The Downs’ Infertility Story: When give it time… i
The Downs’ Infertility Story: When give it time… i
95Days to go
Elizabeth Thomas is organizing this fundraiser.
My name is Elizabeth (38), and I am married to Justin (34). I suffer from poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem with hormones that happens during the reproductive years. With PCOS, many small sacs of fluid develop along the outer edge of the ovary. These are called cysts. The small fluid-filled cysts contain immature eggs. These are called follicles. The follicles fail to regularly release eggs. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.
I want to preface this by saying what many readers may not already know. I do not have any children yet and I will be 39, yes, my biological clock is ticking and it’s damn near in overdrive! However, I wanted to be open about what is going on with me, so that others who are struggling would know they aren’t alone. I plan to document the process from here on out because it has been a very big struggle for Justin and I over the last 9 years; as this has become a large part of our life. Justin and I will be married for 9 years in May of 2023 but have been together for 12 years. Many people who know Justin and I, know us as each other’s person, a fun couple, a good time is always to be had, but love each other like Bonnie and Clyde.
A stigma, financial strain, and embarrassment of infertility has plagued me for almost 9 years! I had been so upset at times, that I could not keep from stressing out about not getting pregnant, while my biological clock keeps ticking away. These feelings have caused so much distress in my own life that I never really could ask anyone for support because a NO LIMIT SOLDIER always feels like she has this!
Again, I am opening-up about this because I now know this NO LIMIT SOLDIER needs assistance. I am also doing it now, because others can benefit from hearing my story and may be able to relate to and understand the ups and the downs, as some people have thanked me recently for being open and transparent about my journey. I need to bring awareness to what it feels like to live in infertile shoes. Grab a glass of wine or drink a little coffee because this is a long one! I’ll start from the beginning …
Initially, I wanted to focus on being newlyweds, and my professional goals. So, we weren’t in a rush and felt little pressure that year. In December 2014, I didn’t feel any pressure but was shocked I hadn’t gotten pregnant yet, those were the early days. Justin and I lived place to place like we were young kids and traveling a lot. Looking back, I’ll never regret this because it was such a fun time in our lives, and we had the chance to get to know each other as a married couple. We spent weekends doing pretty much whatever we wanted, and we figured there was no rush because pregnancy wouldn’t be tough, so we thought!
The waiting and wanting begins…
And then one day Justin and I decided we wanted a baby. When I want something bad enough, everyone knows that I will have it… be, do, have! If I want it, it consumes me. I wanted a baby BADLY.
I had always pictured myself as a parent with four children. The prospect of combining my genes with Justin’s and creating a little life was so exciting to me. The timing felt right in 2015. I felt excited to be a mom ready to put someone else’s needs above mine, and though I had all the natural fears I was sure we were ready. So, we tried. I wasn’t worried. Again, I assumed it would happen somewhat quickly. After a couple of months of trying Justin reached out to someone who told us to speak to an OBGYN named Dr. Oliver, who was known to help women get pregnant.
Dr. Oliver asked me how was my job? At that time, I was working at a highly stressful job, so I said I was stressed. She said, “You cannot be stressed while trying to get pregnant, and you are still young so it may take a little time. I had my first baby at a later age myself,” she explained. She said, “Go see this cardiologist and calm down a bit, I’m going to give you a few pills to help you work on fertility at your next visit after I receive your blood work.”
A year of trying naturally with timed sex didn’t work with Dr. Oliver. She suggested I see an endocrinologist at Shady Grove Fertility clinic in 2016. I was asked to do a couple of medicated timed intercourse cycles again, which I expressed wouldn’t work because we had already tried it, yet again it didn’t work! Next, because I was under 35, and due to the type of insurance coverage I had, I had to complete a minimum of 3 cycles of IUI’s (Intrauterine Insemination). On the first two cycles I started to timeline in my head, plotted my maternity leave, and thought excitedly about whose wedding or what life events I’d be pregnant during, but to no avail. On my third time doing an IUI, I got more serious about our efforts. I started tracking my temperature daily and using ovulation kits. By now it was 2017, on this last cycle I experienced what people call a phantom pregnancy. With all the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, no menstrual cycle for three months, but ended up not being pregnant.
