I am a HUGE lover of the holidays. Once October hits, I’m in my happy place. Every thing that surrounds the holidays brings a smile to my face. The baking, Hallmark movies, decorating, festive music, and eggnog. Love me the eggnog. Nothing could ever take that love away, or so I thought. Hello infertility. Thanks for ringing your ugly head and ruining yet another thing that I love.
When we found out Steve’s sister was pregnant, it was towards the end of October. Texts of, “This will be us next year!” followed by a picture of two kids dressed up to go trick or treating only managed to break my heart more. I tired my best to think positive and believe that our turn was right around the corner. When Thanksgiving rolled around, we piled into the car to go to Steve’s family celebration and I spent the 40 minute car ride pumping myself up and putting on my “happy” face. When we walked in it was a celebration. The first grandchild! Champaign glasses were passed around and the only conversation to be had was everything baby. I found myself taking multiple breaks outside to collect myself and stay positive. Whenever I walked back in and I found comfort by being near Steve. Just holding his hand made me feel safe and ok. I was so grateful for him. I was holding myself together pretty well, until the comment about me and having a baby came into play. Steve and his dad were talking and I walked up to be by my security blanket. They must have been talking about us and kids, because right when got there, his dad looked at me and said, “Gosh Steph, you could be pregnant right now. You better be careful with what you are around and drink.” If a heart could physically fall out of your chest and onto the floor, mine would have right then and there. Little did his dad know, that just a few hours ago, I had taken a pregnancy test and prayed for those two pink lines, but only got one. Little did he know that I spent about a half hour just crying in the shower over that stupid pink line. It took all the effort I had to mutter out, “Don’t worry, I’m not!” and then I turned and headed back outside, fighting off, with all of my might, the tears that were threatening to pop through.
At dinner, we went around and said what we were thankful for, and I sat there numb as everyone stated there thanks was for the new addition to the family. I ate in silence, counting down the minutes until it was time to go home. I listened as everyone talked about what it was like to be pregnant, stories about each of the future parents as children, and how his sister wished she could have been drinking alcohol instead of having to drink water. After all of that, I kinda shut off and wanted to be anywhere else. When it came time to leave, I got in the car and started to cry. Steve just sat and listened and I just felt very alone.
The next morning I felt so exhausted. I usually like to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, but this year, I truly didn’t feel like it. I had no excitement in me at all, only worry and sadness. I came downstairs and Steve was sitting in his chair watching TV. I went over to give him a hug and he told me that he had had a talk with his sister. I was like, we just saw her yesterday, what were you talking about? Thinking he had just done me a HUGE favor, he had sent her a message telling her everything I had said in the car about how frustrated and sad I was and how last night had been hard on me. If there had been a table, you bet I would have flipped it over. I felt so violated and also like I had just done something wrong. Here I had shared my feelings with my BFF, my private feelings mind you, and he went and shared them with the one person I did not want knowing about anything I was feeling. I was so dumbfounded. I calmly asked him, “Why would you do that?” and his response was, well you were upset and she should know that. I love him for trying, but man did he just create a shit storm for me to clean up after. I then texted his sister and apologized for what Steve had said. The response I received was icy. She told me she just wished I could be supportive. Insert major Catholic guilt!
While, for the next few weeks, I continued to do damage control, Steve sat me down and said he felt it was time to go back in and see the doctor. I agreed. We called to make our appointment, only to find out that our doctor decided to become a stay at home mom and was no longer practicing. Ummm…I’m sorry what? But we had a plan with her. This is the doctor we both went to and she knew our story. Super frustrated, I went to look up information about other doctors and I happened to find an old doctor of mine who had now moved to this location. I loved this doctor and felt so relieved and like this was a sign that things were going to be just fine.
In the beginning of December, we went to see her and she gave me an exam and had a strong feeling that I may have PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, and most women don’t even know they have it until they find they are struggling to get pregnant. My eyes began to tear up and the guilt I felt was so strong. Steve just sat there giving me the most loving and supportive look and all I could do was mouth to him that I was sorry. My doctor gave my arm a squeeze, handed me a kleenex, and told me that this is not the end. Many women have this and get pregnant, it just may take some assistance. She told us we needed to go and see a infertility specialist and gave us a contact. I was making the call as we got out of the doctors office, and we were lucky to get an appointment in two weeks, right before Christmas.
Those two weeks moved at a snails pace, but finally we found ourselves in the doctors office. I was so nervous but felt that this whole experience was just going to be a blip and in no time I would be pregnant. He gave me my exam and agreed that I had PCOS. He informed us of the different measures that may need to be taken to assist in getting pregnant, but before we did that, he needed to run some tests. He also talked to Steve about his family history and pregnancies and felt it was a good idea to have Steve’s sperm and blood tested as well, just to officially be able to rule him out. We set up appointments to have our tests taken the 24th of December…bring on Christmas Eve.
We spent Christmas up at my parents cabin, now home, and they couldn’t have been anymore supportive. Asking how we were feeling, were we ok, did we want to talk about it, and we got a chance to really explain how we were feeling and what we were figuring out along the way. The day after Christmas we missed a call from our doctor and he left us a message saying he wanted to talk to us about the results, however he was going to be out of town for the weekend and we could call him on Monday. I was so upset we missed the call. I wanted to know we were ok and that all was fine and this we an easy fix. My mom just kept telling me she was sure it was all fine and to just enjoy the weekend.
We got home on Sunday and I shot up on Monday and called the doctors office. I was told he was not in yet and would call us back. I hovered over my phone all day and when it finally rang I, my stomach sank in total fear. This was it. We were about to find out our fate. I yelled for Steve to come up and I answered the call with incredibly shaky hands. Our doctor explained to us that all of my tests came back looking great. There did not seem to be anything that would prevent medication from helping me get pregnant. I was so relieved. We were going to be able to have our baby! The weight of the world just fell off my shoulders…we then heard…however. Nope, not however…don’t use however…however means something bad is coming. However, we did find that in Steve’s sperm sample, there was no swimming sperm. He had twitchers, not swimmers, and that would make getting pregnant the old fashioned way incredibly difficult. He wanted to make another appointment with us so he could go over everything in person and also have Steve give another sample before the meeting. The earliest we could get in wasn’t until March 25, three months away. We were both in such shock. We gave each other a hug and said we would figure it out. Steve kept telling me he was sorry and I just kept telling him it wasn’t his fault. We gave each other one last hug and decided to call our families and tell them what we found out. I just remember calling my mom and the moment I heard her voice I burst into tears and told her, “It doesn’t look good for the home team.”