Pregnancy: The Cure for Infertility?

Before calling me Captain Obvious, allow me to explain.

Two women on my blog roll (I actually thought it was almost all of them - mostly because I'm prone to exaggeration) and two women in my "real life" and several women on the fertility forum site where I used to hang/post have all received natural BFP's AFTER years of TTC, massive sums of cash forked over to fertility clinics, tons of BFN's, tears and finally the joy of success.  Happily, off they went with baby in hand, spooked by the clinical nature of their conception but mostly just damned happy to be mothers.

Birth control?  HAAAAAA!  Of course not, after that history, would you?  But low and behold.  They became those women.  You know who.  The women every annoying know-it-all felt compelled to tell you about when you were knee-deep in follistim injectibles and fertility bills.  The women who tried and tried and tried and tried FOREVER to have a child - first by YEARS of regular, unprotected sex and then more years of timed, medicated transfers of beautiful embryos.  Only after many of the latter did they finally bring home a baby and voila, they'd report a natural pregnancy not long after.

The stuff of legends?  I used to think so.  I thought it was 99 parts bullshit, 1 part grain of truth (the pregnancy was truth - how they got there I seriously doubted). 

But it's happened too often in my very short sample of infertiles for me to ignore.  It happens.  And often.  There, I said it.  Curse me.  Whatever.  But I calls it as I sees it.

And no, I don't believe it has anything to do with "relaxing" and that these women, now mothers, relieved so much inner stress that their bodies did what they hadn't previously done.  No, I don't actually believe that.  But I do think there may be some kind of hormonal righting, something that triggers the body to finally do what it just couldn't.  Hell, I don't know.  I'm no scientist - CLEARLY.  I just know that pregnancy changed my body in every single way (none of which was good, frankly) and I would be foolish not to allow for the possibility that it stirs the chemistry just enough, cleans out the pipes ever so diligently that...natural conception becomes far more likely.

A mutual friend Kathy.  Eight years, countless IVF's and finally, twin boys.  When they were 8 months and she was going out of her mind trying to juggle it all, she was nauseaus.  Isabella was born 9 months later.  She never had unprotected sex again.

A colleague.  Two years of IVF.  A baby girl.  Six months later.  Holy shit, she was pregnant.

Emmeline's mommy.  IVF after too many years of unprotected sex yielded no baby.  Fresh IVF at CCRM, BFN.  Adoption paperwork.  FET, BFP.  Beautiful little lady.  1.5 years later, miscarriage (read: natural conception) and 12 weeks ago, BFP.  Twins, albeit identical (so 1 damned good egg/embryo split).  Still.  WTF?

Emily.  Three failed IVF's after 4 years of unprotected sex and no baby.  Finally, a little girl after a successful FET.  And when her daughter was about to turn 1, a late period turned into a second daughter.  Surprise!

There are actually several others but it's late and you get the point.

I've now turned into one of those women (roll eyes) who absolutely thinks you can get pregnant naturally, despite blowing six figures at the highest end clinics, despite going donor egg route, despite decades of infertility. 

The recipe, as far as I can tell is this:  regular sex, unblocked fallopian tubes in a woman under 40. 

Then again, is that really so magical?  Isn't that what everyone has to have?

Perhaps infertiles have just been handed so much shit for so long and had to suck it up and push on to build their families that when years later the very mundane, normal course of things happens - pregnancy - they're ready to call the Vatican and have it declared a miracle.

Awesome.  Wonderful.  Unexpected.  Yes, all of those things.  But just pretty normal.  And a very very good normal, indeed.

Oh and about us....we're good.  I have the most delightful, feisty, ridiculously smart firecracker.  She'll outwit me before her 10th birthday.  Until then, I'll pretend I'm a formidable opponent.  Wish me luck.  ;)  and here's a recent shot of the little lady who owns my heart.  Next month she'll be 2.  Wow!

