I am a mother to three children, currently ages 10, 7, and 7. Yup, two came at once! Life is extremely chaotic, and like most mothers of twins, I get tons of questions. The most frequent being,
“Do twins run in your family?”
Most of the time, I answer honestly and respond, “Yes, my brother and sister are twins.”
But then I often get the next question, “Don’t twins skip a generation?”
Sometimes I just let it go, but the real honest answer is that twins technically don’t run in my family, but secondary infertility does….who would have known?
Secondary infertility is often overlooked. It is the inability to become pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to term after the birth of one or more biological children. In my case, I had absolutely no problem getting pregnant the first time around. It might actually have been the first time we tried! Being a teacher, I had the timing mapped out perfectly according to the school calendar. It worked out smoothly, and I had a relatively easy pregnancy – minus gestational diabetes – and before I knew it, I was a mom to a healthy baby boy.
Fast forward through the struggles with nursing, sleepless nights, and constant crying, my baby turned one, and life seemed to become a bit more manageable. Suddenly he was sleeping for 12 hours, eating everything in sight, and making us laugh as he grew into a little boy. Of course, this all made me yearn for another baby! And since I like having a plan, I knew if I wanted three kids all perfectly two years apart, I needed to get to work! (Oh, how naive I was!).
And boy, did I mean get to work! The second time around, things didn’t go as smoothly. I expected that it would happen right away as it did before, but instead, month after month, the big reminder came that I was not pregnant. At first, I didn’t panic, and I started using an ovulation kit. This helped ease my nerves because I was indeed ovulating. But again, more time went on with no luck.
Then the innocent questions from family and friends (and even some strangers) started, “When are you going to have another baby?” This was like a dagger to my heart because I was asking myself the same exact question. When was it going to happen?
Then the feelings of guilt came along because I already had a happy, healthy baby who brought so much love and joy into my life. I constantly questioned myself as to why that couldn’t be enough for me. Trying to have another baby consumed me. It was all I could think about, and it was tough for me to talk about.
Then the day came when I broke down in tears to my mother, confessing my troubles. My mom then explained that after giving birth to me, she had difficulty getting pregnant again due to a luteal phase defect. She had taken Clomid to conceive my brother and sister (twins). WHAT?!
After doing a quick Google search, I realized that I had all the same signs; a super short menstrual cycle, premenstrual spotting, and after a quick visit with my ob-gyn, it was confirmed that I also had low progesterone production. This was the first time I had ever heard the term secondary infertility, and I’m positive that if I hadn’t shared what I was going through, I wouldn’t have known.
I was then prescribed Clomid, just like my mom, to help increase and regulate my hormone levels. The doctor wrote out the prescription and even listed the exact dates we should and could not have sex. I was so hopeful, but at the same time extremely weary since Clomid increases your chance of multiples – 8% was what I was told – I should really start playing the lottery!
Needless to say, after four rounds of Clomid (and suffering through many of the not-so-fun side effects), I finally saw the two pink lines on the pregnancy test, and my life was forever changed.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that secondary infertility is extremely common; however, many women like myself don’t talk about it and aren’t really aware of what it is.
I hope through sharing my experience, I can help bring awareness and give at least one mama hope that she is not alone. I have also learned that there is no such thing as a plan. Life takes you on unexpected twists and turns. You will learn to change and grow with each hurdle you need to overcome. I knew I wanted three kids, I just never imagined that they would all come at once, but I’m sure glad they did!