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Feb 15, 2012
06:00 AM
MomSpeak

When Secondary Infertility Strikes

When Secondary Infertility Strikes

When my son turned one and half, my husband and I decided to try for baby #2. The timing felt right. We wanted our kids close in age, and at 35, I was suddenly very aware of my new “advanced maternal age” status, which – despite my graying hair, the wrinkles starting to gather around my eyes – is still hard to believe applies to me. 

We had no trouble getting pregnant with our first child. It almost happened too soon – we hadn’t fully processed the idea of becoming parents yet. Our luck left me to cavalierly assume that fertility was something we’d never struggle with. I often wondered how women could endure painful, expensive fertility treatments. Wasn’t that fighting your fate, challenging the forces of nature? 

And then, as if by karmic retribution, I was the one who couldn’t get pregnant. As the months passed, every period felt like an exclamation point of failure. To make matters worse, my husband was laid off — while we were searching for a new home. In retrospect, we should’ve taken a break, but I was determined, defiantly, not to allow this one-two punch to also derail our plans of expanding our family. My husband, heaven help him, obliged.

Then, as if by karmic retribution, I was the one who couldn’t get pregnant.

I decided to take control. I bought an expensive ovulation monitor. I sought empathy online. And I started timing our baby-making with the organization (and passion) of a drill sergeant. If my husband had to be away during my peak ovulation, I found myself biting back nasty, immature comments. Lucky him, what a turn-on. Deflated and angry, I made an appointment with my OBGYN.

She explained that secondary infertility is fairly common (more than one million couples experience it — who knew?) and prescribed a low dose of the fertility drug, Clomid, since I was over 35 and we had been trying for more than six months. I felt a renewed sense of energy, and lo and behold, after the first round, my period was… late! I excitedly waited a few days before daring to buy a pregnancy test. But when I finally took it, I got an unexpected and devastating answer: not pregnant.

I learned online that a cruelly ironic symptom of Clomid is a delayed period. (Thanks for the heads-up, doc!) And have I mentioned the emotional highs and lows it also causes? I had reached my breaking point, but later, in an unusual bout of calm, I started to accept that maybe we were meant to be a family of three. The sibling I so desperately wanted to give my son might not happen, and that was Okay. At least I had one beautiful, healthy child.

Not ready to give up entirely, I stayed on Clomid. The next month I purposefully waited until I was five days late and, as nonchalantly as possible, took a test at 5am. I couldn’t believe the results: PREGNANT! While my husband slept, I stared dumbly at the stick with a plus sign on it. It took days, and two more tests, for the news to sink in.

I couldn't believe the results: PREGNANT!

Our new baby, a girl, is due on March 1. In retrospect, I have to believe we were meant to go on this journey. During our year of ups and downs, my husband and I coped the best we could and somehow came out on top, still very much a team. He launched a growing new business, and we bought a home. My son is now 3, potty-trained and more independent, which will make caring for an infant easier.

But mostly, our struggle to conceive gave me a deep respect for those who’ve coped with infertility, secondary or not. My almost yearlong struggle pales in comparison with what many women have endured — including some close friends of mine — from multiple rounds of fertility medications to IVFs and other invasive procedures. My hat’s off to them.

Deborah Goldstein is a Bucks County, PA mom and freelance writer. She is an occasional contributor to Simon & Schuster's AUTHORity blog.

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About This Blog

Outstanding Delaware Valley mom bloggers share insights about their kids or themselves, family experiences or ways they handled parenting situations. Their items — often reposted from their blogs — reflect everyday experiences that anyone can relate to rather than political viewpoints or belief systems.

MomSpeak Contributors

Trish Adkins, Yoke
Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun
Stacy Heenan Biscardi, Wifty & Shifty
Hillary Chybinski, My Scraps
EJ Curran, Four Little Monsters
Darla DeMorrow, The Pregnant Entrepreneur
Rachée Fagg, Say It Rah-Shay
Raya Fagg, And Starring As Herself…MRSRFKJ
Erin Flynn Jay, Mastering the Mommy Track
Marion Kase, Helicopter-Caterpillar
Jean Ladden, Jean's Book Reviews
Brie Latini, ( . . . a breezy life)
Toni Langdon, Tickles and Time Outs
Lisa Lightner, A Day in Our Shoes
Jeanine Ludwikowski, Mommy Entourage
Jeanne McCullough, Mom Hearts Pinot
Trina O'Boyle, O’Boy! Organic
Kelly Raudenbush, My Overthinking
Sandra Telep, West Philly Mama
Marissa Kiepert Truong, Land of Once Upon a Time
Lisa Weinstein, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein
Shivaun Williams, Dar Liomsa (In My Opinion)
Paige Wolf, Spit That Out!

If you are a Philadelphia-area mom blogger and would like to contribute to MomSpeak, please e-mail editor@metrokids.com.

 

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