Friday, January 4, 2013

Fellow IF Warriors - Molly

Thank you for sharing....and thank you for supporting.

Getting pregnant was supposed to be easy, or so I thought.  My life had followed the traditional path: graduate from college, get a job, and get married.  Having a baby was the next step in the process.  Infertility did not run in my family; in fact, quite the opposite.  So I was stunned in late 2003, after a year of loosely trying, when my doctor said let's just be sure there's nothing wrong.  I was 25 years old, married 2 years, and working a job I really liked.  Fertility testing was not even on my radar.  I agreed and started to worry; after all, if a doctor worries enough to suggest testing, then she must think that it's a possibility.

Fast forward 2 years.  After numerous tests, increasing doses of Clomid, and 4 failed IUIs, we found ourselves facing IVF.  The first cycle did not go well and I ended up doing yet another IUI (which again failed).  In January 2006 though we tried again and while the results weren't fantastic (only 3 embryos to implant on day 3), we were finally blessed to be expecting.  That first cycle was lonely in it's own way.  Not too may of our friends and family knew we were traveling this road.  After all, not too many couples in their mid-20s need such advanced fertility treatment.  By the time we decided to expand our family in 2009, we opted to bring more people into the "secret" as we called it.  We were once again blessed to be expanding our family.  We could've easily stopped there; two children families are very normal and no one would've batted an eye if we didn't have any  more.  But something was missing so we decided to go again, but opted to bring just about everyone we knew and make it no longer a secret by writing a blog (thanks to Molly and Haylee for the inspiration!).  After all, if my voice could help someone else then it would be worth it to open myself up to the world.  I am very fortunate to be expecting again and truthfully very glad that this journey is coming to an end.  It has been a long, sometimes painful, and a definitely very difficult road.

 Olivia, mother of 2, expecting #3.

For the last two years, my husband and I have been trying to conceive. The first months of our journey consisted of not trying, not preventing. That moved into the "try everything you read about on google phase", which lasted for the better part of the rest of the year and a half. At this point, I had what we believed to be a chemical pregnancy. All of the textbook symptoms and experiences that go along with it with there. We waited for a bit, then started to pursue our family adventures again. Unfortunately, our next positive test brought us to a very early miscarriage. The doctors throught my progesterone was off, when it was normal. Something just didn't connect and I had a very early MC. Luckily, I didn't have to pursue a D & C, although it didn't make it any less of a heartbreak for me.

Another year later, still no baby. No positive test. Nothing. After using everything under the moon suggested by women who had success, I felt like a failure. My marriage was starting to have some tension. Why weren't we getting pregnant? What was taking so long? My husband and I would talk about babies and it seemed like I was so desperate to have one, and it was just something at to him, would "happen when it was the right time". Of course, we all know that is the last thing you want to hear after failures and heartbreak. Why wasn't this happening for us? Naturally, everyone around me was falling pregnant left and right. I couldn't log on to facebook or be apart of a conversation without someone mentioning that a cousin of some sort was pregnant, and of course, they weren't even trying. I knew we needed help, and I was really scared for what was next.

The first approach was to see my Ob/Gyn, who for several months did the CD 3 & 21 test on me. My FSH was coming back elevated, and my day 21 test was confirming ovulation. Still, no pregnancy. Finally, my OB requested a sperm analysis on my husband. We thought everything would be fine, and maybe it was just be who had some sort of issue. We weren't prepared for the call that told us that his count was under 900,000, with awful motility and poor morphology. They said we would need to wait three months then go to a urologist. WAIT? I was not about to wait even longer. It felt like a waiting game the entire time I was asking my Ob for help. Luckily, our insurance approved infertility services through her, so with a little bit of a fight with our insurance company, we were able to go proceed to Reproductive Endocrinologist in St. Louis, Missouri.

Our initial consult was just like we anticipated- we were told that naturally, we had a 1-3% chance of conceiving naturally due to my husband's counts. IUI was not an option for us due to his motility, but IVF with ICSI was. I remember hearing this and thinking how great that was, but when I got home it started to sink in. "I'm 25 and have to do IVF?". I felt broken. Less of a woman. Within that depression, I did find hope. Hope that we had a 50-60% chance that we would be able to get pregnant, and hope that I was now at a facility that would help us make a baby. We are proceeding to IVF-ICSI in January, and I plan to use my blog to document the process.

Of course, there were a lot of bumps in the road even with our RE. At one point, they thought my FSH indicated that I had no eggs. If you are ever told this based off of your bloodwork, request for them to investigate the issue more. That day, they did an ultrasound on my CD 14 and I had 26 follicles that they said looked promising for a lot of eggs. If I would have said, "okay, lets do donor eggs, that fine" I would have never known that I did have eggs. I have learned that numbers from blood drawls aren't always conclusive on what is going on with your body. We were also told that IUI was a possibility as well, but we would have to use donor sperm. Yet another thing I had never anticipated hearing. I never thought I would have to consider in my mid-twenties not having a biological child. Through these moments I was crushed. Depressed. But through all of them, I prayed non stop and my faith grew as big as it ever had been.

To me, infertility has been somewhat of a blessing in disguise. I say that and laugh, because I think blessing? This journey, no doubt, has been awful. I've been through the emotions of angry, hurt, hopeless, defeated, worthlessness. My marriage has been strained many times due to infertility towards the beginning. But the greatest thing of all, is that you have the choice to either fight this, or to fall back and let infertility take your life over. It doesn't have to be like that. I grew up in a very rural community with a tight knit family. My parents were big on structure, and I have a tendency to be a bit of an introvert. Infertility has pulled me out of my comfort zone, and made me truly fight for a chance for a future child. Infertility has made me stand up straight, love others more, appreciate the moments I have with my siblings who are 10 and 15. Its made me grateful for my husband, and its strengthened the trust that was lacking a few years ago. Our relationship has a greatly improved and I do believe infertility has helped fix quite a few things in my life that were lacking. It also humbled me. Years ago, I would have told you that I deserve to have a baby due to my not so ideal childhood. I realize that a baby is a gift to be appreciated, not something that you are owed simply because you've had a hard time in the past. I do know, however, that infertility has given me the mindset that I will unconditionally love and appreciate my child that much more due to the fight to bring him or her into this world.

My friendships have been a little distant due to this, but I have made a lot of friends and gained support through other avenues.  The community of infertility has so many wonderful women who I really look up to and appreciate. They have been my rock through some difficult times in

As of now, I am very nervous yet anxious about my upcoming month of IVF. I'm nervous about the shots, the retrieval and the transfer. Ultimately, I know that my faith will come into play and I will need to rely on that when I feel weak and sad. I need to trust that things will work out as they should, and not be fearful of what is to come after the transfer- negative test or positive test. Right now, I'm trying to reflect on the things I've learned as I'm gearing up for my cycle, and find a lot of comfort talking to others about what I've been through and what is next for us. Praying is a huge help to me as well!

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