Oh, hey there.
It had been suggested to me on more than one occasion to start a blog. After being assured that at least one person is interested in reading what I have to say, I said “why not?”
I guess that leads me to why I’ve started a blog. It’s simple, really. And also really, really complicated. “It” is infertility. If you, too, are familiar with a reproductive endocrinologist or want to learn more about what the heck that is, you’re in the right place. So then, I guess this means I should introduce myself for those of you who are new here, huh?
My name is Mallory and I am 25 years old. I’m happily married to my awesome husband, Josh, who is almost 28. He is otherwise known as “that guy with the beard.” We live in a small town in Indiana with our four (yes, four) dogs: Freckles, Max, Peanut, and Leia. We also own a cat named Bandit, or as we like to call him, Kitty. We were married August 6, 2016 and started trying right away. We knew it would be difficult to conceive, but it became very clear, very quickly just how big of an understatement that was. To paint the picture for you, let’s take it back a few years.
After a five year battle, I was officially diagnosed with stage four endometriosis when I was 18 years old. It was so extensive that 2 weeks after surgery, my doctor flat out told me I’d be lucky to ever get pregnant. However, if I DID want to get pregnant, I’d need to try sooner rather than later. I was young, dumb, and unmarried so babies weren’t exactly on my mind. I naively continued on my birth control. Collectively, I spent nearly 8 YEARS on the pill. Ask me now how I feel about birth control and its effect on the body, I dare you. Hindsight is 20/20, amiright? Anyways, there’s a lot of irrelevant fluff from 2010 to early 2015 when Josh and I met. I can tell the whole story later, but we knew on night numero uno that this was it. A few months before we got engaged, I started tracking my cycles intently. Anyone who knows me knows I’m very educated on the inner workings of the female reproductive system. My current gynecologist once described me as “very astute” and her most “well informed patient.” *insert curtesy here* I say current because the OBGYN I was seeing when we got married is not the same doctor I now see. In fact, I told my previous doctor in 2014 that I thought I had PCOS. Long story short, she essentially told me I was ridiculous for even mentioning it. Spoiler alert: I was right. ANYWAYS, I called after the wedding to let her know I was having 50-70 day cycles that were extremely irregular and that I needed help ovulating. Wanna know what she did? Not a darn thing. She said “lose some weight and call me in a year.” Mind you, for a woman my age with no known gynecological history, this is a standard response. But she KNEW of my history. However, she still found a generic response to be appropriate for my case. Well, if you don’t know this yet, I’m very strong willed and stubborn. Needless to say, I didn’t like that answer. I sought out my current OBGYN in October 2016, and guess what!? She diagnosed me with pcos in the first week of my being her patient. I was already headed down an awesome road to finding answers.
We started with two rounds of clomid (a drug that aids in ovulation). I responded really well to it, but I didn’t get pregnant. In January we did our first semen analysis and started talking about surgery. Surgery was scheduled for Valentine’s Day, and our results came back from the semen analysis. They weren’t good. We had very poor motility (the way the sperm swim). It was only 10% and she wanted it to be at least 50%. Our counts were great at 34 million, with a minimum being 20 million. We got Josh started on some supplements to see if we could improve the numbers. Those results will come later. I want to take a moment to pause and say that although Josh is fairly open about this half of our infertility journey, I’ve never shared that publicly until now. In fact, very few people knew until now. I guess I wanted to protect him in a way. From what, I don’t know. But I’ve come to the realization that I’m not truly sharing our journey with you all unless I’m honest about that. I am a huge advocate for infertility awareness and part of that is breaking the stigma that it is something to be ashamed of. It’s not! — Anyways, back on track. Surgery showed more endometriosis, definite pcos, and unfortunately completely blocked Fallopian tubes. Doctor felt confident that she got them unblocked and was optimistic about our chances of getting pregnant moving forward. Keep this detail in the back of your mind, it’s important later. Two more rounds of clomid were unsuccessful, and my final round caused painful overstimulation. Josh’s second semen analysis showed 34% motility (yay! Improvement!) and 51 million sperm. Still not ideal, but a huge improvement! Way to go, hubs!! However, I began to feel like something wasn’t right.
I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details of my emotional roller coaster through those months. There were millions of tears, days of utter depression, moments of screaming out to God, physical pain, emotional agony, countless hours of prayer. The list goes on. The only way I made it through those moments was knowing God promised me my baby, and someday I’d get it. And on a day when I’d gotten yet another negative pregnancy test and laid on the couch and sobbed uncontrollably, God spoke to me. He shook me right out of my emotional breakdown and awoke in me the desire for more. More answers, more professional opinions, more options, more, more, more. That day I made an appointment to meet with my first reproductive endocrinologist. A reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is, to put it simply, a doctor specializing in infertility. This doctor agreed we needed help. Clomid wasn’t enough. He said we needed intrauterine insemonation (IUI). Long story short, that idea was okay at first but eventually, it didn’t sit right with me either. That’s not because of my humanly feelings, by the way. God had bigger plans for us, and I just hadn’t hit the nail on the head yet. As always, He showed up to direct my path. By God’s own good design, a friend reached out and recommended her RE from Indianapolis. I did some research and listened to her testimony. I took a leap of faith and scheduled an appointment for 5 days later. When I got there, the doctor confirmed what I knew in my heart. We didn’t need clomid. We didn’t need IUI. What we needed was IVF. My endometriosis and pcos combined were too extensive and too damaging. However, her number one concern was my Fallopian tubes. Remember those? She said they’ll never be properly functioning and it is only a matter of time before they are blocked again. This was our only shot. But it was going to cost us roughly $15,000. How in the world!?
I came to terms rather quickly with the idea of IVF. You see, God has given me peace about it since day 1. We are in the midst of fundraising for this procedure (actually, procedureS, but whatever). Not once have we hit an obstacle or had something stand in our way. God has taught me everything about what it truly means to surrender the things I want to control. Let me tell you a secret: I don’t have control anyways, but I pretend I do. He has never failed me or my husband. He has promised us children. One verse I cling to is Psalm 113:9, which a friend shared with me almost a year ago. It states, “The Lord will give the barren woman a home and make her the happy mother of children, praise the Lord!” Amen!? He has promised us a baby, and He has even gone so far as to give me visions of her face. That’s right, blog page heard it first. HER. I fully expect a baby girl first for the Dull family. We aren’t picky, but the Lord shows her to me often. She’s gonna be gorgeous, and I’m totally not biased. But, for now we just have to wait for the Lord to decide when we get to hold her. I will praise Him through this wait because He is GOOD. He may have assigned me infertility, but He also designed me as a leader. And as it turns out, He needed me to be a voice for those who don’t have one. Because the reality is, an estimated 1 in 8 struggle with infertility. Estimated because not everyone is open about it. So I will gladly be the voice. I will gladly advocate and spread awareness. I will gladly share my story in the hopes of inspiring others. And you bet you tush that I’m going to have one powerful testimony to share one day, and I’m going to do it while holding my miracle baby, sharing the glory and the power of Jesus. Because in all things and all situations, He. Is. Good.
Thanks for reading!
Wishing you blessings,