Hey all you cool cats and kittens (haha, I had to)! Did you know April 19-25 is Infertility Awareness Week? I figured it would be a good time to throw some hope around, especially with all the fear of Covid-19 surrounding us.
If you’re new here, in 2016 I lost my daughter Amelia at 28 weeks gestation.
Losing our daughter was extremely unexpected and was just the beginning of the heartbreaking journey my husband and I would take to have our family.
After losing Amelia, the longing inside of me to have children intensified. As soon as my husband and I were cleared to try again, I did everything possible to get pregnant naturally. I woke up early to take my temperature, used OPKs (ovulation predictor kits), took supplements, drank the special tea, got acupuncture, saw a naturopath, joined online communities for advice, and spent countless hours reading books and articles trying to make sense of it all. After a year without success, I went to my OB for help. He prescribed me my first dose of fertility medication, Femara.
Finally, A Diagnosis
I took a low dose of Femara for 3 months without any signs of ovulation. I spoke to my Dr. about some pain I was having and after some ultrasounds, he finally diagnosed me with PCOS. Thanks to my hours of research, I just knew I’d need more help.
Finding out I had PCOS answered so many questions I had about my body and why it didn’t do what I felt it was supposed to do. While my girlfriends suffered through their monthly periods, I was lucky if I got a few periods a year. I now understood why I had such terrible acne, even in my adult years. Mostly, it made sense why I couldn’t get pregnant on my own.
I scoured the internet for a fertility specialist, and it only took me one phone call to find the relentless people who eventually got me pregnant with my rainbow baby. My doctor and nurses held my hand during painful diagnostic testing, coddled me when the anxiety became too much, and stayed positive when I was ready to give up.
So Many Shots – Not The Fun Kind
I spent almost 2 years on Femara. I supplemented with Menopur shots, and triggered egg release with Ovidrel. In those 2 years, I was consistently poked and prodded. I had at least 3 ultrasounds a month, countless blood draws and follow-up calls with bad news. I took dozens of trips to the specialty pharmacy for my fertility medications, and saw lots and lots of negative pregnancy tests.
In January of 2019, we hit our 2 year mark of trying to have another baby. I took the cycle off for my mental health and went right back to it again in February. When that cycle was a bust, I honestly felt done. I wanted to stop trying. I started forcing myself to accept that I wasn’t going to have any more biological children.
One morning, literally 2 days before I’d need to start up my next cycle, I felt very strongly that God was telling me “one more time”. That feeling kept weighing on me almost suffocatingly. I prayed and fasted and decided to listen and give March a chance.
And on March 28, 2019 I finally saw 2 lines on a pregnancy test.
It was light, but it was there!
Our Rainbow Baby Is Here!
Our second daughter, Quinn, came 10 weeks early on October 6, 2019. I was induced after finding out I had preeclampsia and it was attacking my body with a vengeance. She spent 68 days in the NICU before we could finally bring our rainbow baby home.
Our family’s journey to have a baby of our own was not easy. Infertility is never easy on anyone. Many times throughout our trials I was asked why I was taking it so far. Why don’t we just adopt or foster or take a break and “see what happens”? Answering those questions all the time was really hard on me. Sometimes I couldn’t even get an answer out and I’d just break down into tears.
The honest answer is, I don’t know. I can’t explain why I had this desire inside of me to be pregnant and have a biological child, especially since my husband and I have always wanted to foster and adopt. I just did, and I know now that that’s okay.
I found this community of women struggling in the same way I was struggling. Too many of us hide because we don’t want to answer the questions or feel the shame inflicted on women who struggle to get pregnant. I remember searching online for anyone in the world to talk to who could understand what I was going through because sometimes I just couldn’t understand it myself. The one thing I’d always find, even on my very worst days, was hope.
I am so thankful to the women out there hurting who still radiate hope.
Losing a child and battling infertility is excruciating, but there is hope and it is healing.
Right now, there are women who are having to put their dreams of starting or expanding their family on hold because of the pandemic. Cycles are cancelled because clinics are closed or because IVF cycles are “elective”. Pregnant women are giving birth during this craziness, going to Dr. appointments alone or are stuck inside and aren’t able to experience the pregnancy they imagined. There are women scrolling through highlight reels and plummeting deeper into the TTC (trying to conceive) depression because their journey doesn’t look like hers or even mine. This is a sad and scary time for a lot of us.
This week I am praying extra hard for all women in their battles. I see and love you all.