I am not sure exactly where to begin but I guess the very beginning is the best place!
My husband and I were lucky enough to become pregnant a few short months after getting married. I remember at the time both of us being shocked because I was thirty-six and we figured it would probably take a while. I work as a Nurse Anesthetist in the Operating Room and have the potential to be exposed to hazardous situations so I had to inform a good handful of people immediately upon finding out my news. This was hard and awkward seeing how it was a secret I would have loved to keep between my husband and I for at least a day!
Well, to make things harder that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at about seven weeks, there was no heartbeat. We were so disappointed but we kept trying. Each month with no luck. We gave it until almost our one year anniversary and then went to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). This started what has been the longest process of our lives. We did all the preliminary tests, blood work, ultrasounds, biopsies, and were started on just some basic supplements to help. All tests came back normal for both of us so unexplained infertility it was.
With our “advanced ages” we discussed going straight to IVF with our RE to give us the best chance. We had high hopes thinking this would be our fix. When the first egg retrieval went okay we only ended up with one embryo after PGS testing. So we hoped it would stick after our transfer but it didn’t. Okay so let’s change things up and try it again. This time two embryos made it through PGS testing. We decided our chances were better if we transferred two embryos and would be lucky if we ended up with a singleton pregnancy. This time it worked. We got our positive test and each blood draw after was looking great.
At our seven-week ultrasound we were devastated once again. This time it was an empty gestational sac. I still can’t figure out how a genetically tested embryo just didn’t grow correctly. So even more devastated, with about a year since starting IVF, we changed things up again and kept trying. We ended up with a total of six egg retrievals, some rounds with no embryos to transfer. Two years into this IVF journey we were at the point of embryo transfer again, we had three embryos frozen. The transfer didn’t take and to makes things worse in that week that it didn’t take, I had turned 40! Great timing!
So we once again changed up protocols and had repeated many tests, tried many new supplements, diets, acupuncture, you name it we tried it. So embryo transfer number four. This time, after our transfer I just felt different. I had some mild symptoms and decided to take a pregnancy test a few days before our scheduled HCG. It was positive! I didn’t get too excited because I had been here before but was trying to be optimistic (which is hard in this journey). All my blood tests looked good, just as they had the last time, and then at our seven-week ultrasound there it was… a heartbeat! Our very first heartbeat! Still cautiously optimistic but so excited, and then just like that we had graduated from IVF! Um what! We had been here for years now!
Fast forward to today, I am 30 weeks pregnant and still in shock that this is real. I was concerned that all my worry would not allow me to enjoy this pregnancy but it goes in waves of worry and excitement. It took me until I was 18 weeks along to tell the majority of my work and until 24 weeks to announce it on social media! I can’t believe we have been so lucky to make it this far! We are truly blessed.
Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week and I was finally ready to be open and share my story. The amount of love and positive comments I received on social media and through private messages was amazing. My hope was to be able to educate people on a subject that is not talked about often and to make others feel not alone. Mission accomplished. It may have been hard to share something so personal but it was also therapeutic. I hope that continuing to share my story will help inspire others to do so too. I just want to say good luck to all of those still waiting on their miracles.