Ruth is 37 and her husband is 42. She finally became pregnant after trying for a year and a half, three rounds of Clomid, and two rounds of IUI.
Growing up, Ruth wanted a big family—with at least four children. But first, she wanted to find the right partner. She did find someone she wanted to spend her life with, though by the time they married and were both comfortable in their careers, they were also a bit older. She was keenly aware of the fertility statistics for women over 35, and where other women might feel pressure from their family, she instead felt pressure to get pregnant quickly—or risk never having a baby.
Like many women, at first Ruth assumed it would be easy to get pregnant. When it wasn’t so easy, she turned to Google for answers—at first, she even avoided discussing the topic with her doctor and friends.
Eventually both Ruth and her husband went in for fertility testing. “The whole testing and the timing of everything was frustrating because it’s the first time in your life where you have no control over everything,” she recalls. On the upside, she felt that it was useful to investigate from a scientific perspective and hone in on the exact issue. The it becomes a matter of “How far into it do we want to go? How much money do we want to put into this?” On the other hand, she felt a real loss of control: “It’s calling [people], it’s waiting for people to call you back, it’s waiting for your body to be ready, which again is really frustrating because you’re constantly leaving messages and you’re in a state where you’re ready and no one gets back to you.”
Trying to conceive took the fun out of being together.
Ruth tried fertility acupuncture, but she became depressed when it didn’t work. She and her husband decided to try IUI before IVF, because they thought it could work for them. Just in case it didn’t, they began saving up money for IVF, but the entire process left Ruth emotionally exhausted. On the second round of IUI, though, just when Ruth was ready to take a break, she became pregnant.
Although Ruth and her husband have a strong relationship, she felt that trying to conceive “took the fun out of being together.” She jokes with her husband that “we never had sex to have our baby.” She still struggles with the idea that their baby was not conceived the way she originally envisioned. “As much as I like the science behind it, it was a very scientific way of doing it.”
Ruth originally hesitated to confide in her friends, but once she did, they became a source of support. “Once I start talking about it with my friends, there’s a lot more women that are having issues and that’s why I wanted to be a part of this. It means a lot to me to be open about it, and you’re not alone.”