Someday Will Never Come

When time is not on your side

March 17th, 2014: Today is the day that I find out that I am infertile. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m not Irish, so I guess their luck doesn’t extend to me. I’m sitting at the mechanic shop, waiting for my oil change to finish up when I get the call. “Hold on,” the nurse tells me, “the doctor wants to speak with you.”

So this is the culmination of two years of bodily mystery; things that were happening and no one could tell me why. She’s astonished at my result, “you’re so far below normal for someone your age.” 0.03. I will never forget that number. It’s the number that has taken the option of having children of my own away. The doctor recommends I go see a fertility specialist.

On the phone I start crying, I can’t help it. I can’t process what she’s telling me.

I go home and I cry. I tell my mom over the phone and I cry. I call my dad and I manage to keep the tears back this time. We talk about all the reasons now isn’t a good time to go rushing to have a kid. “You’re just getting on your feet, you’re far away from family and have no one to help support you.” I am just getting on my feet after a few years of immense struggle. I am moving across country, further away from family. I don’t want to be a single parent. It all makes sense, I agree.

I never made having a family a priority in my twenties, it was something I would do later on, when I was ready. There was a long period when I didn’t want a child. That slowly changed to wanting just one under the right conditions in the future. It was an undefinable time frame but, I had time. People wait these days and the women in my family are fertile, so there’s no rush. I’ll wait till I meet someone who I can commit to for a long period of time. I’ll wait till I can become financially stable. Then I’ll have a family. That’s when.

Now those plans are effectively gone. As a single 33 year old woman, I know time is not on my side. I talk with my best friend, “maybe you can cryo some eggs?” Maybe. So many questions swirl around in my head, but mainly: will my soon to be health insurance cover this stuff? How do I broach this subject with future potential relationship partners?

So, I’ll go to see a fertility specialist to find out if I have any options, and in the meantime I’ll mourn the unlikelihood of experiencing pregnancy. And I’ll try to remember all the good things in life.

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  • Sara

    Hi Andrea. First of all, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I can’t say anything that is going to make this feel ok for you right now, but I felt compelled to write you a quick note to let you know that a stranger in Pennsylvania is holding you in her heart right now. Is the low 0.03 number your AMH? I ask because, after years of struggling to get pregnant, then getting pregnant and miscarrying several times, I saw a fertility doc who told me my AMH was incredibly low and that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant again on my own, and that if I wanted to do IVF I would have to use donor eggs. Needless to say my husband and I were crushed. After a lot of tears and some really hard discussions, we decided not to proceed with donor eggs and IVF and to just throw in the towel, to stop trying. That was in November 2013. Fast forward to March 2014, my period was late, and I’m now 10 weeks pregnant, which is the longest I’ve ever maintained a pregnancy. I’m scared but hopeful. I wanted to share my story with you because I want you to know that nothing is definite in terms of infertility. I don’t think that I’m pregnant because I “stopped trying and relaxed” as some people will say to women who have struggled with infertility. I just think that I got lucky, and that there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to infertility. I hope that your journey takes you to a happy place, and that you find a path to motherhood that works for your life and body. Take good care of yourself, and be gentle with yourself — this shit is hard.

    • Erin

      Andrea, I too am guessing that you’re talking about your AMH, and I too can relate to the despair you feel in hearing that result. I felt it after getting my own seemingly hopeless “diminished ovarian reserve” diagnosis. Being the nerdy nerd that I am, I turned to the one thing that always comforts me in times like these: data. I learned everything I could about the diagnosis, the hormones that point to it, the potential causes and connections to other health issues, the protocols to address it, and most importantly, I found a community of support in a group of women who shared this diagnosis, many of whom were carrying healthy pregnancies or had given birth to healthy babies in spite of it all, some with “help” and some without. In them, I found hope, and I hope I can give you some of the same.

      The road from seemingly non-existent AMH to today has been a long one, but I want you to know that today, I have a beautiful, feisty, cuddly baby boy who is just shy of his first birthday, and who was conceived the good old fashioned way. While I did use a slew of supplements that I credit with helping me get and stay pregnant, I did not use any kind of advanced reproductive technology.

      The best advice I can give you is to listen to learn as much as you can about this hormone and this diagnosis, not only from the doctors who study it, but the women who live with it. And if you’d like some information about the protocol of supplements that I used, I’d be happy to share it.

      • Andrea

        Thank you, Erin, for relating your story with me! I received the news about a month and a half ago by this point and have taken the same tack as you – lots and lots and lots of research. I have a lot of hope for the future and I think maintaining a positive outlook is important to seeing positive results. I’d love to hear your supplement plan as well, even if it may be years before needing it :) Hugs!

