It is #nationalinfertilityawarenessweek and My best friend shared her IVF journey on social media today and it brought me to tears. I think speaking out about this is necessary, because so many people don’t. It’s an isolating and defeating time, and the initial joy and hope of starting your family starts to disappear with every cycle of tracking, temping, and testing. This is a long read but it is my journey if you want to walk through it with me. This is my way to becoming a mama before I ever thought I could be one.
I am #1in8 even with 3 kids. I am no longer #infertile and that makes me feel sad for those who haven’t moved to the next chapter and joy for having a family of my own. It has been over 5 years since I have gone through all of these emotions during that raw time and you do feel guilt about why you have had success and why so many others who deserve to be parents haven’t yet… or won’t.
This picture is the day I found out about Jaida. It was 2 in the morning after setting up for Tiffany’s wedding. I thought I was a little late, not uncommon with PCOS. It was negative when I tested before I took a shower. It was a line when I got out. I can’t describe the range of feelings I experienced seeing that line and wondering if it was a strange evap. If it would stick. Could my body do this naturally without the progesterone supplements like I had for the others?
When I found out about Jaida, Casey was just starting to assess her IVF journey after starting IUI and not having success. I was so afraid to tell her. How could I tell my best friend we had a surprise pregnancy when we weren’t trying or ready to try? How could I be the support she needed knowing that every time we talk about it, she is waiting so patiently for what I am experiencing? And yet, she was so incredibly supportive for me when I needed her ear. I have friends who have wanted children of their own and haven’t been able to… how do you share your joy with them knowing it may reopen those feelings? And yet they were so supportive of me as well.
I was a lucky one. We had an 8% chance of successful IUI with Brett. I am clomid resistant. On my 4th round of this drug and I still wasn’t maturing any follicles. John and I had the talk about how much we were willing to try. My employer offers fertility assistance for a lifetime max of 20k. That meant we could go up to 1 round of ivf before financially we were done. We decided it was worth trying. My RE decided to “double up” the 4th clomid dose after my day 12 scan showed inadequate follicle growth for an additional 5 days of meds, a repeat ultrasound, and a trigger shot with 1 mature egg at day 21 of a cycle. The IUI upped our chances by 2% of success so we did it and had our miracle baby. We spent 2 years trying for baby #1.
I had my first OB tell me I was “young” and “likely nothing was wrong” when I went 90 days without a cycle. He told me to try another 6 months and come back if I couldn’t get pregnant. After another 60 days of no cycle, I switched doctors. After 3 rounds of clomid at my current OBGYN, I sought an RE. It included blood draws, ultrasounds, and very time sensitive medications. It included insurance calls and fighting for prescriptions that had to be filled same day they tried to deny covering because it was more than three consecutive fills at a local pharmacy instead of doing the “online order” through Express Scripts. It included an HSG to check if my tubes were clear enough for an egg to travel. The best decision we ever made was to seek a reproductive endocrinologist.
We met with the RE for a second baby when Brett was just over a year, and we were told the treatment before would not likely work. Our odds of success were considerably lower. It would probably take many more tries and time, so we got started right away. They tried Femara, a medication commonly used to treat breast cancer. Day 12 scan showed inadequate growth again, so it wasn’t working for me. My RE doubled it again for another 5 days. We got 2 potential eggs! Our success chances went up to 15% with IUI so we did it. Our miracle Chase was born. 1 round of IUI and we were having our second baby!
On the outside, it may seem like this came easy for us. Three kids 4 and under… but you don’t know how your body will maintain pregnancy until you are there. There is so much that can go wrong… so much to consider. And before Brett was conceived we didn’t know if we would get to have a family. And yet now we have a house filled and so many others don’t get that in life, and it isn’t fair for them. I have #pcos and it impacts your fertility, your body, your weight, your emotions… it is hormonal and emotional.
For everyone struggling, I am here to listen. I will carry hope for you to have the family you dream of. I will pray for you if you want me to. I will celebrate your victories with you. I will cry with you in your moments of defeat. You are not alone.
Below are the images of my best friend’s fertility journey post from today, shared with her permission. She is is due with her IVF miracle boy in 5 weeks. She is such a strong woman! I hope it gives you hope, or peace, reading her story as well as mine. We are all fighters. #infertilitysucks.