Thank you so much for the love and support y’all showed Justin and me yesterday after we shared our happy news! I’ve been overcome with gratitude ever since! As I said I would yesterday, in today’s blog post, I’m sharing the heartache we went through to conceive this bundle of joy. It’s a long and very personal post, but one I know I had to write! For me personally, yesterday’s post wasn’t complete without sharing the other side of the story. Not everything is “picture-perfect.” We often don’t share the low points in the journey that precede the “Insta-worthy” peaks. So today I’m here’s one of mine:
At age 17, I was diagnosed with Primary Ovarian Insufficiency– a loss of normal ovarian function before age 40. I learned then that conceiving naturally would be difficult, if not impossible. However, once Justin and I decided to start a family, we naively thought it could happen without the intervention of modern medicine. When it didn’t after several months, we sought a fertility specialist to consider next steps. After days of being poked, prodded and scanned, we learned that less-invasive fertility treatments offered little opportunity for success, given my medical condition. Thus the only viable step was In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF being the most invasive, most expensive, and most emotionally draining route.
For those unfamiliar with IVF, the process includes daily self-injections into the abdomen to trigger the ovaries into becoming an “egg factory” of sorts. Doctors monitor progress, almost daily, by drawing blood and doing vaginal ultrasounds to measure the thickness of the lining. Next, surgery is performed to retrieve as many eggs as possible. These eggs are then fertilized externally with sperm, before being transferred back into the ovaries as an embryo.
In February, we officially began IVF. Probably the most emotionally loaded three letters I’ve ever typed! We transferred our first embryo on April 16th. When that transfer was unsuccessful, I completely shut myself off from the world (and why things became noticeably quiet around here.) My body couldn’t do something that, as a woman, I should be able to do and I felt ashamed and frustrated because of it. During this time I experienced a myriad of emotions. Jealous- every time I saw a new pregnancy announcement, especially from those welcoming an unexpected little one. Guilty– for even feeling that way. Stuck- as I watched seemingly everyone around me move onto the next chapter. Isolated- because I felt there was no one to talk to who truly understood. Insensitive- knowing how many women experience years of infertility, miscarriages, and far more difficult situations than my own.
I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was lost. I didn’t understand why this was our journey, but I just had to trust God had a plan for us.
I underwent my second embryo transfer on June 18th. The anxiety-ridden two week wait, infamously known as the “2ww”, following the transfer to find out if the embryo implanted successfully felt more like a decade. The ultimate unknown being that I could repeat this process once again (at such a large financial expense) without success. Although I kept telling myself to keep my hopefulness in check based on probabilities, maintaining that optimism was really difficult. Almost as a self-preservation of the heart, in the chance it was unsuccessful.
While making a lunch one afternoon (July 1st to be exact), I finally got the phone call from my nurse at REACH with my blood test results. She uttered news that for so long, felt so out of reach:
Our second transfer was a success with an HCG of 876.9!
I remember freezing in my tracks, and though I tried to speak, I couldn’t! Tears welled up in my eyes, yet I was afraid to feel or let out any emotion in case it might not be real or it might not last. Concluding that call, I immediately got in my car and rushed to share the exciting news with Justin. In that moment, I tossed aside any idea of surprising him in a clever way. I physically couldn’t wait to share the news and wanted to tell him in person!
The moment I saw him, it hit me! And with each day that passes and each doctor’s appointment, my pregnancy becomes much more real. Even though our journey didn’t unfold the way we imagined, we couldn’t be more blessed to make it to this point.
Thank you to our family and friends (our prayer warriors). We are forever grateful for your love, encouragement and unwavering support throughout the years!
I share my story not out of self-pity, but rather because infertility isn’t something to be afraid to talk about. And it’s something that no one should take on alone! I’d also simply like to encourage everyone to be kind and to never, “compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” You never know what someone else’s experiences are.
Today I send all my love to those who are currently consumed by this kind of heartache– many whose road to having children is far more arduous than ours. This, too, shall pass. You’re stronger than you think, and much brighter days lie ahead. I promise!
All my love,