Friday, February 21, 2014

Dealing with infertility....

I've been asked for a while to write about our infertility journey and I want to start of by saying that this post has no judgement but real heart feelings.  Please share this post with any friends or family members that might be going through this process.  This post is long because we have been on this journey for fourteen years.

First, I want to introduce me and my husband.  I met my future husband while I was in high school.  James was 16 years old and I was 14 years old.  We dated five years before we married and married at 21 years old and 19 years old.  We are about to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary....we've been together a total of 21 years!

I am so blessed to be married to my best friend and partner in crime.  We started trying to have a family about three years after we were married.  James was still going to Texas Tech but was getting ready to graduate.  We had "secretly" been trying to get pregnant for a year.  We didn't want to tell anyone we were trying because we really wanted to surprise everyone.  That year was a hard year for us.  My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband had both found out they were both expecting.  We were so happy for them and we never let anyone know how hard it was for us to hear this.  Once you've been trying for more than a year you start asking questions.  What am I doing wrong?  Is there something wrong with me?  Why am I being punished?

After trying for a full year our doctor suggested we have some tests run.  When you start the fertility process the first thing they check is always the guy unless you know that the female has some issue.  We (I say we because this affects both of us) had James tested and sure enough he had a male fertility factor.  He was diagnosed with a varicocele.  James was sent to a specialist and was told he needed to have surgery to help improve this.  James went into surgery and his recovery was so rough.  He had gotten so sick from all the medication that he had ripped all his incisions open and they ended up keeping him over night.  After a long recovery we learned that this surgery didn't work for James like we had hoped.  At first we were so confused but quickly realized we weren't done with our fight.

Soon after that we started cycles of Clomid.  We did two rounds with our regular OB then after that we were sent to a specialist.  My specialist doctor decided I needed surgery to make sure everything was ok with me.  I had surgery and found that I had endometriosis.  After my surgery I realized I was allergic to Iodine.  It was the WORST reaction I had ever had.  My poor husband had to help me with things he should never have had to do!  After another two rounds of Clomid with IUI cycles we were still not pregnant.  I do want to tell you a couple of funny stories.  If you know us at all you could totally seeing these things happen to us.

The first IUI cycle we did we were so nervous!  We didn't know what to expect or how the process worked.  Our first round after we did the IUI, I had to be still for about twenty minutes.  All of a sudden the bed I was lying on was broken and I started to slide off the bed.  I'm hanging on for dear life and James is trying to fix the bed.  We are both laughing so hard and this is suppose to be a peaceful moment.  The doctor walked in finding James holding me on the bed so I wouldn't fall off head first.  Her look was priceless!  She had forgotten this bed was broken.  We have some other funny stories that would leave you crying from laughing so hard.  I can't really go into details without embarrassing my husband.  If he wants to share this story then I'll let him.

I remember at this point James and I decided to give the fertility thing a break.  We decided to focus on him finishing school and just enjoy being married.  We were still trying on our own but we were so tired of all the doctors visits and scheduling and the drugs.

The next 2-3 years were so much fun.  We traveled the world and just lived life.  My husband had accepted a job being the financial coordinator at our church was a pastor on staff.  We loved our church and were very involved.  Like I said we traveled the world.  We went on many mission trips to the Czech Rep., Croatia, Mexico, Poland, Albania, Italy and Austria.

One mission trip was life changing for us.  Our Croatia trip was a trip we will never forget.  We had led a small team and were pretty much thrown into the lives there.  The whole purpose of this trip was to encourage the pastor of the church there and to bless the people of his church.  I remember at one point in the church services the pastor had asked us to walk around and pray for his church.  I was drawn to this one lady.  I had asked her if I could pray for her and she told me in her best English that she and her husband were trying to have a baby.  From that point on I knew God had me there for one reason.  That one reason was for this one woman!  She broke my heart because I knew what she was going through.  The heartache of not understanding what was wrong with her body, the heartache with everyone getting pregnant around her, the heartache of a mother not wanting to have another baby when you would give you right arm to have one.

