I write this to give others hope. To help others know that better days are ahead. The long, lonely, frustrating days that you are currently enduring will one day come to an end. Your story will be something you hold on to and share with others to give them the hope that I want to give you with this letter.
The experiences I went through and still go through with my infertility may not be the same as yours, but I know that we have both longed for hope. We have both hoped for positive tests. We have both hoped to get an answer to questions we can’t get answered. We have both endured countless disappointments.
As I share my story and experiences though infertility, I hope you can take a little something with you to help you through your own experiences.
My story of infertility starts 10 years ago. I met with my OBGYN and learned that I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). At that time, it didn’t mean much to me other than I had irregular periods and it was a cause of my acne. If only I knew then all of the other details about PCOS and how it would affect my future.
Jump forward 6 years to when Scott and I had been married for a year and we felt that it was time to start growing our family. After several months of trying with no luck, and knowing that I had PCOS (now with more knowledge) we decided I should go visit an OBGYN. I was in a new town and wasn’t close to my former OBGYN, so I had to find a new one. I went to a clinic that was well known in my new town and met with a new doctor.
Clomid to Ovarian Torsion
My doctor recommended that I get on clomid, which I agreed would be helpful – so I started taking it for my next cycle. Everything was going great and things were going as planned, so we thought. Then, in August of 2015 I suffered ovarian torsion – when the ovary twists around the ligaments that hold it in place – cutting off blood flow to the ovary and fallopian tube. After enduring hours of endless pain, a trip to the ER, and surgery – my ovary was removed and I was on my home for a long recovery.
The doctor that did my surgery for the ovary removal became my new OBGYN and still is to this day. At my post-op appointment my doctor recommended that I visit with a fertility specialist because I had lost a vital organ to help getting pregnant. The fertility specialist that was recommended had a several month wait, but it was worth the wait!
Meeting with our fertility specialist gave us so many answers to questions we had been waiting to get. He even explained things to us in a way that we completely understood what difficulties we now faced and how we would overcome them. At that appointment, we decided that we would wait several months before moving forward with fertility treatments.
At one point, in June 2016, I started to get the beginning pains I had when I experienced the ovarian torsion. The flashbacks were not enjoyable and I knew that the sooner I got in to see what was going on, the better. So, I went into the ER and initially we didn’t know what was happening. The ultrasound wasn’t clear and all that could be determined was that I had an ectopic pregnancy, but we didn’t know where. I went into surgery and we prayed that everything would be okay – because one scenario left us with not being able to have biological children.
After the operation, Scott and I were met by the surgeon and learned that things went well and the ectopic pregnancy was in my fallopian tube This was the scenario we prayed for, and we were grateful to hear it, but we also knew that our infertility was even more complicated now with a missing right ovary and left fallopian tube.
The Start of IVF
With these new circumstances, we needed to meet with our fertility specialist, and luckily he was able to get us in very quickly. We made plans and by August we started our IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) journey. You can read more details about if here – IVF is a GO.
One thing to know when you get ready for IVF, is that there is a cost, a BIG cost, but there are incredible programs to help you get funding to start your IVF journey. We were blessed to have incredible workers at our fertility center that had done research and provided us several options of loans that we could use.
In September 2016 I began the medications for our first IVF round. The first set of medications I took were preparing my body for the egg retrieval. When going through IVF and taking medications, timing can be very crucial. After the first few experiences trying to get pregnant, we learned that it is extremely important to listen to my body. My body tends to run ahead of schedule, and you can read more here about how we went forward with things – because that didn’t go as planned. But, then October came and it was time for the Next Step: FET.
We had a successful Frozen Embryo Transfer and were so excited to share the news with our family and friends that everyone had gone well and our sweet baby was on the way! Because this was an IVF baby, we would meet with the fertility center regularly to check on our little babe, and everything was looking great. At 10 weeks, I graduated from the fertility center and started meeting with my OB. Everything continued to progress and we were on the road to welcome a baby girl to our family.
However, at our 18 weeks I had a scare when I had an episode of a lot of bleeding. I immediately thought I was losing out baby and called Scott in tears. After talking to him, I called my OB’s office to tell them when was going on. I went in to get everything checked out, and everything looked relatively good. The final think we checked was the cervix and the placenta. After an ultrasound, it looked like I had Placenta Previa (the placenta is low in the uterus and covering all or a portion of the cervix). There wasn’t anything that could be done, all that changed was watching to see if the placenta would move throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.
About two weeks later I went in for my 20-week full anatomy ultrasound appointment. We were so happy to see her cute finger, toes, arms, head…it was all so cute and she was looking so strong and healthy! The final thing to check was the cervix, and when the ultrasound tech checked, she couldn’t find it. At that point, she went and got my OB to have him check and see if he could find it. After he looked, he had a hard time finding it, so I was taken into another room where my OB did a physical check and learned that I was dilated and he could already see the water sack. With this news, we were heartbroken, but hoped that things would be ok. We were sent to a hospital where there was a NICU in case I delivered soon.
We checked in to Labor & Delivery at the hospital and I was continuously checked on until I could get in to see a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist. We waited a while, and eventually were taken to a different floor in the hospital to go to MFM. I had an ultra-sound done there and discussed with the specialist what our options were. Of the three options we were given, we chose to wait for the water to break and welcome our daughter early.
With her early arrival, we knew that she wouldn’t be able to live very long. The doctors and nurses were wonderful at preparing us, and we anxiously awaited her arrival. After several hours, we welcomed our daughter Emma Jane into the world and into our family. We were blessed to spend as much time as we did with her and still cherish that time we had with her.
IVF-Take Two is where our second pregnancy began. The IVF cycle went well and then before we knew it, we were pregnant! We chose to find out at the time of the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) if it was a boy or a girl – and lucky for us, it was another girl! We were so excited and could not wait to meet her.
Throughout this pregnancy I met with my OB and MFM regularly, because of everything that happened during our previous pregnancy. At 13 weeks I got a cerclage (a stitch in the cervix) to prevent pre-term labor. Everything was going great and our little girl was growing healthy and strong. Before we knew it, I made it to the “safe” time in the pregnancy – 32 weeks. At this point, if she was born early there was enough that doctors could help her continue to develop appropriately.
On August 29, we welcomed our daughter Annabelle Rose into this world and into our family. We couldn’t believe how much love we had for her and the joy she brought to us was and is still indescribable.
Enjoy the Journey
Infertility has been a long and bumpy road for our family. Through all of it, we have learned so much and grown as a family in ways we never imagined. Do we wish that starting a family was easier for us? Absolutely. But, where we are now is a special place for our family and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We have our two daughters that we love more than we could ever describe. They mean the world to us, and we long for the day when we can add to our family again.
Through your heartaches with infertility, don’t give up. Stay strong. Keep going! Good things are coming to you and your family. Take one day at a time and Enjoy the Journey. You will look back on all those days and be grateful for all that you have learned and where you are now.
I promise, it will all be worth it!