Our 5 Year Journey to Pregnancy

Our journey to here began 5 years ago.

When I first met my husband, one of the things I found most attractive about him was that he wanted to be a dad. Like REALLY wanted to be a dad. And it was his dream to make his mother a grandma. She had dedicated her life to being an amazing mother and it was her dream to have grandchildren to dote on.

In 2014, I had just stopped competing in fitness competitions and we both decided to stop taking all supplements (fat-burners, pre-workouts, aminos, etc) and get serious about trying to start a family. We had ceased all forms of birth control the year prior (I had been off birth control pills for 5 years already) and I had been tracking my cycles and ovulation, but no luck after that first year. We weren’t really worried yet because since I had been competing, we just assumed it was because I was working out too much, not eating enough calories and using supplements. So after we stopped taking supplements, and I decreased my workout intensity we grew anxious and excited that it would happen soon.

What’s the #1 misconception about fertility? That you can get pregnant whenever you want.

We found this out soon enough.

Fast-forward to about 8 months later and our journey was about to change drastically. We ended up in the hospital after his mother had become ill. We sat waiting for the doctor and a diagnosis.

The doctor came and took him and his father out into the hallway. After several minutes I went out to find them. It was not good. Cancer. The doctor gave her 3 months.

I still remember like it was yesterday… We stood in the hallway of that hospital devising a plan. We decided that we could find a fertility doctor and get an appointment for the following week, and be pregnant by the following month.

How wrong we were. If only we knew then what we know now.

What’s the #1 misconception about fertility treatments? That you can get pregnant whenever you want.

I called to make an appointment with the fertility doctor closest to our house as I could find. It was a MONTH wait just to get in.

When our consultation appointment finally rolled around, I went in anxious to find out about our options. The doctor went over our medical history and said we were definitely candidates for fertility treatments since we had been trying for over a year. I told her we wanted to do IVF and get pregnant as fast as possible. She recommended we start with intrauterine insemination (IUI) before jumping into IVF. At the time, I really didn’t understand the difference and had no idea what IVF was all about. I literally thought it was as simple as getting some of my eggs, combining them with his sperm and then I would be pregnant. (I guess that is the fast and easy rendition of the story… I wish it were really that simple.)

She suggested I do some research. We also needed to do preliminary diagnostic tests before we could begin ANY sort of treatment.

Among these tests were bloodwork for both of us, a semen analysis for him, an ultrasound and hysterosalpingography (HSG) for me. The ultrasound was to rule out any cysts and to check the ovaries for proper ovulation. The HSG would check for blocked fallopian tubes.

It took another two months to get these tests done due to our schedules and the HSG having to be timed with my cycle and done on a certain day. All the tests came back normal with nothing abnormal. Initially this was a relief. The doctor reassured us that there was no reason we shouldn’t be able to get pregnant on our own and we had a good chance with the IUI.

The following month we began our first round of IUI. I really wasn’t thrilled with having to take so many synthetic drugs and hormones. I won’t even take an Advil if I have a headache, so this was no walk in the park for me. But I figured it was just for one month, right? Because then I would be pregnant and it would be worth it.

Wrong again.

The first month didn’t work, so we began a second cycle the following month. Anticipation and expectations grew that month. I also felt absolutely terrible from the hormones. I was exhausted, bloated, and had headaches. I would leave work and go straight to my mother-in-law’s house and sleep from 6pm-11pm, then go home and sleep until 6am when I had to go back to work.

The second cycle didn’t work either. I began to worry. We had one cycle left. What if it didn’t work? I had begun researching IVF and was quickly coming to the conclusion that it should be a last resort option and not something we should jump into.

Expectations were at an all time high as we began the third cycle. Needless to say, it was not a success. I was so devastated that I didn’t even return the phone calls from the nurse at the doctor’s office. It was not only me who was devastated. We had run out of options and most importantly, time. We had far surpassed the 3 month diagnosis time frame and would never reach our goal in time.

I shifted my focus to our wedding, which was in 2.5 months. I had been so preoccupied with everything else that the joy of wedding planning was completely non-existent. Before, my goal was to get pregnant. But now, my goal was to make sure that my fiancé’s mom would be able to make it to our wedding. Because how could it be the happiest day of our lives when the one person he wanted there more than anything, would not be? She had to be.

