“All my life I knew I wanted to be a mom. It is something I always thought would come easy. Get married and grow a family with my husband. Infertility is something I never thought about because it’s something you think ‘oh, that would never happen to me.’ That is something you hear or read about but never think will happen to you.
My husband Joe and I were married in May of 2010 and life was great. Joe was going to school to get his bachelor’s degree with the hopes of going to Medical School one day and I was working at a salon as a cosmetologist. It was just us, enjoying each other and enjoying married life. No kids meant we went out to dinner a lot, stayed up late, and just enjoyed being newlyweds. That soon changed when in February of 2011 we found out we were pregnant. It came as a surprise, but we were so excited! I remember the first thing we bought was a crib. And we bought it quick. Like two weeks after finding out we were pregnant. We were just so excited. We soon found out we were having a baby girl and it was just a matter of time before she made her debut. It was a long nine months waiting for her, but she finally came in November. We were smitten with our Gracie girl and she brought a love and happiness we never knew we needed.
We knew we wanted more babies and wanted to give siblings to our Gracie girl. I always knew I wanted all my kids close in age because growing up I had one sister and we were four years apart. As a kid, that is a big difference in age. So, we thought having them about two years apart would be good. We knew it would be hard and having a bunch of kids close in age would be crazy but knew it would be fun and hoped they would be good friends as they grew up. We soon found out this would not be the case. About one year after having Gracie I started gaining weight at a very rapid rate. It didn’t take long to figure out that this was not caused by bad eating habits or changes in routine. There had to be something bigger going on. Because of my weight I was in no place to feel like getting pregnant. I was so upset with my appearance and how I felt that I wanted to get feeling better and lose weight before I got pregnant again. I just didn’t know it would be such a long journey before discovering what was wrong with my body. I started going to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was going on. Lots of doctors, in the nicest way possible, told me to get on a treadmill. But what they weren’t listening to was that my exercise and eating habits had not changed, but I just kept gaining weight like crazy. It took a long time, but I was finally diagnosed with PCOS. One of the most common side effects of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome is weight gain.
The doctor said I was the poster child for PCOS. I quickly began researching everything there was on PCOS. I realized that many women with it struggle to get pregnant and lose weight. The top two things I wanted badly. It took a very long time to find something that worked to lose the weight with PCOS, but I finally did. You can read more about that over on my blogwhere I share my whole weight loss journey. Once I found what worked and the weight was coming off it was finally time to get pregnant.
By now, several years have gone by and Gracie is almost five years old. That lets you know how long it took to diagnose the PCOS and find something that worked for my weight loss. Knowing I had PCOS I made an appointment with my gynecologist to see what my options were for getting pregnant. He started me on Clomid and month after month of increasing doses, we came to the realization it was not working. My body was not even responding to the Clomid. We decided to look into a fertility clinic. The closest one to us is 80 miles away. Not ideal, but we really didn’t have a choice because my husband is now attending medical school and that made it the closest clinic to us. We went to our first appointment and decided to try Clomid again but at a much higher dose and to just see how my body responded. If they could see my body could potentially get pregnant with Clomid, we would probably go that route first before IVF. Well after a few months of disappointment, we decided to go ahead and begin IVF. What I didn’t realize is how involved IVF really is.
In September of 2017 we sat down with the fertility doctor and went over all that is involved with IVF. My mind was blown, and I felt like this journey was about to be a long, hard road ahead. Indeed, it was. That day we got all the information we needed, ordered all the medication, learned how and where to inject the meds and just tried to process everything that would take place. September 9, 2017 was our first day of injections. Joe was a champ and gave the shots like a pro. This would continue for days. These shots were preparing my body for the egg retrieval. Throughout these next few weeks while my body was doing its thing I was just trying to stay positive and hopeful that what we were doing would be successful. During this time, we also had to go to the doctor’s office daily to measure and check to see if the eggs were ready for retrieval. That meant a 160-mile daily round trip! After going daily for a little over a week we got the good news that my eggs were ready for retrieval. September 16th, we did our trigger shot and September 18th I went in for my egg retrieval.
The egg retrieval went well, and they retrieved 11 eggs. They fertilized the eggs and waited to see what happened. We got a call the next day that 10 had fertilized and it would just be a matter of how many grew to the point where they could be frozen and considered viable embryos to implant. The wait for this was really hard. Would one make it? Would any make it? Or would all make it? We just didn’t know. I remember it was a Sunday and I knew the lab would be calling that day, so I kept my phone glued to me all day. The phone call came, and the lab said two embryos made it. Two are viable to be frozen for implantation. I heard two and I lost it. I was crushed. I sobbed. I apologized to the lab tech and she was very understanding. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to cry on the phone over news they were not thrilled about. I was crushed because I was certain we would have lots more to freeze. I thought for sure we would be getting 3 or 4 children from this and to hear only two made it, all I could think was what if this doesn’t even work and we have to do this whole process again. I wasn’t sure I could do it. After being so upset for days I realized we just needed to be positive and know God has a plan for all of this. I knew we just needed to move forward and be hopeful.
Because I had PCOS I had to wait about six weeks before my transfer. I had to continue taking shots during these six weeks to prepare my body to accept the embryos. We tried really hard to be positive during this long six weeks and get excited for the chance we could soon be pregnant. We also had to decide if we would implant both embryos, or just one. We decided to implant both because we only got the two and just decided to go for it. We knew the chance of twins was high but were excited if that would be the outcome! November 8th was the big day! That day came and me and Joe made our way to the doctor’s office for the procedure. It’s hard to explain how I felt but I just had a very nervous, but excited feeling. The procedure went great and the feeling in the room felt spiritual, peaceful, and hopeful. It’s hard to explain, but you do all this, for this moment. All the years of tears and hard work and unknown came down to this day. This day you say you are pregnant until proven otherwise. What a day!
