I had a big secret. It was the summer of 1999, I was 19 years old and pregnant. The father of my child and I had broke up and I was full of shame. That summer my cousin suffered a miscarriage six or seven months into pregnancy. I felt so guilty that I wasn’t even married yet I was pregnant. I didn’t tell a soul. That is until my dad, who had been working out of town, came home and poked at my then five month along belly. The secret was out. I told my exboyfriend, we got back together. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl. We got married. We finished college. We started new jobs and bought a house. Everything you’re “supposed” to do. At 22 years old, we decided to try and start having another baby. Month after month went by with no pregnancy. Every time I started my period I felt like a failure. Little did I know my husband was feeling like a failure as well. I decided to finally go to my OB-GYN. He told me I was young, I had plenty of time. I was instructed to start taking my temperature in the mornings and track every thing that happened in my underwear and between the sheets. I did faithfully for 6 months and went back to the doctor. He suggested that I try to manage my stress. After awhile, I chose to quit my hotel management job to alleviate some stress. Meanwhile, friends and family started having babies. They were afraid to share their good news with me because they felt guilty. My feelings would be hurt because they didn’t want to share their happiness with me. And then I would be jealous. People would give their advice on how to get pregnant and that made me angry and sad. A failure every step along the way. One day, I starting bleeding and had painful cramps. In my young, crazy mind, I started thinking I was dying. Then I thought maybe I was pregnant and having a miscarriage. I went back to the doctor (a month later because he didn’t have any openings and I didn’t push urgency.) At the appointment he told be it could have been pregnancy or just a cyst rupturing. I was angry, disappointed, and confused. Why couldn’t I find out for sure?!? Why did I get pregnant when I didn’t want to? Is this God’s punishment for getting pregnant out of wedlock? Was I being punished for being on birth control for a few years? I was making myself crazy so I went back to work. After a few years, I decided I was ready to go back to the doctor. We started the testing. The testing. The freaking testing. I was the first of my girlfriends to go through “the testing”. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t feel comfortable asking my doctor. Testing started with the daily temperature taking. Again. Ovulating. Probably. Periods aren’t running like clockwork, that’s ok. Normal for an active runner. Okay doctor. Pelvic exam. Um, we feel a little uterus prolapse. That can cause some trouble, probably not the cause of infertility though. Sperm count. Little low, change your underwear to boxers. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). The HSG was my breaking point. According to WebMD, this procedure should take 5 minutes. I was on an exam table at the radiologist for 4 hours. Yes, you read that right, 4 hours!! Naked, knees up (never wide enough), and cold. My husband was outside the room panicked. I came out of the test sore, embarrassed, and feeling like a failure. The doctor couldn’t get a tube that would fit in my tubes to transfer the dye. As I was lying there, I was losing hope. The results weren’t great, I had a blocked Fallopian tube. That took whatever chances I had to get pregnant down by 50%. It took weeks for me to even let my husband touch me. I was around 27 years old and I decided I was done trying. We had a truly perfect little girl. We didn’t want too much time in between children. The biggest thing was that I had to move on. I was too young and immature to enjoy my daughter the past 5 years of her life. I was also too impatient and full of pity. Infertility issues were moved to the back of my mind. Fast forward 10 years... I went back to school, my daughter was a junior in high school, my husband decided to change jobs and go independent. Life was changing. Then it really changed, I got pregnant! As I watched Dylan Dreyer share her heartbreaking story, my heart broke. But I also have hope for her because I was looking at my 19 month old boy while crying for Dylan. Although I hated the advice, here is mine and it is similar to Dylan’s. Keep advocating for yourself. I didn’t do this. Keep communicating with your husband. I believed it was my body that wasn’t ready for another pregnancy and my husband blamed himself. But we didn’t talk about it until we were done trying. There isn’t room in a marriage for that kind of quiet guilt. Feel guilty. Feel sad. Feel happy. Feel how you want. I learned later that how I felt was normal and okay! Pray for grace. Infertility takes you through a roller coaster of emotions. Taking the ride through grace does make healing and happiness more attainable.
Thank you for sharing your story, Dylan. May God bring you all you deserve. Your smile and kindness shine through our televisions every week and we are saddened by the knowledge that you are suffering. Please take care of yourself and know we are praying for you!