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Infertility The Second Time Around

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Although fairly common, secondary infertility is rarely spoken about. After one or more successful births, many families find themselves unable to conceive. Courageous Fort Bend couples share their stories of overcoming the stigma associated with this perplexing diagnosis.

Written by Meagan Clanahan | Select photography by Taryn Burnett

SUGAR LAND, Texas (SLM) – Secondary Infertility infertility is a secret emotional and physical battle that millions of couples wage every year. It is the inability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy following the conception of other biological children. There can be numerous causes. “This is one of the most challenging problems that we face in our practice,” says Sugar Land ob/gyn, Dr. Lorelei Capocyan.

While discussions of primary infertility have become more commonplace, couples going through secondary infertility may feel more hesitant to speak out for fear of judgment. “We also have to be very compassionate with these women due to the psychological impact of the problem,” says Dr. Capocyan.

Jennifer and Jeff Dye had no trouble conceiving their son Andrew but suffered from secondary infertility before being blessed with their younger son, Thomas

Empty Arms
Jeff and Jennifer Dye had a normal conception and pregnancy with their first son, 8-year-old Andrew. After a year of unsuccessful attempts, for a second child, the Dye’s turned to several doctors for assistance. Jennifer was diagnosed with mild endometriosis and underwent surgery in hopes of being able to conceive again. Four years later, with no baby in hand, the couple started to explore more options. They discovered a doctor in Nebraska, and they were hopeful he could help them fulfill their dreams of expanding their family.

After a year of tests and waiting, it was recommended that Jennifer undergo another surgery for her condition. During that time, Jennifer experienced a range of emotions. “I often felt incomplete, seeing other people holding their babies,” the says. “My arms felt empty.”

Patience and Perseverance
After a successful surgery, supplements, and a special diet, the Dyes got the go-ahead to begin trying again. Their second son Thomas was born in August 2012. It took over six years to realize their dream of another baby, but Jennifer still considers the experience to be a blessing. “It taught us a lot about patience,” says Jennifer. “It showed the strength of our marriage, family, and faith.”

She found support through her husband, friends, and church family. “You feel a little bit like you’re failing, like your body can’t do what it has been made to do. But over time I worked through those feelings,” says Jennifer. “If it was meant yo be, it would be – so I learned how to cope.”

After several miscarriages, Nathalie, Zechariah, Nicolas, and Andy Lara will be adding a third child to their family

Enduring Loss
Andy and Nathalie Lara experienced another side of secondary infertility. Nathalie had no problems getting pregnant after the birth of their first son, Nicolas, but she endured multiple miscarriages over a four-year period when trying to conceive again. Her second pregnancy ended at 12 weeks when she discovered that the baby no longer had a heartbeat. Nathalie got pregnant again about a year later and lost that baby at 9 weeks. The first miscarriage was difficult, but Nathalie says the second was even worse. She wondered why it was happening again. “That stigma starts setting in, and you start asking yourself, ‘What did I do wrong?’” says Nathalie.

Her doctor conducted some tests and told her to try again. “I wanted Nicolas to have a sibling,” she recalls. “I didn’t want him to be alone.” A few months later, eight weeks into her fourth pregnancy, she endured another loss. “I was absolutely devastated,” says Nathalie. “I remember letting out a scream, and just repeating, ‘I’m done. I’m done. No more,’ and Andy fell on the bathroom floor just crying.”

Tragedy to Triumph
Nathalie watched as her friends all had their second and third babies. “I felt like God forgot about me,” says Nathalie. Still, she clung to her faith, and the Laras continued to put their lives in God’s hands. They prayed with their young son whenever he said he wanted a baby brother. So it was with excitement and trepidation that they discovered Nathalie was pregnant again. This time around she switched doctors and it was discovered she suffered from a thyroid problem and low folic acid.

Once medication was prescribed, Nathalie was able to carry to term and Zechariah Lee was born.

Lara tells her friends that Nicolas is her gift and “Zechi” is her miracle. The two children share a special bond. Nicolas wanted to name his baby brother Zechariah. Nathalie didn’t like her older son’s choice, until she looked up the meaning. God remembers us” popped up on her computer screen. “Have faith and peace because God knows us. He knows our hopes and dreams,” she says. “We are in good hands.”

The Laras are now expecting their third child and are one step closer to realizing their dream of raising a large family.

The Dyes found support through their friends and family

MEAGAN CLANAHAN is a wife and mother who also struggled with infertility. She deeply appreciates these families for sharing their brave journey with our community.

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