I began this blog when I was 23 years old and my husband, Jesse was only 21. That was in December of 2007 when we decided that we wanted to bring a baby into our family. We had no idea all that decision entailed. Back then I had a false assumption that I was super-fertile and would get pregnant even while on birth control. Well, I was off of birth control for over a year, went through all of the fertility testing, and then was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility".

This past year has been one of the most difficult I have ever been through. I ran the emotional gauntlet on this issue, ranging from intense sadness and heartache to anger towards God to total peace about what He is doing. God began to show me how He was using my infertility as a ministry. It is my hope to share my testimony with others so that they may either be encouraged as they face their own infertility or educated as they learn what infertility entails. More than that, though, I hope that the things I share point others to God regardless of what they are going through.

When I first began this blog, the entries were kept private. But I have decided to open everything up in order to let people see the raw truth of the struggle. I strive to find the fine line between sharing the truth and sharing too much information. However, it is my desire to share my heart, regardless. And I have learned that there is never "too much information" in the world of infertility.

After being diagnosed with unexplained infertility on November 17, 2008, I was put on a round of 50mg of Clomid to strengthen the quality and quantity of my eggs. I suppose it was how God chose to work because I became pregnant that very cycle.

In order to be sensitive to those who are still going through infertility, I have opened up a new blog about my pregnancy. I am maintaining this one, though, hoping that it serves as a testimony to anyone who may be going through infertility at the time they come across my site. If you want to follow my life's journey, check out my other blogs. And if you would like, please don't hesitate to email me:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Other Side of the Statistics

I found out this week that I’m not pregnant again. It’s ok, though… I guess. I mean, I still want to have a baby more than anything else, but I’ve gotten pretty used to the disappointment. After going through it 15 times in the past year, I’ve learned to not expect it, which means my heart doesn’t sink quite as far. While this is much easier on my emotions, it makes the whole process seem drawn out. Instead of eagerly anticipating each next marker in my cycle (from my period to a positive OPK to ovulation to my next period- all within 4 weeks), the weeks run from one to the next and each cycle seems to extend right into the following one.

The only thing significant about this particular cycle was that it was the one that defined my 1-year mark. Since “infertility” is defined as an inability to conceive after 1 year without birth control (you don’t even really have to be trying!), getting pregnant this month would keep me out of that definition. However, not getting pregnant would define everything. I’m now on the other side of the statistics.

And the statistics are staggering to me. Check this out:

Each month, even if your reproductive health is excellent, the chance an average woman has of getting pregnant is about 20%. When I found this out, it seems crazy to me that anyone ever gets pregnant. The first month a couple actively tries to conceive, they are actually more likely to get pregnant than any other month. Not sure why, but this first month, 25% of couples get pregnant, compared to the 20% that conceive any other month. Those numbers sound a little small, but if you consider that 1 in every 4 women will get pregnant the first month and 1 out of every 5 will get pregnant each following month, you begin to realize how quickly it adds up. Most research shows that after 6 months of trying to conceive, 60% of those who originally began trying to conceive are now pregnant. After 9 months, 75% of couples will be pregnant. By the end of a year, research begins to differ- some saying 80% and some saying that 90% of couples will be pregnant. By a year and a half, most research agrees that 90% of couples will have conceived. And another 5% will get pregnant within 2 years of originally starting. Based on the original statistic of 20% getting pregnant each month, here’s how it all works out. Say 100 couples begin trying to have a baby in the first month. Here’s how many will get pregnant and how many will be left trying each month:

The chart differs from some of the statistics because 20% is the high end of the range. It’s actually somewhere between 15-20% and many factors can affect this number.
These statistics and this chart, though, are an accumulation of all couples, regardless of health or age or any other factor. If you break it down by age, most couples in their early twenties conceive within 4-5 months, making them the first 60% to conceive. If they are in their late 20’s, most conceive by 5-7 months. They make up the next 20%. Most couples in their early 30’s conceive within 7-10 months. They make up the next 5%. And most couples in their late thirties conceive within 10-12 months, making another 5%.

And for couples in their early 20’s, 93% are pregnant within a year.

Out of those who don’t conceive within a year, 90% can be attributed to some medically diagnosable cause. This doesn’t mean they won’t ever conceive, but this factor could be making it harder. 30% of those 90% are cause by male infertility factors like a low sperm count or poor sperm motility. 30 of the 90% are caused by female factors like poly-cystic ovaries or a lack of ovulation, maybe blocked fallopian tubes or a tilted uterus. Another 30% are a combination of both male and female factors. And the final 10% are those who no reason can be found for their infertility.

I know that’s a lot of statistics, but I find that most people don’t realize how rare infertility is. I say this because I have a lot of people who have brushed off my difficulty in getting pregnant by saying that they know people who took much longer to get pregnant than I have so far, like 3-5 years. And they say (seriously), “If I had a nickel for every woman I knew who got pregnant as soon as she stopped trying…” However, I think it’s important to know that only 7% of couples mine and Jesse’s age DON’T get pregnant within a year. And that 90% of couples who don’t get pregnant within a year have something medically diagnosable wrong with them.

When I told Jesse all of these statistics, I said, “That makes us in the bottom 7%. We’re among a REALLY small group of people!” His response to me was, “Well, God must be doing something really big then!”

Having said all of that, being in that 7% now allows me to seek a doctor’s consultation to find out what is wrong. I’ve already had my progesterone test and found out that it was normal. In 6 days I have my first appointment with Dr. York to talk about the next step. I’m really anxious about this appointment. Not in a scared way, but just with a lot of anticipation. I feel like I’m about to take a jump into a big pond and have no idea what’s going to be in there with me or what’s going to happen once I get in.

I feel, though, that God has brought us to this place in our journey. Three months ago, as I reached my 12th cycle, I tried to contact a fertility clinic in Portland, only to find that our insurance wouldn’t cover a dime and there was no way we could afford $300 just for a phone consultation with the doctor. I knew I just had to wait on God’s timing. In the meanwhile, I was no longer satisfied with the job I had for 3 years and felt that God was pulling me in a new direction. This job at the hospital fell into my lap. It wasn’t ANYTHING that I was looking for and I was really scared to take it. Did you know that 90 people applied for this job, only 6 were interviewed, and I was the only one to pass both tests in the interview? In prayer, I felt like God told me to take it, and I’m so thankful I did. We’ve experienced several financial burdens, which would’ve completely sunk us if I were still at my previous job. But now the income I make is meeting those needs. In addition, I began receiving health benefits after a month of working here which cover 50% of all fertility testing and much of the expenses of seeing a doctor. And I actually like my job quite a bit. Sounds like God, doesn’t it? So, with everything falling into place, I have to trust that God is lining things up to get ready to move.

My heart is SO ready to experience the fulfillment of His plan, but I have to remember that there’s grace in the suffering (more about that some other time) and that there are testimonies in the testing.

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