In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week which falls on April 23-29 this year, I’d like to share my journey with you. I hope it brings comfort and validation if you are struggling in your journey.
I want to start by saying this article will discuss pregnancy and pregnancy loss, infertility struggles, and treatments. If any of these are triggers for you, take the space you need and stop reading. I honor your personal journey and boundaries and send love to you.
For as long as I can remember when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “A mom.” As I grew older, my desire to be a mom, and a stay-at-home mom at that, had only gotten stronger. All through high school and college, I never dated much. I was more interested in my career and being a good friend. I was always the friend, never the girlfriend.
I laugh a bit, considering what I do for a living now. (I am a Certified Sex & Relationship Coach).
But I wasn’t that concerned. I had a backup plan validated by Jennifer Lopez in the movie, The Backup Plan. If I got married, great. If I didn’t, by the time I was 37, I was okay with having a baby alone.
In 2012, at the age of 31, with two college degrees and seven years into my career as a Higher Education Administrator (side note, I changed my whole career path in 2019), I had this new-found confidence and desire to find a husband and have some babies. So, I started online dating very intentionally, and after quite a few doozies, I met my husband.
After our first date, I called my best friend and said, “I met the man I am going to marry.” She thought I was nuts.
We moved very quickly, and only after dating for four months I got pregnant…by accident. But we were over the moon. Being in our 30s already, we both longed for a meaningful relationship and desired to be parents, and if this was supposed to be our journey, we were here for it.
Eleven weeks later, I heard the words no one could ever prepare you for. There was no longer a heartbeat.
We were both devastated. We saw our hopes and dreams crashing down in front of us. You never know how much something means to you until you longer have it. Little did we know, this was just the beginning.
We started trying to get pregnant again right away. Nine months after our devastating loss, we got pregnant again. We held back our joy and excitement. We were afraid to celebrate and be happy. Every trip to the bathroom and weird pain or cramp brought on overwhelming fear and anxiety. Were we going to lose this one too?
One morning at 10 a.m., we went for a regular ultrasound. We were about nine weeks along. After a few techs gave me the exam and kept walking in and out of the room, the doctor told us we had an ectopic pregnancy. A pregnancy that had implanted into the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, and there was no chance of survival.
And because I was this far along, I needed to go to the emergency room and get prepped for emergency surgery to remove the pregnancy and my right tube. What started as a phone call to my boss saying I am running a little late from my appointment turned into I am headed into surgery and would be out of work for at least two weeks.
A second loss and broken hearts. We decided to take some time and do normal couple things, like get married, buy a house, and get a dog, all while trying to have another baby.
We eventually ended up at a fertility clinic. The next three years were a fog. Full of hundreds of needles, dozens of hormone pills, daily trips to the doctor, and gut-wrenching 2-week wait windows.
We did six unsuccessful rounds of IUI and two egg retrievals (the start of IVF) at our first clinic. We were feeling discouraged. According to them, we had “unexplained infertility.” We were both 37 and starting to mentally prepare for the possibility that we would never be parents. Insert the purchase of our French Bulldog puppy. An article for another day, but this dog saved my heart.
We switched clinics hoping that our last chance at IVF (our insurance only covered three rounds) would be successful with someone else’s guidance. They determined that my eggs were aging faster than my body, so there were less viable ones to fertilize. So, with complete faith that this was it for us, we did our last egg retrieval and final embryo transfer on my husband’s birthday in June 2018.
Fast forward to February 7, 2019, at 38 weeks gestation, Nora Faith was born at 8:59 a.m., weighing 6lbs 11 oz, and her twin brother, Kaden George, was born (also) at 8:59 a.m., weighing 5lbs 12 oz.
After years of losing hope, we were finally parents. Nora and Kaden just turned four and are happy, healthy, and thriving preschoolers.
I share my journey with you to offer validation if you are currently struggling on your own infertility journey, and I hope that what you desire may still be possible. Most importantly, I hold space for you to feel all the feels. We just wanted a safe space to express our feelings when we were in the thick of it.