However, I was quickly learning about two things that, no matter how hard you try, want, pray, bargain—you just cannot control: creation of life, and prevention of death.

She would not make it to our wedding. She passed two weeks before.

• • •

After the wedding, I fell into a depression. Our lives together were just officially beginning but it felt like our lives were on hold. Like we were in a waiting room, waiting to get called for our turn, but our time never came.

In addition to this, I struggled with physical side effects from the hormones from the IUI cycles for the next year. My body took a full year to get back to normal.

Furthermore, my thoughts were riddled with doubt.

What if IVF didn’t work either? What would our options be then? Be sentenced to forever endlessly riding the IVF merry-go-round? Surrogacy? Adoption? Not having kids at all??? Of course these thoughts (nightmares) constantly raced through my mind. And of course my biggest fear: what if there was something wrong with me and I just… couldn’t?

I was determined to find a way.

For the next 1.5 year, I obsessively sought a solution. I won’t even go into detail on the specifics of all of the things I tried because to be honest, it’s overwhelming to even think about it. But here is a condensed list:

-Ovulation predictor kits (3 different brands, and an electronic tracker)

-Basal body temperature tracking (months on end)

-Eva bracelet

-Multiple different fertility tracking apps

-Fertility acupuncture specialist for 1.5 year

-Traditional Chinese Medicine (4 different doctors over the course of time)

-Chinese Herbs (months worth and different formulations recommended by the TCM Doctor I was seeing at the time.)

-Fertility meditation and affirmations

-Different dietary approaches

-Changed my approach to fitness in every way possible: worked out lightly, finally stopped weight training, only did yoga, switched to Pilates, only did walking, and finally tried quitting working out altogether.

-At one point I thought perhaps my bodyweight was too low (even though I am very athletic and my body has a healthy amount of muscle and fat) so I started drinking a gainer shake that increased my caloric intake by 1000 calories a day. This was in addition to my regular nutritional intake.

-Fertility massage & castor oil packs

-Myofacial Release

I tried Reiki, started collecting all sorts of crystals and leaving them in various places around the house, and even researched going to Mexico to see a Curandera. Heck, if you would have told me to dig up worms from the ground in the full moon and eat them, I would have done it. (Which wasn’t too far from what the boiled Chinese herb preparation looked and tasted like—as though I had gone out in my yard and added some soil to boiling water.)

None of these things yielded the result we were hoping for. I stopped taking pregnancy tests because all they ever did was give me the wrong answer and take away the hope that we had succeeded. Even if only for a couple days, the hope was a nice feeling to hold onto.

Sometime during this period, I worked up the courage to schedule a consultation with another fertility doctor. The doctor I went to came highly recommended from a friend, whose IVF had been successful. I wasn’t ready to begin IVF quite yet but did want to find out if there were some more tests we could do. Although all of our tests were good, I just felt like there must be SOMETHING that we had missed because it wasn’t happening on its own.

I went in hopeful and looking forward to finding a solution. Instead of offering us options to find out what was wrong, he spend the entire 45 minutes quoting statistics about how our chances drop every year and if we haven’t been able to do it yet, then our only option was IVF. I kept asking him about our previous test results and how everything said we were both “normal” (whatever that meant), but he was adamant that there was nothing else to test for… finally he said if we really wanted to test for something we could do a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. He concluded that he wouldn’t do them at his office and maybe we should “go back to the doctor we came from” if we really wanted those tests done. His exact words by the way. He then proceeded to gloat about my friend’s (the one who had referred me) husband and how his sperm quality was not good, yet their IVF cycle was successful. I assume he was trying to sell me on his competence and abilities but all I heard was “HIPPA VIOLATION.” Why was he giving me private details about my friend’s medical file? Then he said something that completely lost me—he said he had couples come from all over the world to his clinic because he was the only clinic who could choose the gender of the embryo. This is when I realized he was a complete fraud, liar and salesman. By then I had done enough of my own research to know that what he was referring to was PGS testing and ANY reputable clinic in the world offers this service to their clients.

