Sunday, April 19, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week, April 19-25, 2015

While you may not know it, this week starts National Infertility Awareness Week. It starts today, April 19 and goes through April 25. So why am I telling you all this? Well this year's theme is You are not alone. Many of you might be thinking, well of course you are not alone, but for many of those who have been diagnosed as infertile, it can feel as if there is no one out there who knows what you are going through. Well, I am here to tell you, You Are Not Alone! I know what you are going through and I want to tell you my story so far. 

Cory and I have been married for almost 7 years and about 3 years into our marriage, we decided it was time to start our family. We were so excited to begin trying to conceive and I couldn't wait to be pregnant. Months of trying quickly turned into a year of trying. The constant let down had us feeling like there was something wrong with us. So, I decided to talk with my Gynecologist about it, she quickly stated to give it another 6 months and see what happens. 

Well 6 months passed and we were still not pregnant. At this point I was scared and felt some what ashamed that we weren't able to conceive in the time frame she wanted. I just kept hearing, if you lose weight, you'll get pregnant, just relax and it'll happen. Well, it didn't happen and 6 months quickly turned into a year.

I finally mustered up the courage to go back to my gynecologist and see what she had to say. Basically, she had done all she could do and would be referring us to someone else. We were sent to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist at Tulsa Fertility Center-Dr. Mckinney. At this point we had been trying to conceive for over 2 years with no luck and were diagnosed as Infertile.

We met with Dr. Mckinney, and were told we would need a battery of tests to see what's going on. First we both needed to have blood work done. I gave nearly 7 vials of blood and Cory only 3. All came back normal, and so it was on to the next set of tests. These were all for me, I was ordered to under go an Ovarian Assessment, and an Hystersalpingogram (HSG.) The OAR test was more blood work done in office and the HSG was done outpatient in the hospital.

If you have never had an HSG done, let me tell you it is the most excruciating thing I have ever been through. You are told to take 800mg of Ibuprofen before hand to ease the slight discomfort. HA! Here's what happens during an HSG test. A catheter is inserted inside you with a balloon on the end of it. The balloon is inflated while dye is inserted into your Fallopian tubes and ovaries to see if there are any blockages. The slight discomfort, like I said was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. I was in tears while the kind nurse stroked the side of my face. I nearly passed out from the pain and wanted to scream and tell the radiologist to stop.

HSG Test. Sorry for the graphic image. 

After all was said and done, I found out that I have a septate uterus and a mild left sided hydrosalpinx, basically my left tube is partially blocked and causes me to not ovulate every month. Cory opted to wait to take his Semen Analysis at the start of the new year. Dr. Mckinney  agreed to let us start Clomid for three months before Cory did his SA. In November of 2014 I started one round of Clomid. It aided in ovulation, but we were unsuccessful in getting pregnant.

The side effects were terrible with the medicine. I gained 15lbs in one month, was extremely irrational and couldn't stop crying. I had horrific hot flashes and unquenchable thirst. I couldn't imagine taking it again. We decided to give it a break until after the stress of the holidays were over. Again, I could feel deep down that it just wasn't going to happen.

Now, during this time I prayed, and continued to talk with God. When I felt torn with a decision or completely lost, I was reminded of how long Sarah waited for children. Cory and I started to attend a new Church and I felt like some weight had been lifted from my heart.

Once the new year arrived, Cory decided it was time for him to do his Semen Analysis. It took only a few minutes for the test, and a week to get his results back. It was there that we found out the hard truth. While my issues alone were making it hard to conceive naturally, it would not be impossible. That is, until we got Cory's results. His sperm count was 10 million. 20 million is considered the lowest possible number to register as normal, his was half of that. Most everything else checked out except when it came to the percentage of normal sperm. 5% is considered normal, Cory's was only 1%.

We were completely in shock, and as Dr. Mckinney began to explain what we needed to do next, I fought back tears. We were told that he would need to take the test again since his numbers were so very low, so they had something to compare it to. Cory's numbers needed to come up to at least 20 million and 6% normal in order to proceed with IUI. If his numbers don't come up, our only options are IVF or adoption.

Cory's just had his second SA done, and we are patiently awaiting our appointment on the 29th to find out the results. However, we are allowed access to the results via an online patient portal. We were able to see the results the very next day. Cory's count came up to 37 million, still low, but progress, his percentage of normal came up to 2%. While we are thrilled to see his numbers come up, it still isn't enough of an increase to proceed with IUI. So we will see what we need to do. It's looking like it's going to be IVF.

