Let’s Make a Baby!
When I first started thinking about getting my Ph.D., I realized that the timeframe would coincide with my biological clock. I was 29 at the time, but I wouldn’t start the program for another year. Then, it would take me at least four years. By the time I graduated, I would be around 34-35, which means I’d basically be geriatric in the baby-making world. So, my husband and I left the Ph.D. info session and decided, “Let’s make a baby!” We figured I had a year to apply and wait for admission, in that time, I would get pregnant, pop out a baby, and then start my Ph.D. program! Simple, right?! Because isn’t that how life works?!
Umm…Where’s the Baby?!
That was almost 2.5 years ago. I am entering into my second year of the Ph.D. program and still, there is no baby! There hasn’t even been a pregnancy scare, negative pregnancy test, or even a late period!
When we reached the 1.5 year mark, we decided we should probably start checking with doctors to see if there is anything wrong. Can I just say…it’s a painful process?! Oh my goodness…for those of you who are going through this, I empathize! For those who aren’t, this is just for your info, in case you’re thinking of putting off children…just know what might be in store….When we started this process, it was probably in the spring of this year, and I’m currently 31. Up until this point, I’ve been very healthy. My husband is 35 and he is pretty healthy too, no major health issues.
The Infertility Journey…!
- PCP visit for me – I went for my usual well women visit. She ordered blood work and referred me to an OB/GYN.
- OB/GYN visit – Conducted a papsmear and ordered blood work. Gave me way too much information about what could happen. Told me to consider using an ovulation kit and continue tracking my period. After doing that for a few months, I contacted her to let her know we weren’t pregnant.
- HSG Test – this test is done to see if your fallopian tubes are open or if something might be blocking them. This test has to be done at a specific time in your cycle. They told me to call the day my cycle started because I needed to go in from day 8-10, before ovulation. Well, the day I called, I happened to be on day 7 and I had work on day 8, so no testing that month. Day 9-10 fell on the weekend! Then, the following month, I was on vacation in Europe during the time I should have gotten the testing done! Basically, that meant delaying the tests for 2 months! Eventually, I got it done. Back to the testing details…They inject a dye into your uterus so that it moves toward your ovaries, then they take an x-ray to see where the dye went. This can be somewhat painful because well…they’re sticking something up your uterus…there was cramping, but thankfully it was pretty fast.
- Semen Analysis – my husband had to get a semen analysis done, then…
- Follow-up with OB/GYN to review the results – Basically, my tubes looked good, but my husband’s results were not as positive. The count, mobility, and viscosity was fine, but morphology was 0%!!! Morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. Basically…it sounded like there was 0% viable sperm that had an okay shape… That was the first time my husband and I thought, “Oh my goodness…are you saying there is 0% chance we can have a baby?!” The doctor was thorough and talked about potential options…it went from this idea of us having a natural normal pregnancy to talking about IVF, IUI, and sperm donors?! We hadn’t even considered any of those options! For the most part, we thought we were pretty against it! And then she asked why we wouldn’t want IVF and we said for religious reasons…and then she asked if it was because of the embryos?! I just thought, “Whoa! What?! I hadn’t even considered the embryos! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Back it up! This is too much too fast…!” Then, she referred us to a fertility specialist…
- Consult with the Fertility Specialist – on the plus side, I felt like I was on The Mindy Project because it was a fancy office with snacks, drinks, cute pillows, and furniture! (In The Mindy Project, Mindy is an OB/GYN who opens a fertility clinic and her office is super swanky!) Anyways…the fun stops there. We met with the doctor and he told us he wanted to order another semen analysis. Also, he wanted me to get an ultrasound to see how my eggs were doing, and….blood work…and genetic testing…and what?! This is going to cost a bazillion dollars because it’s all out of network?!
- Dealing with Insurance and two different doctors’ offices – I won’t go into all the details but basically, if you’re dealing with infertility and need testing, or if you’re going to go anywhere near the IVF train…OMG it is going to cost you money!!! And it’s a total pain to figure out what insurance covers and doesn’t cover, who you can see and who is out of network! As of right now, my husband and I aren’t really considering IVF or anything for that matter. We’re really just going through the process to figure out why we haven’t gotten pregnant thus far. But regardless, the path to get all the testing done is EXPENSIVE! I have seriously started praying, “LORD, please just let us get pregnant biologically, sooner than later because we cannot afford this!” Each of the visits has cost us from $65-100! and that’s with insurance…but initially, we didn’t know if insurance would cover the blood work or ultrasound and basically, those two would have been several hundreds of dollars!
