‘I simply gave my husband a thumbs up. ‘This has to be a dream!’ We prayed for YEARS. There were no words.’: Couple conceives through IVF, ‘We never take a moment for granted’

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“After three years of marriage, Casey and I decided the time was right to have a baby. I graduated college and was beginning my teaching career and Casey was settled into his job as a web developer. Unfortunately, we did not have any success trying to get pregnant. We knew the problem was with me, but it took two doctors and almost a year to get a diagnosis. My first doctor dismissed my concerns, citing my young age of only 21 as the reason. I left her office upset and angry and decided it was time to find a new doctor.

My new doctor listened to my concerns and I was finally diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS prevented me from ovulating on my own. In September 2011, we began our first step of infertility treatment. I began taking Clomid. This turned me into a crazy person. I had ridiculous mood swings, hot flashes, and I just felt terrible. I would wake up crying in the middle of the night for no reason. Casey had no idea what was happening to the woman he married. He thought he had done something wrong, and I was no longer happy in our marriage. He eventually learned it was just the hormones, and we even got to a place where we could laugh about the mood swings. After 6 months, we were still not pregnant, so my doctor referred me to a fertility specialist.

We first went to Arkansas Fertility Clinic in July 2012. After speaking with one of the doctors, we decided our game plan was to try four IUIs. The first two would be simple and involve only medicine to stimulate egg production. Timing would be based on an over the counter ovulation predictor kit. The last two would involve the same medication, but the timing for the procedure would be based on ultrasounds and lab work, as well as an injection 36 hours prior. Everything went as planned with the first one, but after two weeks we found out it did not work. So, we started round two.

I never ovulated and began to experience intense pain. I went to the doctor and discovered I had 3 large ovarian cysts. We had to stop all meds for a month. We were very disappointed but had to let my body heal. When we got the all clear, we began the next cycle with new medicine. Unfortunately, when we went in for an ultrasound, the meds had not worked. We were very upset and had to start over with different medication again. This time it worked too well. We had 3 eggs that time. We were so pumped. We knew we had a huge chance of success with 3 eggs.

This attempt, however, was also unsuccessful. We were devastated. I felt if I couldn’t get pregnant with 3 eggs, then it would never happen. We went on to have 2 more unsuccessful cycles. We told the doctors we needed a break. We needed time to regroup and decide how to proceed. We spent this reprieve in constant prayer with each other. We discussed our concerns with our close friends and pastor who was like a part of our family.

After a huge amount of prayer and discussion, we decided we were ready to schedule a consult with our doctor to determine our next steps in March 2013. He went through a few different options with us but said our best chance was going to be through VF. We decided to wait until the summer when I was not working. This allowed me to focus on taking care of myself and not have 25 little people depending on me every day.

The next few months were full of nerves and anxiety. We began the IVF process in June with a class we had to attend which involved scheduling and training of the injections and procedures. I felt at peace when we left the class. The nurse even told me she prayed for all of their patients. It felt great knowing even the doctors and nurses believed in the power of God and prayer.

The remainder of the summer was filled with doctor visits and injections. I had the first procedure on July 16. This was extremely painful, but I was willing to suffer through it to hopefully have our miracle baby. The second procedure was on July 21st. We found out on July 30th that the procedure was successful and our precious baby was finally on the way! We both sat and looked at each other in shock and cried for probably about 15 minutes before we could even think about anything. We also had 3 frozen embryos to try again in the future.

Courtesy of Kara Hastings

I had always planned special ways to tell Casey I was pregnant. I thought about cute gifts or pictures I could give him. That all went out the window when the nurse called with the news. I simply gave him a thumbs up while on the phone. We still laugh about that today. We had no words. We were in awe of God’s blessings and felt an immediate bond with our growing baby. It didn’t seem real at times! I was so paranoid something would go wrong. At 11 weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night and something felt wrong. I went to the bathroom and realized I was bleeding.

I was worried about our baby and thought it had to be a dream, but at the same time I had a feeling everything would be fine. We went to the doctor first thing in the morning. Seeing our baby do flips on the ultrasound and hearing his strong heartbeat was one of the best feelings. I had a small hemorrhage in my uterus but it was not affecting our baby. I was put on bed rest for a few days and everything resolved on its own. Every week of my pregnancy I was able to breathe a little bit easier. Our sweet healthy baby boy, Jax, was born March 25, 2014.

