Coming to Terms With “Unexplained Infertility”

look of disapointment

I felt like a failure.  Even with medical assistance I couldn’t complete the one task that my body was created for.    I could have filled buckets with the amount of tears I cried.  There were so many questions that no one could answer.  Why was I broken?  Why couldn’t anyone find and fix the cause of our infertility?  Why did doctors keep treating me with drugs and medications before identifying the exact cause of my problem?  I was angry, not at myself, but with doctors who had been treating me like a one woman drug trial.

Throughout these fifteen months I had prayed harder than I had ever prayed before.  I prayed that we might conceive, I prayed that the fertility treatments would work; I prayed that God would clearly tell me what he wanted for me.   I had no answers.  I gave up.  It was around this time that I gave up trying to make any sense of all this.  Obviously my answers were not to be found within traditional infertility treatments.  My diagnosis of unexplained infertility pretty much said my doctors were clueless as to what was wrong with me, and I felt as if they weren’t interested in finding out.  I admitted that this was bigger than me, that there was nothing I could physically do to make conception happen.  I gave up and in between tears, I prayed, “God, this is too hard, the waiting, the anticipation, the disappointment, the depression, and the self-doubt.  I can’t handle it anymore.   I give up, I’m not going to try to make this happen, this is out of my hands, and beyond my ability to change.  Whatever you want for me I will accept, but I can’t do this anymore.”

This was a very difficult for me; failure is not something I accept.  I thank God for my husband, close friends and family who were so supportive during this time.  I could not have made it through all of this without them.  I can’t say that I felt empty or more depressed than while undergoing fertility treatments.  I felt relief that I wouldn’t have to go through any more of the ups, downs, and side effects, but I wasn’t giving up hope on motherhood.  My husband was onboard with whatever I thought was best for my body, he has always been patient and understanding.  There was no question whether or not he was willing to consider adoption; we both are committed to having a family whether it is created naturally or through adoption.

When we began our fertility treatments, we discussed what we would do if the treatments were unsuccessful.  We agreed to try for two years before pursuing adoption.  At this point we were little more than a year into our agreement and not yet ready to give up on having a child naturally. I had read numerous articles about a woman’s health influencing her chances of conception, especially her BMI, body mass index, the ratio of body fat to lean muscle mass.  I decided that I needed to get my weight under control if I was going to get pregnant.  Since medicine couldn’t give me any answers about my weight gain, I decided to speak with a nutritionist about my diet.  She asked that I keep a log of my food and exercise.   My diet was rich in vegetables, lean protein, contained some whole grains, an occasional fruit, a few glasses of wine a week, and a piece or two of chocolate a day.  She gave me an overview of what a balanced diet should include, and then pronounced that my weight gain was due to an imbalanced diet that was too heavy in protein, and did not contain enough whole grains.

Once again, I trusted the expert and began including more whole grains in my diet.  I ate steel cut oats for breakfast, had whole wheat pasta at lunch, and brown rice with dinner.  I ate more fruit, less chocolate, and virtually cutout the wine.  The weight gain wouldn’t stop.  The more I followed my nutritionist’s advice, the more weight I gained.  At my next visit with her, she told me I must be doing something wrong, not recording my food intake accurately, over estimating my exercise, or omitting late night snacks from my calorie count.  When I told her I wasn’t comfortable with all the carbohydrates she had me eating, that they made me feel run down she said that was because I really wasn’t eating whole grains, I must be eating foods made with enriched flour.  That was too much.   Here I had invited this woman into my home to help me identify the source of my weight gain, and there she sat across the table accusing me of lying!  I had trusted an expert and again I had been burned.  All I got was ten more unwanted pounds.

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