My husband and I have been trying to conceive since late spring 2014. To date (March 2017) I have endured 14 cycles of fertility treatments, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF); four cycles with intrauterine insemination (IUI), injectables and letrozole; two cycles with letrozole only; and seven cycles of clomid. I have had one laparoscopy and chromopertubation, one hysteroscopy, and one hysterosalpingogram (HSG). I have been diagnosed with mild endometriosis and, prior to clomid, anovulation. I have had my blood drawn so many times that some of the technicians at my lab know my name. I also let them choose which arm they prefer to draw from since I seem to have permanent bruising on my inner elbow. Matt has given me numerous injections, which is pretty impressive considering he gets queasy around needles and blood. I have been pregnant one time — summer 2016. My pregnancy was ectopic and treated with methotrexate. I was treated twice with methotrexate because I didn’t respond to the first injections. My ectopic pregnancy was devastating and during that time I nearly lost all hope. My whole experience trying to conceive has been heartbreaking, isolating, and full of despair and disappointment.
Around the one year anniversary of starting trying to conceive, I began researching online how to cope with infertility. Since then I’ve collected books, blogs, posts, articles, memes, and other things on pinterest that have helped me learn about infertility, feel connected with others, and sometimes laugh at the ridiculous things we are experiencing and feeling. But I feel like it took me a long time to find what I really needed there at the start. I initially googled something like “how to cope with infertility” and the things I found felt very clinical — lists made by well intentioned professionals of what to do. Some of those lists were helpful, yes, but I felt like I needed a bit more connection… some kind of deeper reflection of what I was feeling and the things I was questioning and debating. Since then I’ve found some better resources, but at the time I clung to only a few that resonated with me. Many didn’t sit well with me at the time, and some still don’t, and that’s ok; I just had to find what did work for me. One thing I’ve struggled with from the start is that many pieces I found were written by someone whose infertility had been resolved in some way — not that this was bad or anything (I am glad to know people survive this!), but it was hard for me not to just think, “Easy for you to talk about what got you through; you have your baby now! I’m still in the middle of this!” I don’t know what the future holds for me, and while I still have lots of hope that I’m going to have a happy ending, at times it’s very hard for me to be inspired by other people’s success stories. Other pieces I found were following someone’s treatment, but I didn’t necessarily want to hear about someone else’s day to day experiences with their treatment — I’m undergoing treatment myself. I’m familiar with how it works and how wild the rollercoaster ride is day to day. What I really wanted was ideas about how to get through this, what I can do for myself and my partner, and reflections on what this journey feels like so that I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling so heartbroken and lost. It’s very easy to feel completely alone when you’re infertile in a world filled with other people’s babies.
I debated a long time about starting an infertility blog. There are lots of infertility blogs out there and many infertility books, but after giving it a lot of thought, I decided I would start one too… if nothing else, writing about these topics will certainly help me work through some of this experience, and sharing my thoughts might also help someone else on a similar journey, or it might help those in my support system understand me a bit more. I figure that writing a blog might do more good than harm, so why not give it shot? I do already have a blog, but it is so completely different that I felt I had to start afresh somewhere else, so here I am.
I intend to use this blog as a place to share my reflections on my journey in general… thoughts on survival and coping, grief, humor, education… I do not intend to write a daily journal with updates about our current treatment. I just want to share some of the things that have helped me to endure my infertility and some of the things that have been on my mind during this process. If you are on a similar journey and happen upon this blog, I hope you can feel comfort with my words that resonate with you, and then discard anything that doesn’t. If I’ve learned anything during this it’s that everyone’s journey is unique — what helps me may not help you, and that’s okay. I hope that with this blog I can reach someone who might be seeking a connection. I am here to assure you that you are not alone.
I chose the name of the blog to be “I am half hope” because at this point it’s an accurate reflection of how I feel. It’s from Jane Austen’s Persuasion… In a letter to Anne Elliot, Captain Wentworth writes, “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.” (You can read more of the passage here). Although this is a quote about love, not infertility, I think the feelings are really not too different. After all, I want to have children to share and grow the love and joy Matt and I have for each other and our families. I am half agony because the experience of trying to conceive has been heartbreaking, but I am also half hope because I still believe that there can be a happy ending for us. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I am hopeful that regardless of what happens we will be surrounded by love and happiness.
If you are reading this and feeling quite alone, I highly recommend finding a support group — joining a support group with my husband has probably been the best thing we’ve done together to survive this journey. You can find local support through resolve.