I couldn’t get out of that office fast enough. I got to my car and felt completely hopeless. At first I wasn’t focusing on how unethical and just, wrong, the whole encounter was … I could only focus on the many statistics he listed off and how our chances were dwindling, and how there were no more tests to give us more answers. I cried the whole way home.

This was our first lesson that fertility is a huge money-making industry. Which obviously we knew, but when you experience exploitation first hand it feels so degrading. In an industry that makes human reproduction a luxury item instead of a basic human right, how can you help but feel less than human?

• • •

In August of 2017 we finally decided to surrender to IVF. We were finally ready to begin the process and we went to the first doctor that our fertility acupuncturist referred us to. We were excited by the idea that we could be pregnant by the end of the year.

In September we began the process of our egg retrieval. What I thought was that easy process of just getting some of my eggs, turned out to not be that easy. If I thought the drugs I took during the IUI rounds were bad, I was in for a surprise. This round consisted of between 5-10 oral pills and 2-3 injections per day. Not to mention that I have always had this thing with needles. For this cycle it was only a little insulin needle but I was absolutely mortified about having to do my own injections. My husband travels a lot for work and he was going to be gone during the majority of this cycle, so he would not be able to do them for me. Luckily, I have an amazing friend who was kind enough to do them all for me.

By the time my egg retrieval came, I was absolutely miserable. It was about 5 days before the actual egg retrieval when I started to experience painful bloating in my midsection. I called the nurse at my doctor’s office and she said it was normal because of the amount of follicles I had maturing. I also had to work that weekend. My high-waisted leggings which are usually very comfortable were squeezing my swollen abdomen and I was in so much pain. Additionally, I had to lift heavy items in and out of my SUV in order to set up for work.

The day of my egg retrieval, 5 days later, I was so swollen that I could barely move. My pelvis was tucked completely under so I had no arch in my back whatsoever, and I had sharp stabbing pains in my sides and back. I felt so “full” that I could barely breathe and felt like my ribs could not possibly expand any further.

My doctor advised me that I was experiencing OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) and that we would unfortunately, have to postpone the embryo transfer. I asked how long we would need to wait. We were so anxious to get pregnant and had just gone through all of this, to wait some more? It didn’t seem fair. I asked if we could just transfer the embryo anyways. She said it was not an option for my safety since it could exacerbate the effects of the OHSS and make it worse, potentially for me needing to be hospitalized. She explained it was best to let my body rest and be in an optimal state before we schedule the embryo transfer. I asked her how long this would take. She said we could probably schedule it for mid-December.

TWO MORE MONTHS? We have to wait two more months? It felt like an eternity.

It took a painful two weeks for the swelling to go down from the OHSS. To explain, this happens as a result of many follicles being stimulated by the synthetic hormones. In a normal cycle, a woman will mature 1-2 eggs that are released during ovulation. During an IVF egg retrieval cycle, you take synthetic hormones that cause many follicles to mature and release multiple eggs that can be used to create embryos which can be transferred immediately or frozen and saved for later. During one of these synthetic cycles it’s normal to have between 10-40 follicles maturing. Each of these follicles creates a little fluid bubble which holds the egg that will be released. To retrieve the eggs, the doctor goes in with a large needle through the cervix and takes all the eggs out. Once the eggs are retrieved, the little fluid bubble pops and the fluid takes a while to be reabsorbed by the body. In some cases, the fluid requires extraction with another needle because it is causing complications or there’s too much of it. With a non-complicated egg retrieval (no OHSS) a fresh embryo is able to be transferred several days after the retrieval. In our case, that was not an option so we had to freeze all of our embryos.

December finally came and we started our first frozen embryo transfer cycle. By now I was getting used to the small insulin needles and was able to do them on my own. However, I was very nervous about the progesterone shots, which were intramuscular in the glute. The needle was about 2.5 inches long. Very intimidating for someone who as a child, required several nurses to come pin me down while getting an intramuscular shot. Luckily, my husband is not squeamish with needles and I had two great friends who were very helpful in administering them for me.

The day of the transfer came and I went into the doctor’s office. As always, it was extremely busy. They called me back, the doctor gave me a photo of our embryo and went over a summary of our chart with me. She recapped our embryo count and said “you still have 8 beautiful embryos left.”

