Monday, April 28, 2014

Faces of Infertility: "Lana's" Story

In celebration of "National Infertility Awareness Week", I am featuring stories of infertility this week. These are all guest posts that I hope will put a real face on this devastating disease. Please spread the word and share these stories!

I grew up in a small town in the mountains. I was the "go to" babysitter for a couple of doctors' families. As a teenager, I taught Sunday school, worked in my church nursery, & constantly found little ones to love on as often as I could. I wanted nothing more than to get married & have children - God created me to love on children!

I met my husband in our church singles group & we married 5 months later. After 2 years of marriage, we agreed that he would quit work & go back to school to pursue his MA knowing this meant the necessity of putting off starting a family any time soon. We agreed to leave it in God's hands as soon as he had that MA completed. I've just turned 29 & he is 30 when that wonderful day came! My heart was overflowing with joy! We had one night to celebrate & officially start trying to have a baby when he took off on his dream trip for a month to climb Mt. McKinley with friends. I don't know how, but I just knew that fateful night was "the night" I conceived.

When my husband came home from that trip, I was grin from ear to ear & had been singing praises to God so loudly I was certain my husband had heard me all the way up Mt. McKinley!

Seven months later (about 5 weeks early) our first son was born. The joy I felt is still indescribable - my dream of a lifetime had come true! God's blessings poured out abundantly in this precious boy!

When our first-born was about 2 years old, we quit being worried about birth control but weren't really "trying" to conceive. In the meantime, of noteworthy interest, my husband had taken up serious cycling. He rode 50+ miles every day during the week & at least one 100-miles ride on the weekend...a devoted cyclist!

After 2 years of not really trying but not preventing getting pregnant, we became very focused on the issue. I did temperature charts for about 6 months with no success. We were very puzzled as to how one shot in the dark & we had our first pregnancy could lead to this dilema.

When I had my yearly OB/GYN appointment, I discussed this with my doctor. She looked at my temperature chart & cycle history then suggested a post-coital exam. My husbands sperm count was very low & the mobility of those their was not strong. (Quite possibly all the cycling caused this.) There was also evidence that I may not be ovulating every cycle. She suggested an infertility specialist.

The infertility specialist agreed with my OB/GYN's diagnosis. Our first option was to have both my husband and me on clomid for the next cycle then do IUI. We did IUI for about 6 months with no success. My husband's sperm count was not adequate for establishing a pregnancy. Now what? This was 1996 & I am 39 years old. Our options were IVF or we could consider donor sperm. The other option was adoption. We considered private adoption but in the end we were concerned that we'd go through the process & have a birth mother change her mind. (This had happened to 2 different friends.) We discussed donor sperm & decided to investigate this option. Donor sperm seemed to be our best option for our own baby.

We did donor donor sperm IUI for about 6 months while I was also on clomid. The seventh time, I'm on the table while they are preparing for the IUI and bared my soul to God in prayer. "OK, God - this is my last IUI. I'm turning this decision 100% over to you. If we are to only have one son, I'm more than ok with it. He's an amazing boy & we are very grateful for the gift of him! This is all up to you...I'm done with this." I fully expected the same result of the last several years of attempting to get pregnant. I went home, kept my temperature chart as I had always done fully expecting my temperature to drop in a few days.

Amazingly, my temperature didn't drop! Thank you, God!!! The doctor confirmed, we were indeed pregnant. My hormonal level was very high - could it be all 3 eggs seen on the ultra sound had taken? The doctor warned us that was indeed a possibility. We were stunned & were preparing ourselves, albeit with a bit of fear & excitement, at the thought of triplets. An ultrasound a few weeks later revealed we had one baby. We were very grateful for the miracle of this one baby! Yes, grateful! While we may never be certain what happened to the other 2 eggs, one baby is more than we expected at this point and we were thrilled.

At the age of 41, our second son was born four weeks early - our miracle baby...truly a gift from God! He is now 16 years old. We have not yet told either son that we chose the route of donor sperm. Our sons are almost 12 years apart and they both know we traveled the road of infertility. Why haven't we told them the whole story? It boils down to this...1) Kids can say cruel things & we wanted to wait until we felt both were mature enough to handle the discussion (certain family members are aware of the circumstance should anything every happen to us before we tell them). 2) The night before my last IUI with donor sperm, my husband & I made love. I've always wondered which sperm was successful? My husband has resisted DNA testing all these years ("What difference does it make? He's our son!"). My husband's mother says our 2nd son has many traits similar to my husband & he resembles him as well. While I understand my husband's reluctance to know for certain, I have a strong desire to know the answer. This is an ongoing piece of the puzzle.

The years of infertility were certainly trying. But, to be truthful, I couldn't allow myself to wallow in to the grief of failed efforts as long as I had hope. I had to leave my courage & faith in God's hands & know that He was in control. This was partially due to protecting my husband from feeling like he was a failure & the other part was I was unwilling to acknowledge this loss. I had faced tremendous loss of loved ones in my life (both parents & a sister who died when she was 12) - this was not a road I was willing to go down until I absolutely had to. You can call it denial but I choose to call it God's hand of protection & assurance. We are grateful & we are blessed beyond measure! There are times, however, I tell our challenging stubborn, bullheaded, brilliant #2 son that his days on earth might be limited if his attitude doesn't change! He may resemble his father but his attitude comes from me! Definitely our child! I pray our story is encouraging to your readers.

(Please note that all parts of this article are the opinion of the guest writer and not necessarily viewpoints that I personally share)

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