Friday Feature: Jennifer Paul
Who am I when I'm an infertile girl, in a fertile world?
When my husband Zeke and I decided to start a family 2 years ago, we had no idea we would become the 1 in 8 couples who struggle with infertility. We have always talked about having a family someday. We talked about the kind of parents we would be, and how we would want to raise them. What we didn’t talk about was the possibility of not being able to have kids, until we were forced to.
Traditionally, we wanted to wait until we were married to start expanding our family. After marriage, I began timing my cycles, using ovulation kits, but still nothing happened. Month after month we hoped and prayed, “Would this be the pregnancy test that would make our dreams comes true?” There is nothing more disappointing than feeling ready and then looking down at a negative pregnancy test. There are so many hopeless moments filled with the wonderment of why, and the ever growing concern of when and if. All of it became more than we could handle, so we decided to reach out to my OBGYN for some assistance.
After seeing my OBGYN, and explaining to her the struggle we were having, her first thought was, “maybe you have endometriosis." Unfortunately, the only way to know this is through surgery. Being that this was my first surgery, I was frightened, but determined to do anything I had to do, to become a mother. I had the surgery, and found out I had little to no endometriosis, but my fallopian tubes were not in the best of shape. Also my doctor explained, while she was able to clean out my fallopian tubes, she did not know if they would stay that way. So after six more months of trying, and still nothing, she decided to send us to a fertility doctor.
After meeting with the fertility doctor and consulting with him in treatment plans, on what our next steps were, I began to have faith that this might be the end of our nightmare. (But I was wrong) Not only did my tubes clog back up, but on top of that, our health insurance did not cover ANYTHING. The only choice was to have them removed, and try In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In 2015, I had surgery for the second time. When I came out of surgery, I was so blessed to find out only one fallopian tube had to be removed, and it was still possible for me to have kids on my own. This may not sound like much of a blessing to some, but did you know the average cost of IVF is between 12-15 thousand dollars? In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has the best percentage rate of getting pregnant, and most states do not require insurance companies to cover infertility. Knowing that we still had a chance to do this on our own was a big deal to us and continues to be to this day.
The truth is I have good days and bad days. Days I stroll through life just fine, feeling strong and hopeful, yet there are also the days witnessing the tender exchange between a mother and her child can almost bring me to tears. Infertility can be a lonely place. It’s hard to find others in your “real life” that are living this experience. It is not the kind of sadness to where you cry all the time, but more of like the sadness that overwhelms your entire body, leaving your heart aching, and your stomach empty. It’s almost a sadness you can’t escape. I don’t know the whys of infertility, nor do I know the answers. I do know as long as I keep my faith in God, and continue to pray, I will always have hope. God hasn’t blessed me with a child yet, but he has blessed us with a health insurance plan that will cover the cost of our infertility. Being an infertile girl, in a fertile world has made me stronger, than I could have ever imagined. I believe the pain that I have been feeling, cannot compare to the joys that is coming.