The Infertility Chronicles

Infertility Warrior: Natalie


Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
          In June of 2015, my husband and I made the exciting decision to start a family. We were both young, so we never imagined it would be this difficult. At first it was so exciting, but eventually, each failed month was so discouraging. Just over a year into trying to conceive, I felt off. I decided to test, and it came back positive. We were over the moon. We showed up to our first ultrasound, so excited, only to find out that it was more than likely not a viable pregnancy. It was still early – we were about 6 weeks along. We decided to schedule an ultrasound a week later, just to be sure. I had to show up to that ultrasound alone, as my husband had to work. I remember seeing the ultrasound technician’s face and just knowing what the response would be. I was immediately led to a room, where a doctor threw statistics about miscarriage my way. I was diagnosed with a blidghted ovum. He mentioned the oh-so-famous: “Well, at least we know you CAN get pregnant!” So encouraging.. I was then ushered into an office so that I could schedule a D&C with my doctor. I couldn’t afford the D&C at the hospital – it was about $1600 – I mean, who has that lying around? We ended up opting for a D&C at an abortion clinic. On November 19th, 2015, Diego and I went to the abortion clinic for the procedure. I will spare the details, but it is one of the worst days of my life. On February 8th of 2018, my husband and I had our first fertility appointment. It was so scary, but it felt so nice to feel validated and feel like we were actively doing something toward building our family. After a month of tests, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. It was disappointing, as there was nothing to “fix.” We decided to go forward with IVF. In May that year, we had our egg retrieval. I was naïve to the process, yet again. I was young, and expected to come out with several embryos and a successful cycle. We were able to retrieve 10 eggs, of which three became viable embryos. On June 19th that year, we had our first frozen embryo transfer. Again, I was incredibly naïve to the entire process. Being young, I figured it would work on my first try. That transfer did not work out, and I quickly fell into a pretty deep depression. We had been very open to family and friends about the process, and having to share the bad news made it that much harder on me. Immediately after, we went on to do an ERA cycle to ensure that my lining was receptive and had a sufficient amount of progesterone at the time of our next transfer. In a nutshell, you do everything as if you are going to transfer – estrogen patches and progesterone shots. However, on “transfer day,” they take a biopsy of your lining. My lining came back as receptive, meaning there was no reason a to why my transfer would have failed. Yet again, another “unexplained” diagnosis. Soon after, we started our next cycle to transfer our next embryo. This time, my husband and I decided to not focus all our thoughts on it. We went through the motions, but had zero expectations. On October 9th, we transferred our next embryo. And just like that… we were pregnant with our rainbow baby.

Q: What has been the hardest part?
          Darn, it is so hard to decide. I think the hardest part is how isolating infertility is. It is such a taboo topic, so you truly do not know how common it is until you experience it yourself. I felt so alone and misunderstood during those four years of struggling. I felt like my friends and family expected me to move on, but I felt like my life was at a standstill.

 
Q: What has been the best part?
          The best part is the community of friends that I made throughout this journey. When I first started treatment, I realized I had no one to talk to about it. I decided to create an Instagram account to document my journey. Shameless plug - @theroadtostella. Through this page, I was able to make the best of friends who truly understood me. It’s been almost two years of this page, and I have built the kindest and most supportive group of mom and infertility friends. While our friendship was built on heartache, we’ve been able to support one another and celebrate one another’s successes. And, so many of us are moms now! It really makes me so hopeful.

Q: Where are you now on this journey?
          At the moment, I am the mom to a beautiful and healthy 9 month old baby girl, Stella. Motherhood after infertility is so funky. Motherhood is hard, but you feel so guilty complaining and asking for help, when others long and dream of this day. We have one remaining embryo that is currently frozen. I truly do not know what will come of it. Part of me wants to cherish Stella and soak her all in for as long as I can. We would love to revisit giving Stella a sibling when she is around 3 years old. If that embryo does not stick around, we will be fulfilled and happy with Stella as our only child. Part of me is scared of embarking on this next transfer in fear that I cannot cope with another loss. However, I know that I could get through anything life throws our way.

