Phew, okay, where to even begin? Back when I shared this post on how we’re battling secondary infertility I was absolutely overwhelmed with the number of responses and stories so many of you shared of your own infertility journies. The community that came out of that one post, even if it was just for a few minutes of us sharing thoughts back and forth, was inspiring. It was humbling, to say the least.
These blog posts are hard, I’m not going to lie. Here we go…
Okay but wait, I really feel like I need to say my peace on why I’m being this open first.
I’ve gotten a bit of criticism for sharing what we’re going through so publically. That makes me cringe a little and begin to think twice. You know what though, I know it’s the right decision. Your 300+ messages from near and far made that extra clear from the last post and subsequent Stories. Here’s why I’m continuing to share despite some of this…
Infertility isn’t something we talk about. And you guys, ONE IN TEN couples experiences infertility. That’s more than FIVE MILLION people in the US. (source) When you personally go through infertility you feel alone, you feel broken, and you feel ashamed. By sharing my story and having others share theirs, those isolating feelings begin to soften. If even one couple feels a little less alone in their infertility journey and like they’re not broken, then it’s worth it. If these type of posts aren’t for you, feel free to stop reading now and keep your opinions to yourself.
Now here we are, five months after that post and what seems like 1,785 tests later and we finally know what’s going on. Time to update you guys.
For the past year, we’ve mostly heard that we’re young and healthy and already had a baby so we should just keep chugging along. To be honest with you – my theory was that our infertility was stress-induced from our 4 moves in Sully’s 3 years of life, me starting a company, Ryan changing jobs, us moving to a new country altogether, and more.
We did too many blood tests to count, I’ve done 3 ultrasounds at this point, we’ve met with what I counted to be 7 different doctors, Ryan did tests on his side, and for the longest time, there was no problem. I even went to a specialized acupuncturist for a month who measured and tracked my energy levels and flows.
Then in October we paid privately and went to a specialized fertility doctor here in London. The doctor was older and foreign, so a bit hard to understand. He too didn’t see anything from all the tests we’ve done but suggested one last thing – an Aquascan. It’s essentially an ultrasound where they insert a catheter with saline and air to see how it all moves through your reproductive system. Not comfortable and not cheap, but y’all, we were so eager to figure all this out for good.
So in I went the very next day for the Aquascan. I went by myself because we really didn’t think it would be a big deal. As I was watching the screen, the doctor focused and moved around a lot on my ovaries. He made all kinds of negative noises and mumbled something that sounded like endometriosis. He confirmed a lot of things look good, but then very nonchalantly said that the endometriosis is too much on one ovary and on top of that, that one ovary is no longer “young enough” to produce a baby. Oh and the other ovary is much, much “older” than it should be too. Then he took off his gloves and walked away.
Wait, what? I have endometriosis? And my ovaries are old ladies?!
The sweet Australian nurse I think sensed my shock. She said that yes, I do have endometriosis and explained more about what that is exactly (here’s more if you want to know). Then she said that my follicle count in my ovaries is not where it should be for a healthy 30-year-old woman. My chances of naturally getting pregnant are slim to none.
In a state of oh my gosh what the HECK, I’m freaking out, I managed to get dressed and made my way to the doctor’s desk. He was scrawling notes and I had to butt in to confirm what the nurse said. Then I asked the big question.
So now what?
One more blood test. Ugh, how was that even possible?! Apparently, I had never gotten an AMH blood test which measures egg reserve. This would confirm what they had seen in the Aquascan.
After that, if the AMH confirms what he saw, going straight to IVF is our only option besides hoping for a bit of a natural miracle. Clomid and IUI were not good options for us, FYI for those who might ask.
I went directly after that appointment and got the bloodwork done. Then the next week we found out that the bloodwork did indeed confirm what we had seen in the Aquascan.
Talk about a rough couple weeks in the Phillips household guys. Hold on, because this is where I get sappy.
We’ve been working through the idea that we may never know if our future children would all look identical to my husband like Sully does. We’ve been working through my feelings of guilt that I can’t provide another child for my husband when he’s perfectly fine. We’ve had to work through pausing our Friends marathon because we’re on the episodes where Rachel is pregnant and I can’t handle it. 🙂 We’ve been working through the dream we had of Sully laying her head on my pregnant belly to hear brother or sister’s heartbeat. We’ve been working through that moment of joy when the baby first starts to kick. We’ve been working through being okay with a family different than what we had envisioned.
This means we’ve had to focus on God and the knowledge that we need to trust his plan. We’ve had to lean so heavily on family and friends (another reason my best friends trip to Paris was so special and needed!). We’ve had to pray, pray, and then pray again. We’ve had to fiercely love and support each other as husband and wife. Gosh, how our marriage has richened even in the last couple weeks. And we’ve had to start focusing on our next decision.
So on we march into exploring our options. We’re pretty certain we know the direction we’ll go next, it’s just a matter of in which way. I’ll be sure to update you soon, don’t worry!
One last thing I’ll say here.
If you feel like you have a medical issue (I thought years ago I had endometriosis, but I was “too young” and no one would listen), then speak up and push on it. Also, if you want to jump ahead on your fertility journey, I would specifically request an AMH blood test to get your egg levels. Or even see if you can get an Aquascan. If we had known of or pushed for these things earlier, especially while still in the US, I think we would have been WAY ahead of where we are now. That said, I am nowhere near the medical field, so I have no idea if that’s even an option. At least you know what to ask about now though!
Here’s what I do know. This is all part of His plan. Years from now, I truly believe I’m going to look back on all the negative and super sad feelings we have right now and think they’re so silly because we’ll be in company with the family God intended for us all along. Right? Right.
There. Done! I did it. I wrote this post. The one I’ve honestly been dreading because it makes it more real. I just kind of wanted to ditch being open about this area of our life and focus on blogging about travel and pretty clothes, but I firmly believe this is an important issue to continue sharing about.
Okay, if you’re still with me, thank you. Thank you for reading and supporting us on this journey.
If you yourself are going through this, gosh friend, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Seriously, you are loved and not alone.
Sending you lots of love and throwing up fists full of confetti gratitude!!!