“It started with a text…
In 2015 I met my husband. On our first official date as we spoke about what we saw in our futures…we both made it very clear that neither one of us wanted more kids. At the time I was a single mother, with an adopted daughter. He was seven years my senior, and a single father with one adopted child and three biological children of his own. He had been fixed years before, and due to a lifetime of horrible relationships, I had accepted adoption as my only form of becoming a mother.
A little over a year passed, and Ivan asked me to be his wife. The previous year had shown me a side of a man that I didn’t know existed. My now future husband was everything I thought could only be found in fairy tales. He was a great friend and an even better fiancé….but he was an AMAZING dad. I had seen him love my daughter like his own so effortlessly and in their interactions. I found myself questioning my body’s urge to bear children. I went into a baby frenzy in a way, imagining what our life would be like and if I would ever be able to bring another bright light into this world.
A month before our wedding, I knew I had to tell Ivan about the change in the plans that I hoped for our future. However, I knew this meant changing a fundamental aspect of what connected us and our lives together. Fear of this being the beginning a new journey was exciting, but the stronger more overwhelming fear of losing him made it hard to verbalize what I wanted into a full sentence. So, I sent the text… ‘Let’s have a baby.’
The moments following seemed like a lifetime of their own. He finally responded by saying, ‘Do what? We have 15 already, big ones. After they all gone, we can adopt.’ The blood drained from my body for a moment. I thought almost imminently that what I said next would be the difference between, ‘Happily married, ‘and becoming a ‘complicated couple.’ I responded by laughing nervously and then replied, ‘I’d rather have one.’ To which he responded by saying, ‘How? I’m fixed. Thought u didn’t want one?’
For the next few minutes we texted back and forth about how much seeing him as a dad changed my mind, and went over options I had looked into of ways that we could conceive. He then said the most romantic phrase I’ve ever heard, by saying, ‘I’d love that too.’ Upon receiving that text, my heart felt as though it was glowing. What was this life? Was this real? How was I so lucky to find all of this…too find him. And how could we make this new dream for us a reality.
Once we decided to look into our options, things however weren’t so fuzzy and light. The cost of fertility options are astonishing, most with no insurance coverage and the treatment options weren’t for the faint of heart, either. We decided our best option was for a full vasectomy reversal. This would be the beginning steps that could later lead to the others, but this option by far was the most cost effective. However, when we found out that a full reversal in our area would run us $10k+, we knew we needed to look elsewhere. Luckily a friend of mine, Sasha, whose husband was also looking into a reversal, informed us of Dr. Roeder. He works at the Texas Vasectomy Reversal Center and we would be able to get the procedure done for nearly a third of the cost, without having to sacrifice experience or care. Dr. Roeder does these procedures as a way of giving back and helping men to regain their ability to have children of their own. We knew however, that if we were going to go to the lengths of getting a reversal, we first needed to ensure I was capable and able to have a healthy child.
The February following our wedding I scheduled my yearly gynecology appointment and told them I wanted to also check on the health of my reproductive system and its ability to bear a full term, healthy child. My doctor did an amazing job talking with me about every option, which helped settle my nerves a little. I was scheduled for blood tests, physical exams, a pap smear and even a vaginal ultrasound. When I went back a few days later for results, I was so overwhelmed to hear I was still extremely fertile despite my age and that everything looked great and she didn’t see any complications in me being able to conceive or carry a full term pregnancy. If that wasn’t enough for me to feel at ease, she stated that once Ivan’s surgery was proven successful, if for any reason I couldn’t conceive within the first three cycles, she could prescribe me something to help me release more eggs, boosting my chances of conception. I left the appointment with so much hope …now the only obstacle was to save for my husband’s procedure.
Two years following our decision to start this journey, we scheduled for Ivan to have his procedure in New Braunfels, Texas. October 8th, we packed up and drove seven hours before checking into our hotel. As we got closer, I could see the nerves begin to show on my husband’s face. I knew things were spinning around in his mind…all the chances of something going wrong, what if it failed, what if he failed. I remember barely being able to fall asleep the night before the surgery. Not so much due to nerves, but more so because I knew how important tomorrow was for us and I knew I couldn’t bear the look on my husband’s face if we were to receive bad news.