Courtesy of Kara Hastings

This journey was full of highs and lows. It was almost 3 years from start to finish. This was the toughest time in our marriage. Every plan we made revolved around doctor’s appointments and medication schedules. I became very closed off and didn’t really want to communicate with my husband, the one I was supposed to be sharing my life with. Treatment was not covered by insurance, so we had financial stress trying to figure out how to pay for everything. I felt like a failure, which is not a feeling I was used to. I felt like I was letting Casey down when in reality all he wanted from me was the woman he married.

This was definitely the darkest time of my life. I had so many emotions very few people knew about. I was in a depression I could not escape. I think Casey is the only one who truly knew how upset I was. I cried myself to sleep many nights. I got up, went to work, came home, and read a book for the majority of the night. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I didn’t even want to talk to Casey. I felt guilty and like it was all my fault I could not give my husband the one thing we were missing…a baby. In the years we have been together, he has always done so much for me. It made me feel inadequate.

He was extremely supportive despite the difficulties.. He continually reassured me this was not my fault. I am so thankful I had him by my side through the entire process. Many times I angrily asked God why this was happening. Everyone tries to give advice, but it usually does more harm than good. I heard all the normal reactions, ‘Everything happens on God’s time.’ ‘God has a plan for everything.’ ‘You just need to quit thinking about it and it will happen.’ Even though these people were trying to be helpful, they only made me angrier. How can they give me advice when they have no clue how I feel? I was angry at God. I never doubted his existence or his love for me, but I just could not comprehend why this was happening. A recent sermon at church put it into perspective for me. Knowing WHO is with me through the storms of life and HOW I choose to go through them is more important than knowing WHY the storm exists. I choose to share my story because God cannot turn the broken into beautiful if I keep it locked away.

1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility. Just relaxing will not make it go away. It is a true medical condition. How can you help someone going through this? My advice is to just listen and pray. If you have never experienced it for yourself, do not offer advice. You cannot possibly imagine the emotions your friend or loved one is currently experiencing. Not everyone wants advice. Sometimes they just want someone to listen and cry with them. Although you mean well with what you say, sometimes it is best just to say nothing. Seemingly simple comments can unintentionally be hurtful.

Also, invite them out, no matter how many times they say no. Looking back I wish I had someone in my life to drag me out of the house. Casey tried over and over to get me to go out and do things, but I did not want to be around others. I needed someone from the outside to walk this journey with me. I needed someone to just say ‘I’m here for you. Let’s go eat dinner and talk, or laugh, or even just cry.’ Don’t get me wrong, we had great friends at the time. They just didn’t know how to help and I didn’t know what I needed. Hindsight is 20/20.

While things would have been much easier and cheaper, since insurance covered none of the things listed above, I would not change a thing now. This journey has allowed me to share my story many times. I have been able to give advice to others and lend a listening ear while they were experiencing similar situations and emotions. Infertility is often a taboo subject. No one wants to talk about this emotional roller coaster with others and I totally understand. It is hard to share these experiences with others. However, if my story can give even one person hope, then it is totally worth sharing.

No part of the last 3 years with Jax has been taken for granted by us. I didn’t mind the sleepless nights because it meant I had a baby to rock. I didn’t mind midnight feedings because it meant I got a little extra time with my sweet baby. The terrible 2s and 3s were bearable because we know how blessed we are to have him in our lives, even in the middle of a full-on toddler meltdown. We know so many have suffered infertility or pregnancy loss and would love to be in our shoes.

We have greatly enjoyed the last 5 years with our sweet son. He is full of joy, love, and lots of energy. We have prayed for years for God to prepare our hearts to hopefully give Jax a sibling. We are currently preparing for a frozen embryo transfer. We are in a much better place now than we were the first time around and have a great support system who love us and encourage us along the way. I thank God every day for choosing us to be Jax’s parents and also for the amazing people he has placed in our lives to walk this journey with us.”

Courtesy of Kara Hastings

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kara Hastings of Sherwood, AK. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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