Trigger Warning: This story contains mention of miscarriage and child loss that may be triggering to some.
“You are either reading this article because you have gone through infertility, are going through infertility, or you know someone who has gone through infertility. If you aren’t apart of those groups, likely this topic is foreign to you and that is a luxury millions of us don’t have.
For us infertiles of the world, we hide in silence. We cover up our woes by pretending to have other deep-rooted dreams and wishes.
I had always feared I would be infertile. Maybe that happens a lot but it felt ironic to be a fear and also a reality. Maybe I should begin fearing I’ll be too skinny. I digress. After a year of ‘trying,’ making a call to an infertility clinic felt like making a call to jail to let them know you were coming. Maybe worse than that is sitting across the desk and talking to someone you just met about something that’s so incredibly personal. ‘Hi, nice to meet you. My last period was XYZ and we have sex XYZ times.’
I kept waiting to hear, ‘Oh, that’s what’s wrong with you.’ But alas no such comfort. No, instead after months of various scans and blood panels and the dreaded HSG test. We were perfect….ly, unperfect and had ‘unexplained infertility,’ which is the medical world’s way of shrugging their shoulders and saying, ‘I don’t know why.’
We started medicated monitored cycles, woohoo. I took a teeny amount of Clomid because I’m a real-life hen and have no problem producing follicles (eggs). Then the doctor says, ‘Today is the day,’ and you do the baby dance. Not literally, but maybe that’s something we should pin for later. A true baby dance might make this more fun.
Alas, no amount of monitoring was helping so we started IUI (Inter Uterine Insemination). If you are unfamiliar with what IUI is, I’ll save you the google search. Basically, the doctors do all the fun for you via a catheter. It’s not fun, but it’s not the HSG test, so there’s something for you. After three of those and a small investment in Kleenex, we were no closer to starting our family and I was done. Literally, physically, mentally, and emotionally done. My exceedingly supportive husband agreed to a break. After all, the world will tell you, ‘It happens when you are least expecting it.’
Unfortunately, no matter how much I wasn’t expecting it, it never happened. I engulfed myself in work with a local dog rescue, Barks of Love. I especially loved nurturing sick puppies. Being up all night feeding puppies felt as close to motherhood as I ever thought I would get.
After years of this, I had an ‘aha moment’ while on a business trip. I made a call to a new doctor and booked an appointment for a consultation. My husband and I had a very business debrief on the drive to the doctor. What did we want out of this, what are our non-negotiables, but my husband said it best. He said, ‘At the end of the day, Megan, when we are sitting on our porch at 80, rocking in our rocking chairs, looking back on our life, if that doesn’t include children and grandchildren, then I think we want to know we did everything we could.”
I literally couldn’t have said it better and that’s been our motto ever since. No regrets. After our meeting, we left on the same page. This was our doctor, this was our plan and we were ready. 2 months later, we began IVF.
Prior to going through IVF myself, I had no idea IVF wasn’t just a one deal kinda thing. There’s actually a lot that goes into it. The first and most important part is egg retrieval. My personal experience with this was positive. We were blessed to retrieve 26 follicles (eggs once mature) and at the end of the fertilization/growth and chromosome testing phase, we had 11 perfect embryos.
Next, we planned our frozen embryo transfer cycle to transfer our single best embryo into my uterus via a catheter. The preparation for this was not as difficult physically and while it included some pills, patches, and injections, it was nothing like the egg retrieval.
After our transfer and then a 2-week wait, I heard the words I had prayed over for a long, long time. I had not just prayed, but I had prayed in every church, in every town, and mostly on my knees all over the world for this moment. I was ‘pregnant.’
The next few weeks showed me a side of pregnancy I’d never knew existed. In my naivety, I thought that the hardest part was going to be getting pregnant. Who knew staying pregnant would be such a challenge? It was unfortunate and I miscarried our most perfect embryo at 7 weeks. We never saw or heard a heartbeat but I’ll never forget holding my hope in my hands and sobbing on the bathroom floor. Nobody and nothing can prepare you for that part of your wedding vows.
Looking back, I’m sure it was the ‘to have and to hold’ part of the vows. Think about this will you when you are marrying someone. Who will be there holding you as you sob on the bathroom floor? Who will pick you up, carry you up the stairs, and put you to bed when you can’t do it for yourself? My husband and I lost our first pregnancy, our hope was gone.
I entered a depression I had never known. I didn’t smile, a real smile, for almost a month. I cried, a lot. Sometimes while I was working, I would set aside my laptop and sob at the top of my lungs because I physically couldn’t hold it in anymore. I wanted desperately to try again, so 2 months later, we did just that. Our second round of IVF, this time with 2 perfect embryos. After a tumultuous 6 days, my husband tested for me. I couldn’t bear to do it myself and so he told me the news. I was pregnant.
God had his hand on this one because everything was textbook. There was no wondering if this was meant to be. Our baby, Bennett, was and is our first miracle. At 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I gave birth to a precious blonde baby boy. He hasn’t stopped making us smile for a moment since.
Motherhood was a kind of happiness I never knew existed. You know how you have always wanted to try something, then you do and it’s AMAZING, so you tell everyone about it, and can’t wait to experience it over and over again? Kind of like that but better. I wanted more children and my husband was on board.
When Bennett was 7 months old, we did our third transfer. I thought my body knew what to do now and this would be a cakewalk. It wouldn’t that be too easy, as the transfer didn’t work. We had transferred two embryos and I was not pregnant. We took 2 months off and when Bennett was 9 months we transferred another 2 embryos and did a slight medication change.
Keeping with tradition, my husband tested on day 5 and we were pregnant. Actually, really pregnant. My HCG numbers came back a tad more than what they had during Bennett’s transfer. I thought it just meant I had a strong pregnancy but my doctor and my husband thought differently. I remember our first scan at 7 weeks. When my doctor came in, he mentioned our recent HCG numbers and I said, ‘You don’t think it’s twins, do you?’ He said, ‘We don’t guess, we check.’ Sure enough, we saw two of the most beautiful heartbeats.
Being the overthinker and researcher I was, I knew so much bad can happen, but it didn’t. Our girls grew healthy and strong till 36 weeks on the dot when they came into this world via c-section.
At 14 months they are in the 90th percentile in everything. They are healthy baby girls and we have three babies 2 and under. It’s a lot having three babies, and I am usually more understanding of that when we leave our day-to-day routines.
Pre-infertility, I always dreamt of and hoped for a large family with four children. That vision has changed so many times. I spent years preparing my heart for no children, then one child, then two and then three. There is a part of me that wishes it was easy. I wish I could just get pregnant and have my fourth and fulfill my dream but that’s not my journey. If we want a fourth child, it’s another round of IVF. Some days, that sounds doable and some days, I’m happier than ever exactly as we are. Our days are beautiful, they are busy, and they are a dream come true.
Most of the time, I’m busy putting one foot in front of the other. Working from home, taking care of three babies, four dogs, two cats, and my relationships during a global pandemic. I’ll tell you what though, infertility stripped me of SO much. The one thing it gave me I’ll never lose is perspective. I have a perspective about motherhood that can only come from someone who had to work so hard to get it. I know what life was like pretending I didn’t want this, and I know what life is like with it.
As the days of our infertility journey seem to drift further and further from the present. I forget how much it hurt. Sitting here walking down this path is refreshing and sobering all at the same time. Father Time has a way of bringing all the happiness to the surface and hiding all the hurt. But going back, allowing myself to remember the struggle actually makes me appreciate what I have ten times more. I lost so much in infertility but I gained so much too.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Megan Dumas from Orange County, CA. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. 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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