I never thought I would be writing out my infertility story or that I would even be in this place.
Our journey started in 2015. I had been with my husband for only a few months. We were dating and getting to know each other. We met in Las Vegas through some mutual friends, and let me tell you, he swept me off my feet!
After dating for a while, we started to notice that I was in a lot of pain during intercourse. One night, I was in so much pain that I couldn't bear it. I was taken to the emergency room where they told me I had an ovarian cyst rupture. I had no idea what that meant. They gave me some pain meds and told me to rest for the next couple of weeks. Never thinking that I needed to see my obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN), I just went on with my life.
After many other medical issues, like having my gallbladder removed, and still experiencing pain during intercourse, I was naïve and still thought it would just go away on its own.
Fast forward to having been with my husband for three years, and we decided that we wanted to start trying to get pregnant. We started having timed intercourse and testing for ovulation, but after months of not getting pregnant, we started to realize that something might be wrong.
My periods were not regular. At times, I would miss an entire month or two. I was dealing with all of these emotions while still trying to maintain hope. I would read the Trying to Conceive (TTC) community posts constantly and Google pretty much everything trying to find answers, but I found nothing but more heartbreak.
After finally seeing an OB/GYN for the pain that I was having during sex, I was told that I just had ovarian cysts, that they would eventually go away, and that I just needed to be patient and keep trying.
In May 2019, my husband and I got married. We had been living in Las Vegas, Nevada for about a year, and we decided to seek the help of a fertility specialist.
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My husband had had slightly low testosterone levels in the past, but after doing a sperm analysis, we found out that he was completely fertile and healthy, which was great news!
Finding out that the medical issue was most likely with me, I decided to dig even further for answers. Around this time, I started getting acne all over my cheeks, and my mood swings were getting worse. I had gained 60 pounds, and my hair was falling out. I went to another OB/GYN for a second opinion, who diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and put me on medication to balance my hormones.
After being put on several different medications, including birth control, for three months, I started feeling more like myself again, but I still felt empty and depressed. Time was flying by, and I still didn't have a baby.
After speaking with my OB/GYN, she decided to do a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test to check my fallopian tubes. After waiting five days for my results, the OB/GYN asked us both to come into the office as soon as possible. We were told after we arrived that both of my fallopian tubes were blocked, the result of a disease called endometriosis.
Completely shocked and speechless, I looked at my husband and said, “I'm so sorry,” because, at that point, I just felt so low and completely broken. I didn't know how to cope with not one, but two, infertility diagnoses. I felt lost, alone, and like no one could understand what I was going through. Even now, I am still learning how to cope. I do things like take a hot bath with Epsom salt, read a book, or clean the house. I am still new to this—right now I’m just doing my best, and that's all I can do.
The pain of not being able to conceive naturally is indescribable. Hearing people say things like, “Why don't you just adopt?” or “You don't want to bring a baby into this world with how hectic it is?!” makes me feel even less understood. Even family and friends don't always know the right things to say, which just plays on my emotions even more. You would think that family would have all the right words to support you, but they typically don’t. Often, they have all the wrong ones.
I was initially afraid to share my story with others because I thought that my friends and family would judge me for posting about our journey on social media when it was technically nobody's business but ours. But infertility is so hard, and no one should have to go through it alone.
After seeing our fertility doctor and confirming everything that the OB/GYN had found, I was told my only option was to remove my fallopian tubes, which I thought was completely crazy. My husband and I, determined as ever, looked at research and studies and found a procedure called fallopian tube cannulation by keyhole surgery.
We got so excited thinking that they could clean out my fallopian tubes and that we would then have a year to do intrauterine insemination (IUI) and possibly try for a second child after that. After calling several places, even in other states, we discovered that they no longer do this procedure, and our hopes were crushed once more.
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My husband has learned so much from all this. He has demonstrated true compassion for a wife who feels like she is completely broken. He has stepped up and been my backbone, making me feel loved and not alone. He listens to my needs and encourages me to keep going when I feel like I can't anymore. It wasn't easy for him to understand all of this, so please remember to be patient with your significant others. No one understands exactly what is going through our minds. If they did, I'm sure they would know exactly what to say to put us at ease.
We have now decided to pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF) and to seek a second opinion from another fertility doctor. I highly suggest to anyone struggling with infertility issues that you don't just pick the first doctor that you see. Get a second opinion. Do your research. Talk to other women in your area who have been going through IVF or have been successful through IVF and ask them which doctor they recommend.
I went to Sprouts one day to get vitamins, and I met a girl who is also battling infertility. We started talking and are now friends on social media. She recommended her fertility doctor, who sounded way better than mine!
Our new fertility doctor explained endometriosis and PCOS to us. He made us feel like our needs were being heard and addressed them. He gave us back the hope we had lost.
We are now figuring out our funds. We started a GoFundMe and a fundraiser on Facebook. I am even having an IVF garage sale to come up with the funds we need to move forward! We are praying and hoping our miracle baby makes his or her way soon to show that God can move mountains!
Kaitlin McFarland is an infertility warrior living in Las Vegas, Nevada. After being diagnosed with PCOS, endometriosis, adenomyosis disease, and blocked fallopian tubes, she and her husband are now pursuing IVF to grow their family.