Here's the kicker, like many who are diagnosed with infertility, our insurance does not cover any of it. One round of IUI will cost us $3,000 and one round of IVF will cost us $15,000. So you see, there is a big reason as to why we wanted his numbers to come up so we could proceed with IUI. We have exhausted our savings just to do the testing so far, and there is nothing left for IVF. It will take us years to save the money needed for the IVF. Most people will need more than one round to successfully become pregnant and many will not be able to afford it.

This has been the most gut wrenching thing we have ever been through. It has tested our marriage, but only made us stronger. Some days we are able to joke with each other about our situation, other days I can barely get out of bed because the pain is so overwhelming. I find myself crying in the middle of a sermon about family, angry with friend's who are posting their pregnancy announcements on Facebook, and happy when I see their little bundle's of joy for the first time. My heart breaks for the other couples I see in the Fertility Center, the ones who come out into the waiting room crying. Just know that I cry with you as well. I'm crying as I write this. Tears fall freely most days and I'm not ashamed of them.

God has chosen us to go through this journey, and while at times it is hard to tell ourselves that we are not being punished for something, I know that it is for a bigger purpose. We are scared to death and some days I feel like I am broken. That my sole purpose as a women has been taken from me. I don't blame Cory, and he doesn't blame me. We love each other deeply and unconditionally and know that our Lord and Savior loves us as well.

Our journey is only starting and we are determined not to let our Infertility define us.  We aren't sure where our path will lead, IVF, Adoption or Childless, it is our choice to make through prayer and guidance. While I desperately seek out people who understand what we are going through and are going through the same thing, I remember that our story might help someone else. Just remember that 1 in 8 couples will be diagnosed as infertile and it may just be someone you know.

Cory and I at Hamburger Joe's in Myrtle Beach, SC 

Being silly at the beach! 

Cory and our nephew B, cruising in the Caribbean! 

This is the first time I have told our story publicly. I am scared to post this, but I know it is something I need to do. We need to open the lines of communication and stop being so hush-hush. There is nothing to be ashamed of and I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone!

Please be kind if you decided to comment. Remember that not every one's story is the same and we don't all have the same beliefs. My story is long, and far from over. God's story for us is just beginning. 

All images other than personal photos were found on Pinterest. 


  1. I am on of those "1-8" people who are considered "infertile". I was told by my doctor over 4 months ago it was impossible to get pregnant with a child. me and my husband tried over a year with no success. Was after that I decided to check with my doctor to see if something was wrong and that is when I got the news. I honestly gave up hope when he said that but my husband kept saying "anything is possible". Feeling so helpless is not fun and having something you wanted for so long stripped from your dreams is a living nightmare. I prayed night after night for what felt like forever because I was so desperate. I am very happy to say that I am now 2 weeks pregnant and things are going great! I am not sure if its the praying or countless things I tried but whatever it was worked! Last thing I tried was this ( and I feel it is what did the trick but I know god had to of had a part in it! Don't give up ladies as I myself recently found out their is always hope! God bless!

    1. Congratulations! Our team prays that you will have a safe, healthy pregnancy and delivery process.Thank you for sharing your encouragement and personal story. -Ondria

  2. Thanks so much for posting this Britt! I've been dealing with similar stuff lately. My heart hurts so badly for you but I also feel your pain! We aren't able to have kids either.

    While we haven't been diagnosed as infertile, because of my history of blood clots I am not supposed to conceive due to the possibility of death or sever issues with the baby getting some of my current medications if I were to get pregnant and not know it. Therefore Im basically not allowed to have kids without taking a special medicine during pregnancy that even with my insurance would could cost upwards of $1000 a month. Adoption also runs over $15,000 and like you said, we'd never really be able to save that kind of money.

    I too have so many friends that either just had a baby or are pregnant and its so hard to see their happiness and know your own sorrow. Lucky for us God has blessed us both with beautiful nephews and nieces to spoil rotten while we wait for Gods plan to unfold.

    If you ever need anything, someone to just complain to or cry to feel free to get a hold of me, Ill complain and cry with you! Hang in there girly!!


  3. Britt and Jess, thank you both for sharing your stories, and for being so willing to encourage others. It is impossible to know God's plans for each of you- and for me, as a sister to one, and cousin/friend to the other, it is hard for me to know the right things to say to you both. Your strength and outlook is amazing to me. You're both so beautiful, and yes, you're just incredible aunts to some seriously sweet kids, and you both touch the lives of others in many ways. Know that you're not alone in this walk- wherever it may lead. Love you both. -O


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