        • Erin

          Hi Andrea, the three supplements I credit with helping me get pregnant despite my dismal AMH and DOR diagnosis were a high dose of Vitamin D3 (10,000 IU per day, which you should take along with calcium and magnesium), DHEA (75mg of high quality, micronized DHEA taken in 3 doses of 25mg per day), and CoQ10. :)

  • Amanda L

    Andrea, first and foremost, I am sorry you’re going through this. Infertility in ANY form sucks. Considering that this is National Infertility Awareness Week, this post was very well timed. My husband and I have been playing tug of war with IF for two years. We don’t yet know how our story will end, and even if I did, I have no words of ‘advice’… only to let yourself mourn the plans you had in your head, but don’t give up hope that the end result you want will still be achieved. In the meantime, RESOLVE is a fantastic organization that may have a chapter near you. They are for all walks of life, married, unmarried, unpartnered, who are facing IF. <3

    • I was thinking the same thing about the timing of this post during National Infertility Awareness Week.

      My heart aches for you Andrea.

  • I am so sorry this is happening to you, it is crushing news, but there is hope, always, even when life ends up so different to what we had imagined or envisioned for ourselves. Do not say “never” just yet, if you still want this dream. I had the follicle aspiration / egg retrieval aged 33 (and I have written about the process) and we were blessed with our miracle baby girl, after 3 years of trying, an “unexplained” diagnosis, failed IUI’s, a laparoscopy, and a million tests… Like Erin said, there is support out there, a whole community. Infertility feels lonely and isolating, but you are not alone. There is so much that science does not know. But please do not blame yourself, at any moment, and don’t let people tell you it’s stress. I am sending you all the love, and lighting a candle for you.

  • Class of 1980

    I’m sorry you are going through this.

  • KC

    An essay like this one could use a little more intro from the staff, talking about why you chose to feature it on a wedding/marriage website.

    • Erin E

      Pieces like these (and the awesome “Reclaiming Wife” series – check it out up top!) are the reason I keep coming back to this site long after my wedding day has passed.

      • KC

        As someone who’s been married for longer than the site’s been up, the “plus marriage” (and “plus life”) content (and the comment community) is most of why I’m here. A lot of the essays resonate even when they don’t directly apply – and people are free to ignore the ones that don’t. That said, I wonder what percentage of new readers get confused by not-explicitly-all-about-weddings content and whether there’s any practical way to avoid that (if it would be good to have a “rest of life” tag like the sponsored-content tag that comes up).

        (note: I’m a different KC than the one above who isn’t as clear on how this “belongs”; sorry for being a non-unique ID.)

        • cate

          relatively new (engaged) reader here… i understand the need for content beyond the traditional scope that wedding/marriage blogs cover, which is why i’m here! but this particular post is confusing to me. i don’t understand the connection.

          • KC

            I’d more or less sum up the connection I personally make to this particular one as “Life is messy and doesn’t go according to plan. Even though my mess looks different, we all have to go through the processes of being hit with, coming to grips with, and then dealing with the fallout of things not going according to plan.” This essay is definitely a “life” one, not a “wedding-specific” one, but a lot of things pop up and get amplified during wedding planning as well, because of all the emotions and history and stress and whatnot that sometimes (often?) surface for people at one point or another in the process, so often the emotional processes or the takeaway apply even though the specifics don’t.

            I think, anyway? :-)

          • Not everything has to fit with everybody. That’s just how it goes. What APW chooses to post has nothing to do with us as individuals. It’s the owner/company’s choice and they don’t need to explain it. I personally don’t have the urge to reproduce but I can relate to someone else’s feelings of loss and sadness. And even if I can’t relate, it’s not about me.

          • Jess

            This month’s theme is “stories we’re told” right? if it is, i think that explains why it fits. :)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      A lot of women start getting asked questions about having babies shortly after getting married. I’ve heard that about 2 years after your wedding date, you can expect to start receiving baby-related spam and junk mail from wedding vendors selling your contact info. I read about a lot of couples that live together for years and only explicitly head towards marriage when they’re ready to head towards children.

      Several months ago, somewhere in my first year of marriage, I was in the sauna at the gym and a total stranger strikes up a conversation with me. (That in itself was fine; the problem is where it headed.) When she learned I was married, she asked about kids. When I explained that both my husband and I have illnesses and it didn’t look like we’d ever be able to have children, she refused to believe me. She said I was young, and we’d get better. To me, that experience in the sauna was part of my marriage experience. My husband and I waited until marriage to attempt intercourse, so had I been single, I wouldn’t have known about our health issues. Had I been single, I don’t think the conversation would have pressed the issue of children.