Finally, let me just say how much this post brought back memories.  There was a time (2008-2010) when I was on the very edge of my seat reading all of your stories, crying with you and celebrating the really great moments in your lives.  There was absolutely a sisterhood I felt, and still do.  It's brought me such joy to see that most of us have gone on to have our children, whether by donor eggs or IVF and our own eggs or adoption.  We have the children we were meant to have, and that's about as otherworldly as I'm going to get. 

There were a couple of ladies that made choices to take different paths and despite loving my daughter more than my own life by leaps and bounds, I can honestly say that motherhood has given me a unique perspective on being childfree.  I don't think my life was less happy or complete than it is now.  It was merely different, so I know without a shadow of a doubt that either path brings an equally rich and fulfilled life.

Continued happiness, my beautiful sisters.


MyTwoLines said...

I've noticed this too, happening way more often than I ever would have thought possible. Of course, I felt my family was 100% complete the minute I brought my kids into my life and that's why my DH had a vasectomy. I didn't WANT to be one of those women. My children are plenty, MORE than plenty lol.

And I also wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph--having children now lets me know that I would have been just fine without them too. Of course, you can never get that perspective until you've leapt onto the other side but it's true. It would have been a different life for sure, but not necessarily any less fulfilling.

Your daughter is super adorable!

Rebecca said...

She's beautiful! I can't believe she's 2 already.

I kept waiting for you to say, "And it turns out I'm one of those women too..."

I do think there is something to it. I've also seen that happen to two of my friends in the last few months. Both of them struggled for years to get pregnant, had their babies, and then boom, pregnant again right away. One of them when her daughter was 4 months (gulp!), the other when her son was 9 months. I think that sometimes after a successful pregnancy, the body says "Ah, now I understand! *That's* what you've been wanting me to do. Ok, got it, I can do that again..." How's that for a scientific explanation? :-)

Unfortunately, we definitely won't be one of those stories. A natural pregnancy is not likely to end well for us since I need to be on Lovenox and IVIg, so I had my tubes tied when Miss A was born to eliminate the temptation to try that I would otherwise still feel. But we are planning for me to wean Miss A at 1 year and go back to Denver ASAP after that. I would have gone back at 4 months if it wasn't for the breastfeeding thing, though! :-)

Jill M. said...

WOW!!!! Congratulations!!! I hope to be one of those women some day! I do feel like the woman's body does go "oh, that's how it works, now I know how to do it", but our issue is on the male side and unfortunately their bodies don't get that revelation. Still hoping...

Marie said...

Yep. I thought that too. 2.5 years of infertility, baby with IVF #2. Thought I would be *more* fertile after a pregnancy. 2 more years of IVF, including two cycles at CCRM which yielded few eggs at age 36. moved on to donor eggs. Great cycle, baby #2. Spent 6 months planning a FET from that cycle. AMH 0.18 (no kidding). Tiny, shriveled little ovaries at 39. BAM! natural pregnancy while waiting for my period to start for that FET. We just passed the nuchal. Still can't figure out how to include this child into our family or how it happened it all.

Sky said...

MyTwoLines: Your husband had a vasectomy? You crack me up! Did you just have your hands so full (which I could totally relate to) that a "surprise" baby would have actually been distressing?

Rebecca: "And it turns out I'm one of those women too" HA! Yeah, I did qualify that possibility as having to be having regular sex (I'm not), needing to be under 40 (I'm 45) and needing functioning fallopian tubes (I had both of mine removed due to hydro in one of them). So I really would be the immaculate conception. I'd pray to the child (after I passed out). I just read some of your blog. Had to laugh at the freaky nurse you got during Beta #2 making you worried. My pregnancy did not double either and my nurse said it was still perfect - that it had to be over sixtysomething percent and it was in the 80% range. I'm going to add you to my blogroll so I can check on you from time to time. Good luck with #2.

Jill M - I remember you guys. Congrats on your son. He's gorgeous. Blue eyes and curly blonde hair. A baby model!

