Day 1 through Cycle 9

Strap in, this is a long one!

You know those love stories that have this magical beginning of the way they met? Well, our beginning wasn’t exactly magical but it does go back to the halls of our high school just a mile or so from the beach – super cute, I know! To be completely honest, we met while I was dating one of Jeremy’s friends, then two years later, during the summer before my junior year and his senior year, we were connected through a mutual friend on, dare I say it…Myspace. Let’s just say it’s wasn’t love at first profile stalking but nevertheless, he pursued a relationship as any 17-year-old boy in 2006 did and visited my work repeatedly. I worked at a bakery on the beachside, so it wasn’t a far stretch to “stop in for a sandwich on his way to the beach,” you know, during every single shift. We eventually worked our way to nightly phone calls, hoping and praying our moms wouldn’t answer the phone (unlimited mobile minutes weren’t a luxury we had then)! From there, we became Myspace official on July 22, 2006, a day we still celebrate, and I could easily say the rest is history but if that were the case you nor I would be here right now.

Our story continued through proms, high school graduations, working at the same restaurant, going to college together, taking our first of many trips together, all the fun stuff of figuring life out. We also went through some really tough times including losing five of our six grandparents within three years. The time finally came where we only had one semester left of college and we celebrated by taking a trip to NYC where J proposed on Bow Bridge in Central Park in December 2013!

This kicked off several more fun years for us from graduating college, wedding planning, celebrating love and babies for so many of our family and friends, to us finally tying the knot on April 11, 2015! Then in November 2015, our lives changed completely when our nephew, Sebastian, was born. As if my sister giving birth to this #perfectlittlehuman wasn’t enough, J and I were given the most honorable gift of becoming Sebastian’s Godparents! We always knew we wanted to have children of our own, but being around this perfect bundle of joy solidified that desire even more.

So blah blah blah, life goes on, jobs come and go, we finally settle into our careers and decide it’s time to build a house. Because logically, you build a big enough house and God gives you the babies to fill the rooms, right? Here we go, I get off birth control pills, have a preconception appointment with our OBGYN (which J passed out at and suddenly we were there for him as the nurses brought him juice and cookies) and finally, we have a move-in day for our new home and decide that this will be the day we start trying to conceive (after our moms and the movers leave, of course). Well, February 10, 2018 comes and goes. Actually, the whole month of March comes and goes with no period, so I buy one single home pregnancy test but never actually take it because I knew I wasn’t going to be one of the lucky ones to get pregnant within the first month of TTC. So I wait, a long 60 days between cycles until I get my period and decide I can’t take it anymore. Now it’s time for me to buy more HPTs because surely once I have a box of tests in our bathroom there is absolutely no way that we won’t get pregnant. F A L S E. I want to go back and shake myself for thinking it would happen so easily.

So now it’s May 1st and I decided to do the next logical thing and start using Ovulation Prediction Kits every day to tell me when I am ovulating. After some research, I decided to go with the Clear Blue Digital Tests as they can be more accurate where the ones with dye lines can be faulty. Being that I didn’t know when I actually ovulated, other than my Clue app predicting for me, I started using a test every morning, only to receive a negative result every single day until my next cycle started. But I’m not a quitter, so I resume testing every single morning as soon as my June period ends, and then again once my July period ends. I’ll let you take a wild guess at how these two months turned out. Luckily, by the end of my July period, we were only two days away from my annual and our preconception follow-up appointment. I never thought I would be going to this appointment without being pregnant, talk about a gut punch.

The day is here, July 27, 2018, our appointment with my OBGYN, Dr. B, whom I LOVE. (Side note – I have a huge case of White Coat Syndrome so I am really bad with all appointments.) I just needed to get through the exam and hope Jeremy didn’t pass out again and get to my list of 18 questions. I go over all of my concerns and questions with Dr. B, explain I have self-diagnosed myself with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome via Google (I’m reallllllly good at this), and of course, shed some tears all before J said “I think I’m going to pass out” and our appointment was over. We leave with homework for us to complete in the next few weeks but in the meantime, I decided it was time to up my OPK game and go for the Clear Blue Advanced Digital Tests as Dr. B suggested I was having anovulatory cycles.

August and September were pretty stressful months that consisted of four blood tests and one ultrasound for me and two semen analysis for J. If your doctor repeats any test on you, whether it’s bloodwork or a semen analysis, there’s a pretty good chance the first results were not good. Then it happened, I got the call I’ll never forget on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. It was Dr. B and she asked me if I had time to talk, which I did because she waited to call me until I was out of work. (Also, it’s not the most common thing for your OBGYN to make phone calls regarding test results, at least not at Dr. B’s office.) She said the words I replayed for weeks in my head,

“Kate, I hate to say this, but I’m afraid you and Jeremy are both facing infertility. I have your full diagnosis here to go over with you.”

I could hear the sadness in her voice as she asked if I wanted to go over our diagnosis over the phone or if I wanted to see her in person. I couldn’t think logically but knew I couldn’t wait any longer so I told her I was okay to talk about it then. Based on all of our results, she deemed us both infertile. My progesterone (P4) was incredibly low showing that I don’t ovulate on my own, and my Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) were off for each of my Cycle Day 3 (CD3) and CD21 levels. As for J, his actual sperm count was great but his sperm motility and morphology were not where they needed to be, mainly the morphology which was less than 25% of what is ideal. Then the next few sentences were made up of words that I never knew could cut so deep; she said

“I’m afraid your care is out of my control and I won’t be able to see you until you have a healthy and viable pregnancy. You’ll need to seek care from an Infertility Specialist.”

At this point, she gave me three recommendations and although I was taking notes, they were hard to read once my tears starting filling the paper. Dr. B assured me she will always be cheering us on and will be waiting to see us again but our time had come to an end for now. This was the WORST type of breakup you could imagine. Someone I felt so safe with and trusted so much had abandoned me. She abandoned us. And now it was my turn to tell J but I didn’t know how. He was headed to a work event that night, which was a blessing in disguise as I was able to be alone with my thoughts, and you know, cry, scream and yell at God because that’s all I could think of to do. Then I did the next logical thing and told my mom.

Pause: you may think it was wrong of me to tell my mom before J, but I knew I couldn’t interrupt him at his event, and when it comes to me and my health, I jump to the worst case scenario. So by telling my mom, I was able to get out all of my word vomit before she talked some sense into me.

I talk to my mom every morning on the way to work and I needed her to know why I wouldn’t want to talk the next morning; my first text was very blunt, I came right out and said something along the lines of “Dr. B called, we’re infertile and have to see a specialist.” We exchanged a few texts before my mom called and we just sat on the phone listening to each other cry for about an hour. Shortly after, J arrived home and I tried to be cheerful but he knew something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t wait any longer to tell him. I don’t remember how I said it but I tried to protect him by making this horrible thing sound as good as possible. Then, just as I feared, he started blaming himself the same way I was blaming myself. That night, and many nights after, I cried myself to sleep and tried to put on a brave face to pick up the pieces and move forward. I pride myself in being such a strong person, but this diagnosis is the one thing that has completely broken me and now I am learning how to function with these all-consuming infertility thoughts that never shut off. From the moment I wake up, all through my days and even in my dreams, I don’t know how to get away from this and I’m afraid I never will until the day that we can say we beat infertility.

So there you have it, a little over 12 years of our love summed up into 10-ish paragraphs. I will save the rest of our timeline for another day, but for now, I need to go grab a box of tissues.

PS – remember how I said that I replayed Dr. B’s words in my head over and over for weeks? That was a lie, I still replay those words in my head all these months later.