After being together for almost 10 years, my husband Dean and I have officially been diagnosed as an infertile couple. This means that our only option of conceiving a child together is through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It has taken a long time and a lot of consideration for us to decide whether or not we wanted to share our story publicly, but the situation has changed in such a way that we cannot (and should not) remain silent any longer.
Ever since I was a little girl, the only thing I ever dreamed of being was a mother. In Elementary School when teachers would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d always answer “a mommy”. At the (embarrassing) age of 12, I would go around the neighborhood pushing my stuffed animals around in a stroller. As I grew up, this developed into an even stronger desire to nurture, so much so that my friends started referring to me as “Mom”. My first two jobs were working for the YMCA with elementary school kids and then at a preschool in the infant & toddler room. Every day that I went into work further solidified my dreams of when I’d be able to have a child of my own.
In 2006, I met Dean and I knew very quickly that he was the right man for me, my soul mate. His sense of humor, integrity, and loyalty drew me in right away. In the early days of our relationship, we agreed that when we were ready we wanted to have children together. He admitted that he had always had the desire to have kids but when he met me he knew that he wanted me to be their mother. He had never imagined anyone else filling that role. We were married in 2010, and two years later in 2012 we decided that we were in a good place to start trying for our family. We were married, debt free, working professionals that had an extra bedroom in their townhouse for a nursery.
Four months later, on February 13, 2013 our dreams came true – I got a positive pregnancy test! We were completely over the moon and told everyone closest to us that we were expecting. I knew that it was customary to wait 12 weeks, but I figured there would be no harm in telling our family members and our closest friends. At just under 7 weeks pregnant at an ultrasound, we were told that the pregnancy was ectopic (in my fallopian tube, not in my uterus) and that I needed to receive treatment immediately to terminate. We were and are, absolutely devastated by this. Our OBGYN did not feel comfortable in recommending the usual treatment of methotrexate for us, which left laparascopic surgery as our only option. As I was filling out the pre-op paperwork, Dean and I made the decision on the advice of our Doctor to remove my left fallopian entirely (Salpingectomy).
After countless blood draws and examinations we were cleared medically and felt ready to try again. On July 11th, I took a pregnancy test – it was positive! I e-mailed our triage Nurse right away for the order so I could go and get a blood test to confirm. The following day, I took another pregnancy test (just for posterity) which was still very positive, but two hours later I began to bleed heavily. One day later, the blood work showed that I had what is called a chemical pregnancy (an early miscarriage). Again, we were heartbroken, but resolved to keep trying. We figured that even though I had miscarried, it was still progress of some kind. At the very least, I didn’t need surgery.
Then, there was nothing – for an entire year. I tried every vitamin, old wives tale, taking my basal body temperature every morning, charting, ovulation predictor kits, and every month would result in the same negative pregnancy test. When you have been trying for a year with no success (and you are under the age of 35) it is recommended to go in for an infertility consult. Currently, I am 28 and Dean is 29, so I made the appointment and for the first time in a long time we felt hopeful. The OBGYN ordered a series of tests that we would need to have completed in a very specific time frame. The first of which being a HSG (hysterosalpingogram) X-ray test that looks at the quality of the uterus and fallopian tubes. This test would determine whether or not we could begin with medication (Clomid) to stimulate my ovulation or if we would need to pursue IVF.
The radiologist that performed my HSG gave me his preliminary diagnosis and said that it was “extremely unlikely” that I will ever achieve a natural, successful pregnancy and that our only option for conception is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I have a blockage in the middle of my only remaining fallopian tube. My OBGYN called after reviewing the x-rays and agreed with his assessment and told us that there is nothing else she can do to help us other than give us a referral to a Reproductive Endocrinologist that would perform/begin our treatment for IVF. The pain that we are feeling after receiving this diagnosis is relentless. Our dreams are shattered and we find ourselves extremely sad and vulnerable. Social gatherings cause me a great deal of anxiety because I cannot put on a brave face all the time and cry suddenly, sometimes without warning.
It became clear to us after looking into IVF treatment that the costs are extraordinary and completely out of our reach. Even though we are both employed full time and have a wonderful insurance policy for after the pregnancy occurs; our insurance plan does not cover ANY costs related to infertility. The only thing that is covered is our initial consult with the Reproductive Endocrinologist.
I received a few general price quotes from IVF clinics in our area and it became clear that in order for us to have a child it will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 out of pocket. With IVF treatment, you are responsible for paying for this treatment in full before you can even begin your medications. Adding insult to injury, these medications are not covered by our insurance either, and cost about $3,000-$5000 per attempt.
We’re a team and we’re in this together; still fighting and hoping that parenthood will eventually become a reality for us. The one thing that has never wavered throughout this process is our love and commitment to each other.
We have selected an reproductive endocrinologist, and we are about to begin our journey to achieve our science baby.