My journey to grow my family consisted of too many blood draws to count, dozens of invasive tests, and spending ridiculous amounts of money just for the possibility of what others take for granted everyday – having children. We started trying to have a baby soon after getting married in 2008 and we quickly learned that getting pregnant would not be as easy as we had hoped. After visiting several doctors and undergoing numerous tests, I found out that I had uterine fibroids and my husband suffered from male factor infertility. In 2012, my husband had a varicocele surgery in hopes of helping with sperm quality. In 2013, we attempted our first Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and we thought, “For sure, this is it!” Unfortunately, our IUI was unsuccessful and we were devastated! In 2014, we would experience the heartache of yet another unsuccessful IUI. To make matters worse, we were constantly being asked, “When are you going to have kids?” This question stung a bit more when asked the same week we found out our IUI was unsuccessful. Although we were tired of the constant disappointments, my desire to become a mother was still there, so I knew I had to keep fighting!
In 2016, I was advised to undergo an open myomectomy surgery to remove 13 fibroids in hopes of finally being able to conceive. After a grueling six-week recovery, I found a new reproductive endocrinologist (RE) and we were told that our only chance of having a biological child would be via IVF. A rush of emotions came over me from sadness to anger to fear. It was so unfair that my husband and I were both young and healthy individuals but struggled to have a baby. I fought feelings of envy and jealousy that other couples could just look at each other and get pregnant, even if they did not want to have a baby. Nevertheless, we decided to move forward with IVF.
IVF is one of those things where you have no idea what you are getting yourself into until you begin. You do everything “right” and there are still no guarantees. You begin to question, “How many eggs will be retrieved?” “Could I have made more eggs?” “Will the eggs fertilize?” “Will there be any embryos left to transfer or freeze?” Our first IVF cycle yielded two perfect embryos viable enough to transfer. Since we decided to do genetic testing on the embryos, we found out the genders prior to our frozen embryo transfer. We transferred both embryos and began daydreaming about the life we would have with our two boys. I grew more and more excited as I pictured my first ultrasound and imagined hearing their heartbeats for the first time - I secretly began planning their nursery. We were yet again heartbroken when we learned that our embryos implanted but had stopped growing. Those two embryos were all we had left, and we had nothing to show for all the money, time, and painful injections endured. For the first time in almost 10 years I felt as if our journey was over and we would never have any children. I was heartbroken, but I knew I had to keep trying. I felt as if my body was not able to endure another IVF cycle - I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially drained, but I still couldn’t give up my dream of becoming a mom.
Over the next three months, my husband and I worked on our physical and mental health and decided to do a second round of IVF. We completely changed our diet, implemented an exercise regimen, started acupuncture, and incorporated supplements. I knew this was our last chance and I wanted to ensure we did everything possible to increase our chances of a successful IVF! Our second IVF cycle yielded three embryos and although I was grateful for our embryos, I was also disappointed that we did not have more. I remained cautiously optimistic as we prepared for our second frozen embryo transfer. I wanted to be happy about the possibility of finally getting pregnant and becoming a mom, but after experiencing almost a decade of disappointments, I was too afraid to allow myself to get too excited. When transferred our strongest girl embryo I laid my hand on my belly every day and spoke to her. I prayed that this was it and I wanted nothing more than to meet our baby girl in nine months.
Each day after my transfer and leading up to my blood test to find out if I was pregnant, I grew more anxious. I decided that I would not wait until my blood test to find out if the transfer was successful, instead, I did something I had not done in over five years – I took a home pregnancy test. Imagine my surprise when a second line showed up on the pregnancy test just six days after my frozen embryo transfer. I had waited 3,530 days to finally see a positive pregnancy test. While I was excited to finally see that second line, the fear instantly began to creep in. Too many times during my journey I had let my guard down and gotten excited with good news, only to be heartbroken once again when the bad news came. I felt relief when I finally received my blood test results a few days later and learned that my beta pregnancy numbers were high, which indicated that I had a strong pregnancy.
A few weeks later we had our first ultrasound and I was in disbelief when I saw our baby girl for the first time. I could not believe that we had beaten infertility after ten years and I was finally going to become a mother. I embraced my pregnancy and even on my most difficult days filled with nausea, pain, and discomfort, I was grateful for the opportunity to carry our baby girl. Over the next nine months I was able to experience the moments I never thought I would have the opportunity to experience; attending my baby shower, preparing for my maternity photos, and designing a nursery!
On a perfect December day and at 38 weeks pregnant, I went into the hospital for my scheduled c-section and we walked out as a family of three. We named her Victory because we had won the battle against infertility! All the shots, tears, and disappointments were worth it when I saw Victory for the first time. Even on the darkest days during my journey, I am so glad that I never stopped fighting to become a mother. For those still waiting for their “victory” never stop fighting! When the journey becomes too difficult for you, learn to rest, but do not quit. Find a support system to lean on and gain strength from a higher power. My journey to become a mother was anything but easy, it was filled with countless highs and lows but, in the end, we finally had our Victory, and I would not change a thing!