‘I kept bleeding, I had pain. They assured me it would ‘be over soon.’ I just didn’t feel right. I went to another OBGYN, and I got in THAT DAY. It sounded so morbid.’

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“I met my husband B.j. when we were kids. My sister and B.j. were the same age and would attend each other’s birthday parties while me, the annoying little sister, would tag along. I am going to be real honest here, 9 years ago, I stalked him on Facebook, just to see how he was doing after talking to my Mom about him. We starting talking and ended up going on a couple dates. It wasn’t love at first sight for either of us, but we made each other laugh and could be our true weird selves when we were together. We were on and off for a year and a half.

In 2011 he invited me down to New Orleans with him for St. Patrick’s Day. After New Orleans, things got more serious and we both decided we didn’t want to be with anyone else, and started dating exclusively. On December 1st that year, B.j. proposed. I said yes, and promptly threw up in front of his mother. Every girls’ proposal dream. I am sure his mom was a little suspicious that evening and B.j. and I even joked about how she probably thought we were pregnant. Little did we know, that was going to be our greatest feat as a married couple.

Young woman makes silly face as she sits beside boyfriend
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

We bought a house in May, 2012 and we were married June 2, 2012. Some things didn’t go as planned, but it was our perfect day and like any other situation, we found humor in each other and the situations.

Bride and groom share first kiss in church
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

I worked at a salon massaging and worked part-time at the courthouse in the clerk’s office. We decided early, we wouldn’t do anything to prevent pregnancy, because we both wanted a family. We got pregnant the first time in August of 2012. I was ecstatic that it happened so quickly and so easily for us and then I started bleeding.

I went to my doctor that I had always gone to growing up, they did ultrasounds and tests and told me I was miscarrying. We were devastated, but stuck by the old saying that if it was meant to be it would happen, something wasn’t right with the pregnancy and it just wasn’t going to happen this time. We’d wait for me to recoup and try again. I kept bleeding, I had pain. I went to the doctor again, and they assured me it would ‘be over soon.’ I just didn’t feel right, I googled another OBGYN in a bigger city near me, told them my symptoms and I got in THAT DAY. I was there all day as they squeezed me in between real patients. I had an ectopic pregnancy. My fallopian tube was close to rupturing, the baby had died and my body was treating it like an infection.
I was alone, but it wasn’t because my husband didn’t want to be there, we assumed the ultrasound would show the same thing the previous doctor saw and I wouldn’t need the physical support of him there.  The procedure was a quick shot in the butt and I think a nurse actually gave me the shot.  I had to stay 3 hours after the shot to make sure the procedure ‘worked’ and do 3 additional blood tests to make sure my HCG levels were decreasing, confirming the loss. I sat in silence in the waiting room, scrolling through my phone and there I felt a lot of resentment.  I felt like every mom-to-be walking into that lobby was their to mock me. Some really young moms, barely out of high school, with their smiley face pajama pants tucked into their Ugg boots and a big ‘ol healthy pregnancy belly and glowing skin and I felt so angry and felt like I deserved pregnancy more than women I had never met or heard their story.  How dare I judge? How dare I make those accusations?  I was really resentful for longer than I’d like to admit.  Why’d we have to go through what we did and then it seems others can walk by someone and get pregnant?

I was given a shot of methotrexate to dissolve the pregnancy. All of it sounded so morbid at the time and it felt like I was the only person ever to go through this. Thankfully for the quick thinking and careful care my tube did not rupture. I did not tell many people of our first ectopic, mainly my bosses, mother, and of course B.j. My OBGYN wanted to do some testing by a hysterosalpingogram. (HSG). HSG uses an x-ray machine to look at how dye passes through my uterus. Ideally, the dye would go through my uterus and out through both of my fallopian tubes telling the doctor they were open and we could get pregnant. This procedure sucked, to say it nicely. It was painful and I had to hold very still. I had one tube open. Which wasn’t awful news at all. We could still get pregnant!

On top of the first year of marriage ‘things’ and learning about each other’s quirks we were put through this test, that neither of us quite understood. I didn’t know how to tell B.j. how guilty, defeated and sad I was about the loss and he didn’t know how to react to my hormones and emotions and I am sure he thought he married someone crazy. So instead we fought about things like laundry, toilet seats, and toilet paper rolls, neither of us supporting each other. Everything worked themselves out and we figured out how to express ourselves better to each other. We both just were desperate one evening; it all came out. Almost like word vomit, we said our peace without hurting feelings and respecting each other. It was calm and it turns out we thought the same things and felt a lot of the same feelings. I knew we could get through anything after figuring out this way to talk to each other. We talked about our faith before we got married and both stressed how important it was to us to attend church and go together. It just didn’t happen like we planned and had trouble finding a church we both felt comfortable with. Then, we found Sunny. God works in such a mysterious way, her and her husband had struggled many years to get pregnant and I instantly connected to her spirit and felt we were on the same journey just at different junctions and she was handling herself way better than I was. They were on the road to adoption and presenting to families. I needed her guidance through sermons to help me remember it’s okay to feel things and be raw and honest with myself and my husband and to always go to prayer when I was anxious. I needed her laughter and infectious smile to teach me to be thankful and grateful in the hard moments.

