Infertility was tough for Grace and her husband, Richard. But what they learned about each other through the process made their bond stronger and they became better parents for it much later when their twins, Charles and Charlotte were born.
Richard and Grace tried to have a baby, they were convinced, rather naively, that it happens automatically. At 30 years old, even though she wasn’t completely ready to be a mother, Grace really believed it would be that easy.
She was healthy, exercised regularly, ate a well-balanced diet, and came from a family of women who got pregnant at the drop of a hat. She had no reason to think it would be any different for her—but Grace couldn’t have been more wrong.
The weeks of trying turned into months, and soon they were waiting for nearly two years for any sign of pregnancy. Both of them lost count how many times they were convinced that a new craving or the fact that Grace felt oddly tired or bloated meant something.
She bought dozens of packets of ovulation kits, the temperature taking was endless. The frantic calls to Richard to make sure to be home on certain days for intercourse at her time of ovulation. It became almost like a job that both of them – a goal-oriented couple – had to find success in.
Meanwhile, everyone around them was getting pregnant with such ease (or so it seemed)—something Grace couldn’t help feeling resentment toward. And everyone kept asking when they were having a baby, not realizing how painful that question began to feel.
They finally decided to go see a Fertility Specialist they found online. All Grace wanted was confirmation that she just needed to relax. That she was still young and it’s just stress making things difficult, which was the advice everyone kept giving.
The doctor ran every test under the sun, including a hysteroscopy to check that everything was okay with her womb. The results showed something Grace didn’t expect: Nothing; no conclusive reason why she couldn’t get pregnant.
Grace was prepared for an answer—something concrete that she could point to and that she could fix. And then the medics put Richard under the microscope and nothing was “wrong” with him either.
So they started Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) treatments and timed Clomid cycles. The hormonal side effects from Clomid took a toll on Grace. She felt so incredibly depressed for months. She also felt guilty for ever being nervous about being a mother, when at this point, she felt she might not ever become one.
All the blood tests, the poking, the probing, the waiting, always waiting, took toll on her. The endless Google searches for miracle methods. They even started acupuncture thinking it was going to be a slam dunk.
When nothing worked, they decided to see a different doctor. Somehow, it helped to blame the first doctor, the protocol, anything other than Grace or Richard.
They went to the new doctor’s office alone thinking he would suggest a new test or something different, but when he announced that the next option was IVF, the couple couldn’t believe it.
Grace quickly realized infertility doesn’t discriminate. They fell into the category of “unexplained infertility,” which is the case for up to around 10 percent of couples dealing with infertility. That felt even more infuriating, not knowing why in their early 30s they couldn’t have a child on their own.
They started discussing the possibility that IVF might not work either, as it isn’t always successful and their expectations low, but felt that at least they were doing everything they could.
At last, the couple began to feel like they had some control when truthfully, they had none.
Grace decided to be positive and optimistic, nonetheless. She smiled through the shots, even though she was bruised and in pain. She didn’t cry even though she wanted to.
When the numbers didn’t reflect her hard work and optimism, she lost hope again. On her transfer day, she had one embryo frozen and one embryo that was soon to be their twins.
In the IVF world, this meant the odds were low. If this transfer was unsuccessful, then she would have only one other cycle.
But finally, this time Grace’s odd cravings were indeed a sign of pregnancy. She managed to emerge a mother after a successful pregnancy and normal births.
She no longer felt unready and was the happiest that she had ever been before. She learned to be more gentle and not blame herself. Instead of feeling broken, she felt stronger than ever and was determined to be the best mother she could be.
As Grace and Richard look back on the journey they went through, they said they wouldn’t change any of it even though it was the most challenging experience of their lives.
The stress and anxiety of not being able to get pregnant took its toll and tested them in many ways. Grace didn’t recognize herself many times. She lost that light and bubbly disposition that she always had, but never appreciated until now.
But she wouldn’t change the opportunity to get to know Richard through a new light. Fumbling to deal with it all, there were epic lows, but there were also enlightening highs.
Richard and Grace got to see one another demonstrate strength they didn’t even know they had while learning to accept and even respect their weaknesses in the process.
They bonded more than ever before. Grace finally stopped expecting Richard to be a superhero with the ability to read her mind and started to understand him more. She respected him for stepping up and really being there. In many ways, she’s grateful they got the time to rebuild their relationship with an even stronger foundation, before welcoming their twins.