‘The love of my life lived right around the corner. ‘You’re such a loving couple.’ Not long after, he came out to me.’: Woman documents infertility journey with transgender soulmate

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“Ian and I met online on PlentyOfFish.com in 2010. We only lived 7 minutes away from each other, so we probably passed each other multiple times without even knowing it. With grocery shopping and going out to local restaurants, the love of my life lived right around the corner from me.

We both lived at home at the time, but it wasn’t long after that he came out to me as transgender. My initial reaction was unsure. I told him I needed time to do some research, as I was not familiar with the subject. After taking the time to do said research and many a night talking, I came to accept and love him for who he is. After all, you love a person for many different reasons, not just for who they present as. I found someone who deeply cares and understands and who I connect with on a deeper level than I ever have with anyone before. Simply put, I found my soulmate.

Before Ian started to transition, we decided he would try and go to a fertility clinic, as we were unsure how my epilepsy would affect my ability to get pregnant. He started our journey at Main Line Fertility in Pennsylvania. They were very accepting of our situation and we started our treatment cycle. Over the course of about 2 years, Ian went through four IUI (intrauterine insemination) cycles. On the second cycle, we received a positive pregnancy test but it turned out to be what they call a chemical pregnancy. Needless to say, we were disappointed. We decided to try again and around Christmas, we found out we were pregnant again. While over the moon for the news, we were optimistically cautious for obvious reasons.

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

We called the doctor and informed them of the test results and were asked to come in to confirm. After confirming via ultrasound, we were on cloud nine. We went back approximately 2 weeks later for a check-up. The doctor was mildly concerned he couldn’t find a heartbeat but the yolk sac was growing. We were told sometimes it just takes a little longer to see and/or hear and not be worried.

We went home nervously awaiting the next appointment. There was still no sign of a heartbeat but it wasn’t too late to lose hope, as the sac was still growing. We went back for a third visit and still nothing. At this point, we were told the pregnancy wasn’t viable. Unable to accept this, we carried on with hope as Ian didn’t feel any different.

Prior to getting pregnant, we had already had a trip booked to the Bahamas. We left out of Miami and despite the news, we were still going to go. Just 2 days after the news, we packed up and left for Florida. Upon arrival, we were picked up by my cousins, went out to dinner, and proceeded to their condo. It was late and we had to get up early so we decided to get a shower that night. When Ian went to get in, he called me into the bathroom and showed me that he was bleeding. My worst nightmare was coming true. I desperately searched the internet for others in this situation and found others say this happened to them and everything turned out fine.

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

The next morning, we drove to Miami, boarded the ship, and set sail. We were taking in the ship and were told we had to attend the safety meeting. On the way there, Ian went to the restroom and the worst thing happened. He passed the baby, who we later named Kayden Miccia. It really didn’t hit us until we got home. From there, things took a turn for the worst for us. I went into a deep depression. I was mad at everyone and everything, pushed people away, and didn’t leave the bedroom for about a year. I believed somehow this was my fault and blamed myself for the outcome.

From there, we tried to open every door possible to have our family. Ian started his transition, we got married, we contacted the state to foster/adopt, and we contacted a person who was willing to donate his sperm to us for in-home insemination. Over the course of the next 3 years, we jockeyed between going to the donor and the state. After multiple attempts with the in-home donor insemination, we failed at getting pregnant and were also turned down by the state. The reason we were turned down by the state is I have epilepsy. Really? I was born with a condition beyond my control and because of that, it doesn’t make me a ‘qualified’ parent? All of that time spent and for what? We had training classes and getting paperwork together, just to find out years later we were never put into the system and the answer was no. So back to square one yet again.

At this point, we needed a break so we took a year off and talked about our options. We came to the conclusion we had two options left: private adoption or the fertility clinic. We chose to see what the adoption agency had to say and low and behold, they turned us down because of my disability, my epilepsy. Too angry, upset, and mindblown, we didn’t even bother asking how they could make that decision. Shouldn’t that be up to the birth parent/mother?

