‘I couldn’t believe it. I opened the pregnancy test and there was my first ever positive. BIG FAT POSITIVE! Baby was the size of a pearl. ‘That’s not good.’ Dr. Hiener said. ‘Did she fall out?’

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“November 1, 2012 my first date with my now husband, Jason. We went out for sushi at Tsunami and a drive up one of the Cottonwood canyons. Jason picked the sushi and the drive. I’ve since learned to like sushi. Fast-forward a year and a day, and we were getting married! After dating a few toads I’d finally found my knight in shining armor.

Courtesy Jennica Larsen

Time went on and we talked about having children, but it wasn’t in the forefront of our minds. Then came late August of 2016. I got sicker and sicker. We finally went to the Emergency Room because something was wrong. The flu was going around work and I thought I’d just got a bad case of it, but the pain felt like it was my ovary. Some Dilaudid and an ultrasound later there was a cyst found on my ovary. This was the cause of the pain. I started to feel better and was discharged early that morning.

I was good for about 12 hours and then was in the worst pain I’d ever been in my life. The pain was so bad I couldn’t stand. I was talking scalding hot baths to help. Jason gently touched my stomach and it was the most excruciating pain; I screamed at the touch.

The next morning, I text my father-in-law. He’s a doctor (OB/GYN) and had reviewed my ultrasound from the night before. I told him something was really wrong. He came over after church. I was laying on the coach and Jason had just taken my temperature. It was over 101. Time to go back to the hospital.

As it turned out, the cyst on my left ovary got infected. I was on triple IV antibiotics for 5 days. In hindsight this was a blessing. I continued to have pain a month and a half after hospitalization. This led to the decision to have surgery.

My father-in-law’s partner Dr. Later performed my laparoscopy. Ken came and observed. It was so good having someone I know there.

If you’ve ever had surgery, you know how confusing it is when you start to wake up. You hurt, you’re groggy, and thirsty. As I was waking up Jason was by my side. He had the photos from my surgery there with him. ‘During the surgery, they found that your fallopian tube fimbriae are clubbed. We won’t be able to conceive on our own.’

My uterus was attached to my intestines with scar tissue. It looked like cellophane. And I had a new diagnosis; primary infertility. The cause, we weren’t sure. At the time they thought multiple infections, but I was high risk for infection. They also though possible burned out endometrioses.

With the diagnosis in hand I found Utah Infertility Resource Center, who has been a tremendous help throughout this long process. I started going to Reproductive Care Center (RCC) to make a plan of action to build our family.

IVF was our only option. IUI would likely not work and could result in ectopic pregnancy. January 2017, I had surgery to remove my left tube. My right was clear, and I held on to the small ray of hope that through that tube I could have a happy little ‘accident’ and get pregnant naturally. I regret that now.

Courtesy Jennica Larsen

January 2018 I was hired on to an employer that has the best infertility coverage around. I was excited to start our journey and so nervous to give myself shots. I later learned the shots are not the worst part. I thought for sure we’d be pregnant by March with a baby in our arms that December.

February 2018, I found out my egg quality wasn’t what it should be ‘for my age’ so we would need to do genetic testing on our embryos to increase success rate.

March 2018 we were finally starting IVF! I stimmed for a few days and went in for the first ultrasound. I had a bigger cyst than any of the others. The bloodwork came back and found I had ovulated. It was too late to stop it. We lost about $3000 worth of medication. Cycle cancelled. Then that cyst got to nearly 3 inches big and had to be drained.

May 2018 we finally, FINALLY start IVF. But I wasn’t stimulating (stims) as I should. My dosing got higher and higher as we went along. By the end of the cycle I was on a box of Menopur a night. I stimmed for 21 days. This is way longer than usual. We got 11 eggs though! I brought Jason’s ‘sample’ with me in my bra. My mom took me for egg retrieval as Jason was in nursing school and they have a strike attendance policy.

By days 5 and 6 of embryo growth we had 6 embryos! It was an exciting time. There was one little embryo the embryologist almost didn’t keep. It wasn’t doing so well, but he thought since the genetic testing was being done, they’d freeze it.

I started on all the hormones to get my body ready for embryo transfer. We got the result back and found we had one genetically normal (compatible with life) embryo. The one the embryologist almost didn’t keep! It was a boy.

I’m going to be a boy mom? What?

July 2, 2018 Embryo transfer day and the beginning of the two weeks wait. Also known as the Death Wait. You act like you’re pregnant but don’t know if you are or not.

July 14, 2018, we found out our little guy didn’t take. We named him Quinn Avery. Our first round of IVF failed. It took me nine months to be okay to try another embryo transfer. Nine months to be vulnerable enough to do it again, to risk it not working.

