If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you might know that I have really struggled in the past with the decision to see an infertility specialist.
My husband and I were 24 when we had our first miscarriage (we are now 29- same birthday month, how cute are we). With us being so young and dealing with infertility, we obviously didn’t have the same kind of pressure that an older couple might face with limited time to conceive.
I wanted answers for why we have recurrent miscarriages but struggled with anxiety over taking the steps forward to get help. In my mind, I wanted everything to be perfect on our end before we saw a specialist. I wanted to be completely financially stable, be in good health, and feel mentally strong.
I know I went through that season of anxiety for a reason, but I wish I could go back and tell myself: “You are sick. It’s okay to get help while you are in the process of getting your life in order.” Thinking about it now, I want to compare my reasoning for not seeing a specialist to someone who thinks they can’t come to God for a relationship until everything is perfect in their life. You can’t do it alone – you need God’s help. In the same way, I don’t need to be ashamed that I’m really in need of a specialist to help me with my medical issues. And infertility is definitely a medical issue – although our culture has a good way of making infertile couples feel like we just need to “relax” and “go on a vacation”.
Last year, I didn’t feel ready to see a specialist, but I made the phone call anyways after getting a referral from my doctor following my 6th miscarriage (last July). The secretary at the infertility clinic never returned my phone call and I never got around to calling back because of many obstacles that came up with unrelated health issues. In November, I told myself that my goal was to work through some of our problems and be able to start seeing the specialist by the summer and devote our time to trying to find answers for our miscarriages. In May, I had a strong feeling that I really needed to make that phone call but I kept procrastinating and putting it off. And then I got pregnant again and all I could think was, “Why didn’t I make that call?” My ob/gyn is a very nice woman, but I don’t ever feel supported when I contact her staff. It takes so long just to get a note to my doctor for a request of blood work. And of course, that pregnancy ended in another miscarriage causing me a deep sense of regret for not pushing myself to see a specialist sooner.
While I’m hopeful that a specialist will be able to find a reason for our miscarriages and infertility, my biggest desire is to just simply have a support system in the event that I get pregnant again. Those early weeks are so hard to go through and I just need a team of people on my side to make it a little bit easier.
Also, my ob/gyn is fired. As much as I like her as a person, the staff is rude and insensitive and if we finally have a pregnancy going to full term, there is no way I want to deal with care providers who will not be there to support me as a pregnancy after loss mom. I don’t want to have anxiety about calling anytime I have a worry or concern. I need a doctor’s office that will care about my history and be compassionate with any fears I have during pregnancy. So on top of finding an infertility specialist, I’m now searching for a new ob/gyn. I might have to visit a few before I find someone that I feel will understand my situation. I’m definitely not looking forward to it, but I know my future self will thank me for going through the trouble now.
So Monday afternoon, I have my first appointment with an infertility specialist, but it’s only speaking with the financial counselor. They are going to go over my insurance coverage and I guess some estimated financial costs and programs available. After my appointment with the financial counselor, my husband and I will have our first consultation with the doctor. If we for some reason do not like this clinic, we can also drive a little bit further to Austin (TX). There are like a bazillion infertility clinics in Austin. Sigh. I wish we lived closer, but the drive is not too bad as long as we avoid traffic.
Now let’s be real here: my anxiety surrounding dealing with doctors is definitely still in full throttle. But I’ve been working hard this year to push through my anxiety by taking baby steps in the different struggles in my life. Instead of looking at the big picture and seeing all of the obstacles and all of the things that can go wrong (and all of the money that can possibly be poured down the drain), I’m taking things one tiny step at a time and reminding myself that my husband and I are in control here and we can move at the pace we feel comfortable with.
Here are some of the fears I’ve had in the past and some of the ways I’ve been able to address it in my head:
- Fear #1: We are going to end up going into debt trying to have a baby and it will all be for nothing.
- Resolution: We can take our time with this. If it takes a long time to go through this process that is okay. We can save up and pay cash. There’s no reason we have to put ourselves into debt to seek treatment. We can take this one test at a time and one treatment at a time. If we run out of money, we stop and take a break, enjoy life a little bit, and get back in the game when we have saved up the cash again. And ultimately, we can trust God with our finances and know that as we make wise decisions, He will be faithful to provide for us.
- Fear # 2:What if we spend thousands of dollars and invest so much of ourselves into this process only to end up with empty arms at the end?
- Resolution: Regardless of the outcome, we need to try to find answers. We don’t want to live with regret and wonder if things would have been different years down the road when it’s too late. Even if the outcome is not what we hope for, it’s still part of a resolution to move forward with our lives and will ultimately help us.
- Fear #3: What if we are supposed to adopt or do foster parenting? There are orphans in the world that need a home. Is it selfish to spend this money on our reproductive health when it could instead go to funding an adoption?
- Resolution: This is a hard one for me. I have a strong desire to adopt children. I can’t stand to see children in the world without a mom and dad. It breaks my heart! For me personally, my resolution has been prayer. If God’s will for us is to adopt children he would move in my husband’s heart to change his opinion on adoption. For now, my husband doesn’t want to adopt (he says that he does someday when we are older). My husband does want to see an infertility specialist, however. So I’m just trusting that for now, this is God’s will for our life, and if that changes at anytime, I will change plans willingly (and with joy – I don’t care how we have a family. Adopting a child would be a dream come true). I’m also telling myself that I’m not a savior – JESUS IS! I’m not the answered prayer to an orphan in need – my God is! I get so caught up in trusting in what I can see and I need to have more faith to believe in the God of miracles. I might look at my pocketbook and see limited funds, but God is able.
- Fear #4: We have other life goals right now that I don’t want to get pushed aside.
- Resolution: There is no reason we can’t continue to live out our goals and plans for the future as we walk this path. As addressed in my earlier resolution, we can do this on our timeline – not a doctor’s timeline. The control is in our hands (with God’s blessing of course) and we can decide for ourselves what we are comfortable doing and when we are comfortable doing it.
Those are all of the big fears I’ve struggled with over the years and the way I’ve been able to make resolutions to move beyond my anxiety. For me, it’s all about taking little baby steps and trusting that God will be with us every step along the way.
I’m not sure if any other women in the history of infertility have struggled the way I have with what should be a simple step forward (make me feel less crazy if you have and share please!), but I’m going to share this anyways in the hopes that how I addressed my fears with realistic resolutions will be helpful to someone else going through this.
Be brave, sisters – God is with us!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9