“For both of us, the desire for children began before either of us ever met. We both knew we wanted children, and when we started dating in 2009, it was something we discussed. We had lots of conversations of what it would look like for us as a same sex couple. We knew we would either need to go forward with fertility treatments or look into fostering/adoption.
There was also a discussion of who would carry the child if we went the fertility treatments route. Anisha told me she did not have the desire to carry a child, and she knew it was something I wanted to do. She wasn’t wrong. I always knew I wanted to carry and give birth to my child. However, I also knew it may be difficult and just hoped it wouldn’t be as hard as it could be for some.
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I do not have regular cycles, there is extensive weight gain, and painful cysts on my ovaries. We talked about this beforehand, and still decided we wanted to try getting pregnant first, before going another route. Often times, heterosexual couples will wait to go for fertility treatments until after they have been trying for a year or so. Since we knew we needed to start our journey with treatments from the beginning, there were several factors in which we were able to plan for. We knew we wanted to wait until we were able to legally marry in 2015, and also wanted to purchase our first home together. We knew the process of fertility treatments could be costly, and we wanted to have more stability before going forward.
During that time, I was able to do my research and look up a few doctors to see exactly where we wanted to go to seek treatment. One of the first doctors I found was a reproductive specialist. I had to get tests and blood work done to be seen, so there was already a plan in place at our first meeting. When we went in to talk to the doctor, he was very knowledgeable and we felt comfortable until he stated, ‘You need to have IVF, and I am not even sure you will be able to get pregnant.’ It felt like the air had left the room. Like when a balloon gets deflated. Not only was he telling us we needed to start with the most expensive treatment we couldn’t really afford, but he also did not have high hopes for us. We left the appointment so devastated. I just felt in my heart I needed to find someone else and get a second opinion.
After doing more research, I found a holistic gynecologist who worked solely in helping women become pregnant, and I decided to give her a try. She was a little over an hour away from our home, but it soon proved worth the drive. I sent all of my records over to her, so she knew exactly what she was dealing with before we came to see her. She had me do even more tests and labs before I came in, to make sure she had everything in front of her and could start planning which way we should go.
When we got to the appointment, I felt very scared and nervous. It was something new, and we were placing our future in the hands of a stranger. She also was very knowledgeable, but blunt. We came up with a plan for IUI, and she went on to explain to me, ‘You need to try and lose some weight to better your chances.’ As I stated before, PCOS can cause weight gain and make it nearly impossible for weight to come off. It has been something I have struggled with my entire life. I remember leaving the appointment with our plan and telling my wife Anisha, ‘She hurt my feelings a little, but I think she is exactly what we need.’ So, for the next six months or so, I spent time working on my body and mind. Preparing myself for the journey ahead of us. Little did we know, it was going to be a longer journey than we thought.
I don’t think either of us ever thought we would become pregnant after the first IUI, but then we reached the second IUI, the fourth, the sixth, etc. It became apparent to us we may have a long and difficult road ahead. I always think time took something from me. It was so hard to stay in a positive, stress free head space. I knew stress could lower my chances of conception, and then I worried about stressing. You try to remain positive and push through, but sometimes things just get the best of you.
After two years of trying to conceive, we decided to take a little break. We weren’t just exhausted financially, but also mentally. I took the break time to bring myself closer with God and my wife. There were times I didn’t want to even get out of bed, and she was always there to pick me up. We tell everyone our trials brought us closer together. Although, at times in the middle of it, we felt like it was tearing us apart. We never let that happen. We always regrouped, talked to each other, stayed focused, and tried to fix whatever problem was in front of us.
Going through something like infertility can make you feel so alone. There were times, even though I had my spouse, I felt like no one understood what I was going through. After the first year, we decided to not tell anyone we knew we were trying. It was a hard decision to make, but sometimes, even though people mean well, they cause more harm than good. It can be exhausting to try to update everyone in your life about your fertility struggles, and we just didn’t feel like we were in a place to do so anymore. It was a time for us to focus on ourselves, our marriage, our faith, and our future with one another.
When I finally got into a great place to start trying again, it was the third year of infertility treatments. I prayed and hoped for a miracle daily. We still kept pressing forward with trying IUI treatment instead of IVF, as we felt it was just right for us. However, we got to a point of frustration again, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Three years of battling infertility took a toll on me. I found myself feeling guilty and ashamed. Why couldn’t my body do what it was made to do? I felt like I was letting my wife down.
Even though she made sure to constantly tell me how much she valued and loved me, at times it just felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and nothing I did was going to be enough. Anisha tells everyone, ‘Listening to your spouse is one of the greatest things you can do. There may be times when all you want to do is help or fix a problem and you just can’t. Listening can be the biggest gift in the world at that moment.’ She’s right. I needed her so much during our struggles, and she always picked me up from my low points.
By the last IUI, I was SO done. I said, ‘If it doesn’t work this time, I can’t do this anymore.’ I hit rock bottom. There were no more options for me. Even then, she supported me and told me she understood. When we completed the final IUI, I felt calmer than usual. I was able to stay at peace and not stress at all during the two week wait. It was almost like deciding I wasn’t going to do it anymore relieved me. Even though it meant I might not give birth to our child, it also meant no more stress, taking medications, and going through tests. Every negative pregnancy test was another failure, and my mental state was crumbling.