Marie - I'll add you to the list. SEE! I don't know what it is but the pregnancy itself may have an affect on the body. If it can cause such havoc, as it does, then it's able to also shake things up. I don't know - maybe just the body saying, "oh yeah, yeah, yeah, pregnancy, I know how to do this" and boom, there you go. Hilarious. So IVF#2 resulted in a baby, IVF#3 with donor eggs resulted in a baby and just as you're going for FET with donor egg embryo, you wind up with a natural.

Honestly, you cannot make this shit up!

Retro Girl said...

Sky! Great to hear from you...yeah, our ob "warned" us about this, saying he saw it "all the time" (not the identical twin part, obviously, but the natural pregnancy after infertility). I, too, thought he was most likely exaggerating.

You wanna add another little fun fact to your scientific study? DH and I had sex ONCE the month we got pregnant. In fact, when I showed him the stick, his response was "did we even have sex last month?". In our four years we were actively trying...well, a lot of sex every month and nada, nothing.

From "I can't believe this isn't happening" to "How did this happen?"...yeah, I think you could be onto something.

Your cutie is a beauty.
Emmeline's Mom

Lorraine said...

Crazy, right? I can't help thinking that all the hormones (prescribed and natural) change the way the body chemistry works, at least for a while. At the same time, I am pretty sure I would fall right over if I turned out to be naturally pregnant. At this point I am ready to be done with it all, and I actually resent having to put up with a period at all now that I don't "need" it anymore.

Me said...

Your daughter is beautiful. And I did not get KU on my own. I am actually flying out next week for my ODWU part deux. Hopefully we will defrosting another perfect child in January 2013.

Sky said...

Retro Girl - I'm a convert, believe me. I'm not saying it always happens but it's certainly happened MUCH MUCH MUCH TOO OFTEN to ignore. And it's not the "relax and you'll get pregnant" thing because it doesn't seem to happen to those whose stress is alleviated by adopting or choosing to live childfree, so there appears to be some physiological component involved.

Lorraine - ditto on everything you wrote.

Me - love what I just read. Little man will have a sibling next year. So wonderful. So good for you, especially given how much you've enjoyed motherhood and the normal embryos you have on ice. I hope you'll start blogging again so I can read about it often. Hope you and The Man are doing well. I think of you from time to time and a big smile erupts. :)

Jamie Graham said...

Isnt' the cure for Endo to get pregnant? Unfortunantly, that won't be us since my husband has zero moving sperm. He has 2mil count, but they go no where.

Phoebe said...

Interesting perspective from you and Ms. TwoLines about feeling you would have been fine if you had not had kids. I can't imagine you really saying that if you hadn't had kids, because you still would be longing to have children.

As for me, no miracle children will ever happen for me. A part of me still really wants a child. A part of me realizes how much grieving I went through and I can now truly enjoy other people's children without being totally jealous. However, still not going to any baby showers soon!

Me, seriously? I'd love to see you again, if you still have my contact info, call/e-mail me!

Sky said...

Phoebe - you're right and "two lines" sort of said as much - that the childfree perspective isn't one you get until AFTER you have your child. And though I adore my daughter more than life itself - I'd die for that little monkey - I've since come to realize my life was wonderful before too - and with sooooooooooooooooo much more money, time, freedom and less anxiety. So a beautiful life was there all along. Who knew? ;)

Good to hear from you and that you've reached a good place and balance.

Anonymous said...

Sky, she's beautiful! How cool that she's sassy and sparky smart already... like her mama maybe? ;-) Thanks for sharing.

Great post on the "oh whoops" pgs. They seem crazy and great and I'm so happy for my fellow infertility road/IVF sisters. But then I'm kinda wistful all at the same time, cuz for various reasons I won't be taking that path. At 44, I just don't have the physical/emotional stamina to have another and have my work at the same time.

Also interesting thoughts on childfree, in retrospect. I wouldn't give up my girl for anything, but I do wish I had appreciated some of the aspects of being childfree back in the day!

Best to you,
Connie in SF
sp08 on IVFC