In my pregnancy announcement (here) I hinted that we had a tough journey to this pregnancy. For almost two years now I’ve struggled internally with whether or not I was comfortable enough to share this part of my story. Sometimes I worry about how much of my life is “out there” for all to see and judge. But other times I hope that my sharing might help others – even one person. When I was in the midst of infertility I was just too fragile to talk about it but now as the delivery of our baby nears I’ve been feeling like I’m finally ready. I’m so grateful that there was a rainbow baby at the end of my storm and I hope my story might bring some sun to others facing infertility right now.
Our sweet Baby Johnson #2 is a result of not one, but two IUIs, or intrauterine inseminations. Which was the result of a long year of medical issues, medications and infertility treatments.
Infertility is one of the hardest, most frustrating things I’ve ever had to deal with in my life (and dealing with it for relatively a year and a half is minimal compared to what many couples face).
The Beginnings of Infertility
In August 2013 a crazy miracle happened. My heart doctor gave me the thumbs up to have another baby (something that we never thought would be possible). That SAME month my period decided to go wacko – something I’d never dealt with before. With Luke, I practically breathed and got pregnant.
Alas, this was not to be the case so the doctors began all kinds of testing. After several rounds of blood work my OBGYN thought I had something called a Luteal Phase Defect. We began a variety of medications trying to correct it including progesterone and eventually adding on Clomid. As I like to say, “I could literally FEEL the crazy in me!” My hormones were all over the place and month after month no baby.
Enter the Specialist – Reproductive Endocrinologist
So back to the drawing board and more blood work. After the next round of blood work my OBGYN called and wanted me to get in to a Reproductive Endocrinologist because there were concerns with my blood work. So off to the specialist I went feeling pretty nervous and really starting to fear the big “I” (infertility) word.
My Reproductive Endocrinologist was fabulous. She reviewed what treatments and tests I’d currently undergone and then decided she wanted to take a look inside my uterus to see what was going on as well as run some much more in depth blood work. First she scheduled an ultrasound with dye to take a look and also sent off my next round of blood testing. Within minutes of the ultrasound she immediately saw an issue – I had an open adhesion on my uterus that could be causing my issues and I needed surgery to correct it.
So she scheduled surgery while I crossed my fingers it would be an easy fix. The surgery went well and I went back in a couple weeks later for my follow up thinking I was going to be met with a doctor giving me two thumbs up. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case. My blood work had come back and from the results she believed that I had a tumor on my Pituitary Gland which is at the base of your brain and controls your body’s hormones. Now, not only was I worried about the big “I” the big “C” was flashing in big red letters.
She quickly got me in for a CT scan and sure enough I had a tumor on my pituitary but PRAISE GOD it was benign and treatable with medications instead of surgery. So we began treatment to shrink the tumor. Those medication days were awful. Luckily, I didn’t have to take the meds every day but on the days I did the side effects were debilitating. Vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, diarrhea – it took everything I could to keep functioning – not to mention take care of a three-year-old. But they were working and my blood work was starting to look better! Unfortunately, though I was still so messed up my doctor delivered the news that she didn’t think I’d be able to get pregnant without more help. I bawled in the doctor’s office and couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself. It felt like the world was playing some kind of cruel joke on me. First tell me I can’t have another baby because of my heart, then tell me I can and the SAME MONTH make me infertile!! How could this even be happening?!
Intrauterine Insemination #1
So here we were over a YEAR now of dealing with infertility issues and it was time to make some big decisions. Part of me struggled with thinking to myself, “Is God trying to tell me to not have another baby?” or is this just the next step in my story. So after much inner thinking and talking in depth with Daddy Russ we decided we’d try one IUI and take it from there.
The IUI is actually really easy but I will say I was so scared the day of. Before my appointment I sat in my car and considered just driving away. But I thought about the day I held Luke in my arms for the first time and knew I had to at least try. The IUI went great (super fast and easy but I will say the cramping later in the day sucks) and then the hardest part begins which is the wait to see if you actually get pregnant.
I can still remember the day my period started. We were supposed to be going to a friend’s house and I was trying to get ready. I couldn’t find a pair of pants I wanted to wear and was digging through clothes and before I knew it I was lying on the carpet, sobbing. Daddy Russ found me there and wrapped me up helping me pull myself back together. I refused to give up and knew that I wanted to try one more time.
The Heartache of Infertility
I want to pause here and talk to you about the emotions a person goes through with infertility. I was faced with an overwhelming depression and feeling of incompetence. Each month I would raise my hopes and then month after month after month have it ripped away. The most vicious, cruel cycle ever.
I’ve had so many health issues in my life I couldn’t help but feel ashamed and pity my husband. My health issues have been a constant part of our life and now it was affecting something that I knew he wanted as much as I did. It makes you second guess yourself plus add crazy hormones on top of all that and it’s no wonder I was an emotional wreck. It’s a wound on your heart that scabs over only to have it ripped open again each month.
Intrauterine Insemination #2
Back to the story – The next time was much easier than the first since I knew what was going to happen. The next couple of weeks I stayed busy trying to keep my mind off of whether or not I was pregnant. BUT I had this FEELING. Pretty quickly after I told my sister that I really thought it had worked. Only a couple weeks after I was already getting positive OTC tests and was calling the doctor for them to do an official blood pregnancy test. They told me it was way too early but after I insisted they let me come in. Sure enough – PREGNANT!!
I was so elated!! I couldn’t believe I was FINALLY pregnant again. It was almost surreal. Like the first, I decided to keep the news to myself for a couple days so it could be just me and the baby and then I shared the exciting news with Daddy Russ who of course was overjoyed. One of the most fun days was when we shared it with Luke who immediately said it was a Baby Brother named Rusty! We had four beautiful weeks until the HG hit (which you read about here).
Needless to say, this baby has been the hardest thing I’ve ever FOUGHT FOR in my life! I really do think I’ve fought tooth and nail for this child. But, of course, I’d do it all over again to feel this little man wiggle around in my belly. Now I’m so grateful that in just a few short weeks I’ll finally get to hold him. I hope he will always know how WANTED he was.
Lastly, I want to recognize my friends and others that I don’t know who are dealing with or have dealt with infertility. It’s easy for me now to talk about it since I have a growing baby in my belly but truly know that I have shared that same heartache that you experience each and every month. I can only hope and pray that your heartache will end soon.
If you are suffering from infertility and have questions or just want to talk with someone who has walked that walk please feel free to email me at tori (at) torijohnsonpr (dot) com.
This is my sTORI being written as you read. – Love, Tori