September/October 2018 at the beginning of the month I had a hydrosalpinx. It is what happens when your tube fills with fluid. It was looking like we were going to have to go in and remove it. They didn’t want to do surgery again because of all my scarring. I had a scan and it was there. A week and a half later it was gone. A miracle. No surgery and I got to keep my tube, my one hope for having a baby naturally.

We did another round of IVF. We had a lot of eggs this time and my ovaries got huge. I was on 600 IUs of Gonal-f and 150 Menpur a night. (Way more than normal) I stimmed for 11 days. We got 16 eggs and 15 fertilized! By the end of the process we had 3 good, genetically viable embryos. And one was even a girl!

More time went on and I still wasn’t ready. Do I even want kids? What have I done, I’ve created these embryos and now I’m not sure that I want kids.

February 2019 I was finally ready to try again. I had my baseline appointment and everything on the scan looked good. Then my bloodwork came back. I’d OVULATED on my period! More waiting. Then I found out we could do another round of IVF, even though we already had embryos. Insurance would cover it.

March 2019 round three of IVF. It was a very hard round in that there was a lot of uncertainty. The cycle was almost cancelled again. I had a giant endometreoma on my right ovary that was squishing everything. All throughout the process when I’d go in for my ultrasounds they’d say, ‘Your (uterine) lining looks so good!’ I kept thinking it was just going to have to go to waste.

The night before my egg retrieval Jason and I talked. What if we did a frozen embryo transfer with this fresh cycle?

I spoke with the doctor the day of the egg retrieval. ‘We’ve never done a FET with a fresh cycle but if you’re lining looks good, I don’t see why not. I’ll check your lining during the procedure.’

My lining was great. My nurse was hopeful and said I must have been inspired to go this route.

March 13, 2019 Transfer Day. Everything went well. My lining was great, our little girl embryo de-thawed great and survived. We even used embryo glue to help her stick. After the transfer, Dr. G. said a prayer there with me. It seemed the stars we aligned. And so the longest 12 days of my life begun.

March 25, 2019 Beta day. I’d decided to take an at-home pregnancy test with me at the clinic, but not look at it until I got the call. I went in first thing in the morning so the blood results would come back more quickly.

There’s no way it worked. I don’t feel pregnant or different. I’d taken an at-home pregnancy test earlier that week and it was negative.

I laid on the couch waiting for the phone call. It finally came and… the nurse’s voice sounded happy. ‘Your beta is 80. We like to see it above 100 so we’ll have you come in and test again,’ she said. ‘It worked? I’m pregnant? It doesn’t look like its ectopic or anything?’ I couldn’t believe it. I opened the at-home pregnancy test and there was my first ever positive. BIG FAT POSITIVE!

Jason was still asleep, since he works nights. I ran to Target and picked out a cute pink pair of booties and some wrapping to give him to tell him it worked.

The next two weeks were wonderful. Even though I was tired and a little barfy, I was pregnant! I was so worried about losing her. I finally decided I needed to enjoy being pregnant so that if I did, I could look back on it as a happy time.

On April 8, 2019 we lost our little girl. The day for our first ultrasound came. Baby was the size of a pearl according to my pregnancy app. The ultrasound started, but where was she? ‘There’s no gestational sack. That’s not good.’ Dr. Hiener said. ‘Did she fall out? Did she die?’ I thought. My heart and mind started racing. Before the ultrasound started, I asked Dr. Hiener to look at my ovaries as I was having some weird pain.

Courtesy Jennica Larsen

Then he turned the ultrasound wand to my right side, and there she was. So perfect. We heard her little heartbeat. It was so strong! Our perfect little baby made it but was in the wrong place. I recorded video of her sweet, little heartbeat to have.

We were at the clinic for a while. My sister, Miranda, rushed up to come be with me and Jason. The doctors talked about giving me a medication to end it, but I refused to take anything to hurt her. I wouldn’t. I also wanted that darn tube GONE. What I should have done forever ago.

Dr. Later couldn’t do the emergency surgery. My amazing father-in-law did. While we waited, I tried to enjoy every moment I had with her. Miranda stayed with me at Ken’s office. My sister, Lauren, called me. I spoke with my dad, right after we found out, and he called my sisters. Luckily my mom was out visiting. She came too. And my mother-in-law. Our friends came as well.

Jason and I were surrounded by love, and so was our little girl.

The surgery went well. I stayed the night in the hospital. Jason stayed by my side, sleeping in an uncomfortable chair, even though he had work the next day.

We named our sweet, little girl Eowyn Emryss Larsen. We love you so much. You have touched our hearts, sweet little one.

I listen to her heartbeat often. I share this story so she can live on in people’s memories. In going through all of this, I’ve learned how many people there are in our lives who care for us. I’ve been very touched at the outpouring of love we have received.

Be grateful for your loved ones. If you have children hold them close tonight and thank the Lord, you have them.”

Courtesy Jennica Larsen

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jennica Larsen.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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