My Journey with Secondary Infertility
posted by: Guest Blogger
“I’ve been meaning to tell you, we’re expecting number three!”
It had been 18 months since we found out we were finally pregnant with our second child via IVF, and the words still stung. After all the time that had passed, why did I continue having the same gut wrenching reaction to this sort of news? The glowing expectant mother was the mom of my son’s preschool friend. Her two children were spaced almost two and a half years apart, and this new addition would be as well.
My secondary infertility trauma kicked in full gear.
Chances are, someone in your life has experienced, is experiencing, or will experience secondary infertility. Perhaps this is you. It is a diagnosis that threatens the emotional and physical well-being of millions of people worldwide, a diagnosis that is not frequently discussed.
According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, secondary infertility is “the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.”
For a long time, I was unsure how to diagnose myself. We conceived our first son just shy of a year of trying, but we used fertility drugs to achieve this. I am a “Make it happen!” kind of person, who will go to any length to accomplish something I am passionate about. My gut told me something was wrong early on, and I was right. We sought help, and were blessed with a beautiful and wild, I mean active, baby boy!
Like most people I know, we wanted more than one child. Because we conceived our son relatively quickly (according to the infertility community), I assumed my body would just know what to do. It did not.
Attempting to add to our family, we suffered a twelve week miscarriage, three failed Intrauterine Inseminations, a chemical pregnancy, and a failed In Vitro Fertilization frozen embryo transfer.
As a stay-at-home mom, I was engulfed with all things children related, constant reminders of what I was lacking. I didn’t have the choice to avoid kid/growing family situations, so I grudgingly endured them. And on more than one occasion, I secretly broke down in tears. I was caught between two worlds; one in which I was a parent because I had my son, but another in which my family wasn’t yet complete.
From the outside, it might have appeared that I was content. On the inside, I was drowning.
Every time I opened my computer, answered the doorbell, checked Facebook, met up with a friend, retrieved the mail, got a phone call…I braced myself for what I might discover, and how I would react.
That was a few years ago, but those surprise announcements continue to have the ability to take me down if I’m not in a healthy mindset. I have a feeling it will take quite a while before I can react with genuine enthusiasm. Regardless of the fact that I am now a mother of two, what happened during my dark days didn’t happen overnight, and healing will take some time. And this is okay.
A passionate primary and secondary infertility advocate, Jen Noonan is the author of In Due Time: A Journey Through Infertility, Loss, and Embracing the Unknown, released September 2015 on Amazon. She is a freelance writer and Licensed Professional Counselor attempting to destigmatize the shame and guilt surrounding infertility and miscarriage.