Cutting the umbilical cord that connected my daughter to our surrogate was one of the most emotional moments of my life. It symbolized the end of a journey that had consumed nearly five years of my husband and I’s life.
We started trying to have a baby exactly one year after we got married. At the time, I knew it might take me a few months to get pregnant as I had been on birth control for ten years. Little did I know, that the journey would take much longer and would be more emotionally exhausting than I had imagined. It took me nearly a year to get my period. Within the first few weeks of seeing my fertility specialist, I was diagnosed with PCOS and thin lining.
After five disappointing rounds of Letrozole, we decided to move forward with IVF and I had a great retrieval with eight great viable embryos. But month after month, my frozen embryo transfers were cancelled due to my extremely thin uterine lining that never climbed above 6 mm. I tried everything over those five months– oral, vaginal and injectable estrogen, vaginal Viagra, acupuncture, red raspberry tea, dozens of supplements, crazy yoga poses, castor oil packs, even a spiritual healer. But, nothing worked.
In January 2016, we decided to move forward with a transfer with a lining of 6mm. It worked – I was elated! And then devastated to learn that the heartbeat that we had seen the week prior had stopped at seven weeks.
After grieving our loss for a few months, I picked myself back up and tried again. This time I tried new protocols to increase my uterine lining, which meant two additional hysteroscopy surgeries, the addition of Lovenox, a leave of absence from work for eight weeks to decrease my stress levels and an additional round of IVF. All of that, only to result in a failed transfer and one that ended up being an ectopic pregnancy.
My doctor had always told us that the end goal is to have a baby. With that in mind, we made the difficult decision to start looking at a gestational carrier. I can tell you, I never thought our journey would take us that far. But after enduring two rounds of IVF, three surgeries, five cancelled transfers, a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, hundreds of shots and countless tears, this seemed like our only option. Come to find, making this decision felt like a burden had been lifted off our shoulders. For the first time in years, I felt like I could breathe.
We found an incredible surrogacy agency that led us to an even more incredible gestational carrier that carried our baby girl for 37 weeks. Our baby girl surprised us three weeks early and it was the best gift of our entire lives. Cutting the umbilical cord didn’t mean that I was no longer infertile, it meant that my husband and I could finally close this chapter in our lives. We had the ending we had always wanted.