FET #1
Frozen Embryo Transfer 12/12/17

I waited in the procedure room for the doctor. She came in with 2 or 3 assistants (nurses or MAs I assumed) and said they would be doing the ultrasound to watch the placement of the embryo. I scooted into the stirrup position and doctor began prepping for the embryo transfer.

The number one thing they tell you is to relax so that your uterus can be relaxed to receive the embryo. Well there was nothing relaxing about this experience. By the time the embryologist came in with the embryo, there were 5 people in the area of my nether-regions, two of whom were doing the ultrasound and pushing very uncomfortably on my abdomen. I didn’t understand why it took two people to do the ultrasound, and two people standing on either side of doctor as she transferred the embryo. Oh well, at least it was over. Now I could begin the two week wait.

During that first two week wait I was full of anxiety and spent pretty much my first 3 days of bed rest on Google searching for answers to all the questions I had. Mostly, when had other women gotten a positive pregnancy test after an embryo transfer? Everything I found concluded that 7 days after the transfer was enough time to result in a positive home pregnancy test. I restrained myself. As before, I liked having the hope of possibilities. My previous experience with home pregnancy tests had never been positive (pun intended).

9 days was my breaking point. I couldn’t wait any longer. I bought some home pregnancy tests and was ready to take one the morning of day 10.

I woke up excited and rushed into the bathroom to take the test… I couldn’t even let it process on its own, I stood and watched the line process and waited for a second line to appear… it never did. Another pregnancy test with the wrong answer.

What did this mean? It didn’t work? I needed to know. How could I wait another 4 days for the blood test? I had to know NOW! If the anxiety wasn’t bad enough before, now it was overwhelming. I was searching all over the internet for instances of women who didn’t get a positive home pregnancy test at all prior to their blood test. This made me feel a little better. But I couldn’t help myself. I had opened Pandora’s box and I began testing morning and night. Each test only confirmed what the last one had said.

I was still going to my friend’s house every night for my progesterone shot. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I needed to tell someone. I barely got the words out and then started crying. I said I knew I shouldn’t have taken one but couldn’t help it because of all the stories of women getting a positive test after 7 days. She gave me a hug and then gave the best advice anyone could have given. She said, “their journey is not your journey.”

I knew that it was possible that we could still get a positive on the blood test so I stopped testing at home. We were leaving for vacation for Christmas so our blood test was scheduled to be done in Hawaii. We arrived and the next morning went to do the blood test. We went early at 6:30am so we could get results back earlier. I kept checking my phone and email. Nothing. It wasn’t until the afternoon that I received an email. I didn’t even need to open it because in the preview I saw the words “unfortunately” and “sorry.”

That was one of the worst Christmases ever.

When we returned and went in to see the doctor for our follow-up, we had so many concerns and wanted an explanation. She kept referencing my immune system and that we needed to suppress my immune system. (Even though there was no indication of anything being wrong with my immune system, and no tests ordered to check it.) She recommended we try again, incorporate some intralipid transfusion treatments, continue with the acupuncture, and she wanted to do the next one under anesthesia.

“You still have a lot of embryos to keep trying with.” There it was again. This time her words sounded sour. Tainted. Full of intentions that were not in our best interest. But we hadn’t fully realize this at the time.

Going against our better judgement, and blindly led by our emotions, we decided to proceed with another embryo transfer. It was scheduled for March.

This time I had no confidence in the process. I had anxiety and wanted to wait. Something just didn’t feel right. We hadn’t gotten any answers as to why it didn’t work the first time.

We went ahead with it anyways.

The day of the transfer was even more stressful than the first. The office was super busy and I had to wait for over an hour to get called back. The nurse who took me back was frazzled and rushed. She ran around and talked fast. She made me nervous. She rushed me to a freezing cold room where they did my acupuncture. Then rushed me to the surgery center where I was met by more frazzled, fast-talking nurses.

As they were prepping me for anesthesia, they were joking about different accents. I made a comment about how when I try to do accents they all sound the same. The nurse said, “Oh, just wait until we get you under the gas.” I was taken aback. What an unprofessional comment to make to a patient. I felt uncomfortable and violated as I drifted off into unconsciousness.