I spent the last two week wait praying and focusing on myself and my marriage. One morning, I woke up and just felt like I was pregnant. Not sickness or anything different in my body, but in my heart I felt it was true. I told Anisha, and I think at that time, she probably thought I was just claiming it out loud. We do that a lot with things we desire. But I just KNEW this was it. A couple of days before we were going to get tested at the doctor, I decided to take a pregnancy test on my own at home. There it was. The two lines. ‘I’m pregnant!’ I screamed. I couldn’t do anything except drop to my knees and sob. I decided to wait to tell Anisha and took another test the next day while she was at work. The lines were even darker. I still couldn’t believe it. It was almost like the three years of hardship just vanished.
I got to be the only person in the world to know about the baby for a few days, which let me plan a way to tell my wife before the doctor told us. I decided I would make a bible study which had different verses related to fertility we could go over and write out. And when we got to the final page it said, ‘Now pray this prayer out loud. Lord, thank you for all your wonderful blessings. Thank you for bringing us from the low of the valleys to the high of the mountains. Thank you for blessing us with our new bundle of joy that is coming November 2018! SURPRISE, WE’RE PREGNANT!’ I don’t think she really understood at first, but when I showed her all the positive tests, we couldn’t do anything but hug each other and cry. We got to enjoy that moment together. Without the doctor. Without stress. At that moment, I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in over three years. It just continued to get better as time went on.
After we got confirmation from the doctor, we got to spend the next couple months enjoying our little secret as a couple. We made the decision not to tell anyone until around fourteen weeks of pregnancy, to make sure there were no problems or complications. Finally, on Mother’s Day 2018, we got to share with everyone that we were expecting our little miracle. Our gift from God.
As time went on and my baby bump grew, we both didn’t really care what we were having. We just wanted a healthy baby. Hearing her heartbeat was healing. Every time we listened was like chipping away at all the depression and anxiety we endured for years trying to become pregnant. We truly believe God gave her to us as a way to mend. To restore our faith more than anything ever could. When it came time to find out if we were having a boy or girl, we decided to continue the tradition of finding out together, with just the two of us.
I feel like taking the journey together and keeping the secrets just between the two of us helped our relationship a lot along the way. In those moments, it was something we got to share, just the two of us, and fully feel every emotion. We decided to have the worker at Party City pick the color for us, so we wouldn’t know until we popped the balloon and smoke cannons released in our backyard. When everything came out pink, I kept screaming, ‘I knew it, I knew it!’ All along, I felt we were having a daughter, and I just couldn’t wait to know for sure to start buying all the cute outfits.
Once we shared with family and friends, our excitement continued to grow. As the months continued to pass and my belly got bigger, there were still times of uncertainty or doubt which crept in. Worries like, ‘Is this really happening? Is this our life?’ The years of struggles had scarred us, and we just couldn’t wait until she was safe in our arms. We got to spend the time focusing on ourselves, our marriage, and our future so we could prepare for our little addition to our family.
One day, about a week before our due date, I noticed I hadn’t felt her kick like usual, and I got worried. She was always very active, and it wasn’t like her to be so still. I called the doctor’s office, and they wanted to see me immediately. They did an ultrasound and some other monitoring and found she was not moving, and they were concerned something was wrong. Our world turned upside down for a moment. I had to go straight to the hospital for induction. I called to tell Anisha, and all she could say was, ‘Oh God, I’m coming.’
My fears were becoming reality. As I laid there on the monitor, waiting on them to start induction, all I could do was pray. ‘God, you promised her to us. Please keep us safe.’ Luckily, we got to wait for labor to take its course while being induced. By the next day, I was in full labor and ready to push. Although labor was difficult, due to her being on my back, I remained focused and was able to hear her cry with just ten minutes of pushing. It happened so fast we suddenly realized Anisha didn’t get to cut the cord. We later found out she was in distress and the cord was wrapped around her neck, which was why she had limited movement, and it took her a little while to finally start to breathe. Pella Rhys was born November 2018, one week early.
Once she was out and on my chest, breathing, healthy, with all fingers and toes, our miracle became reality. At last we could breathe ourselves. Going through infertility, at times, felt like we were holding our breath. There are so many highs and lows. You spend time stressed, anxious, and worrying. On top of that, you are dumping money you probably don’t really have towards something you just hope works.
There were so many moments of feeling alone. So many times we saw pregnancy announcements and felt jealous. Even though we were really happy for them, we couldn’t understand why it wasn’t our turn. One thing we have talked about is it would have been nice if we had reached out to counseling or a group of other couples who are going through the same thing as us. Infertility affects 7.4 million women in some way. Even though you feel like you are alone, you aren’t. There may even be a friend or family member going through the same thing, and you don’t even realize it. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to others and getting help when you need it.
One thing I hope I can share, is although the road may be long and wary, never give up if it’s something you really want. There were so many times we could have just let go of it all and stopped trying, but I thank God every time I see Pella’s face that we didn’t. She will be two this November, and we still have times where we look at each other and say, ‘Can you believe she’s our baby?’ Pella Rhys, (Marvel of God) our little miracle who made us whole.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Trista Williams. You can follow her 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.
Read more stories of fertility journeys here:
‘I was told my chances of getting pregnant were 15%. To this, I took the Pee Wee Herman approach of ‘LA-LA-LA-LA I can’t hear you.’: Woman gives advice for those struggling with infertility, ‘Know your options’
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