Blog: The 1-in-8
Our infertility journey began in January 2015 when we decided to start trying to conceive.
I’ll never forget the extreme excitement I felt just at the thought of becoming pregnant and the beautifully ignorant bliss of believing it would happen on the first attempt. I immediately made an appointment with my OB/GYN and I remember the physician chuckling as I stated that I wasn’t there because I was pregnant, but because I was planning on becoming pregnant and wanted to make sure I was “healthy and prepared” for pregnancy. Well, since I was a seemingly healthy 28 year old who exercised daily and ate well, I was quickly assured that I would likely be seen back in the office pregnant within a month or two. Unfortunately, little did I know that it would end up taking over 2.5 years before I would be seen back in that office, pregnant.
Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. Gradually I lost myself. With each passing month and accompanying menstrual cycle, I felt the sadness and disappointment completely fade my bright world of excitement, to grey. It wasn’t long before that sadness transitioned into anger. A LOT of anger. Irrational anger. Anger that my body was failing me and I didn’t know why. Anger for all of the unplanned pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies and pregnancies that happened to others on the first try. Anger for everything with the word “baby” attached because it was the one thing I desperately wanted but seemingly wasn’t allowed to have. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous and bitter towards everyone I knew that had become pregnant at that time, because I was. I tried not to show it so I distanced and isolated myself all the while trying to keep my infertility struggles behind closed doors. I convinced myself that I need to quietly just tough it out, suck it up and deal with it. It’s not that big of a deal when people in this world suffer from way worse things than just difficulty trying to make a baby, right? Wrong. I wish I reached out for more support when I was at my lowest. Only a few friends and relatives knew of our struggles because I so desperately wanted to make that magical, surprise baby announcement I had planned in my head the moment we began trying to conceive.
After about a year of trying to conceive on our own and continuously hearing, “You’re young, stop worrying, you’ll probably be pregnant next month,” we turned to the Florida Institute of Reproductive Medicine (FIRM) for help. For the first time in over a year I felt hopeful and excited again. I felt in my heart that they would have “the answers” and be able to quickly figure out why we were having a hard time becoming pregnant. We wasted no time, immediately dove in and had every test under the sun completed ranging from simple blood work to invasive procedures, all coming back with normal results. While this should make the average person feel elated, it only made me feel worse. I wanted to know why I wasn’t becoming pregnant. Where is the missing puzzle piece? Why am I now being diagnosed as “unexplained infertility” when everything and everyone is telling us that we are young, normal and healthy? Over the course of the next year we completed four intrauterine inseminations, also referred to as IUI’s with each one sadly failing. After our fourth failed IUI I knew I had to step away and attempt to pull myself out of the darkness I began to find myself collapsing back into again.
We knew the next step would have to be IVF, it was our last realistic shot at becoming pregnant with our own baby. We began our IVF cycle in January 2017. I will never forget how absolutely terrified I was. Terrified for the expense, the hormones and the reality that if this didn’t work, it was all over and I would never feel what it was like to actually be pregnant with my own baby. I recorded a video of our nurse showing us how to mix the medications, and on the first day of my injections I watched that video no less than 5 times before I finally had the courage to start mixing them myself. Now comes the hard part - injecting yourself. You can tell yourself over and over how it’s “no big deal” until the needle is physically in your hand, ready to go. I had to have a solid 10 minute conversation with myself to muster up the courage to do it. Thankfully, after that first initial shot, all the rest that followed truly became effortless.
12 days after injections began it was time for the egg retrieval. We had planned on doing a FET (frozen embryo transfer) a few weeks later to allow my body time to somewhat “normalize” after being injected with hormones for 11 days straight. Well, prior to going under anesthesia for the procedure I was told that everything looked so great that we could just come back within a couple of days to do the embryo transfer, no need to wait and do a frozen one! I quickly texted my husband the great news before going under anesthesia . I WAS ECSTATIC. I remember waking from anesthesia thinking, “OH MY GOD I MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PREGNANT NEXT WEEK.” As the grogginess from anesthesia began to fade I was welcomed by my husband and our physician that performed the egg retrieval. Little did I know that grogginess wasn’t the only thing that would be fading. Yet again, so would my excitement. You know that stomach-sinking feeling you get when you just know something isn’t right? Yea, cue that feeling right about now.
Our physician informed us that while retrieving my eggs, he noticed one of my Fallopian tubes was leaking fluid and believes it to be a hydrosalpinx. Oh, and this needs to be corrected via surgery. Yep, surgery. So that embryo transfer I was just told could be next week will now be in a few MONTHS. I didn’t just cry, I UGLY CRIED in the car on the way home. Here we were, yet again getting knocked down when everything seemed to be actually working out for once. I will never forget my husband turning to me during that car ride after about 20 minutes of crying and saying, “Cry. Let it out, feel sorry for yourself for a little bit and then move on. You’re strong and SO much stronger than this!” My husband has always been incredibly supportive, encouraging and right by my side through our infertility battle. His unconditional love is truly what prevented my heart from shattering during the hardest of times. I don’t know why, but that moment during the car ride home after surgery truly changed everything for me. That was the last time I cried over our infertility. I began meditating, exercising even more and did everything I could to maintain a stress free and somewhat mellow mindset.
After a two month wait, surgery day was finally here and I was an anxious mess to say the least! Little did I know that a simple laparoscopic surgery to repair one damaged Fallopian tube would result in BOTH of my Fallopian tubes being removed because they were damaged beyond repair! My doctor also found endometriosis and a large fibroid that had to come out! I was literally baffled at just how much of an “internal disaster” I was, but also relieved to know that this was the source of my infertility all along! I couldn’t be more grateful that my physician noticed the hydrosalpinx during egg retrieval when completing our IVF cycle. Had he not, we would have gone forward with the embryo transfer and it would have failed. I will forever be appreciative that our diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” was finally explained after 2.5 years!
After a six week recovery from surgery, we went forward with our frozen embryo transfer on May 28, 2017 and two weeks later found out that I was finally pregnant! To say we were overjoyed would be a complete understatement. It was pure bliss.
The pieces of my heart completely fell into place the day my daughter was born and I will forever be grateful to the physicians at the Florida Institute of Reproductive Medicine who helped make our dream of becoming parents a reality. There’s really no nice way to say it- infertility SUCKS. It’s by far the most difficult experience of my life, but I would never change my story. I 100% believe I am a stronger woman and a more patient, loving and appreciative mother after the battle I had to fight just to bring my daughter into this world. If you are dealing with infertility, please do not struggle in silence! Reach out! Ask for advice, seek additional medical help and don’t give up hope! You don’t have to fight such a difficult battle alone! E-mail or send me a DM on instagram! I am more than happy to answer any fertility questions or provide advice to the best of my abilities!