FET #2
Frozen Embryo Transfer 3/14/18

I awoke in the recovery room and waited there until I was feeling steady enough to stand up. As I was getting ready to leave, I remembered that I had not yet taken any of my daily medications since I couldn’t eat or drink anything prior to anesthesia. I asked for another cup of water. The nurse (or MA, not sure what she was) began asking me about my medications. She sounded surprised that I was taking progesterone shots and suppositories and asked why I was taking both. Ummm, I don’t know, because that’s what my doctor gave me…? How strange and unprofessional, I thought. There was nothing positive about that entire experience, and it certainly didn’t make me feel more relaxed.

Long story short, the second embryo transfer was also unsuccessful.

When the first one didn’t work, we were sad. When this one didn’t work, we were mad. Really mad. We were really curious what the doctor had to say this time. By this time we were convinced that their repeated comments about how many embryos we had left was a testimony about their philosophy: ‘it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work because you still have __ tries left, which equals $5,000 in our pocket every time you try.’ Of course this sounds terrible, but we decided that the doctors response would tell us everything we needed to know.

I went into our follow-up appointment by myself because my husband was traveling for work. The meeting was the most embarrassing encounter I have ever had with a medical professional. She couldn’t provide any answers, was completely unprepared and hadn’t even reviewed my file prior to our meeting. She kept referencing my immune system, like last time, only this time I confronted her about it. How do you know there’s something wrong with my immune system? No plausible answer. What about blood tests to confirm whether or not there’s something wrong with my immune system? No blood tests are necessary she said. What about more tests? No tests are necessary she said. So then I asked her what she would change on the next transfer. Nothing she said. NOTHING?!! So after two failed embryo transfers on a completely healthy, uncomplicated, under 35 year old patient, with excellent quality embryos you cannot provide ANY explanation, don’t want to do any tests, and don’t want to change a single thing on the next transfer?????

I was completely astounded. I couldn’t believe my ears. How was this even ETHICAL? What I wanted to ask her was if she planned to waste the rest of our embryos since we “still had so many left” so they could make another $35,000 off of us. There was just no other explanation.

Oh but wait, she had a suggestion. She said she wanted me to increase my visits to the acupuncturist that she had referred me to. Who? I asked. She fumbled through the file until she found the name of my acupuncturist. She looked surprised when I corrected her and told her that she had not referred me there and I had been going to this acupuncturist for a year, and furthermore that he was the one who had referred me to her office. I was amused at this point. I already decided we were going to change doctors, so I asked her why she wanted me to increase my visits. She said that some of the symptoms I had told her about (feeling dizzy when getting off bedrest) were not normal and that I should consult with my acupuncturist about why that was happening.

WAIT. A. SECOND….

Here’s a new one for you… something I have never heard of. An M.D. referring a patient to an alternative healthcare provider to consult with THEM about side effects experienced from either the medications or procedure that SHE prescribed?!

She then proceeded to shuffle through the papers of my file, presumably looking for something to blame on us as to why her methods weren’t working. Sure enough…

“I see here back in 2015 your thyroid results came back as extremely hypo-thyroid… did you ever address that?” She sounded so sure of herself.

I almost laughed. I knew the blood lab she was looking at belonged to my husband. And for that matter, any doctor who would have done an embryo transfer on a patient with the thyroid levels that were on that blood lab should have their license taken away.

“That’s actually my husband’s lab results,” I responded. “If you look at my lab results you’ll see that you ordered my thyroid levels to be checked prior to the last transfer.”

I honestly was almost past the point of being mad at this point and wanted to tell her how embarrassed I was for her in this situation. I instead told her that I wanted some blood panels ordered. She again said she didn’t think it was necessary. I told her we weren’t doing another transfer without getting some panels done. I had already researched the panels I wanted done and told her what to order.

A couple weeks later, I received an invoice from their billing department detailing the fees for my next embryo transfer… which I had not even scheduled.

This was our second lesson about how fertility is a money-making industry. Which once again, we already knew. But now we understood that there are two different types of doctors. Ones that are willing to prey on your emotions and dreams for financial gain; and ones who don’t want to waste their time or your time, and just want to do their job. We had experienced the former twice already, and had not yet met the latter… but we had faith that he existed.