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

Now we have come to our final straw: myself going through fertility treatments at South Jersey Fertility in New Jersey. We found a doctor who was willing to do treatment with my epilepsy. After the initial consultation and bloodwork, we were off and running. I was put on a dose of letrozole to help produce extra follicles for IUI treatment since we had been already trying to conceive for some time. While the drug worked, we still failed to get pregnant. Over the years, I’ve said, ‘I’m done’ more times than I can count.

On the third cycle, it was decided to be a bit more aggressive and go with injectable medication for IUI treatment. Round three worked and we were pregnant! We had waited for years and years for this news. Was this real? Did we hear them correctly? Life had instantly changed and seemed surreal.

We had to wait what seemed a lifetime to go in for our first ultrasound at around 5 weeks. There it was, a black and grey blob on the screen. To our surprise, as this wasn’t enough, a heartbeat! Hearing that sound is like no other. Out in the car, we couldn’t stop smiling and in disbelief about what we just heard.

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

We went back for follow-up visits and we were given our ‘graduation’ blanket. From here on out, we would be followed by an OBGYN. I saw the OBGYN twice and also had an appointment with the high-risk doctor because of my epilepsy. The high-risk doctor told us, point blank, the baby was going to die. Up until this point, no doctor had indicated anything was wrong. Completely distraught, we informed our OBGYN and were told not to worry, sometimes fluid around the baby fluctuates. Before my next visit with the OBGYN, I had to go to the ER because I actually thought I passed the baby. I brought it in for them to see what it was, but it was just a blood clot. They did a scan and there was still a small clot around the baby. I’m so glad I did not pass the baby. The doctor still labeled my visit as a threatened miscarriage but my OBGYN doctor was on call. I saw her every week after that visit and I was closely monitored. It was discovered my fluid was low and I should be drinking more fluids. I was drinking them like they were going out of style.

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

Each time I went to the OBGYN, the heartbeat of the baby was still there but the fluid level was still low and I was asked to come back again in a few days. The visit I would never forget is the one where they told us there was no heartbeat.

We show up to the OBGYN doctor hoping for the best but absolutely fearing the worst. We were told the most devastating news… there was no heartbeat. At 15 1/2 weeks, our baby, Blu Lyric, had passed away. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. How could we have been through all this over so many years just to have this happen? I didn’t want to have my baby taken from me. She was mine.

I was told unless my body passed her, I would have to have a D&C. This was not going to happen. You are not taking my baby from me. It was explained if my body didn’t pass the baby, it could become extremely hazardous to my health. I became sick. With a very heavy heart and much debate, I had the procedure. My life has not been the same since.

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

I cried for weeks. ‘Why me? What could I have done differently?’ The truth is, we will never really know the answer to this question and it sucks. I had to go through three hysteroscopies to make sure there was no residual scar tissue in my uterus if we ever wanted to try and get pregnant again. This past year, we tried again with our last three vials of sperm we had purchased with no success. A friend recently said, ‘It’s really not fair, you guys are such a loving and caring couple.’

Now we are at a crossroads. Do we continue to do IUI and hope for the best or do we go on to do IVF? IVF is financially way out of reach for us, so we have decided to fundraise for IVF treatment and continue to try and do at-home insemination. Recently, we have set up a fundraising page and are selling candy to raise money for treatment. We can’t even begin to say how thankful and appreciative we are to the doctors, nurses, and to all the people who have donated and bought candy in support of us.”

Courtesy of Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ian and Mary Kate Saltzgueber. You can follow their journey on Facebook. 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 touching stories like this:

‘We kept our relationship a secret. I never even told my kids about my transition.’: Transgender man details struggles, ‘If I hadn’t chosen the path I’m on, I wouldn’t have been led down this road to parenthood’

‘I want to be a girl, Mom! Just make me a girl!’ Getting into the shower, she threw her fists down in anger. I could feel the air suck right out of me.’: Couple throw second gender reveal party for transgender daughter

‘I’m so scared to be trans. I don’t want it to be true.’ I’d stare at myself and ask, ‘Who are you?’: Young man goes through coming out process, learns he’s transgender, ‘I finally feel free in my body’

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