Trying to conceive? You're not alone—and there is often a light at the end of the tunnel.
There is nothing that can make you feel more alone—or stressed out—than when you're trying to conceive. While you might have spent the better part of your youth doing all that you could to not get pregnant, when you're ready to build your family and the going gets tough, it's normal to have anxiety. Though TTC can feel exhausting, frustrating and like you're the only couple who can't seem to get the plus sign on the home pregnancy test, the CDC estimates that more than ten percent of all couples will struggle with fertility—that's 1 in 10 partnerships. Whenever you're feeling discouraged, take a read of these inspiring stories.
Tia and Matt Hixon
Parents to 1-year-old Coen
When they started trying: "In February 2012, though I had tried for years before that with my previous husband," says Tia.
What they discovered: "After many misdiagnoses, I was finally told in February of 2014 that I had PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome]. In addition to having a very high level of estrogen, which hinders a woman's ability to conceive, I hadn't ovulated in years."
What they tried: "We tried every imaginable approach to conception: acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, acrobatics (an abundance of headstands happened in our bedroom!), ovulation tracking, basal temperature monitoring—you name it! But then we were prescribed Clomid—it was a game changer! I took my first round of five pills on May 7 and had my first positive pregnancy test on June 8."
Their best advice to other couples: "Play with each other. It's such an emotionally taxing experience to struggle with pregnancy. Pregnant people, kids, products for all things baby are literally everywhere, in your face all the time. It can be overwhelming, but focus on what you do have: a spouse who is willing to go at this really difficult thing with you. Talk about it. Seek support from those you trust. Embrace how hard you're working to achieve what you want. The process of conception struggles can resemble grieving. Feel your feelings. Believe in the impossible. Trust your gut. Brace for the hormonal changes. Be kind to yourself."
Chelsea and A.J. Krahn
Parents to 2-year-old Emigh and 3-week old Olive
When they started trying: "Because of our ten-year age difference, we started soon after we got married in November 2010," says Chelsea.
What they discovered: "I wasn't ovulating or getting a period, so it was close to impossible to conceive."
What they tried: "We went through a lot of inconclusive testing—to this day, the only answer we've actually received from a doctor is 'you have really bad luck.' After many failed drugs, we decided to take a break while we moved from Milwaukee to Charlotte, N.C., and as they all say, the day we stopped, I had a positive pregnancy test. Unfortunately, little did we know, that would be the beginning of another long journey. From that point—August 2012—we were able to get pregnant, but not stay pregnant. I then had two miscarriages before having a successful, full-term pregnancy and delivering my daughter in October of 2013. We've had two more miscarriages since then, and we're still looking for an answer."
Their best advice to couples: "It's a very stressful and emotional time, and after all that I have been through, I am still a firm believer that 'everything happens for a reason.' My husband and I agree that this is the most difficult and frustrating thing we've ever dealt with. Spotting at seven weeks is a disappointment that can't be described unless you have experienced it—I wouldn't wish it on my own worst enemy. But, remember this: you will have a baby and when you do, all the pain and heartache are totally worth it."
Norva and Soji
Parents to Shernorva, 16, Odelia 4, and Jahzeel 2 1/2
When they started trying: "In late 2010, I was the mom of a 10-year-old girl, and my husband and I had unsuccessfully been trying to have a baby for more than three years," says Norva.
What they discovered: "We had a couple of miscarriages but I wasn't able to carry to term. It was then that I started having unusual symptoms, like pain during urination, lower-abdominal pain and a growing tummy. I was shocked when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in my right ovary. It was removed and I went on to have chemo in 2011, and like many, I lost my hair I also went into menopause during the treatment, and was told that if my period did come back, I may be able to have a child after two years."
What they tried: "We tried the rhythm method and ovary stimulation via tablets, but it wasn't successful. We still don't know what caused us to get pregnant, but four months after treatment, I was called back in for more tests, and my oncologist suspected that my cancer was returning. However, the great news was that I was actually pregnant! I successfully gave birth to my second daughter and returned for my first regular check-up when she was four months old. At my second check-up, we discovered I was pregnant yet again, and since then, I gave birth to another beautiful baby girl. My oncologist jokingly commented that chemo was like fertility treatment for me!"
Their best advice to couples: "Make sure to talk to your doctors and let them try all of the tests. It is frustrating, but will be more helpful than anything else. Once you have all of that clear, try not to stress about it because without realizing, it affects your body and can also affect the quality of your relationship with your spouse in a negative way. If you can, put the idea of wanting to get pregnant out of your mind for a minimum of six months and just relax. Do something different—throw caution to the wind! Really enjoy this period, and of course, have sex and let nature take over."