“This is not the story I grew up thinking I would be sharing. I wanted to tell the story that ‘everyone normal’ got to share. A couple gets married, prays about the right time to have children and grow their family, and do just that. Whenever they want to. That’s that.
Until we heard this:
‘Unexplained Infertility. We can’t tell you why, but chances are, you will not be able to conceive without the help of science.’ That’s what the doctor told Adam and me.
Unless you have ever experienced it yourself, you cannot know the pain of having those odds. My husband and I have powered through fertility treatments and some of the most challenging and emotional times in our lives. Fortunately, infertility has resulted in a stronger marriage, our amazing adoption of George, and our precious Lincoln, Vale, and Via.
Not being able to make a baby when everything in you is screaming to do exactly that, is one of the worst feelings. As a woman, you feel the need for your body to do that ONE THING you were created for. I know the pain. I know the feeling of betrayal, of defeat. Here is our story of that journey:
After 7 years of trying on our own with no luck, we met with a local IVF doctor here to set up a plan for us to move forward in trying to conceive. The frustrating thing about this journey is that we were never given any answers as to why we were in this situation. There were times when I prayed to have ‘something’ wrong with me that they would be able to ‘fix’ so we could move on. At this time, we were 7 years into our marriage and had no financial means to be going through the crazy expensive process that IVF is. Our clinic had a program that seemed, at the time, to be the perfect fit for our financial situation. I would become an egg donor. A recipient gets half of any eggs retrieved and I get the other half. This means that I had to undergo a mental evaluation, create a profile book to be hopefully selected as a candidate, and do tons of physical evaluations.
That process in itself just about sent me into the most anxiety I have ever felt. ‘Will I be good enough for someone to pick me?’ ‘Will it work for her and not me?’ After being chosen by an anonymous recipient, we were able to retrieve four eggs. Two eggs for her, two eggs for me. After our disappointing results, only one of our eggs was fertilized and made it to day five in the growing process. This was our first time going through this process at all, despite doing many IUI’s before this. To say that it was emotional is an understatement. Our transfer procedure failed. For us, and for our recipient. I have never felt so defeated in my whole life. I failed at it all. I decided that I was never going to put myself (body or mind) through the process again.
Fast forward a few years, after our adoption of George, I received an interesting phone call from a friend.
I had not heard from this friend in a long while, so I knew when I was getting a call that it was important. Most of my friends knew our devastating disappointment and were super sensitive when it came to talking about it. This friend had been at a birthday party and overheard a friend discussing their decision to possibly donate their remaining embryos to a family that was struggling to get pregnant. This idea had never crossed our minds.
Embryo Adoption. Who would have thought this was a thing? My friend mentioned our name and quickly placed us in contact with each other. After many conversations with this family, we decided that this was going to be our route to grow our family. The medical side, as far as medicine and procedures for me, was far less than what I had been through before. So we were ready to sign on the dotted line. The only caveat was that their embryos were frozen in Jacksonville, which is 6 hours away from us. This would take me traveling to Jacksonville, meeting their doctor, and getting on the books to adopt their embryos. I never thought what would happen next would happen.
I went by myself to meet the new doctor with my ‘type A’ attitude. I had my calendar out, ready to schedule this transfer, sign on the line to adopt these embryos, get things going, etc. Little did I know that this doctor had a completely different plan. He looked at me, looked at my history, and said, ‘I feel like I would be doing you a huge disservice if I let you move forward with this embryo adoption.’ What in the world? I have never felt such a huge surge of every emotion possible as I did at that moment. He further went on to say that with my history, he truly believed they could get us pregnant with our own embryos.
I remember calling Adam feeling like my whole body was numb. I was not prepared to have to think about going through the IVF process again. Physically, mentally or financially. After sharing all of the information with Adam, we got to the financial aspect. I was terrified that if we decided to move forward, it would be devastating to us financially. Once Adam and I looked at the financials, we knew what we needed to do. We were shocked to see that a full IVF process, with this new doctor, was going to be equal to or a little less than my previous cycle.
This was a huge relief and a big factor in our decision to move forward. I would get to keep all of my eggs retrieved and hopefully get some quality embryos! I called my now-friend who was willing to donate her embryos to let her know the news that we had changed our mind. She was so kind and understanding of our decision. She knew these doctors were some of the best and could understand why we would want to try again on our own. I was young, had no health issues, and truly had a desire to have biological children.