We were exhausted at this time. I asked the care coordinator why this happened to me, and she looked at my chart saw my age and stated “oh honey you’re still young. All you need is to give it time, don’t stress, take a break, and a vacation. I know it will happen for you, let’s keep hope alive”. I was mortified with her answer, but I was too exhausted to ask for a solution. Instead, I asked Justin could I take a break. And a break – I took. I avoided talking about having a baby for years. I was so happy I thought he wouldn’t ask and thought he was fine with it just being us.
Justin didn’t know that I felt less than a woman, feeling like I couldn’t do the one thing that made women unique, the financial strain, and just the embarrassment of infertility had really got me down. The IUI’s were very tiresome, costly, and didn’t even work. I would get upset when people would ask me when I was going to have a baby, not knowing that I had already been trying for years, to no avail. People would say just give it time, I would get annoyed because I know your labeled as high risk, after 35, but when you’re a woman you must think about your biological clock ticking. These emotions and feelings cause me so much distress and made me feel like I didn’t have the support I really needed because people couldn’t relate, because it just comes natural for women to get pregnant, right?
During my break after having multiple IUI’s, seeing multiple doctors and specialist, and trying to get pregnant on my own again naturally I decided without Justin that I wasn’t going to have a baby! So, if I didn’t talk about it, he wouldn’t want to bring it up. By this time, I had three nieces, a host of God children, so I was ok, wasn’t I? When I talked to close friends, and a few family members they echoed so many people’s sentiment. Give it time, don’t stress. I heard this refrain over and over. “My friend (fill in the blank) got pregnant as soon as she stopped trying so hard.” That kind of thing pissed me off, because it wasn’t helping the situation, (not knowing that I needed what they were saying to remain positive). I got used to it, time went on, and I vacationed to try to relieve the stress but mainly the void!
Little did I know Justin was not happy about not having a child. At the end of 2021, Justin asked me to retry again. So, from 2021-2022 I started seeing several specialists from ancient Chinese medicine doctors to endocrinologist, once again. From Jan-June 2022 I would drive to New Jersey to see a well renowned physician specialist for infertility to help me. I did several things that the doctor told me to help me get pregnant. Yet again, very expensive, and still… to no avail.
The doctor eventually told me that I would have to have IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) because there was nothing left that she thought would work. Unfortunately, Justin and I, do not have health insurance that covers IVF, which cost $20,000 -$26,000 not including the $6,000-$9,000 cost of the medication for IVF. If the first cycle is not successful, subsequent cycles will add an additional out of pocket expense. Who has $25,000+ just laying around?
With everything done before, Justin and I have more than exhausted our savings on procedures, medications, and numerous infertility treatments. Anyone who knows us, knows that Justin has been waiting and wanting to be a father for nearly a decade. Having a child for Justin is one of my wishes, but honestly one of my main wishes for myself. This is a wish that I have no control over. The constant emptiness felt by me, and shared by Justin, coupled with the financial strain of infertility has plagued the Downs’ for years.
I recently was talking to a friend’s friend about her experience with IVF and she said that the most important thing you can do is remain hopeful. Which sounds easy enough, but I’m at this weird place where I am trying. Justin always remains with hope. He told me to “Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.” So that’s what I’m trying to do! And when I do finally get that positive pregnancy test, I’m going to be the happiest woman in the world. Our baby will be so loved, so wanted, and I will be forever grateful when it gets to be ours. For now, I will wait in HOPE! If you are interested in helping us reach our IVF journey goal, please feel free to donate!
|Chelsey Hill||$50.00||March 25, 2023|
|Myaesha Mbugua||$50.00||March 15, 2023|
|Ashley Goodwin||$25.00||March 13, 2023|
|Geraldo TILLERY||$25.00||March 13, 2023|
|Adryan Wiggins||$25.00||March 12, 2023|
|Daneen Banks||$25.00||March 07, 2023|
|Ariel Watkins||$100.00||March 04, 2023|
|Ariel Byrd||$5.00||March 04, 2023|
|Vashti Hines||$30.00||March 03, 2023|
|Tia Dupree||$100.00||March 03, 2023|
|Sherena Tyler||$25.00||March 03, 2023|
|Anonymous||$50.00||March 03, 2023|
Donate to this campaign:
Elizabeth Thomas is organizing this fundraiser.