Thursday, April 11, 2013

My battle with Secondary Infertility

I'm not sure how to start this post because of such a mix of emotions that I have been feeling.  I guess I will start by giving the definition of what this month means for me.  

Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.  Infertility is defined as a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages.
I have read stats that secondary infertility affects 1 out of 5 women trying to get pregnant after already having at least one biological child.  I have come to the conclusion that I didn't know this because many couples who have this issue simply don't talk about it.  I can relate.  The month we decided we would try for our third I was so excited.  I figured I would be pregnant the very first month.  After all, Brayve and Glory were both unplanned.  It seemed I had no problem at all becoming pregnant.  I didn't become pregnant that first month, or second, or third.  At that point I felt a little worried.  I started to think that something could be wrong.  My past cesareans were haunting me.  I knew there was a greater chance of infertility with a previous cesarean.  I already had a lack of faith in my body because of the outcome of my children's births.  I had been planning my VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesareans) this whole time.  I had a dream in my head of how it might go and I was victorious.  All of a sudden I had a new mountain to climb.  I was very embarrassed.  I didn't discuss it with anyone except for my husband.  I was obsessed for a good 6 months.  It was really a roller coaster of emotions.  I read everything I could, and began my journey to find out what was wrong with me.  I reached a pivotal moment when after having my daily rant with my husband one day while we were running he snapped back at me.  He didn't understand why I was so devoted to becoming pregnant.  Of course he wanted more children too, but he felt like it was an attack on my happiness with my family.  He just wanted to know why I couldn't be thankful for what I already had.  That was incredibly hurtful to me.  I never had looked at it that way for one thing, and the only person that I had been confiding in just told me he was tired of hearing it.  I cried a lot for the next month or two.  I kept it all in and didn't say a word.  Who wanted to hear me complain about my inability to become pregnant when I was already so blessed with the two amazing children that I already had?  I could consider myself lucky.  Some women aren't able to have any biological children, and I was sitting there with two very healthy, smart children of my very own.  I guess it kind of put things into perspective for me.  Month to month started to get a little easier.  I stopped focusing on my NEED to become pregnant now, and started focusing on my health and keeping my family happy.  

A few months ago I finally confided in my mom and one of my sisters.  I had to talk about it.  It had been so long that I had kept my mouth shut.  I just needed somebody to lean on for a second, so I could gather myself back up.  It was very helpful getting it out.  Its like a race i am running, but instead of making it over the obstacles on my own, I have some people supporting me.  They are there giving me support and love, which I feel like everybody could use more of. :)  

I belong to a trying to conceive support group.  Yesterday I posted that I am now at a year of TTC, and this week alone four people have announced their pregnancies.  I had backlash from that post from women who have been trying longer, 2,3,4 years and up.  They were angry that I was complaining about a year.  This was tough for me because I belong to that support group for a reason, for support!  I was blindsided by the negativity.  Of course I feel sadness for those who have been trying to conceive for years on end.  I was in no way trying to belittle their efforts.  I just needed a few, "I know how you feel," comments.  I was also reprimanded for being so selfish as to feel sorrow over not being able to conceive my 3rd child, when I should be thankful for the two that I have.  I can not even express how thankful I am for the two children that I have, but no matter how strong that thankfulness is, it does not stop my desire to have more children.  Those same amazing children ask me often if I have a baby in my belly yet, or if I could just give them another baby brother or baby sister.  Recently we were in the car, and Brayve from the backseat lets me know that he has been asking God to put more babies in Nana's belly.  When I asked him why Nana and not mommy he said, "Because you are having trouble."  After I explained to him that a person can ask God for help when they are having trouble, he has been asking God to put another baby in his mommy's belly.  I don't know what to say besides that its heartbreaking.  No, I am not suffering from a terminal illness.  Yes, my family is happy and healthy.  My husband has his job still.  There are SO many things that I am thankful for, but that doesn't stop the ache that I have for another child.  I read a blog the other day.  This woman explains it well. 

The author is Victoria Lambert:
"I fully appreciate that I am infinitely luckier than all those who are unable to conceive at all – either through infertility, timing or sheer bad luck – but that doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear. 

What I could not have known before my daughter was born was that infertility is infertility, plain and simple, whenever it occurs. I had no idea that trying for a second child would be like starting with a blank page; that my accumulated wisdom and experience of motherhood would count for nothing in terms of conception."

--Lambert goes on to describe the guilt she feels about one child not being "enough," the frustration with her body...why can't it create another child?, the guilt the current child gives because they want a sibling, the pain of seeing all of the baby items she keeps stored in hopes that she can use them for another child. 

--Lambert closes her article with this statement: "These days, it has to be said, I long for my need for a second child to go away almost as much as I do for a positive pregnancy test."