After all of the medicine, procedures, appointments, and hundreds of miles driven we had a successful retrieval that resulted in 6 beautiful embryos. We could not believe it. We decided long before this process that we wanted to transfer two embryos to help increase our chances. The doctor reminded us of the risks of doing so, but we stood strong in our decision. After our first transfer, we were pregnant! And pregnant with twins! We were so excited! My pregnancy went wonderfully and the twins were induced at 38 weeks 5 days. I believe they would have stayed in longer, but I was ready to have them in the world with us! They were so small but strong enough to stay out of the NICU and go home with us after a few days.
Being a twin momma and a first-time momma all at once was eye-opening, to say the least. We were thrown into parenthood very quickly! Thankfully we had an amazing family, friends, and the best pediatrician that helped me navigate being a super anxious mom who struggled with PPA and PPD.
After the twins were 2, we decided that we were ready to do another transfer. See, we had 4 beautiful embryos that remained and stayed frozen until we were ready to transfer them. We decided again to transfer our next 2 embryos. Guess what!? It worked again! We were pregnant and so excited. Until…one night at almost 6 weeks along, I began bleeding. This wasn’t something I had experienced before. I knew it was still very early, but could not believe I was possibly miscarrying. I decided to go to the ER where they did in fact determine that I was having a miscarriage. It was so traumatic. I would never wish that turmoil or pain on anyone. I ended up needing surgery and was terrified.
During the next few months of healing, I was in constant communication with my OB as well as my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist). They knew I was ready to try again with our last 2 embryos as soon as they would clear me. This was our last chance with the embryos that we had frozen. We prayed we would have success once again.
After the transfer of our last 2 embryos, we were welcomed with the incredible news that we were pregnant again. This time with a precious singleton girl.
Fast forward two years, and we decided to go through the process again (we have always wanted a large family). I did the drives, the medications, the procedures, the emotions all again. After 2 failed attempts to get eggs, we decided to put a stop to our attempts through a doctor. We decided that if the Lord wants to bless us with another miracle baby, we believe He could and would do it naturally. This may never happen, but we have faith that it could.
Over the years, I put my body through a lot. I really have. Those who walked beside me for many years, watched me go through treatment after treatment and jam needle after needle into my body for months at a time. The things women will do to their bodies when they desire a child are truly remarkable. The love and sacrifice of a mother, for many, begins way before a baby is brought into this world. God so graciously has performed miracles in our lives and safely delivered our precious twins, Lincoln and Vale, as well as our amazing Via. When I say miracles, I mean miracles. Perfect timing for all of us, even if it was not how or when my small mind wanted it to happen.
Infertility is faith shaking, fear creating, and spirit-crushing if you allow it to consume you. Which can so easily happen. It is dealing with the emotions of thinking you are being punished, that you wouldn’t be a good mom, or you aren’t a good enough person. All of these are lies that the enemy pours into us to distract us from our daily calling to love ourselves and love others.
Please hear me on this. I do not regret my story. Not even a little bit. Has it been hard and lonely? Yes, but God has and is continuing to use our struggles and trials to shape Adam and me into who He has called us to be. I am so very grateful for that.
Having gone through every emotion possible over the years: disbelief, anger, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, depression, fear; I’ve learned to rest in God’s love, which is relentless. I believe the Lord uses medicines and doctors to do His work. Our doctors and medicines were all in His working for the good. Today I can celebrate getting through that dark time. I know not everyone is through that dark time. Please know that there is hope. He has a plan for you and is preparing you for what is next. Rest in knowing that He has it all worked out for your good and has BIG things for you. You are chosen. For an amazing purpose.
Please take this away from our story: You are not broken. You are not unworthy of motherhood. Your God has not decided that you aren’t fit to be a parent. You are loved. You are seen. You are held, even when you can’t feel it. I don’t know how your story ends, but I know mine has had twists and turns I never saw coming. Hold onto that tiny shrivel of hope you have. Your plot twist could be on the very next page. Stay strong.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracy Viala Purdy from Gulf Breeze, FL. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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