We stopped preventing pregnancy on Thanksgiving Day 2015. It was just over three months after our wedding. Our holiday season obsessed selves envisioned seeing a positive pregnancy test Christmas morning... How perfect would that be! As I’m sure you are not surprised, that did not happen.
Months continued to pass with no success and, to be honest, we were full of excuses. We weren’t REALLY trying if we weren’t using ovulation tests. We weren’t REALLY trying if I wasn’t tracking my temperature. We weren’t REALLY trying until I downloaded a fancy app. Anything to make it seem like it was our fault and not a medical issue to be taken seriously. Months turned into a year and a half and I finally mentioned something to my OBGYN. Peter’s swimmers were A+ and my tubes were clear, so we went ahead with two assisted cycles with Clomid. Both were unsuccessful and it was recommended we see a specialist.
This was right around the time we decided to move from Chicago to central Florida. Our frustrations building our family actually had a lot of impact on that decision. Why find a specialist now if we’d be relocating? (AKA another excuse to continue trying without intervention)
Upon moving we didn’t jump right into treatment. We were dragging our feet finding a doctor when one fell right into our laps in November 2017. Again, two years of trying and we were still in denial that anything was wrong. During our first appointment I had a transvaginal ultrasound (welcome to the world of infertility!) and our doctor could see I probably had endometriosis. I would need surgery to remove it, but because everything else was in tip top shape he could almost guarantee we would be preparing for a baby by the end of the year...
I had endometriosis removal surgery in February of 2018. They gave me one month to recover and three months to try to conceive naturally (no luck). That’s when we first heard the words “unexplained infertility” and talks of artificial insemination (IUI) began. We were devastated. It seems so invasive; nothing like we’ve done before. And again we were hesitant... Something else had to be done. More meds. ANYTHING had to work before we got to that point. But after truly letting it settle in we came to terms with the fact this was our chance. In this moment a fire was lit beneath us (I can remember this with certainty). We would have to do whatever it took.
We had decided on trying three IUIs before diving into the world of IVF. August: Failed IUI. September: Cycle cancelled because of cyst. October: Failed IUI. November: Cancelled treatment due to family emergency/ travel. December: Failed IUI. No rhyme or reason why. IVF it was... The mental and physical parts of what was to come didn’t scare us as much as the financial burden (believe me the mental and physical components were NOT easy). But again, we were prepared to do anything. At our January consultation we were informed of a medical study that would not only offer us ground breaking ovulation stimulation medication, but also eliminate significant costs. It felt meant to be and we were all in. And so began the drawn out journey of making sure we 1. qualified for it and 2. my body was ready.
There was so much about IVF we didn’t know about, especially how much of a process it all is. Add in delayed cycles due to cysts and the pressure of a study deadline, tensions and stakes were high. We retrieved 16 mature eggs, 8 fertilized, and 7 embryos made it to blastocyst (the progression here is always so unpredictable). We felt so fortunate that our embryos received stand out grading. “The best embryo report I’ve ever seen in my entire career,” said our doctor. We were brought back down to earth when our very first fresh transfer failed in July of 2019.
In August of 2019 we had our second embryo transfer (this time frozen) and we saw our very first positive pregnancy test ever. We lost our dear sweet pea around 6 weeks due to a large blood clot in my uterus. Our medical team deemed it a “fluke”. Every step forward was matched with two steps back... Until now.
In February 2020 we gathered the courage to try again (in accordance with our doctor’s advice us to allow my body heal through three menstrual cycles AND have an HSG). With grief heavy on our heart, we prepped for transfer and we were reunited with our third embryo. The positive beta test results call didn’t feel real. It had worked. How could we be so happy and so sad at the same time? We’re still trying to grasp on to the fact that we are pregnant. Every day it feels more real, and every day we fight the weight infertility leaves on you forever. We are expecting a little boy in October.
We are 1 in 8. We are 1 in 4. We promise to not only continue spreading infertility awareness, but to navigate this pregnancy with grace. Our inbox is always open for anyone who needs it. Alone is the last thing any of us are.