Woman stands beside husband holding pastor's adopted son beside pastor who holds other adopted son
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

Every month I bought so many pregnancy tests, we could probably buy a vacation in Hawaii with the money I spent on tests. Almost exactly a year later in August of 2013 we were pregnant again, we suffered another ectopic pregnancy. This time in the opposite tube. This was much harder than the first. We saw the pregnancy and a heartbeat, in my fallopian tube. This little baby was so comfortable where it was, but any growth would have led to a rupture. We chose methotrexate again and dissolved the pregnancy. I had another painful HSG after this ectopic and neither tube was open.

I remember calling my husband, absolutely sobbing and feeling like there was an elephant sitting on my chest, from the Wal-mart parking lot after our second ectopic and methotrexate procedure, telling him the doctor told me we couldn’t ever have kids on our own. Not only did dissolving a pregnancy, a baby with a heartbeat, feel so morally wrong, I was left with emptiness from not being able to give my husband a family. I felt like a complete failure. After all, it was absolutely my tubes that were the problem.

He then told me it seemed my Fallopian tubes were underdeveloped, and too small. It felt like the answer I was waiting for. At least a reason for the trouble. He told us if we wanted a baby of our own, we would have to do IVF. He referred us to a few fertility doctors and our location led us Conceptions Reproductive Associates in Littleton. We had our initial consult in November of 2013 and it was absolutely awful. They did test both of us for genetic diseases, but that was it. I expected more tests, more answers, more options. No, we got 5 minutes with a doctor who said, ‘Yeah this is your only choice and it’s going to cost you $25,000+.’ We were so discouraged, but when we both felt like talking about everything we decided a family is what we wanted and we’d go through what we needed to go through to have one. We started the journey in February of 2014 with the help of family members, our church family, friends and family. We were gifted money to offset costs, meals, and prayers.

The nurses at Conceptions Reproductive Associates made my experience the best. I was able to do a few things at my OBGYN closer to home consisting of bloodwork and scans. I was the perfect candidate for IVF. All my tests were going great except one setback finding out I had polyps in my uterus. It wasn’t a big deal, my nurse said many women have them and don’t even know, and still get pregnant, but since we knew about them they were going to go in and scrape a thin layer from my uterus to smooth things out. I just saw it as another step, another trip to Denver, another recovery, another setback to getting pregnant. But again, I did what I was told, I was following my injection protocol to a T. I would have eaten bark from a tree in the rain forest, if they would have told me it would have helped with my fertility. I was diligent and disciplined. I had to go to the Denver/Littleton area and stay during my egg retrieval. I was pumped full of drugs, to make me produce the most eggs possible and extremely hormonal in a city with thousands of people, my anxiety was on high. Thankfully, friends sent me with books, magazines snacks, and prayers. B.j. joined me later after fulfilling work obligations at the bank he worked at as an Ag lender. We had 5 healthy embryos’ that we would freeze. 5!!! A chance at 5 children! At this time, I was also running for a county office within the courthouse and would find out in May if I had won the election. My community may not have known what was going on, but I felt so supported at my work. I got time off and understanding hearts when I returned. Instead of a live transfer, which means we transfer the fertilized embryo right away, we chose to wait and have the polyps removed and I could come off of some of the medications before transfer. That procedure went smooth, and recovery was not as bad as I had envisioned.

Husband smiles beside wife whole holds up paper with ultrasound of implanted embryos
Courtesy Andrea Thomas
Woman who went through IVF injections lays in doctor's office smiling while holding ultrasound picture
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

I won the Primary Election in May and advanced to the general election. We were all very excited. We transferred in June of 2014, our embryos were ‘ranked’ strongest to weakest, but we knew the sex. We picked the ‘strongest’ embryo, not really caring if we had a boy of girl, just wanted a healthy baby. I had acupuncture done and feel it balanced me out and made me the calm. The procedure went great, I had to drink a bunch of water and thought I would be the first patient to actually pee on our doctor. Thankfully, I was able to relieve my bladder just a cup full. I didn’t pee on our doctor and the actual transfer took about 30 seconds, but I had to lie on the table for 10 minutes before I could get up and use the restroom. The embryo took and we were legitimately pregnant! I had a new position at the courthouse that started in January of 2015, and went on maternity leave in March of 2015. My community has always been so supportive. We had our baby boy, Beckett at 41 weeks on March 19th, 2015. I had a healthy pregnancy and we couldn’t believe it.