At this point we learned to be very logical. IVF is a process that can cause anybody to be blindly led by their emotions. We decided our next doctor would not be based on referral but instead on facts. Every doctor office is required to report detailed statistics to the CDC so I began researching doctors based on that information. When I found the one who had the best success rates I then researched him online. I read his entire website. I read every review on Yelp and every other website I could find. When I was finally convinced he was the right one, I made a consultation appointment. Of course it was about a month to get in to see him.

On the way to the appointment I was nervous. What kind of doctor would he be? The kind who wanted to waste our time for his financial gain? Or the kind who wanted to give us answers and a solution? We were about to find out.

After presenting our medical history to him, he was absolutely appalled that our previous doctor had not ordered more tests after the first failed embryo transfer and seemed completely disturbed that she had performed my second failed embryo transfer under anesthesia. He stated he’d never had to do that with any of his patients and had no reason to justify why it should have been done. He said he treats EVERY failed embryo transfer as a miscarriage and ALWAYS runs tests to get answers.

His first course of action for us was to get a “recurrent miscarriage blood lab” done which would tell us if there were any antibodies or imbalances in my blood that prevented an embryo from implanting. (This lab, by the way, was the exact same lab that I had to BEG my last doctor to order after the second failed embryo transfer, and the lab she should have ordered on her own after repeatedly making the claim that my “immune system” was to blame for the failed embryo transfers.) He also recommended we do an endometrial scratch biopsy which would give us insight as to my uterine receptiveness to progesterone. Typically embryo transfers are done after progesterone has been given for 6 days… however, some women’s uterus do not become receptive to implantation until sometimes day 7, 8 or even 9. As a result of this, most embryo transfers are done blindly on the assumption that day 6 is universal for every woman’s uterus. That would not be the case with this doctor.

Finally! A doctor who wanted answers as much as we did. Lastly, he seemed disinterested in how many embryos we had, mentioning that it only takes one. We immediately trusted him to be our fertility doctor going forward. That was the first time we left any doctor feeling truly confident. He gave us a sense of security and hope that we had not felt before.

After deciding to proceed with the new doctor, we had to transfer our files. Part of the transferring process was to change “custody,” as they called it, of our embryos from the previous doctor’s office to the new office. This involved a ton of paperwork, after which I assumed the labs would coordinate the transfer. But turns out, I was the one who had to go pick them up from the old lab and bring them to the new lab. The offices were only 0.5 mile apart but I have never been so nervous or careful driving in my whole life. I FaceTimed my husband and said “I have all 7 of our children in the car!” He was amused and a little jealous—after all, how many people get to say that?

We immediately proceeded with the tests that doctor recommended. The recurrent miscarriage blood lab came back normal and we moved on to the endometrial scratch biopsy. Lo and behold…. my results came back showing that my uterus was not receptive to implantation until 7 days of progesterone. Not 6.

I was ecstatic. This was the first ANSWER that we had gotten from anybody since we started this process. And while it didn’t necessarily explain why we couldn’t get pregnant on our own, it did provide an explanation to why the embryo transfers weren’t working! After asking ‘why?’ so many times it was such a relief to finally get an answer.

We started our next embryo transfer the following month and this time I felt good about it. Not just good, but a deep sense of calm and assurance. I was also very proud of myself because after a year of having to depend on other people for my injections, I had finally worked up the courage to administer my own intramuscular progesterone injections.

The day of the transfer, the office was relaxing and empty, not at all like my experience at the previous office. During the transfer, the doctor and the embryologist were the only ones in the room—also unlike my previous experience. During the two week wait I didn’t obsess about symptoms and I didn’t Google a single thing. I didn’t take any home pregnancy tests and waited patiently until the first blood test.

FET #3
Frozen Embryo Transfer 8/08/18

When you do IVF, you don’t get a simple “yes” or “no” for your results. You get 3-4 blood tests every 2 days which are called betas. These tests measure the level of hCG in your blood and must double every 2 days in order for the pregnancy to be considered viable. Of course, I was anxiously awaiting the results of our first beta test.

