it’s national infertility awareness week. having personally experienced the struggle with bringing children into the world this week has a significant meaning to me.
i wanted to be a mother my whole life – more than i ever wanted to be anything else. after 10 months of trying, one of our friends recommended that we see a fertility specialist. she said she had, and she learned that her thyroid was messing with her hormones. she took some thyroid medication and boom! she was pregnant.
we figured if a fertility specialist could fix our problem so easily, we may as well see one! our experience was different than our friends. he didn’t have answers as to why we couldn’t conceive, he could only offer various fertility medications accompanied by invasive treatments. the doctor suggested we try a few rounds of IUI’s (intrauterine insemination) and then move into IVF (in vitro fertilization) if that didn’t work.
we were still pretty young, and both worked in a call center, so money was tight. but IUI’s are more cost effective than IVF so we decided to give them a try. now i say more cost effective, but WITH our very decent insurance, we were still investing about $1500 per month in medications and appointments. we tried this process for four heartbreaking months. just before our third wedding anniversary, our clinic called me and told me that my fourth cycle hadn’t worked, and if it hadn’t worked after this fourth time then the probability of it working after this dropped considerably and they recommended we move forward with IVF.
my heart broke. we couldn’t afford IVF, and honestly id lost my faith in any of these treatments. we didn’t move forward with it.
for 5 years we struggled with not being able to have children. im pretty private with my emotions as im experiencing something, so not many people knew that we had even ever tried to start a family. every time someone asked me if we wanted kids i would spiral into a pretty bad space.
4 years after our failed IUI cycles, scott convinced me to try IVF. and that’s when our lives began! it wasn’t easy. our insurance required that we do 3 rounds of IUIs before moving into IVF. i was pretty upset because i knew IUIs wouldn’t work for me, but this time at least my hopes weren’t high and my heart didn’t have to shatter every month. all of this was just to build up to the one process i had some amount of faith in – IVF.
after 3 more failed IUI cycles and 4 months into treatment (one month i had a cyst and i had to skip treatment) we started the real prep work for IVF. this meant daily injections and pills, and frequent appointments. I lived my life by calendars, counting the days between appointments and medications.
this is one of my medication calendars. all of the blue text are injections, green are pills, and red are appointments.
(Some of my medications)
(Some more medications)
(daily injections were my least favorite)
all of the medications seemed to work very well, I developed about 30 follicles, which resulted in what my fertility team called “kissing ovaries”
and as adorable as that sounds- it’s super painful. every step i took was really uncomfortable and it became difficult to stand up straight. and regardless of what people said to me- it was not “good practice for pregnancy”. I had a twin pregnancy and it was not comfortable by any means, but id rather do that again.
finally the day came for embryo retrieval. my hard work paid off, and of my 30 follicles they were able to retrieve 28 eggs- which is awesome!! i was super proud of myself.
but because i had so many follicles/eggs my body’s hormone levels got out of whack and i went into hyperstim. hyperstim is THE WORST!!! lots of swelling, puking, and all over pain.
(sorry this is a long story!)
after about 2 weeks, that pain subsided and i was able to go back to normal life.
after retrieval i had to complete a month of birth control to help level out my hormones and then we were able to move forward with IVF.
when the big day came we were excited and hopeful, but i was mostly scared. scared that this was our last shot at our dreams of being parents and scared that it would never happen. i was also scared because i thought i would be dissapointing a lot of people if it didn’t work. i didn’t want to tell them how id failed again. how body couldn’t even do what it was meant to do.
im so thankful that i was able to share good news after IVF. that my struggles with infertility had a happy outcome. but ill never forget that empty, lonely, sinking struggle. im glad i had such a great team of doctors and nurses, family and friends to help me through the process. if you’re looking for a fertility specialist in AZ, check out Dr. Craig at the Fertility Treatment Center. best. team. ever.
best. boys. ever.