meet along the way: Christine and Tyson Jaegers

Women do incredible things. Here, we feature the stories of women who are a part of the Southeast Missouri community by way of living here, being from here or passing through. We hope these stories inspire you to connect with others and that they encourage you to be who you are in the world. We need you and your unique gifts.

This story was first published in the Tuesday, October 14, 2020, issue of the Southeast Missourian.

Christine and Tyson Jaegers of Jackson always dreamed of having kids. In fact, they did everything they could to set themselves up for success: they formed a committed marriage, had enjoyable careers and even led a healthy lifestyle. They were confident that when the time came to create a family, they would be ready. And after a year of being married, they were. Unfortunately, Christine’s body wasn’t cooperating, and so began their struggles with infertility.

“I hadn’t had regular periods ever,” Christine says. “I’d been on birth control to regulate my cycle, and at the time, I didn’t think anything about it.”

However, after sharing this news with her obstetrician, both she and Tyson were alerted that there may be a problem. Wanting to proceed as naturally as possible, the Jaegers opted to go forward without the use of external medication. Instead, they tried acupuncture, foot reflexology, natural herbs and changes to her diet, and yet, nothing was working. Because Christine’s body wasn’t producing the hormones necessary for conception, she began to take synthetic hormone replacements. Within six months, the couple began seeing a specialist in St. Louis.

There, the Jaegers began preparation for intrauterine insemination (IUI). Intrauterine insemination can be quite costly, but still costs significantly less than in vitro fertilization. The IUI process involves more injections, more hormones and more trips to the doctor’s office for blood draws and ultrasounds, along with a strict schedule for timed intercourse.

“We saw her body was changing. Follicle growth was happening. Crazy night sweats meant that the hormones were starting to work,” Tyson says. “We knew there was hope.”

And yet, after nine months of infertility treatments, without the result of conception, the specialists told them to stop. It wasn’t working. Both Christine and Tyson agree: that conversation was the hardest part.

Luckily for them, they had each other to lean on. Even when things were tough, they kept their Friday date night ritual. They made time to talk to each other and openly shared their burdens and struggles. According to Tyson, they “battled together,” and Christine says she remembers that even when she felt like she was failing as a woman, Tyson was good at “never making me feel alone, or like it was my fault.”

Of course, they also relied on the support of friends and family, too. While many didn’t know what to say, the Jaegers found what they really needed were people willing to listen. In talking about their struggles with infertility, it helped them realize they were not alone. There was a flip side, as well, though: those well-intended loved ones, in an effort to be helpful, were quick to offer advice.

“Everyone becomes an expert,” Christine says. “You’re too healthy. You’re not healthy enough.”

They heard it all. But ultimately, they knew sometimes you can be doing everything according to plan, and yet, it still doesn’t work. As they began coming to terms with the possibility they may not conceive, the Jaegers knew they would be okay. Already married to their best friend, they would travel or coach or focus on their careers. But deep down inside, neither of them wanted to look back and think,”What if?” It was at this point they decided to spend everything they had to keep going forward with IUI.

And just one treatment later after almost calling it quits, Christine became pregnant with a baby girl. Paige Leanne Jaegers was born later that year, on October 11, 2019, and this month, they will celebrate her first birthday. While it’s been a rough road, the Jaegers have no regrets about their journey to conceive. In fact, they are hoping to start the process again this fall and grow their family even more. While every situation with infertility is unique, the Jaegers say they want people to know, “It’s all worth it in the end.” No matter what you are going through, you’re never alone.