This is part 2 of a two-part blog series titled, “If only I had a doula.” ProDoula, the certification agency used by Doulas of Memphis, issued a blog challenge to write about a time where we could have used the support of a doula. Today, our own Lindsey Hanna talks about her struggle with infertility. Lindsey and Thor, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage... I remember singing that song as a child, don’t you? That’s how I expected life to go, but as things often happen that’s not how my life worked out.
Even the sight of the word hurts my heart. I vividly remember every negative pregnancy test, every office visit, and every question as to why we hadn’t had kids yet. Every month my heart would break as the period didn’t come but the tests screamed NEGATIVE. I was barely keeping it together as everyone told me to “just relax” or to start the adoption paperwork and it would all work out.
In it for the long haul
After two years of trying, I was finally referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Numerous tests later I finally got a diagnosis: PCOS. It explained everything, the lack of periods, the extra weight around the middle, and most of all the infertility. I thought getting the answer would fix it, and it did help that I knew what was wrong, but even then the treatments weren’t working. I felt like my body had failed me. Another test, you need to try IUI… failed. Another IUI...failed. Another test, you need surgery…
I was ready to give up
Thankfully my husband wasn’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet. IUI number three worked. It had taken another 8 months to finally see this...
If I’d only had a doula
My husband tried to understand the best he could, but he never really understood how deeply it cut me each month. My mom even tried to step in and help. They both spent many an hour with me as I cried. I needed a doula to get me through not only the months, but the hours. A doula would have recommended a reproductive endocrinologist long before I thought to see one two years in. She would have sat with me as I cried so I wasn’t alone on the floor of my bathroom each month. She would have reminded me that I wasn’t alone, even though more than anything that’s how I felt. My doula would have reminded me that just because I couldn’t have a baby it didn’t mean I was a horrible wife and worthless woman. Oh, how I wish I’d known a doula for my infertility journey!
My journey through infertility was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go though and it’s still not over. A part of me wishes that I didn’t have that in my past, but another part is glad I do, because it has helped to make me the person I am. Because of my experience with infertility, I have so much more compassion for other women, no matter their situation. I’ve learned to be more careful of the words I speak, because you never know what the person on the other end of those words is dealing with.
Authored by Lindsey Hanna
If you are dealing with infertility, please know that you are not alone. Doulas of Memphis is here for you if you’d like to reach out for support and/or resources.