I’ve spent the better part of a decade being mad at my body for not doing what so many others seem to do so easily. Making babies. A couple of years ago, I *think* I finally just let it go. Surrendered to the fact I couldn’t will it to fulfill my demands. Did that surrender, that release of stress result in some magical pregnancy? Umm, no. People that say things like “oh, just go on a vacation” or “drink” or “just relax… it’ll happen” are up in the night. While my infertility woes weren’t washed away on the beaches of Maui, what letting go of all that did do was release the negative energy and anger towards myself that held me back from embracing the amazing journey I’ve had the opportunity to be on.
Despite all your best efforts the fact is, some things aren’t easy to control. You may not have any fallopian tubes… maybe you have a low AMH… endometriosis. Who knows. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been impacted by infertility in some way (I’m sorry) and know how demoralizing it can be to face these challenges. Challenges you’ve done nothing to deserve and feel so incapable of facing on your own. And while this ride will nearly knock you out of your seat, the view on the other side is so sweet. Totally worth the bumps and bruises along the way.
I’ve been through 2 successful IVF cycles. After 7 years of infertility, my husband and I had really embraced the IVF process and assumed that would be how we had all our children. Remember that part above about control? Well, just as I became comfortable with our pathway to parenthood, we were sidelined by an UNexpected pregnancy. But, this post isn’t to hash out the details of the past as much as catch you up with where we are today…. After a successful, but very UNplanned, pregnancy- we found out we were expecting again. I wish I could say I cried tears of joy, but I didn’t. In fact, I was training for a marathon at the time and hopped on the treadmill as fast and as long as I could. Shortly after we found out we were expecting, we lost the baby. The sting of loss is sharp. The wound is deep and difficult to pull back together. But, the world doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow. So, you tell yourself statistically things aren’t all that abnormal and just find a new way to live in a world of loss. And then you get pregnant again.
But pregnancy after loss is funny. You kind of sleep with one eye open and don’t believe it’s real. You get some labs drawn and things are moving up in the right direction. But, you’re not ready to put yourself out there for an ultrasound yet. So, you put it off until you’re 11 weeks. You take your husband with you to your first sono and get all the congratulations as you make your way past the front-desk, to the nurse, to the lab tech. Your OB does some housekeeping and then you head over to your ultrasound. And there it is. It doesn’t look right and your OB says “Um, this is abnormal. See there, there’s no heartbeat.” And just like that, the sky falls. Time feels frozen. Frozen in the worst way. Stuck hearing those words over and over and over again, “there’s no heartbeat”.
I leaned into this loss that I couldn’t control or prevent pretty hard. I gave my body grace as it worked hard to pass that baby on its own. I surrendered (again) to the fact that so much of this life and the business of making babies isn’t easy or directly in our control. And, I bottled it up and used it to give me the courage to call my miracle makers (Dr. Jerald Goldstein and Dr. Carlos Guerrero).
So here we are, taking on some very real and very hard challenges… ones we can’t control and asked for help. Putting our hopes and dreams into someone’s hands who can do mighty things. This week we had PGD performed on our 5-year-old snowflake babies that have been our ace-in-the-hole for the last half-decade. It’s easy to tuck something away and use that as a security blanket. Moving them into play on the other hand, that I found out isn’t as easy. IVF protocols and technology has changed a lot in the last 5 years. We learned some new things in our consult with Dr. Goldstein. We also learned during that consult that even though we hadn’t tested the embryos for genetic health 5 years ago, didn’t mean we couldn’t do it now. That despite two recent miscarriages, we could stack the cards in our favor with finding out information about these two teeny tiny, but very real glimmers of hope. I was hesitant at first. Seemed selfish to manipulate sleeping beauties like that. But you know what, Dr. Guerrero took time to answer my questions and provide me with sound advice. The nurses listened to my *silly* worries and reassured me that I wasn’t playing God. Fertility Specialists of Texas again proved to be my biggest champions and most ardent supporters in expanding my family.
In a world where there are so many things you can’t control… so much heartache with the longing to bring a child into the world, yet your body just can’t seem to do it on its own, there are people like Dr. Guerrero (and his amazing embryology team!) who take tiny glimmers of hope… and with the sharpest of minds and steadiest of hands, carefully work magic that help make your dreams come true.
We don’t know the results of our PGD yet, but I am grateful I have an embryologist who with painstaking precision- thawed, biopsied, and re-froze some of my most-precious gifts yesterday. And just knowing FST is on my side, helping me fight this battle makes me feel like it’s all gonna be okay.
So, when your hands can’t carry the load… it’s okay to hand off the burden to someone who can.
Hi! I’m a proud IVF mom of three amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: firstname.lastname@example.org