The nurse called me around 11am. I lost my breath when I heard her say, “I have good news!” She explained the first beta level had to be over 50. Mine was 187.

I knew I still needed to go back in two days for another blood test, and there was a possibility that blood test might not have doubled. But I was so happy because this was the farthest we had yet come. I spent the next 6 hours restraining myself to get ahold of my husband who was traveling internationally for work. I knew it was around 1am and didn’t want to wake him but I felt like I would explode! I waited until it was around 6am his time and then started bombarding his phone with calls. I had bought a shirt that said ‘Surprise! I’m Pregnant!’ and broke the news to him via FaceTime. We both laughed and cried and knew our dreams would become reality.

I went back two days later for the second beta test, which resulted in a 588. The third beta test resulted in a 1503. I knew everything was going to be okay.

• • •

Infertility is crippling. It makes you feel completely helpless… because you are. Infertility is one of the few things in life you cannot control. This was perhaps the hardest thing for me to accept. My whole life I have known that anything is possible if you just go get it. Whatever it is: buckle down and work hard and what you want will be yours.

You want a better job? Go back to school, or work harder and apply for that promotion.

You need to make more money? Get a second job or work more hours.

You’re not happy where you are? So find a new place and get up and move.

This philosophy simply does not apply to to infertility. At least not in the same context. There is never a straight and clear path or answer to solving infertility. And even more devastating, is the fact that unlike the other dilemmas, which are almost guaranteed to be solved, the path through infertility is riddled with confusion and doubt… and still no guarantee.

You make plans and start to plan your life around something that hasn’t happened yet, and seemingly can’t or won’t happen. You find yourself in a constant state of waiting. For something that may or may not come.

• • •

Why am I sharing this now?

I’m sharing for the purpose of raising awareness and hope to clear some of the misconceptions and ignorance about “infertility.” I think any woman who has gone through this would agree with me that there is a lot of misunderstanding and insensitivity from people about the subject. It is my belief that generally, people have good intentions for asking about a couple’s family planning situation, and they may not see anything wrong with inquiring or offering unsolicited advice. But to put it in perspective, after reading our story and knowing what we have been through, let me ask if you would say it’s appropriate to ask us if we are planning on having kids anytime soon? And furthermore, giving unsolicited advice such as “just relax, it will happen,” asking if I am taking prenatals, and/or have I been tracking my ovulation? No, please enlighten me because I have not thought of doing any of those things before. Or my personal favorite, being told to “try harder” by someone who got pregnant on her second month of trying.

I’m also sharing because I feel a need to write it all down in order to part with it. And because I cannot tell you how many nights I laid awake late, scrolling through Instagram searching through hashtags and pages reading other women’s journeys who were similar, yet also very different from mine. Thank goodness for those women who were brave enough to share their stories—their posts provided comfort that we were not alone and at the same time, hope, that it would happen for us one day as well. I hope our story can do the same for any couple or woman, who may be going through the same thing.

3 Replies to “Our 5 Year Journey to Pregnancy”

  1. I have so many emotions reading your story! It brings up so many old memories…that feeling of being stuck in life, unable to progress to the next stage. Obsessing over temperatures (excited for a high temp in the luteal phase or worried about a low) , grateful for online friends and forums who understood because no one in real life did. Researching and researching (I too would go into the dr office and tell them what I wanted them to do -test wise)…the elusive second line…so heartbreaking.
    I am so happy for you! I am so excited to see you guys become parents. I’ve loved seeing (on insta) Tamer and Terrick with Scarlet. Men who are that involved are not common and it’s so fun especially to see a big intimidating guy Tamer with a baby!

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  2. I’m in tears reading this. I feel like I am reading my own story. I went thru basically the same thing as you. With no answers to why implantation didn’t work. We felt/ feel so discouraged. I had 17 embryos and like you due to hyper stimulation after retrieval had to wait two months. When we went back for the transfer we were told all of our embryos failed during the thawing process and we were left with two. So our only chance was that day. Well it failed. That was two years ago and more tests later I have not been able to bring myself to go thru the whole process again…the money the meds, injections, emotions. But reading this has given me hope. I thank you and wish you best of luck!

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