The bruises remind me that this is a journey, not a means to an end.

I remember hearing that once you want to have a baby it goes from 0 to 100 really quick. That’s what my relationship was like with infertility. Starting at a 0 anxiety level and that I was in no real rush, I went off of birth control in November 2015.  My husband is younger than me and he was nervous and not totally “ready.” I told him we could wait but that first I needed to know that we didn’t have any issues getting pregnant, as I wanted to stay at 0. I was 32 and slightly hesitant about waiting and having a potential issue. Sure enough, we found out there were some issues. We were told that we could still get pregnant naturally but that it may take a bit longer. This is when it went from 0 to 100 for me. We gave it 5 months, then 2 failed IUI’s we moved onto IVF. I spoke to a close friend who had done IVF who told me to ask for a saline sonogram before I got started. The results showed that I had a septate uterus and needed a surgery called a hysteroscopy. Once the hysteroscopy was done, we started egg retrieval. After retrieval and ICSI, we had created successful embryos and were lucky enough to get plenty. We were hopeful and excited for our first transfer. It failed. The same friend who advised me to ask for a saline sonogram mentioned a reproductive immunologist. Due to a family history of immunological issues, we made the tough decision to postpone our next transfer until I visited this reproductive specialist. I couldn’t get an appointment right away, but everything I felt in my heart my head told me, I needed to do this, and give this next shot everything I could. Finally I had my blood appointment, where they had to take a ton of blood and a few weeks later, he put me on a protocol of steroids, blood thinners and intralipids. My next transfer was a success and I was pregnant by March of 2017. I’m expecting my first child, a baby girl on Thanksgiving.

I got through the process by being my biggest advocate and never giving up. Our journey would have taken some couples years, but because I asked for specific things, early on, and had an incredible support person to tell me what to advocate for, my process took us just a year.

PS: You may notice the bruises on my belly. While at first I was ashamed of them and annoyed that I couldn’t wear cute bikinis over the summer of my pregnancy, I quickly became proud of them. They’re a symbol of my story and how hard I continue to have to work in order to bring my first baby into this world. Due to blood flow issues, I have to take a blood thinner shot every night and they cause the bruises. The bruises remind me that this is a journey, not a means to an end. It doesn’t end once you get the plus sign on a pregnancy test, or when you first hear the heart beat, it’s an ongoing process.

When @fertilegirl asked me for an update, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on. Becoming a mom has been the most exhilarating, overwhelming, incredible, life transforming and blissfully insane experience of my life! Even after we give birth, we never stop fighting for motherhood. We fight for it whether we sneeze and get pregnant or spend years getting there, we work FOR it and IN it. In my initial post, which I wrote at 8 months pregnant, I talked about how wearing my blood thinner bruises with pride and being my biggest advocate were two things that got me pregnant. I now wear a C-section scar with pride and that advocacy trait has gotten even more real. My birth story includes advocating for a C-section to demanding I be allowed to breastfeed my baby in the NICU. My self-advocacy has also involved making my decision to continue breastfeeding even when pediatricians advised that formula would be the solution to fixing my daughter’s gas and colic. I really feel that the fight I fought to get pregnant prepared me to trust my gut. Believe in yourself. Self-advocate. Fight for what you feel is right for you. If you think you have an issue, fertility or otherwise, act on it. If want to lay on that table for an hour after your embryo transfer, demand it. If you want to breastfeed even though you can barely lift yourself into a wheelchair to roll you and your IV pole to the NICU, and no one is telling you what to do, just do it. My innate inclinations during my fertility journey and then, in new motherhood, have given me the confidence and ability to believe in myself like I never thought possible. Motherhood starts the moment we decide we want to become a mom and it’s the most empowering experience from start to never-ending finish; because, let’s be real, we’re all out there fighting the good fight.”