A couple of years after our daughter’s birth, my husband and I wanted to have a second child. I thought it would be easy. I had never heard of secondary infertility. Life was about to change.
After trying for almost eight months to get pregnant on our own, my husband and I began to suspect that something wasn’t quite right. Becoming pregnant certainly hadn’t been an issue with our daughter. I visited my family doctor and he told me not to worry, sometimes these things take time and I should just relax. I felt assured and we kept trying. At the one-year mark we decided we might just need a little help.
What Causes Secondary Infertility?
Our family doctor referred us to a fertility specialist in Little Rock, Arkansas. I remember feeling guilty, like there was something wrong with me. I was still in my twenties and healthy. I didn’t want to think about not being able to have another child. The first time I heard the phrase secondary infertility was in the fertility doctors office. There were so many things that caused secondary infertility; endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, a low sperm count, fibroids, problems with ovulation, and even recurrent miscarriages. Secondary infertility is very common. It’s when you’ve given birth before and cannot conceive another child. People assume that because you have one child, you can have another and aren’t always as understanding. Luckily, our fertility doctor was.
Secondary infertility testing is very much like primary infertility testing. Both you and your partner will need to be tested. Something as small as the shape of a mans sperm can cause infertility. My friend went through this problem ten years after I had and her husband wasn’t very understanding. My husband was awesome. He told me that we would do whatever made me happy; even adopt if we couldn’t conceive.
The tests you should expect will include blood work to test for things like thrombophilia and hormone levels, a gynecological exam, tests for STD’s, and an ultrasound. Your partner will have testing on sperm count, STD’s, and doctors will even look at sperm shape. I had to endure more tests because the cause of my infertility was endometriosis. Endometriosis is basically when the tissue in your uterus grows outside of the uterine wall. It can be very painful. I thought I just had cysts on my ovaries or really bad cramps. My periods were not normal but I had always had this issue and wasn’t really concerned. Endometriosis can cause a lot of symptoms or none at all. In my case it was discovered that the tissue was blocking my fallopian tubes. I underwent surgery to remove the blockage.
This really isn’t a bad surgery if it can be done as a laparoscopic surgery. I’ve had a lot of surgeries in my life from the time I was five years old until currently, the total is seventeen. Cancer being the main reason. When I compare this surgery to others I’ve had, it’s one of the least painful. There are three small incisions made on your abdomen. I’m honestly not sure how the surgeon unblocks the fallopian tube. If I think about being cut open or what’s going to happen to me while I’m under anesthesia it makes me cry, have nightmares, and want to back out of the operation.
You won’t be able to eat or drink anything generally after 10 P.M. the night before surgery. You will be given an antibacterial pink soap to shower twice with. You shouldn’t wear jewelry or fake nails into the operating room. You don’t want anything falling into an incision accidentally. Also, don’t wear makeup, lotion, or anything that could cause an infection. After you’ve been admitted, you’ll have an IV started and talk to the anesthesiologist. Always answer every question honestly; the last thing you want to happen is to have a problem with anesthesia. Once I cheated and had something to eat before a surgery. I vomited while I was asleep and sucked the vomit into my lungs. I spent three weeks in ICU on a respirator, in a medically induced coma, and my hands tied down because every time I woke up I tried to pull it out. A cheeseburger really isn’t worth all of that.
I recovered from my surgery pretty quickly. I felt completely normal after about four weeks. Our fertility doctor advised us to wait for a certain period of time before trying to conceive. I’m sure that probably varies from person to person; depending on how your body heals and what type of steps you have to take to get pregnant. When we started trying again, I conceived within three months. Our son is now twelve years old! I have since had a total hysterectomy but not because of endometriosis; it was due to cancer. I’m doing great though and have two beautiful children. No matter what the doctors say, don’t give up hope. Miracles do happen and the important thing to remember when your trying to get pregnant, is to support each other, make it as fun and loving as possible, and find a fertility doctor that you really like. Good luck!