Secondary Infertility: The inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby. There are many causes, which can be diagnosed and discussed with your care provider. I would like to take a few moments to talk about the emotional and physical toll secondary infertility can take.
It is very easy for people (who I am sure have good intentions) to say, “At least you have your first child… what a blessing!” Yes, my son is a blessing but the bottom line is that my family is not complete yet.
The stress is unbelievable. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be undergoing hormone treatments and egg retrievals. Our son was conceived on the second round of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This time around we found ourselves in the midst of egg retrievals and embryo transfers after unsuccessful IUI’s. My body felt depleted and we were emotionally spent. I was going to the doctor at 5 a.m. multiple times a week on and off for about a year. My son would kiss my “booboos” from my injections and it felt like we just keep waiting in anticipation. I started to have heart palpitations when I would see my nurse calling with updates.
In an earlier post I wrote about my experience trying to conceive my son and how I learned way more about my fertility than I ever wanted to know. I felt defective. But that’s nothing compared to now.
The good news is that for us all the hard work and stress paid off because we are pregnant again! I must add, though, that it’s not all amazing and blissful. My anxiety has continued into pregnancy as I sort of “wait for the ball to drop.” I am so incredibly happy to be pregnant again but I don’t think I will really feel at ease until our baby is safely in our arms.
I feel that I have gained another level of sensitivity through this experience. I don’t ask families anymore if they “want more children,” which I frequently did before. I can also personally relate to expecting parents who are nervous throughout pregnancy that something may go wrong.
Life is so fragile and bringing a life into this world is an amazing feat. My heart goes out to those of you that are struggling with fertility and my ears are open to hear your story.
Astrid Hufnagel is a Birth and Postpartum Doula living in Montclair, NJ and serving the following counties in Northern NJ: Essex, Union, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Hudson, Somerset and Middlesex