“Infertility is slowly becoming less of a taboo topic (finally!) and guaranteed someone you know is struggling.
I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life fighting to become a mom.
I have always been incredibly open with friends and family about my journey to conceive. I wanted to be open, I wanted to share in my failures and successes, because I knew that I had friends and family out there who were struggling too — some who had already spoken to me about it, and some who are probably still hiding in the ‘shameful infertility closet.’ There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Infertility is a medical condition that you can’t prevent and is one that you can’t usually correct without medical assistance.
I was diagnosed with PCOS at approximately 17 years old and told that I may never have children if I didn’t lose weight. To make an incredibly long story short, even after losing 175 pounds with gastric bypass, I was still having a hard time getting and staying pregnant. There was something more going on that didn’t involve being overweight and I needed to find out what it was if I was going to one day hold a baby of my own.
After seeing many specialists, I was wrongly diagnosed with endometriosis then adenomyosis. Until I started seeing my most recent reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in PCOS and infertility, I didn’t really know what the problem was. All I knew was that it seemed like everyone who I had grown up with was either pregnant or on their third child by now, and I hadn’t even had my first. I couldn’t understand what I had done so wrong in my life to prevent me from having something that should come to my body so naturally. It was a constant war inside of my head and a dark cloud followed over me everywhere I went. I found it hard to be around women who were pregnant, new babies and small children. I couldn’t go to baby showers, I couldn’t do anything baby-related without my heart breaking a little more every moment.
The first half of my infertility journey with my ex-husband was unsuccessful. My current husband, Jason, and I have been trying to conceive for almost 5 years now. These 5 years have been spent pumping my body full of medication, having sex on a schedule (which causes more stress than anything in a relationship), charting my basal body temperature, peeing on ovulation tests and pregnancy tests then taking them out of the trash – holding them against the light – throwing them out, then reevaluating them again. It’s a mentally draining process that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I spent so many years being hopeful, thinking that if I wore a certain pair of lucky socks or brought my ‘good luck charm’ with me to every scan, blood draw or appointment, that I would finally be lucky enough to get pregnant, stay pregnant and then deliver a healthy baby. After years of monitored cycles, 6 IUIs, many chemical pregnancies and miscarriages, we knew it was time to pursue other options. Of course, the first thing everyone suggests is adoption or surrogacy. As much as these people mean well with their ideas, they don’t realize the desire for a biological child or the extremely high costs related to these other methods.
Photos we had taken for a project a friend of mine is doing to raise awareness about Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness. Love how they turned out. 💜#ttccommunity #ttcsisters #infertility #infertilitysucks #infertile #fertility #pcos #endometriosis #rainbowbaby #ttc #iui #ivf #icsi #ttcjourney #tryingtoconceive #thisiswhatinfertilitylookslike #TTCarmy #bakingbabybrush #firstivf #ivf1 #fet #fet3 #frozentransfer #embryology #embryo #embryos
I never thought we would have to turn to IVF but in 2017, we finally decided that it was the only option we had left. My new physician diagnosed me with high Natural Killer Cells, blood clotting and autoimmune issues and after operating on me he informed me that I did not have endometriosis or adenomyosis. The reason for all of the pain I have been feeling is something called vaginismus.
Our egg retrieval surgery was successful with 40 follicles retrieved, 32 eggs inside of those follicles (22 mature) and 19 being able to be fertilized with ICSI. We decided to go with PGS testing so that we didn’t ‘waste’ any more time on unhealthy embryos who didn’t have a chance of surviving. We were able to send 9 five-day blastocysts to be PGS tested with 7 normal, 1 mosaic and 1 abnormal to be sent for freezing. Because I developed OHSS during the egg retrieval process, my doctor wanted to give my body a rest for a month before heading into a frozen transfer.
Unfortunately, our first frozen embryo transfer in June 2017 was unsuccessful, our second in August 2017 ended in a chemical pregnancy, and our third in October 2017 also ended in a chemical pregnancy. I was left feeling hopeless and broken. I was worried I’d never become a mother, and that was something I know I was born to be. I refused to give up but needed some time to collect my thoughts and feelings, to change my mindset.
In February 2018, my doctor performed another HSG test and also did a scraping of my uterus, and 3 weeks later we were faced with our fourth transfer. This time, my medication protocol was changed up a bit and I was put on one medication that my drug plan refused to cover. It costs almost $2,000 every 2 weeks, and you need to be on it until 8 weeks of pregnancy if your transfer is successful. We figured we were close to the $40,000 to $50,000 range just in medication, testing, etc. for our entire fertility journey, but we would do anything to make sure it worked.
This medication is injected into my stomach every single morning. I also do an injection of a blood thinner and a progesterone injection every morning when I wake up. Every 2 weeks, I need an IV of intralipids which are done over 5 hours away from my home. This is in addition to the Estrogen that I take 3 times a day, the Prednisone that I take 2 times a day and the countless amount of vitamins and other medications I need to keep my body in check. It is exhausting, I’m covered in bruises and it hurts to sit, but I would do absolutely anything to become a mom.
I decided to take a more relaxed approach to this last transfer. I didn’t obsess over good luck charms, I stayed off my fertility support groups on social media, I didn’t follow all the tips and tricks Google has taught me over the years. I just relaxed and took care of myself. And it worked. It worked! I can’t believe it, but it worked. Whether it was a combination of my more Zen-like approach with the new medication, I’ll never know, but finally after 10 years of doubting my body and being a permanent shade of jealous green, I am pregnant. I’m having trouble saying this out loud because it doesn’t feel real, but we are having a baby on November 15th, 2018. It’s finally my turn.
On Friday, March 23rd, 2018, (6 weeks 1 day), we went to our fertility clinic for our first check up and even though I have been labeled high risk due to a few different health problems, we got to see our baby’s little heart beating away on the screen of the ultrasound machine. I feel like I’ve been crying ever since because I really never thought we would make it this far.
I am currently on bed rest and doing absolutely everything I can to keep this little baby healthy and safe. Our next appointment is on April 8th, 2018, (8 weeks 3 days) and I’m counting down the days until we get to see our little peanut again. I’m aware that it’s early and I probably shouldn’t be telling everyone because anything could happen at this point, but I’m so incredibly thankful for this baby. I’m thankful for the hard road I have been walking down, for every needle/blood draw/ultrasound, for every tear shed, because it has brought me to this moment, it has brought me to this baby.
I have always been open about my journey and I’m not going to stop now. I want to share the joy of this experience with everyone who has supported me over the years because nobody should ever have to feel like they’re alone. I’m going to savor every single minute of this pregnancy regardless of the outcome because I’m finally able to celebrate, I’m finally able to feel the happiness I’ve been jealous of for so long. I’m going to be a mom.”
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