The following morning, we woke up and went into the clinic for our 8 a.m. appointment. Instantly we were greeted by the sweetest women who checked us in and sent us in to speak with a fellow doctor that would be assisting Dr. Roeder with the procedure that day. The staff in the clinic were so calming and caring. As they joked about side effects and attempting to calm the nerves of my husband and I, you could sense they truly did have a passion for their mission. We laughed and joked along with them, and really began to feel at ease. We knew in these moments we had made the right decision by going to Texas for the operation.
Following this first meeting with the assisting doctor, my husband and I were sat in the waiting room to wait for Dr. Roeder to call us in for the pre-op consultation. I watched as my husband nearly burned a hole in the carpet, walking back and forth in front of me. I tried to stay calm as best as I could…but the butterflies were definitely out that day and as hopeful as one could possibly be, it was very difficult to not realize what we were up against. Dr. Roeder added to that fear as he explained during pre-opbthat my husband had been fixed for 18 years, so our chances of finding live sperm or even sperm particles at all were small. Our expectancy for conception was labeled anywhere between one day to 10 years, based on other couples in the same shoes as us. I was already 33 and my husband 40, the idea of 10 years was devastating for us both. But, we went into the surgery as optimistic and hopeful as we had been when we packed up the truck the day before. This was our time…we had to keep the faith and speak our dreams into reality.
Once we were prepped and ready, the procedure began. I loved that I didn’t have to wait in a waiting room, but I was able to sit in and support my husband during his procedure. I was able to hear the doctors and ask questions and watch as little or as much of the procedure as I wanted. I found the whole experience to be like watching a live episode of medical TV. It was only when I noticed a note on the wall with my husband’s and I’s name on it…that I was brought back to the realization that this was my episode…my life. That’s about the time the Dr. called in the nurse / receptionist, to enter the operation room. He had finally flushed out the vas deferens and we were about to learn if this procedure would be an easy one, or if he would have to travel further into the tubules of the scrotum. If he had to continue past this point, it would not only mean a longer recovery time, but our chances of a positive outcome would decrease.
I held my breath without realizing it, as the nurse took the glass plate with the specimen from the doctor and walked over to the microscope. Complete silence broke out as she fastened the plate and focused the lens…I could practically hear air as it moved around me. Then the doctor walked over to the microscope, leaned in…and with such surprise said, ‘We’ve found live sperm!’ I gasped and looked down at my husband, who was already looking up at me with tears in his eyes. ‘LIVE SPERM,’ I had never heard words so beautifully spoken. A tear rolled down my cheek as I kissed my husband’s forehead.
Minutes later the doctor entered the second vas deferen where live sperm was also found and as if we had rewound the tapes…utter joy. I looked down into the eyes of the man I loved more than life itself, and I told him I loved him mostest, followed by a kiss on his forehead. But this time, I loved him differently. This man was no longer just my husband or the father of my children…but he was the man that would give me a future child. A child of our own. He was the missing piece I had searched for, for so long. The completion of the puzzle of my life and I was so overwhelmed with the blessing of having him.
After the procedure we went into Dr. Roeden’s office where he went over some new information and observations based off of what was discovered during surgery. He reminded my husband to lay off the weights and rest, this of course would be the best way to ensure proper healing. He also revisited his prior statement and told us how happy he was that live sperm was found, and that he didn’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be calling him in a few months to let him know we were expecting. It was then that he handed us a prescription for a sperm analysis and said that, if we weren’t pregnant by the 6-month post op date, that we could use this prescription to get tested and find out our next steps. But Dr. Roeden was optimistic for us, based off what he had seen. For now, my husband just needed ice…and lots of rest. We thanked the doctor and everyone else at the practice before leaving and even wished a fellow patient good luck!
One month following the procedure, I became impatient and needed to know if the operation was a success. We were down 1 cycle post op, and I wasn’t pregnant. Yes, I will admit that I may have shot high with my expectations…but I couldn’t help but worry. We decided to purchase a sperm analysis test on Amazon and see if we could see anything. If sperm were evident…then maybe we just needed more time. Before the surgery my husband had gotten off of the testosterone he was taking, so we knew it would take time for the sperm to bounce back. We just needed to know that they were making an appearance. One sperm was all I needed to see…just one.
