My fertility journey
So many thoughts went racing through my mind. Will I ever be able to get pregnant the natural way? What if we never get the chance to see what our kids would look like. Will we even be able to have kids of our own? I couldn’t sit in that doctor’s office for one more second. I could feel the pressure in my chest building and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold my tears back for much longer. I excused myself to the bathroom and hid myself in one of the back stalls. It was like a damn broke and all my emotions from the past few days bursted out of me. Continue reading below.
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My fertility journey: Part 1
Justin and I had only been married a couple months when he was diagnosed with cancer. (You can read more of our story HERE.) Our lives were turned upside down and instead of enjoying our newlywed life we were in doctor appointments talking about chemo and treatment plans. We hit the cancer world full force going to multiple doctor appointments, scans, and procedures.
We were in one of our appointments with Justin’s oncologist when he suggested we meet with a fertility doctor. It was one of those moments where everyone and everything freezes around you. My brain took a second to catch up with what he had just said. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. The focus was Justin and his cancer, we didn’t think about what that could mean for our future as parents.
As some of you know chemotherapy treatment can cause harm to the sperm. Justin needed to start chemo as soon as possible, which meant we didn’t have the luxury to wait in making a decision about fertility treatments and options. It was a lot to take in all at once and we were both so overwhelmed. We knew we wanted kids someday so of course we scheduled an appointment with a fertility doctor.
The fertility doctor we met with specialized in fertility and cancer patients. She knew all about the type of cancer Justin had which helped. I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought Justin would just give a sperm sample and we could use it later in life. I was very wrong.
The doctor explained that the tumor had possibly already affected his sperm. We were told there was a chance his sperm would not be viable at all. Of course at this point my anxiety had completely taken over my mind and body. I jumped into a worse case scenario and I was spiraling into hopelessness.
Will I ever be able to get pregnant the natural way? Will we get the chance to see what our kids would look like. Will we even be able to have kids of our own? Will I even have a husband? I couldn’t sit in that doctor’s office for one more second. I could feel the pressure in my chest building and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold my tears back for much longer. I excused myself to the bathroom and hid myself in one of the back stalls. It was like a damn broke and all my emotions from the past few days bursted out of me.
It took all the strength left in me to calm down and stop crying. I splashed water on my face and tried to make it look like I hadn’t just been sobbing. I needed to be strong for Justin. I had taken his phone with me and I needed to get back to him. As I was walking back to the appointment a notification popped up on his phone replying to a text he had sent out to our family. He had sent them a text saying “Pray for Jenn, she is not doing well.”
Here he is the one with cancer and he is thinking about how I’m doing. I guess it had just hit me that I wasn’t doing well. It was a lot to take in. I tried to make it look like I hadn’t just been crying, but Justin knew the second he looked at me.
The timing was not so great because from that appointment Justin had to go bank sperm, which was not so fun. It was honestly one of the hardest days we had with his cancer journey.
I was so anxious waiting for the results. Will we be able to have kids of our own someday? My mind kept bouncing back between cancer and fertility. It was honestly too much to handle.
Finally we met with the doctor to go over his sperm results. She explained that normal male sperm is greater than 15 million sperm per milliliter. Justin had 4 million which meant the tumor had indeed already affected his sperm. They were able to freeze 5 vials. She said in the future we could do artificial insemination, but would have to combine 3 to 4 vials and it would give us a 10% chance of getting pregnant. Or we could do in vitro fertilization and that would give us a 50% chance of getting pregnant.
She also explained that some men are able to produce sperm after chemotherapy, but sometimes the Chemo can change the DNA of the sperm which would cause miscarriages or birth defects.
The chances were low, but there was a chance. We decided to believe we would have our own kids one day and then put this part of our fertility journey on a mental shelf. We stored that hope aside and put 100% of our focus into beating Justin’s cancer.
This quote below describes exactly how I felt finding out that we might not be able to have kids of our own. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but when I was told that might not happen.. I wanted it even more. It was extremely hard.
“People say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.”