By: Cassandra Ludwig
My name is Cassandra and I am 1 of the 7.4 million women who has fertility issues. My husband and I have been married for 11 years and have struggled with infertility for 8 of those years. When we decided to start a family, we had no idea the struggles we would face. After a year of trying with no success, I decided to see my doctor. From what my physician could see, I looked healthy, so he recommend we to go to a fertility clinic for a specialist opinion. We did several rounds of IUI’s without success. After that, it was discovered that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries. The doctor performed a surgery to remove it. The surgery was the point where we discovered that I had moderate to severe Endometriosis and a fibroid. This information was a hard blow for us as we knew this contributed towards our difficulty conceiving. After six months of treatment for my Endometriosis, we attempted to try again and did another round of IUI without success.
I was so depressed and angry about not being able to do the one thing a woman’s body is “supposed” to be able to do. I felt so broken and retreated into myself. If you looked at me, you would have never known how depressed I really was. I’ve always been good at masking my emotions. I would see families and people joyfully posting about being pregnant on Facebook and I would feel so angry.
My husband and I decided to take a break from fertility treatments and focus on us. What few admit is that dealing with infertility can put a significant strain on a marriage.
No one prepares you for this emotional roller coaster.
Our infertility was not something that I wanted to share with anyone or even admit to myself. It was a burdensome secret that we kept to ourselves. The doctor gave us a pamphlet with a few recommendations for counseling and support, but we did not feel comfortable enough to get help. Maybe we should have.
We waited a few years and decided to try IVF. We met with a new doctor and went over all we had done so far. When we left his office, we both felt hopeful and excited for the first time in a long time. That joy and hope would be short lived.
On the day of the egg retrieval, I entered the procedure room excited because we had around 12 follicles. I was confident that this would be a success! While in the recovery area the doctor came to talk to us. I could tell by his facial expression that the news was not good. He told us that they were not able to retrieve any eggs.
My follicles were empty. I was absolutely devastated by the news. It was one of the worse days of my life.
I looked at my husband and said “I’m sorry.” I could see his heartbreak. I cried for 2 days straight. I can’t even explain the emotions you feel when you’re told you have no eggs. The only other option would be to use a donated embryo. I have never felt more broken than I did that day.
I couldn’t understand why or what I ever did to deserve not being able to be a mom.
Through this, my sister was the biggest support for us as she has had fertility issues herself and understood were we coming from. One thing I’ve learned through this journey is that if you’ve never been through it you can’t understand it. Before this experience I considered “do you have any children?” to be an annoying question. Now when I meet people and they ask… it is not only annoying, but hurtful. I dread it! It is emotional, painful and unfortunately a common reminder of my reality. I generally answer this question by say no we don’t have kids because I’m broken. They either ask more questions or give me funny looks. As a result, when I meet people I don’t ask if they have kids anymore.
The silver lining is that I will still get to be a mother.
My husband and I have started the adoption process. We are currently doing foster classes and hope to have our own child by this time next year. Going through this experience has made me a better and stronger woman. It has showed me how much love I do have in my life and how much more I have to give.
The best advise that I would give is don’t give up!
I know it’s hard and there will be days that you want to give up. DON’T give up! Support each other and let others help you when you feel as if you have nothing left to give. In the end, it will be worth all the heartache and days of crying when you finally get your child.
About Cassandra Ludwig
My husband and I have been married for 11 years and together 12 years. We currently have a 80 pound dog who thinks he is a lapdog, 2 cats, and 2 aquatic turtles. I work for SSM Health and on the weekends we enjoy hanging around the house relaxing or hanging out with family and friends. We are pretty boring people for the most part.