trials, destroyed me. It’s still a guilt I carry and navigate through everyday, 8+ years later. It was another flight or fight moment. And Sean fought hard. He squeezed my face and told me he loved me and that he was here, for good, and that I WILL be a mom and he WILL be a dad and we WILL do it together. Sean Robison, I love you. Fiercely. Honestly. Forever.
Fast forward a few years we were married feeling settled and ready to have a family. That didnt happen, which due to my PCOS we weren’t surprised. We were referred to a fertility specialist in the summer of 2016. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I hated it. I was poked and prodded. Bleh. I am very hard on myself. And hearing week after week that my body didn’t perform was incredibly hard for me. I felt like every negative test was stealing Sean’s time from being the dad. I put a great deal of pressure on myself during the time of us doing fertility treatments. We didn’t talk about our treatments with very many people. I felt like the more people the knew the more people I would be disappointing when/if I failed. Im sure all this pressure didnt help our chances of conception either.
After months of blood work, diet changes, appointments, more blood work, money, tears, more blood work, and prayers we were in a spot that the doctor thought it would be good for us to do an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). We did the IUI a few weeks before Thanksgiving. How we sat through Thanksgiving meals with both our families and didn’t tell anyone is beyond me. But on the way to Sean’s parents I remember talking about how we would announce the pregnancy to our families at Christmas. Me dreaming about how I was going to tell my husband that he was, finally, going to be a dad!
Well, if you know us then you know that the pregnancy and dream never happened. We got the call a few weeks after the IUI saying that I wasn’t pregnant. That was one of the worst phone calls of my life. I felt disappointed in myself. That I had, yet again, let Sean down. That this dream of being a family was slipping away; getting further out of reach.
But Sean. My husband. Who is always saving me from being my own worst enemy. He let me be me and feel whatever I wanted to feel. We grew so close as a couple and learned a lot about our selves; how we grieve and process. It was hard to grieve the loss of a dream. It was harder, I think, because we hadn’t told our families and friends about it so out grief was in secret too. And its hard to be “okay” on the outside when you feel like you can barely breathe.
Friends, infertility is hard and frustrating. It’s hope for your future and devastation with your reality all wrapped into one. It consumes your every thought but something you want to ignore and lock in a closet all at once. Give yourself grace, time, love and compassion. You deserve it.
This is all from my perspective. Our fertility journey is ours, and it may not look like yours; and that’s okay. Just know I’m rooting for you. I’m in your corner cheering you on. Im praying that through this your heart is still able to know peace.