It’s crazy to think about our infertility journey and how it shaped us into who we are today. It was a struggle. It kicked my ass, knocked me down a million times – but I got up every time. I got angry, cried, screamed and then accepted what was happening.
I don’t want to get into too much detail about everything in the beginning or this blog post will be extremely long. Who am I kidding? It’s going to be extremely long no matter what. So fasten your seatbelt because this is going to be a hot mess and probably all over the place – so bear with me.
Ethan and I got married in September 2010 – just three days after he returned home from a seven month deployment to Afghanistan. I decided to get on birth control a few months before he returned home since we really were unsure when we wanted to start a family. Of course we wanted to enjoy the time of just being us, be financially stable and we wanted to get the hang of the married life.
We decided in the beginning of 2011 we wanted to start trying to get pregnant.
With Ethan being in the military things always didn’t work out with timing and had to be put on hold. He was gone for training a lot and after the summer of 2011, he deployed for the second time to Afghanistan. So our trying to have a baby came to a stop for some time…
It was really hard on me to always have to stop and put things on hold due to the military – but I had to keep telling myself that’s how military family life is.
Fast forward. Ethan returned home from Afghanistan March 2012. So trying to have a baby was back on and I decided I would start trying to track my cycles. Um, what was I even thinking. My cycles were a hot mess. Pretty much nonexistent at times and I think I had a cycle for 8 months once. I could seriously smack myself for never going to a doctor sooner and figuring out what the heck was going on with my body. I was really naive when it came to all this kind of stuff, but now I feel like a pro after almost five years of dealing with it. 😉
Every month I was taking pregnancy tests after pregnancy test. Even if I wasn’t getting a cycle. I heard about girls having off cycles and still getting pregnant so I figured it could happen to me. Negative. Negative. Negative. I wanted to just light the damn things on fire.
June 2012. It was time to take another pregnancy test. Negative. I wasn’t surprised. I threw it away and left it at that.
The next day Ethan comes downstairs and says, “Well do you have something you need to tell me?!” Of course, I’m clueless as to what he is talking about. He shows me my test from the day before – and there is a second line. I explained that after time an evap line can show up and it was negative when I took it in the time frame the test says to read it.
I had this weird feeling to test again, just to really make sure it was negative. And sure enough a second line popped right up! I couldn’t believe it. I kept saying “Holy Shit!” over and over. That was Ethan’s reaction as well. 😉 I kept testing for a few days to make sure the line was still there and it was! I made an appointment to verify the pregnancy the following week.
The night before my appointment I started getting really painful cramps. . . then heavily bleeding started. My heart just broke. I knew what was happening. . . I kept asking myself “Why? Why can’t things just work out for us? Why does the world not won’t us to keep this baby?”
All my tests turned negative and my doctor’s appointment confirmed of the miscarriage.
We had already told our parents and close friends. We got excited fast, starting talking about nursery decor and what carseat we would pick out.
But no, that was all gone. My hopes of having a baby slowly started to disappear.
We continued to try naturally on our own for another year – we decided that God had a plan for us and everything happens for a reason. We were just waiting and waiting for our turn…
August 2013 we decided that we really needed to see a doctor about what is going on or not going on for that matter. The normal tests were done; pap smear, bloodwork, semen analysis for Ethan, etc.
Doctor said all looked good – no issues. I was referred to see an OBGYN off base at that time since the hospital on base wasn’t seeing OBYN patients anymore.
We started off on Clomid for 1 cycle and then I did 4 cycles of Letrozole. On our 3rd cycle of Letrozole we planned to do an IUI – but it ended up being canceled due to no mature follicles and not responding to medication. Our 4th cycle of Letrozole w/ IUI was canceled due to conflicting communication between us and our doctor.
At this point it was Spring of 2014….going on 3 years of trying to have a baby…It started to feel as if we would never have a family of our own. I gave up on the OBGYN once he told us that “We were young and had plenty of time”. Don’t say that to someone that is having difficulty getting pregnant, just don’t.
Anyways. We transferred to a specialist up north and that’s where the ball started to get rolling! Finally! I was sent off to do more testing and ultrasounds. Ethan was sent off to do another Semen Analysis and additional bloodwork as well.
We had our follow up appointment a few weeks later and we were finally told what was wrong…
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and a thyroid condition. We were told that Ethan’s sperm has a low morphology percentage. That means that the shape of the sperm is not normal. This issue comes to be a problem when the sperm needs to find the egg – sometimes they could just go in circles and not know what way to go.
Our RE put me on Synthroid and Metformin after our first follow up. She said that I’d come back in six week to retest my bloodwork to see how things were going.
Our first medicated cycle with her we did Letrozole and Gonal F Injections then would attempt an IUI. I told her that I didn’t want to waste anymore time, because we had already been going through an emotional roller coaster for the past three years and dealing with ignorant doctors.
At first I ended up not responding to the medication very well. My RE kept raising the dosage of my Gonal F. I was going in for bloodwork and ultrasounds every 2 days. Right before my IUI I had produced “too many mature follicles” and if there is more than three she won’t do an IUI.
Canceled. Over $1,200 down the drain.
I was fed up. Over it. I was at the point where I just didn’t even want to do anything else. I was angry, can you blame me?
We had yet another follow up to talk about our options – mind you, with an IUI and Ethan’s sperm morphology issues, our percentage of it even working was slim to none.
At this point she suggested IVF to us.
I couldn’t believe we were at this point. IVF. That’s a scary word.
I never in a million years thought that I would have to go through all this. But, it was all meant to be. Someone sent me this message once saying that God only picks certain people to go through struggles because he knows we are strong enough to handle them. I am so thankful for such a strong husband who pushed us to keep going. Our relationship grew tremendously throughout all of this and I just couldn’t imagine going through this without him.
For our IVF, we attempted to do a fresh cycle in November 2014 but it was canceled after my egg retrieval due to OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). I had 26 eggs retrieved, 16 fertilized and 6 made it to freeze.
February 2015. We were onto a frozen transfer. I felt like a brand new start. A new year had started and I had been on fertility meds since November. My body got a break from all the needle poking and hormones being pushed.
February 25th we transferred two perfect embryos. At this point, I wasn’t even thinking about my IVF not working. I had been pushed down so many times, I just wanted to be excited and happy for a moment.
It’s hard to keep yourself from not getting attached so fast and to probably something that will just smack you right in the face. But at that moment after our transfer, I wanted to be excited. I wanted to be happy that I had two embryos inside that could possibly grow into my babies!
My pregnancy tests turned positive. Two lines. They stayed and got darker. I couldn’t believe it. Thinking back to that day and telling Ethan, it was something we waited for for a long long time.
Every infertility story is different. There are no two stories that are the same. It doesn’t matter if you tried for a year or 12 years. You struggled. We all went through it. Infertility bonds people together instantly. Once I started to open up about our struggles, I met some amazing people. People I’ve never even met in person but through social media.
Not everyone is open about their hardships with infertility – it took me a few years to finally say something. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared that someone might not understand – because let’s be honest, someone probably won’t. You have to move past those that don’t understand or say/ask stupid things you don’t want to hear.
Reason I decided to be more open was that I wanted to bring awareness to this disease, awareness to what Ethan and I were going through, and maybe inspire someone else.
The other day I posted about NIAW and being open about your story. I got the sweetest comment that just shows you why I opened up.
The comment says, “You’ve inspired me to talk about our journey once we start the process! Knowing how open you are about your IVF makes me feel so much more comfortable to talk about ours once we start! So thank you!”.
I’m sorry this post is long. Forgive me. If you made it this far, thank you. Thank you for sticking by and reading our story.