The result of much testing was a diagnosis that we had less than 1% viable sperm and our chances of conceiving children in the manner that most people conceive children was less than 1% if we continued trying in "that way".
This was a huge blow to us both and we were devastated. Truly devasted.
Not ones to give up easily we took our referral to the fertility clinic and went to see what our next course of action would be.
The fertility clinic did more tests and confirmed that we would never be able to have children the "normal" way. It was highly recommended that we do in-vitro fertilization (IVF). So we scraped up some savings and wracked up some debt and managed to pull together the $10,000 that it cost to have this procedure done.
In 2006 I started taking pills and giving myself daily injections. I went through the painful and emotional procedures that are part of IVF. I was sure it would work for us - there was no reason for it not to.
Except it didn't work for us. And it was devastating. I was so emotionally distraught that I didn't think I would ever pull through. It was one of the worst times of my life. There was so much to think about and to process. We were facing the very real possibility of never having children.
It took a year for me to be ready to try it again. One last time. I knew I could never go through it again, especially if it failed again - which was a very real possibility. Days before I was to find out if it worked or not, I was sure that it hadn't. And I vowed that I would never go through IVF again. I could not handle it physically, emotionally, or financially.
But this time, it did work.
And we were overjoyed.
We welcomed Ruby into the world in December 2008, and she has changed my life and our life so much for the better that I couldn't even put it into words. I cannot imagine that I came so close to never having her. My world is a much better place with Ruby in it.
After I had Ruby, my midwife told me that I was amazing during labour and delivery. She said that my body was meant for having babies. I thought that was ironic since it was so hard to get there in the first place and I knew the chances of me ever being there again were quite slim.
At my last midwife appointment my midwife asked what I wanted to do about birth control. I scoffed at her and to be quite honest, I was annoyed. She KNEW my history. She KNEW that we couldn't get pregnant the natural way. The thought of me needing any sort of birth control was a joke to me. I was a smart ass to her in my answer.
And friends would ask me about having more kids and I would be equally snarky with them - after all, everyone KNOWS what we went through to get pregnant in the first place. Those comments weren't meant to be hurtful but they can be very hurtful to a couple who cannot concieve naturally.
In the months after having Ruby the topic of having any more children was gingerly discussed between Steve and I. We knew we wanted more kids, but after what it took to have Ruby I was coming to terms with the very real possibility that she would be an only child. I knew in my heart that I never ever wanted to do IVF again. Steve would have willingly done it again in a heartbeat. He wanted more kids no matter what it took. But since my mind and body were the ones to have to endure the treatments, I had the final say. And after one particular heart to heart, I told him that I was done. I would have loved more children but doing IVF again was out of the question. I couldn't imagine putting up $10,000 for a 50% chance of getting pregnant again. And by the time we could scrape together that kind of money, I would be well over 35 - the magical age when your reproductive system is supposed to go for a nose dive. And I could NOT imagine enduring treatments while having a toddler to care for. It was hard enough to care for myself during that very trying time.
And so Steve agreed (however reluctantly) that we were done. Ruby was going to be an only child. End of story. Time to move on with our lives. Sad, yes. But that is life, and I had to deal with it.
I moved past it. It bothered me sometimes but I know that life doesn't always turn out how you plan it and you have to accept the hand you are dealt and make the best of it. And I was indeed going to make the very best of it. I felt very blessed to even have Ruby to begin with.
Life was good. We were happy. We were grateful to have our little family.
Then the unthinkable, unimaginable, most unexpeted thing happened.
I found out I was pregnant.
It happened the "normal" way.
There was a lot of shock. Awe. Disbelief (still a bit of disbelief). Shock. Oh, and more shock.How? I will never know. It is truly a "miracle".
People have said to me, "I've heard of that happening!" So before you say that, let me tell you how truly annoying those comments are. Yes, it's true that women can get pregnant more easily after they've had a baby. However, whatever my body went through with having a baby - that doesn't cure the thick scar tissue that my husband carries around in his body due to a botched surgery as a child to repair a common childhood problem. I could be the most fertile woman on the face of the planet and that wouldn't make a lick of a difference to our dismal sperm count. So yes, maybe sometimes this does happen, but not usually in a case such as ours.
We are overjoyed that we will be welcoming another little miracle (a miracle of a different kind) into the world in June.
We won the infertility lottery.