After being diagnosed with the BRCA2 mutation at age 20, I knew I’d have big decisions to make once the time came to start a family. However, at the time, it seemed so far away.
Years later, when my husband and I got married, we decided we would do whatever it takes not to pass this mutation (linked to extremely high breast and ovarian cancer risks) to our children. IVF with PGD was the only option, but we thought it wouldn’t be so bad. We were surprised when our first round of IVF yielded 19 eggs, only one healthy embryo, and no pregnancy. It was devastating, but we went through it all over again and ended up pregnant with our beautiful daughter, who is now two and a half years old.
As soon as I met her I knew I’d walk through fire for her and never for a second doubted our decision or process for getting pregnant. Fast forward to summer 2019 and we had one frozen embryo that needed to be biopsied and tested. No chromosome abnormalities, no BRCA mutation, and three great betas later, we were thrilled to be completing our family.
Unfortunately, our world was shaken to the core when we went for our first ultrasound only to see an empty sac and placenta: a blighted ovum. It’s been three months since we lost our pregnancy and I still feel sad every day, but I know our second baby is coming. I just had my third round of IVF egg retrieval, so now we wait for the results to see if we have any viable embryos.
This process is so much more difficult than I ever imagined, but it’s also so much more rewarding than I ever imagined. It’s true what they say: you can’t imagine how much you can love someone until you have a child. There is nothing I won’t do for my children, and if this is the path to get them here and healthy, I will gladly walk it for them.
IVF has shown me so much. It has taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever knew. It has helped me form bonds and relationships with other women who have been through struggles with fertility and pregnancy. It has deepened my relationship with my husband, who has walked every single step of this arduous journey right by my side, supporting me in every possible way. I knew I loved him when I married him, but I had no idea how deep that love could truly run.
More than anything, this has made me appreciate my daughter to the extreme. She is the single greatest gift I could ever be given, and I will never for one second wish to change a single step that brought her to me. To the families out there struggling through fertility treatments, pregnancy loss, postpartum mood disorders, and any struggle on the path to having children, I stand with you and support you, just as so many have stood with and supported me. The more we open up about our struggles and triumphs, the more we support and encourage each other, and that is a beautiful thing.