My husband and I have been struggling with infertility since 2012. We kept our situation private for so long—only our families and close friends understood what exactly was happening. In the beginning of trying to conceive, I feel like your feelings are too fresh.
I can't even count the times someone would ask us when we were going to have kids, and I just brushed it aside with a generic response: "Oh, you never know” or "We will see!'
When really deep down, I would go home and just be so frustrated, sad, mad, sad again. We had tried everything. Clomid. Femara. NOTHING had been successful. After endless rounds of testing, blood samples, medications, more testing... I was told that I had PCOS and hormone imbalances. We were informed that we had a less than 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on our own and maintaining a pregnancy to full term wouldn't be a possibility without medical intervention. I was devastated.
We took a break and decided to wait a while. Having a child in our life didn't define our relationship. In fact, we looked around and saw how lucky we were to have such a wonderful life. After going through what we had experienced already, we felt that the right option would present itself in the future.
My husband, Jarrick, and I knew that this would be our best—and quite honestly—only option. IVF is such a weird thing. For so many people, it’s this dramatic final “last chance.” For others, it is an amazing way to plan your children. For us, we were just excited. After all these years we had finally found this golden pot of options at the end of the faintest rainbow. We researched where we wanted to go and instantly felt this strange connection with our doctor. I can't say enough amazing things about her: She was so helpful. She reassured us we weren’t crazy after so many doctors before seemed to not care. She cared. She still cares so much.
Being the planning couple we are, we wanted to ensure we did everything possible for this little embryo to be successful. We had some ups and downs during this process. A softball sized fibroid was removed from my body in October 2016 before we could even consider starting IVF. This set us back a few months and honestly was such hard news to accept when we found out. During this time, all I could think was, “At least I’ll have a baby by the end of 2017. The wait was going to be worth it! I was going to be pregnant.”
The entire IVF process was new and exciting. Who would have thought I would anticipate poking myself in the stomach and hips with needles? Soon, this seven-month IVF process would all be a blip in time and we would know in March if we were going to have a baby.
We did the shots.
We had the retrieval.
We did the genetic testing.
We discovered out of six fertilized blastocysts, two were viable.
We implanted out little boy blastocyst.
We were patient.
We were so hopeful.
We were going to have a baby.
Then life had a different plan.
At 5 p.m. on March 13, 2017, I got the call: “I’m so sorry Michelle, you did not have any HCG present in your blood test, you are not pregnant.”
To say I was shocked wouldn’t be true. I remember the nurse saying, “I'm so sorry Michelle. Please let Jarrick know we are so sorry.'' But I mostly remember that I sobbed. I don’t know if I have ever felt physical pain from words. I did then. I cinched my stomach, curled up and cried.
It just didn’t work.
I had kept a personal journal of my IVF experience. I hadn’t even shared it with Jarrick. I couldn’t wait to announce “I’m pregnant” and have this journey all drafted out on paper. A physical representation of my path to motherhood. My child would read it one day and think how special they were that this was how they came into this world. All of those words are so painful to read now, I can’t even look at it. I’m sure one day I’ll be really glad I have some of my feelings written out, but right now those emotions are so raw.
How does this happen? How? We had done everything right.
It was a boy.
I was supposed to be pregnant.
I was going to grow this little boy. He was going to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I was going to let his hair grow out. We were going to make homemade play dough and build sculptures. Our holidays would be filled with new traditions and love. We would have this little soul in our home that I had envisioned myself always having. He was going to be my baby. I just knew it.
We didn’t take any home pregnancy tests during those long 10 days before our blood test.
I didn’t drink a drop of caffeine.
I avoided deli meat and sushi. I obsessively read every article on “What to do to make your embryo stick.”
I had a morning and nightly ritual of shots, pills, suppositories.
All in hopes that this little embryo would stay.
How could it not work?
For myself, I have struggled with the feelings of not understanding the why. When you follow steps to the exact word, how do things not work out? The last week following the news felt like a blur. We had so many wonderful people in our lives reach out to us and made us feel SO loved. I had never really understood how loved we were, and how many people were rooting for this little babe to stick. We are so blessed. At our doctor appointment I discovered I wouldn't be getting any definite answers. I wanted my doctor to tell me so badly that if we made a simple change it was going to work. Instead, we found out that we just happened to be part of that 30%. The group that IVF just doesn't work for even when things look perfect.
We had decided that this bump in the road was not going to stop us from being hopeful, excited and optimistic. We couldn't let this loss define us. We had determined that if there was a specific reason our transfer didn't work, and if there was an immediate change that we could make, then at that point we would implant our last embryo. If there was no reason it didn't work, we didn't want to put all the pressure on that single embryo we had left. It felt like too much—like we were betting on this one to work—and if it didn't we would be back to square one.
We have decided to start again. Step 1. Retrieve some eggs. Fertilize those bad boys. Try again.
Sometimes things don’t make sense and today we are just trying to figure out how to deal with that. We are excited. We are optimistic. We are so blessed.