The day the test arrived, my husband studied the instructions and we were happy to learn that the kit included not one, but two tests. We huddled in the bathroom once my husband completed his part of the process, and I helped to prep the specimen and place it on the plate as the nurse had done during the procedure. Once prepped and ready we placed the plate into the testing dock connected to my husband’s phone, and waited. We took a cute little test that comes with the analysis kit to keep you occupied and we spoke about our future child, along with our hopes and dreams for him or her. Eleven minutes seemed to almost fly, when we heard a beep. The test was complete. We clicked the review results button, and to our amazement we were able to see actual swimming sperm. They weren’t swimming rapidly and many were dormant…but they were there. The surgery was a success! The test indicated that his sperm count was moderate/normal. We embraced so tightly as we watched and took videos of his sperm in action. And when I left that bathroom, doubt slipped my mind for a moment. I enjoyed the idea of what was to come more than anything, I just had to be patient. I just needed to get out of my head and let God work.
My second cycle was met with the horrible loss of our beautiful eldest daughter. She passed away on my father’s birthday, a few days before Christmas. We followed my cycle and performed as we needed to, but stress and emotional constraints kept our focus elsewhere. The days following left little time to think of a future…especially when the main focus was helping those we love most deal with the present.
By my third cycle when I still didn’t conceive, I started to question myself as a women. If sperm was present and I was healthy and ready…why did my body not work like it should? At this point I was on fertility vitamins, I was testing my basil temp every morning, I was tracking my ovulation with a pee stick daily, I was checking my cervical fluid and cervical positioning…I was even taking fertility sweets candy in the afternoon and drinking fertility tea at night. I had purchased an Ava band fertility bracelet to sleep with at night to help pinpoint my ovulation days and track more accurately. Anything on the market that said it would help with fertility, I had read and I was becoming exhausted with the amount of steps I was taking, and yet my body just felt like it was deceiving me. I wanted to be pregnant so badly, why was nothing working?
When I started my cycle on the fourth month, I felt defeated in every way. Why could other girls get pregnant on accident…yet I couldn’t even get pregnant when I was doing everything right and was trying? My husband returned home from being offshore the next week, and we decided to take the second sperm analysis test. We were still two months out from being able to get the official sperm analysis done and we just wanted to make sure something didn’t go wrong, and my husband was beginning to feel the side effects of working without his testosterone. This test was necessary to know if we were still headed in the right direction with this process.
As we awaited the results this time, it was different. The fear was definitely there and as we took the test and got the sample ready, I could tell we were less interactive with our answers on the quiz…I could tell he was also scared. I grabbed him and embraced him tightly as the beep indicating the end of the test rang. He looked at me before pressing the button to review the results, and I smiled at him nervously. The results popped up on the screen and I heard him exhale loudly, then he squeezed me tightly. The results were night and day from last time. The screen was full of swimming sperm, full of energy and going for the distance! The amount of motionless sperm was very small, and even those not swimming were showing signs of action. We both smiled and joy returned to our faces as we began to laugh and joke with how they would bump into each other, both of us trying to pinpoint the strongest sperm or the fasted moving, longest distance runners. I knew after this test that I just needed to breathe and let it happen. His sperm were getting to where they needed to be. Maybe I hadn’t conceived yet, because although they were there, it just wasn’t time. But the joy of knowing there was definite improvements from the previous test helped me regain my hope that this was still ‘Our Time,’ just not , ‘Our time, yet.’ I decided to destress and began only using the Ava band to track my cycles…with only minimal use of the testing strips, just to make sure I could trust the results, of course.
The fifth cycle for me was horrible. My husband was offshore for my ovulation week and once my period started, I literally thought I was dying. I was never one to have heavy periods, so for this cycle to feel as though I was bleeding to death, I got worried. I started to google if I should go to the Dr. I had reached a point on the second day of my period, were I couldn’t stand without my lower back feeling as though it was breaking and my breathing would feel restrained. I spent my entire two days off work in bed or resting on the sofa. Thankfully the intense pain began to lesson during my second day off, allowing me to return to work the following day. But my normal cycle of 3-4 days, was far extended that month. I ended up shedding my lining for a total of 10 days straight. My sixth cycle was in March and in all my years of being a woman and having a period, I never spotted more than two days before beginning my cycle. In the month of March however, I spotted four days, bled three and spotted another three days following. In April I spotted eleven days, bled for six days and then spotted again for three days. Once May started and I began spotting the day before I was scheduled to ovulate, I knew something had to be wrong. I would never get pregnant at this rate, especially if the spotting was extending to the day before ovulation.
