Five years ago, Mike and Kelly were married in front of one hundred of their closest friends and family. It was the happiest day of their lives, one that Kelly assumed would only be topped by the birth of her children. However, they are still waiting for that day to come.
About six months after their wedding, the couple met with the doctor to discuss their fertility options. Being that Kelly was thirty-six years old, she was considered to be of “advanced maternal age.”
“I hate that phrase. Probably the only word I hate more is infertility. Aside from the pain that comes with infertility, it also brings with it a stigma, one that makes you ashamed for not being able to easily get pregnant and birth your child.”
One in eight couples will struggle to build their family. For Kelly’s childhood group of seven women, three of them have had to turn to fertility treatments to complete their families. Of this group, Kelly is the only one still waiting.
Mike and Kelly are now on their fourth doctor; each has a different prescription. Of course, like most fertility treatments, they all involve hormones and dozens of shots, ultrasounds, and blood work.
“And let’s not talk about what hormones do to me (hello, crazy mood swings and major weight gain!). Then there’s the birth control, abstinence and timed intercourse, cancelled vacations, appointments on holidays, and credit card debt.”
And depending on her doctor, Kelly also is prescribed to abstain from alcohol, caffeine, dairy or gluten, and immunology treatments. All of these items are boxes Kelly and Mike would check off with each fertility treatment. But there’s no box for the emotional toll that someone with infertility will experience.
Each month, Kelly and Mike are provided another reminder of what they don’t have. It acts as another reminder that their doctors can’t explain why the couple is unable to have a child. Kelly claims that it’s the sadness and the emptiness that’s always hiding right below the surface hoping for a reason to disappear.
“One day our family will be complete, and the emptiness will be filled with a baby in our arms. Because what’s the point of doing all of this if you don’t believe?”
Mike and Kelly S., CA