  • DR

    Hi Andrea — somehow, timing this weeks seems so pertinent. Thanks for sharing (and thank you to APW for highlighting an important struggle). I will be 29 years old this year and in late 2013, was diagnosed with PCOS. I have since seen an infertility specialist and my husband and I are just now beginning to enter the first stages of dealing with potential infertility and what this all means for a future family. While we are going to try for a few more months on our own — using at-home ovulation kits which our doctor isn’t quite convinced will be helpful to us (my LH levels are already extremely high due to my PCOS diagnosis), we will be seeking alternative options should this not work: next Clomid and then IVF if unsuccessful. I’m continuously told “your so young, don’t worry, it will happen” but until a woman is faced with the uncertainty that we are, there’s nothing that really calms us or secures us from feelings of fear. I know that we are just starting this journey and by reading the journey’s of women like you, I am hopeful. I am excited. I am so looking forward to seeing how this story, this chapter in our life, will unfold. And God willing, after we have our first baby (or twins, since our percentage rate is skyrocketed due to the severity of PCOS!) we are able to conceive again. Best wishes for success in creating your family of your dreams and many thanks to all these wonderful woman who share their stories. XO

    • Hi DR, Since you mentioned ovulation kits, I wanted to make sure you already knew about the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I use that approach to track my ovulation and cycle. I’m not trying to conceive, but I just like knowing that stuff about my body. It makes me feel empowered. I recommend the book all the time because I learned so much that I didn’t know before…

      I wish you and everyone else all the best in their journeys…

      • DR

        Jenny — thanks so much for the recommendation, I will definitely check it out!

  • Mel

    Hi Andrea, I’m so sorry you are going through this. Thank you for sharing your story. Any kind of infertility is heart breaking and cruel and hard. There is a whole community out there with similar experiences, that we often don’t hear about until we are experiencing it ourselves. I hope you find yourself surrounded by support & understanding. Sending big hugs & strength xo

  • Meg (Not That One)

    I feel you. I’m struggling with the fact that my husband is not ready to have kids (but very much wants them eventually), and he buys the whole “you can wait to have kids” thing. Unfortunately, for me, that’s not really true as I received a diagnosis of PCOS two years ago. I’m 33 (nearly 34), and waiting another few years probably means never having my own biological children. My husband has his head in the sand, didn’t go with me when I went to meet with RE, and despite longing for kids, refuses to try to have them. I’m frustrated and beginning to be sad that his refusal may mean no kids ever.

    • This must be really frustrating Meg – I think you need to have a serious talk with him regarding parenthood and how you plan to achieve that goal (whether it be through adoption or some serious fertility treatments). Not to say you should “win” this discussion, but that you wnat to make sure he understands fully that waiting can cause the bio-kids to be off the table.

  • Jane

    I was told I would have great difficulty conceiving children naturally when I was 25 years old. I had an ectopic pregnancy due to scarring on my fallopian tube, and they had to remove the tube. The surgeon said my other tube didn’t look great, either. The father of the child was an abusive man, and we had broken up before I found out I was pregnant.

    The double whammy of knowing about your own infertility and not having a committed partner can provoke quite a bit of anxiety. I spent years losing sleep over it. Eventually, through a lot of hard work in therapy, I came to have a sense of peace about it. I wanted to be a wife and a mother, but I came to appreciate the rich, meaningful life I had as a single woman.

    When I was 33 I finally met the man of my dreams. We married about a year after meeting each other. He knows about my infertility, which was my rationale for not bothering with birth control (we didn’t have sex before we were married for religious reasons). Three months after we married I got pregnant. I am now 20 weeks along. I don’t know how the little guy survived my one gimpy fallopian tube, but he’s alive and kicking right now. The truth is, while I’m so thankful and glad he is here, I was also content with the possibility of never having my own biological children, and instead fostering or adopting children. It took me a long time to be able to feel that way.

  • Daniella
  • Emily

    This is a little off topic, but I really wish doctors’ offices could find a better way to deliver news. I’ve resorted now to telling them to call my husband if the result is X… he doesn’t have as much medical training as I do, so he doesn’t understand as much. He takes a message and then we are together when I find out the news. It’s still really hard, but much better for me than finding out in a public place or when I’m alone.

  • DELL

    Andrea, I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I similarly received an undetectable AMH diagnosis last year at 32 – it was crippling. My husband and I got ready to do IVF right away (and were given a 5% chance of success) and we got pregnant on our own the month before IVF. I was using all the supplements mentioned below (Vitamin D, DHEA, COQ10 and a few others)…. It’s hard to keep the hope, but just know that it *can* happen.