This week I took full advantage to just love and encourage this one woman.  Later that week James was asked to preach at this church.  He told our story of heartache.  He ended our story with the love of Christ and how we've done nothing wrong.  This husband and wife were in tears and we were able to lead them in to forgiveness with each other and with God.   That same afternoon we had a dinner at the pastors house and the pastors wife came to me and asked me if she could pray for us.  She had a calling to pray for women who were barren.  Up to this point we had been trying to get pregnant for eight years.  Of course we said yes and she prayed in her native tongue and it was POWERFUL!  It was translated for us but I don't remember what all was said.  James and I left that prayer meeting so encouraged and broken at the same time.

We came home from that mission trip and went back to our busy lives.  About two weeks later I was feeling "off."  My sister convinced me to take a pregnancy test and I told her she was crazy but I did it anyways....and that crazy thing came back pregnant!  We were so shocked and more shocked and of course so happy that God had answered our prayer.  About a week later I started cramping and bleeding and knew I was loosing the baby.  I miscarried at eleven almost twelve weeks.  I went to my doctor and sure enough we were living our biggest nightmare.  I remember my doctor saying to me "I don't know why your so upset, your not suppose to get pregnant on your own anyways!"  Needless to say we changed doctors after that.  At this point we had been trying for a baby for eight years.

I remember that was on a Wednesday and that was the night we were suppose to give our church a report on our trip to Croatia.  I was so mad a God and hurt.  How could I possibly go to church and put on a happy face??  I decided not to go that night so James went instead.  I remember after he left the house I just broke.  I called my friend and asked her to pray for me and needed her to stand in the gap for me.  I physically could not do it for myself.  After that I sucked it up and went to church.  I remember the look on James' face when I walked in.  All I said was "I couldn't let the enemy win."  I stood up in front of our church and told so many wonderful stories of our mission trip and not once did I break down and cry.  The one thing I will never forget was when James and I got home that evening, James stopped and prayed and thanked God for the life we carried for a short time.

We had to wait four months to try again and with a new doctor.  Again we started the Clomid cycles and again were encouraged.  We did our first cycle and it wasn't a success.  We decided to go straight into a second cycle and found our we were pregnant!  We were so excited but at eight weeks we lost another pregnancy, it was also Easter weekend.  Since we lost it so early we didn't have to wait so we know this last cycle would be our last.  You can only do so many cycles of Clomid and then you put yourself at a higher risk for ovarian cancer.  This is the part where our life gets really crazy!  We did our final Clomid cycle and had to wait two weeks for the results.  A week before we were to take our pregnancy test we received a phone call that would forever change our lives!

A nurse friend of ours called and said that a young girl had walked into the hospital and had a baby and was needing a home for the baby and wanted to know if we were interested?  Can you say HECK YES!!  February 2009 our daughter, Farrah was born!  Talk about instant love and acceptance.  You can read my blog about her birth story.

Farrah was about a week old and we still had to do another pregnancy test.  We weren't sure what to feel at this point.  Deep down inside we really wanted to be pregnant but for the first time in our life we were ok with a no ......... and it was a no again.

For the next two years we just enjoyed being parents to our incredible little girl.  When Farrah turned two we wanted to start trying again.  We went to a new specialist and for the first time she asked us questions we had never considered.  After hearing our medical history she decided to do genetic testing on both James and me.  After ten years with no answers, we finally got answers.  Answers we didn't understand but it was something.  I also had to do the surgery again for endometriosis.  This time it was a lot more complicated.  I was in stage three and stage four is the worst.  The doctor had also found some other issues and was able to correct them.

We learned that James has a genetic issue that we had never heard before.   We were told that James had a Robertsonian translocation on his 13th and 14th chromosome.  Which long story short means that James is a carrier for this and is a normal healthy human being.  But when he passes his genetic codes he will either pass on a normal 13 and 14 chromosome or he will pass on just a 13 or just a 14 and that's when we have problems.  When that happens it's a 85% chance in miscarriage, or  if we make it full term there is no survival.  Once we learned this James and I were both relieved.  After ten years of trying to have a baby we FINALLY had an answer!  We do know we've had more then two miscarriages but they end so quickly.  There were plenty of times where I was late but just couldn't bring myself to take a test and be disappointed again.  

