Over the course of our four-year fertility journey, communities, such as Robyn, have been a great comfort to me. They have helped me stay strong through the tough times and have reminded me to have hope. Four years ago, when we started trying naturally I believed we would conceive rather quickly, as most of my friends and family had. However, as the one-year mark came closer I realized we needed to move on from our ovulation tests and tracking apps and seek a fertility doctor.
We first went to Illinois Fertility Clinic where we found out that my husband had some slow swimmers with low morphology. The doctor said we should try IUI and it seemed rather promising. Over the first six months of 2017 we went through four IUIs, none of them resulting in a positive pregnancy test. Feeling frustrated, sad, and questioning what else could be wrong, I began to open up to people, which led us to deciding to switch to Northwestern Medicine.
After a much needed summer off from all the probing and medication, we met with a doctor in August who, after reviewing our case, suggested moving on to IVF. I was shocked and scared, but was determined to do whatever we needed to in order to become parents. Northwestern is a big advocate of doing PGS testing on blastocyst, which insures only the best embryos will be transferred, upping the chances of becoming pregnant. We decided to take advantage of this and also test for a specific gene mutation on my husband’s side of the family. It took 2 months to build the probe for the gene and finally in January 2018 we went through our first egg retrieval, which sadly resulted in only one viable embryo.
We decided to combine the transfer with another egg retrieval in May. After genetic testing we only ended up with one viable embryo. And in June we had a chemical pregnancy. Our hope was crushed again. That year we did two more egg retrievals, sadly neither resulting in any embryos, and a second transfer, which didn’t even stick. We were heart broken and lost.
A friend told us about a clinic in Colorado, CCRM, and how they have one of the best labs in the country. Since we found out that could possibly be the issue, that my eggs are super sensitive, we decided what the heck, let’s go out there. We worked with Dr. Schoolcraft himself and in July of 2019 we spent almost 3 weeks in Denver going through our fifth egg retrieval. We returned to Chicago with so much positivity in our hearts, thinking this will be it, we may even get a couple embryos. The three week wait was the worst, but when they called with the news it was even more horrible. Again, no viable embryos.
So here we are trying to figure out the next steps after four years of trying, timing, medications, probing, needles, bruising, bloating, doctors, and all the ups and downs. Our path is different and longer than some people. Life keeps testing us with all these obstacles but we keep our heads up and continue to jump over them. We are not going to let all this stop us from continuing our journey. And I hope that it doesn’t stop you. That no matter what you have been through you can continue on like we are. Together we make each other stronger. And no matter the journey to motherhood, it is never easy.