Growing up I had always envisioned being a mother. When the ever so popular question in school came up of “What would you like to be when you grow up?” – my first response was always, “a mother.” I never once thought of being a teacher, a chef or the President – I just wanted to be a mom. I watched my mom raise five children and did it flawlessly. She could nurse a newborn, help my brother with homework all while making us lunch and looking gorgeous while doing it. She was such an amazing caretaker, cheerleader, best friend and comforter. I knew when I grew up, I would be just like her and have a house full of kids running around.
Sadly, that dream vanished, and we entered the dark world of empty bank accounts, bruised, battered and botched up bodies from countless procedures, a home with stained walls from our screams and a carpet soaked in tears. Not being able to conceive children has really taken a toll on me both physically and mentally, and I have become accustomed to the fertility struggles life as it has been apart of me for so long.
We began our journey in 2013 and after the natural way was not working for us, we mustered up the courage and made an appointment with my OBGYN to see what might be prohibiting this “oh so simple task”. My OB performed all the base line tests and found nothing – he said we are still so young and not to worry (note to all the Doctor’s out there: never use this line on a patient because it fills the couple with false hope). To speed things up he prescribed Clomid with timed intercourse and we did the baby dance for a year. Naively we thought this would do the trick. I had never taken hormones before and obviously they were working because I was crazy, but in the end, there was no baby.
After a year of Clomid, we were referred to a fertility specialist who we saw from 2016-2018. During our first consult our new doctor looked at us and said, “I WILL have you pregnant within three cycles of Intrauterine Insemination”. We left that appointment on cloud 9 knowing we would have a child soon. Sadly, we underwent six failed medicated IUI attempts and were back at square one.
Looking back, this is when we should have switched fertility clinics as our doctor had absolutely no answers and wasn’t willing to try anything different in-between cycles. Our protocol stayed the same for each insemination. Feeling as though we had invested so much time in our doctor, we decided to give IVF a shot and began in September of 2018. We had a great stimulation cycle and ended up with 19 eggs and 8 frozen embryos once all was said and done. Our doctor urged us not to test because our embryos were of perfect quality and again “we were young”. From there we endured 3 failed frozen embryo transfers (FET) an ERA cycle which was pre-receptive which was followed by another failed FET totaling 4 and not to mention, the loss of 8 embryos resulting in no baby.
We finally decided to switch fertility clinics in May of 2019, (something we should have done years ago) and began fresh. We took a few months off giving my body time to heal and geared up for a fresh new round. After several tests and procedures, we received the all clear to begin IVF. We started another IVF cycle; a completely different protocol and we were able to create 5 PGS tested normal embryos! It was recommended to do an HSG test, a Hysteroscopy and another ERA cycle before transferring, so that’s what we did.
The HSG and Hysteroscopy came back clear – tubes were open and no scarring or polyps found. We completed our second ERA cycle and discovered I was receptive. On January 27, 2020 we transferred one perfect embryo and finally after years of failures and negative pregnancy tests we received our first ever positive! When our nurse called to tell me the news I heard her say “ I am sorry, but the results are negative” and she had to repeat herself several times before my brain registered the good news.
We are now 11 weeks along with our miracle baby boy and are adjusting to this new journey. To be completely honest, we are still in shock and disbelief. We have had a fight or flight mentality for so many years, that it has been quite the adjustment to accept that our time has finally come, and I am growing a child in my womb. Along with adjusting to our new life there is PTSD that is embedded deep into our souls. I still come across pregnancy announcements with a pit in my stomach and scroll fast as to not hurt my heart or see a mother and a child walking hand in hand and long for that reality.
Your fertility journey lives within you forever. Once you become pregnant you do not suddenly become fertile – you are just now infertile and pregnant through the grace of God and science. IVF takes a toll on your body, mind, spirit and all relationships in your life. My husband and I have put ourselves on the line for what we believe in for years, not once giving up or thinking this was the end of our story. No matter how tough the battle is, never give up. We have learned to endure until we’ve overcome all the adversities we were facing. Miracles can and will happen – they just might take a little longer than expected. To all the Warriors out there, I see you, I am you and I love you – keep climbing Mama.