I immediately contacted my OBGYN and set up an appointment, they were able to get me in at the end of May. In the month of May I ended up spotting five days leading up to my cycle, bled for eight days and then on the day following my cycle saw my Dr. She immediately put me on medication to stop the spotting and ran blood tests to find out what was going on. Upon review of the results, we learned that my thyroid was underproducing in comparison to my earlier thyroid levels. So I was also placed on a thyroid medication to help boost my levels and told we would revisit and retest the next month to see if the medications were helping. She informed me that improper thyroid levels can lead to miscarriage and the idea of that alone frightened me to no end, and I was glad I went to the Dr and that we were going to get my levels back to normal. The December after my husband’s operation, we lost our oldest daughter. The idea of losing another child, was far more than I could bare.
The following month in June, my husband was able to schedule his sperm analysis. However three weeks prior to his testing, he was forced to go back on testosterone in order for him to feel like himself again, and function properly at work. We had decided that at this moment his health was most important and that God would give us a child, if it was the time. We needed to put our faith in him and take care of what we needed to now. As hard as the decision was to make for us, we have a strong belief that God is the only reason we will conceive… despite our efforts, and I needed to trust in him and his plan for us. But, of course when the results came back there was no surprise in the drop of sperm count and mobility. I had expected it…but It didn’t stop the tears from coming. I felt like everything was working against us and we just needed a break, some good news…something.
That month, I also went for my follow up appointment. I had spotted 3 days before my cycle and bled for 4 days, followed by 1 day of spotting. But I had faith and I knew that the medications wouldn’t work like magic right off the bat. I knew they need time to kick in and work. Three days following my blood work, the Dr. called me and told me that my thyroid levels had returned to normal, so she was going to keep me on the medication for one year and we would revisit it at my next yearly appointment. And she also said she would keep me on the spotting meds for the next four months, or until the symptom depletes. I was relieved and thanked her. Then she asked about my husband’s results. It killed me to have to tell her, they found little too no mobile/alive sperm in his sample. But she gave me some hope in the idea of other options and I thanked her for that, and hung up.
Beginning of June after my husband’s results, I stopped tracking my cycle with my Ava band. Not because I didn’t care anymore…but because I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to know I was ovulating because I knew it wouldn’t lead to anything…it just hurt too bad. I also ended up losing my father in June to a long battle with ALS and Cancer. As much as I wanted a miracle, with my lack of sleep and horrible eating habits that proceeded his death…I just wanted to feel ok again. My focus was changed momentarily, but my heart kept hoping for the future. The week leading up to my father’s final breath, we spoke of our future child many times. And he swears a boy is in our future. I pray he’s right.
July began and my husband went see his primary Dr. to discuss a change in his medication. We had been speaking to some friends and family and heard about clomid which helped a few of them conceive and get off of testosterone medications. Clomid is used to boost sperm count and in return it helps you make testosterone naturally. (In most cases.) Because of this, we hoped that his primary physician would be able to prescribe it to him, or let us know if it’s an option in our case. Of course then we were struck with another road block and told he was unable to prescribe the drug and that we would need to go see a urologist. Which of course we knew would be one more Dr. visit uncovered by our medical insurance. We knew though, this was the next step for us, and asked his Dr. for a referral. Luckily, we were able to score an appointment for early August and we would just need to continue being patient, and focus on saving more money to cover the appointment and the medication.
This past month we went to see the Urologist. He performed a physical examination as well as ran lab tests. We also showed him the two tests that we had performed leading up the sperm analysis that led us to his office. He did confirm that Clomid would be a good option to try in our case. His initial concern of scar tissue or other factors leading to his low sperm count, were debunked by the videos, and following the physical exam he saw no reason in not prescribing clomid to begin right away. He did inform us however, that clomid takes three months to really show an effect and that we shouldn’t be expecting rushed results. He also give us a second prescription for another sperm analysis that we would be able to take at the three month mark, following the date in which we began taking the medication…if we needed it.
We’ve now been taking Clomid for a week, and I’ve begun tracking my cycles again. We haven’t reached our happy ending in regards to this journey yet. But, we have faith and we know that everything happens in God’s time, not Our time. We still very much hope to see two lines before the end of this year. I know our angels in heaven will help God to choose the perfect child for us…A boy? A girl? Both? Anything is possible and all would be well-loved. We already love him or her…we just haven’t met them yet.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sarah Morgan. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more powerful stories about families dealing with infertility:
‘Here we go.’ We started the process of reversing his vasectomy. My husband had no intention of having more children.’: Couple shares adventure of trying-to-conceive after doctor says they have ‘no answers’
Provide beauty and strength for others. SHARE this story on Facebook and Instagram with your friends and family.