- Ultrasound and Blood work – this has to be done on day 3 or 4 of your cycle. The day I went to see the fertility specialist, it happened to be day 3! I thought, praise God!! But then, there was a stall because of insurance…. so the next day, I had to wait to get my OB/GYN to order the tests. She ordered them, we found out insurance would cover it but then…. OMG, it’s day 4 of my cycle, so I had to get the test done THAT DAY or else wait another month! They didn’t have an appointment available near me so I had to drive to a location an hour away…when? IMMEDIATELY! I was literally on my lunch break, found out everything was approved, made an appointment, then called work, said I wasn’t going back, and then jetted off to the appointment! They make you drink about 36 oz. of water before the appointment and tell you not to pee. That’s pretty much all I remember. Then, for the blood work, they take lots of blood…9 tubes… (I think the results looked good, but haven’t had a follow-up w/ my doctor to discuss yet.)
- Semen Analysis – my husband had to get another semen analysis done. We received the results over the phone. They said everything looked good but the morphology was 1%. Hey, that’s a 100% increase!!! Am I right?! They are really only looking for 4%. If you have 4% morphology, that’s okay. So, I figure, if we can go from 0% to 1%, then we can go from 1 to 2, 2 to 3, and 3 to 4!! Right?! I don’t know how these things work, I’m just saying…have faith! There was nothing, and now there’s something! Then the fertility specialist referred my husband to a urologist…
- Urology Appointment – I don’t want to get too much into details about this since it’s my hubs and he might not want me to spill everything for all the world to know. Basically, the dr. said there was no need to do surgery if the issue is morphology. I don’t really know if this was good news…I mean, it’s good news that he doesn’t have to get surgery! yay! but, i don’t know if that necessarily helps the morphology issue… but at the very least, my hubs is relieved that he doesn’t have to get surgery! Then the dr. says… btw, your fertility specialist didn’t send over the semen analysis results…so after I receive those, come back with your wife for a follow-up?!?! Basically…another co-pay for nothing…!!!
So, that’s where we’re at! We need the fertility specialist to send over the results, then haven a follow-up with the urologist…then go back to the fertility specialist to review everything…what happens after that, I have NO IDEA!
Why Am I Sharing All of This?
I want you to know, if you’re going through infertility, you’re not alone, and it is okay! There is nothing wrong with you and others are struggling too! Infertility isn’t something people really talk about. People love to share their birth announcements! But no one ever shares new about how they aren’t having a baby because they can’t! And yet, so many people are having a hard time dealing with infertility!
Maybe you’re happy and healthy! You think, I want to have children eventually…but I’ll think about it when everything is settled… I just want to share the reality that sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we planned it. Initially, I planned to pop out a baby right before returning to grad school! I am a planner! But some things don’t work out how you plan…I mean, I was relatively young and healthy when I made the decision to start trying for a baby. You just don’t know how long it’s going to take?! And the reality is there is a biological clock. I’m not saying I’m too old now…but can you imagine if I decided to start this process after I got my Ph.D. at the age of 35?!
Also, I just wanted to shed some light on the whole infertility process. Overall, my husband and I have been pretty open-minded about this process. We really just want to know what is wrong and seek God on the matter. But man, it is still an emotional roller coaster at times! Dealing with the two doctor’s offices, insurance, getting testing done on specific days of your cycle…it’s a lot! And it’s enough to make anyone go stir crazy! And we’re not even talking about meds, monitoring, or hormones! We are just in the very preliminary stages of this whole infertility journey!
Seeking God in the Midst of Infertility
It can be really easy to get overwhelmed between the appointments, tests, results, and doctors immediately jumping to IVF…! Throughout the process, my husband and I have had to stop and say, “Okay, let’s pray about this first.” “Let’s seek God.” “Lord, make it clear to us, what we should do.” “Lord, we submit all of this to you.” It’s daunting, but God’s Word says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6.
So, that’s all I have for you now, friends. Next, I’ll be writing about what the Bible says about infertility. Leave a comment with your thoughts and prayer requests! I would love to hear how you are doing!