Now we wait. We wait the dreaded two weeks to find out if we were pregnant. Longest two weeks ever! Every feeling you have, every symptom you have, every little thing you feel, you wonder if it’s your body doing what it’s supposed to. You question everything. I told myself I was not going to take a home pregnancy test because you just don’t know how accurate it could be and to just wait for the blood test to check hormone levels. But a few days before the blood work appointment I couldn’t take it. Joe and I were in bed and my mind was racing. I jumped up and said, ‘I’m just going to take a test and see. If it’s negative, I’m still pregnant and there just is not enough hormone to detect on the test.’ So, I took the test and ran out of the bathroom and told Joe I couldn’t look. He went in and covered the test. Called me in and said I will move my hands and just look. My nerves were through the roof. He moved his hands and I lost it in the best way possible. It was POSITIVE! I was pregnant. I could not believe it. I was sobbing. Joe and I just hugged and couldn’t believe this was real life. My mom was visiting at the time and she heard me crying. I ran out to tell her and she started crying. We were all so excited and so thankful that IVF and God had given us this extremely amazing gift. I didn’t say anything to anyone except close family because I wanted to be sure with the blood test. The blood test came and sure enough we were pregnant!
I thought for sure once I was pregnant all my worries and fears would leave but it’s almost like they got worse. Every little feeling, I had I would wonder if it was normal. It had been over six years since I had been pregnant and couldn’t remember anything. And being that we did IVF, everything was just so different about this pregnancy. I had to continue with shots to sustain the pregnancy until about my 14th week of pregnancy. After that the placenta is supposed to take over. We wouldn’t know if both embryos took for about a month. On December 6th we went to the fertility clinic for an ultrasound to see just how many were in there. It didn’t take long for the doctor to see that there was in fact two little babies in there. He gave us the news and I started crying. We were having twins! What a rush of emotions! We were so happy!
In January I was able to finish injections and I was officially done with the fertility clinic. It was a happy day because it meant we were pregnant but a part of us was sad. The doctors and nurses at the fertility clinic became like family to us. When you see them so much and you’re invested in such an emotional roller coaster, you become so close to them. But we were also excited because it meant everything was going great! In February we were able to find out what we’re having. We wanted to do something special and make it fun for Gracie. We did confetti cannons and had one of my friends capture it. It was amazing. We were so excited to find out we were having a little girl and a little boy. Gracie was beyond excited. This is what she had been saying she wanted all along and it was happening.
Time went on and the pregnancy progressed well. It was a completely different kind of pregnancy for me because there were two babies in there. But it was so fun to hit each stage. it was amazing to feel two babies in my belly and wonder who it was moving around in there. It was so fun to have Gracie be able to feel my belly and know that was her brother and sister in there. She loved it.
Their arrival was getting close and when I was 35 weeks along I woke up having contractions. Totally normal for me during this pregnancy but this time they were coming every few minutes. They were not super strong and so I was convinced I wasn’t really in labor. After a while the contractions started to not come as often but when they did come, they were getting stronger. After many hours my mom who was here visiting said just go in and get checked. I remember saying well let me shower first so just in case I am in labor I have clean hair. Haha! After that we gathered our bags just in case and headed to the hospital. My mom stayed behind with Gracie and waited for any news. Joe and I arrived at the hospital and they got me all hooked up to the monitors and could see I was having contractions but needed to have the doctor check me to see if I was dilated at all. The doctor came in, checked me and said you are dilated to a 4 and 80% effaced. Me and Joe both looked at each other in shock. We couldn’t believe we were in actual labor. The doctor said being 35 weeks we won’t stop the labor and you will be having your babies sometime soon. We called my mom with the news and could not believe we were soon going to meet our twins. They admitted me, and it was just a matter of time. They gave me some medicine to help with the pain and after a while it was time for the epidural. I received the epidural and after a while it was time to push. I pushed for what seemed like forever.
After a few hours nothing was progressing. Baby girl was head down and coming head first, but she was coming out sideways and baby boy was breech. Doctor talked to us and expressed his concerns with the positions of the twins and the stress it could cause them and suggested a C-Section. Joe and I wanted to do what was best for the babies and me. So, we decided the C-Section would be best. It didn’t take long for them to prep me and get me ready. They wheeled me back to the OR and I was so nervous. It was all just happening so fast and the emotions were high. Joe stayed right by my side and continued to reassure me everything was ok. Before I knew it, I heard the cries of baby Elle. She came first at 6lbs 3oz. I just laid there and cried. I couldn’t believe it. Luca came second at 4lbs 12oz. He wasn’t crying and was not really responsive, so they took him away to the NICU. I was able to see Elle and she was just beautiful. Once I was all sewn up they wheeled me to recovery and Joe was in there holding Elle. I was able to finally hold her, and she was just perfect. I couldn’t believe they were here. It didn’t take long for them to bring in Luca and I was able to hold him too. He was doing great and breathing well on his own. I was now holding my two babies. It was unreal. All the years, tears, unknown was so worth it for this moment.
Infertility is hard. Not knowing if the outcome you want will really happen. IVF is scary, frustrating, emotional, amazing and mind blowing. If you are going through an Infertility journey, just know you are not alone, and you are thought about and prayed for. I never imagined I would have to go down the IVF road and struggle with infertility. It’s exhausting on so many levels, but I would do it all over again for these sweet babies of mine. Hold onto that little bit of hope and know God has a plan for all of us. I don’t know why we have this infertility trial, but it makes me appreciate my babies, my husband, my body, and so much more. My heart goes out to all those couples struggling and wondering if they will get what they have always wanted. I know how you feel, I know it’s hard, don’t give up hope.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Joni Greer. Follow her on Instagram here. Visit her website here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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