In February of 2013, I stopped birth control and we were ready to start trying in March. In our hearts, we knew it could take a few months...though when you make the decision to have kids, you basically wanted them yesterday! My hopes were elevated when my monthly visitor didn't come on time...but my pregnancy test was negative. I waited a few days, tested again...negative. I waited, and waited, and nothing happened. For 90 days, I was in limbo, mentally exploring all possibilities. Could I be one of the rare cases where I AM pregnant, but the tests don't detect it? I spent those months analyzing my symptoms and it quickly became an unexpected obsession. I finally saw a doctor, who didn't question it much other than to say it can take up to 6 months for cycles to return to normal after birth control.
Ok...give it more time. I took progesterone to induce a new cycle and we finally got a fresh start to give it another go. Another 70 days before my next cycle, and another 75 days after that, and I finally had a doctor pay attention to me. Turns out I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, aka PCOS. Without going in to too much detail, this basically led to our discovery that we would likely need some form of assistance with my fertility.
2014 was filled with many more prayers, 5 rounds of Clomid (a medication that makes you ovulate), 2 IUIs, lots of blood work, changing diets, starting Metformin to regulate my cycles, trying any "tricks" I've read about, and a lot of emotions.
I had friends start trying, announce their pregnancies, and have their babies all in the time AFTER we had started trying. I started to feel so alone in this journey. Why was it so easy for everyone else? What did I do wrong in my past? What is the lesson I'm supposed to take from this? Side Note: It is NOT easy for everyone else, their journeys are just different then mine. I know people who tried much longer than we did. I know people who adopted (what a glorious miracle that can be!). And I sadly had friends lose babies, too...an experience I would never wish upon anyone.
I got on Facebook and saw complaints of morning sickness and swollen ankles; I saw comments like, "I can't wait for this pregnancy to be over," and "Well, surprise, we're starting a family before we planned to!" Each negative comment about pregnancy was like a knife in my heart. How I longed to be the one "suffering" from the symptoms of creating a miracle baby.
In December of 2014, our conception journey went into high gear when I was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (finally) to get some serious intervention for my fertility! I was scheduled for an HSG in January, which was slightly painful, but a pretty quick and easy procedure. The test came back with clear tubes and I was officially diagnosed with "unexplained infertility." On one hand, we were glad nothing serious was discovered, but on the other hand, there were still no answers for our struggle. There was no explanation as to why this hasn't happened for us yet.
As we approached our two-year anniversary of trying, we were ready to jump straight to In Vitro Fertilization. God's timing allowed us to use my cycle that started right at the end of January. We ordered our medications and tried not to get overwhelmed!
On Friday, February 13th, I began giving myself injections. It started with one each night, a few days later it was two injections each night, and eventually, it was three injections a day.
On Thursday, February 26th, I had my egg retrieval. We drove up to Iowa City during a snow storm. I was under anesthesia for the procedure and when I woke up, I was in an unreal amount of pain. The codeine wasn't touching it, and the heating packs barely helped. The doctor came in and explained that he nicked a blood vessel during the retrieval and I lost a bit of blood, and he had to stitch my ovary up. I eventually got some morphine and had to spend several hours resting before we could finally leave.
On the plus side, he was still able to retrieve 9 eggs. We found out the next day that 7 fertilized! My recovery from the retrieval was pretty rough, I had a fever and lots of pain. On top of this, Ryan had to start giving me progesterone injections every single day (the needle was long and the location was not a spot where I could inject myself).
On March 3rd, we were back in Iowa City for the embryo transfer. We found out that we had a great quality embryo to transfer back in, plus four more that would be frozen for future tries. The transfer was a much smoother process than the retrieval, quick and painless!
|Baby Hackbarth's First Picture|
I was pretty much in disbelief. I went crazy. I took test after test after test. I even took more after my blood tests confirmed HCG was rising like it was supposed to.
|This isn't even all of them...|
I have been given the gift of motherhood and I can't imagine a better gift, other than that of my amazing husband who has supported me in ways I never thought I'd need him to.
I recently read this blog post that was a letter to infertile women...and it broke my heart. I could identify with almost every single struggle she mentioned. If you have time, please read this post from The Courage In Me. It's a long one, and if you don't have time after reading the novel I just wrote, I think the most important take away for me was the very last paragraph: You are not broken. You are not less-than. You are worthy of love. You are whole. Forgive yourself because you’ve done nothing wrong. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are deserving of acceptance and belonging. Be kind to yourself and love yourself. Know that you are enough. You matter greatly. You are loved. You are not alone.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with infertility, going through fertility treatments, or just needs someone to talk to...please email me or call me. I felt very alone in my journey for a very long time, I wish I had known someone I could talk to. If I can be that person for you, I would love to!