Our wonderful doctor here did three rounds of IUI with a lot of shots and finally told us that we needed more technology then she had available so she referred us to another specialist in Dallas.  After all our testing and biopsies, we were told our only option was IVF.

Before we can do IVF we have to do genetic testing on our embryos to see which one has any genetic issues.  This isn't a easy decision for us but after consulting with our doctors they assure us this is the only way we may ever have a baby of our own.  We know that this is not a natural process, but we also know that God has the doctors in place for us to use and help us.

So after fourteen years of infertility, our journey continues.  I do want to say a couple of things.  1. I couldn't do this process if I didn't have my husband encouraging me through this whole thing!  He has kept me laughing the entire time.  He has been the most understanding person I will ever know.  When I wanted to quit, he understood.  When I didn't want to quit, he understood,  He never game up on this process and has been through more things then any man should ever have to endure.  2. We have an incredible family and friend support!  My mom and sister have seen some really ugly sides of me and loved me through it!  Our family and friends have cried for us and lifted us up when we needed them most. 3. Lastly, I have never felt God's presence more my life than I do now.  It's only through His grace that we've been trying for fourteen years.  God has seen our highs and our lows and through it all we have praised His name!  We know God is in control and if all we ever have is Farrah then we are BLESSED!!  Not a day goes by that we know how incredibly blessed we are.

Even though we are still going through our fertility journey, we're still believing.  Sure, we have days that we don't understand and it's not fair but we have hope.  We know that Christ loves us no matter what...the good, bad and ugly.  I would love to say that our journey will end with a baby in our arms but I just don't know that part yet.  I do now that we will fight for our family everyday and if nothing else we are blessed!  We are hoping to start our IVF sometime in the near future.

I would love to pray for you and encourage you in your journey.  Please leave a comment and I will contact you!

The last thing I want to leave you with is the verse Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  NKJV


Bethany @ Our 4 Sons Plus 1...Super Cute Girly Girl said...

I just read your story and had to leave a comment! Your faith and courage are truly inspiring! I hope God blesses your family in immeasurable ways!

Jordan Putney said...

I would love to talk to you and get a better outlook on the situation with my husband and I. We have not endured nearly as much as you and your husband but the small trials we have endured have easily torn me down.

Fortner Family said...

I would love to visit with you! My email address is

Unknown said...

What a journey Jennifer! After seeing a Facebook post a few years ago, I asked Nathan and he told me that he knew you had tried to have kids and struggled, and that's why you ended up adopting Farrah. But as he's not the nosey, or talkative type (like me) that's all he said he knew. I've been interested in your journey from afar because my best friend from high school has had quite a journey herself. She blogged for a while at before she gave up writing, and the IVF after multiple miscarriages. She never started blogging again, and I don't know specifics, but she is currently 22 weeks pregnant. Maybe you will find her story enlightening, and uplifting.

manolomel9 said...

Thanks for sharing your difficult story, and I wish you success in your fertility journey. It is nice to know we are not the only ones dealing with this stuff. Facebook doesn't help when it seems like everyone else has popped out kids with no problems. After 5 years and 2 miscarriages we are also seeing a specialist in our area, but right now we are unexplained fertility factor, which is also frustrating as I would like to know and fix if possible. I am doing my 3rd IUI this month/4th month on clomid. If this doesn't work I will also have the laparoscopy you mentioned as that is the last thing they can think of that could be causing the problems. I am interested in hearing more about the genetic testing you did and the cost as that may need to be our next option to look into. Thanks again

Poohy81 said...

We are going for our first IVF consult on March 10. Our issue is male factor infertility, specifically motility. We were blessed with our miracle son 11/7/11, as medically he shouldn't have happened. Hoping for a positive outcome! Thanks for your prayers!

Chelley N said...

Wow! What a story you have! My story of infertility is also a journey of ten years, including loss and two living children. I feel like we have a lot in common. New follower!