Husband and wife who struggled with fertility smile as wife holds picture of ultrasound
Courtesy Andrea Thomas
Husband stands outside beside pregnant wife in white gown as they hold her stomach
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

It didn’t take us long to realize we wanted another baby. We scheduled everything again, a year later, same protocol, different nurse, but no less amazing. I did not keep a blog for this pregnancy, there was something about the experience that I still wanted family and friends to be genuinely surprised. Like they would be if they didn’t know we went through all we went through. Not just happy that the procedure worked, but happy we were pregnant. We told people we were starting the process, but we were actually down to the last appointments before transfer. Everything went smooth again, I couldn’t have asked for a better pregnancy story than my IVF babies. We transferred in July of 2016 and were miraculously pregnant again and due in April. Claire joined us early and only 3 days after her brother’s birthday. On March 22nd. She has not stopped moving since.

Husband sits holding newborn while first born stands in front of him staring at baby
Courtesy Andrea Thomas
Little boy sits on couch beside baby sister
Courtesy Andrea Thomas
Baby girl with pink flower headband on lays sleeping swaddled in gray blanket
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

We are an IVF success times 2! Two perfectly healthy naughty kids that were worth every tear and every penny. Our family felt complete and after terror Claire we decided we would wait until she was 3 to decide if we’d have more. After all, we have 3 embryos left! God decided he had other plans for us. I AM PREGNANT. After 6 years of infertility and 2 healthy adorable IVF babies. Yes, the adorable part is absolutely relevant. I am pregnant without medication, no needles, bloodwork, and without the constant assurance that came with IVF. We are shocked and of course we are happy. But, ya mostly just shocked. Mainly, because we were told it absolutely would not happen. If you struggle with fertility or you went through IVF you know, in the back of your head the desire to fall pregnant on your own is absolutely overwhelming. IVF is super hard/painful, trying on your marriage and stttoooppidd expensive. But you also would know, you constantly pee on pregnancy tests, sometimes even in gas stations, (where I found out I was pregnant this time) because you can’t wait until you are home to know. I am pregnant, but it wasn’t because all the sudden I relaxed and stopped thinking about being pregnant. I thought about being pregnant every month. Every 2 week waiting time. I thought about it, prayed about it and peed on sticks. We didn’t do birth control because we did hope it would happen. I took a pregnancy test so early this pregnancy, my OBGYN said ‘sheesh you didn’t even have time to smoke a cigarette after the deed before you called me’ (I really appreciate this guy’s humor) Up until June I still took pregnancy tests monthly. They were a staple in my cart at Walmart and always on my list. I know people think that’s how it works, you just stop thinking about it, relax and get pregnant. That wasn’t the case for me. This pregnancy I bled early. I was at a meeting in another town sneaking in and out of my meetings to do blood work at a hospital that wasn’t my regular place, but we were positive I was having another ectopic pregnancy, so not once were my hopes up. 3 ultrasounds later we finally saw a gestational sac in my uterus. Then a baby, then a heartbeat! Then a wiggly hand! I am now 31 weeks pregnant, still paranoid, still nervous, and still praying the world doesn’t come crashing down around me. I am a little salty and angry towards my own body. If we would have just gone to one more doctor to give us a glimmer of hope, would we have just tried naturally? I suppose, I also could have died from multiple ectopic pregnancies and IVF was the safest route for us. I feel this guilt, a really weird guilt, for putting family and friends through this, for those who helped us as small as meals to as big as money and prayers. Thank you will never be enough. Also, this moral guilt about the embryos we have left. That will be left for another day and another conversation between B.j. and I. Here we are embracing 3 kiddos under 3 even if it’s just for a short while. Due February 2019. I would have never thought we’d be here. Ever. I am so thankful for B.j., I am at the point where I am head over heels for that guy. He makes me roll my eyes at least once a day, but what a joy to experience with him. I have a good love with that guy. I mentioned before My OB has great humor and he was honestly just as shocked as we were and all he told BJ was ‘Nice shootin’ Tex’ So as my husband struts around town give him a little wave. God is always good.”

Husband stands outside holding son beside wife who holds their baby daughter
Courtesy Andrea Thomas

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Andrea Thomas. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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