Q: What is one thing people kept/keep saying or asking during your journey you wish they wouldn’t have?
          I could go on forever. The most popular one was, “You are young. You have time.” It was so discouraging. I felt like my journey was continuously invalidated because of my age.

Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?
          If there is anything I can say I learned, it is to be gracious with myself. Throughout my infertility journey, I really just wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. However, for a long time, I did not let myself do that. I showed up and pretended to be happy for my friends and family. Once I started infertility treatment, I realized I needed to be the best version of myself. I was truly honest with my friends and family about my headspace. I only went to events that I truly wanted to go to.  I really found my tribe during this time. I also really learned to lean on my husband. He was my rock throughout all of this. He was the only one that truly knew and felt my pain, and I took solace in knowing that.

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?
          The infertility community is sadly so darn large. It’s sad that it had to be infertility and loss that brought us together, but I have made some amazing friends along the way. I did not know if I could keep going after each disappointment and injection, but seeing them go on, in spite of it all, kept me going.


Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?

          Wow, I have so many Instagram warriors that I would love to share with you. I will highlight accounts that truly helped me through IVF treatment. There are so many more, but these did such a beautiful job at sharing the process – the good and the ugly.
          @ardenmcartrette
          @journey.2.baby
          @ttc.baby.e
          @lenaridley

Q: Where can people find out more about you? (Instagram, Facebook)
          You can find my day-to-day mom life on Instagram at @natidoesntgohere. You can find me sharing snippets of my mom life and my IVF journey on my infertility account over at @theroadtostella. I occasionally blog about marriage, infertility, therapy, and motherhood over at https://theinfertilemillennial.home.blog/




This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
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Infertility Warrior: Pandora


Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
About 6 years ago I found a lump in my husband’s testicles and we instantly thought the worst. We booked an appointment with a specialist and they confirmed it wasn’t cancer and we were extremely relieved. It turned out to be a varicocele, which is a cluster of veins in the testicles that produce heat. The doctor told us it was nothing to worry about and if it wasn’t causing any pain that it should be okay. The sonographer that did the ultrasound however did say ‘some men struggle with conception when they have a varicocele’. We didn’t think much of it at the time, we though the doctor said its fine and carried on with life.
We had our dream wedding on August 19th in Bali and were on cloud nine, we had been trying to start a family in the lead up to the wedding but got very serious with ovulation tests and timing after the wedding. We started to think why isn’t this happening and my husband kept thinking back to what the sonographer had said. His doubts got the better of him and we ordered an ‘at home sperm test’ online. We did the test and it confirmed our fears. The results read sperm count abnormal. We went to a specialist for another test and then another and all confirmed that my husband’s sperm count was extremely low and his motility was also very low. That is when they suggested IVF to us.

We booked in straight away and met our Fertility Doctor. He did further tests and said our best chance would be to do ICSI where they inject the sperm straight into the egg for fertilization. We started IVF in January 2020 and were hopeful it might just work the first time. I started injecting myself with stimulants every day and let me just say that was the easy part. We went in for egg collection surgery and I woke up to a number twelve written on my hand and smiled. The days after the clinic contacted me with updates on our embryos and how they were doing. We started with twelve and by transfer day I had 4 healthy embryos. Every phone call my heart stopped beating and I would shake waiting for the news.
We transferred our ‘best quality’ embryo on the 8th of February and were filled with excitement and nerves. The days after waiting to test were a blur. I felt so tired from all the injections and surgery and anxiety of the whole process I think I was just lost in it all. Then came test day. It was the day after valentines and I decided I couldn’t wait for the blood test so I did a home pregnancy test and all I can say is we were overjoyed. We were so happy that it had worked for us first time round. I felt so lucky. I couldn’t stop smiling every day. I would touch my tummy and smile. My husband would speak to my tummy every night and tell our baby how much he loved them. Everything was perfect. Then the bleeding started.
I started bleeding first at work the day of my blood test. The clinic said some bleeding is normal so I tried to stay calm but I wasn’t I knew something bad was happening. Then a week later I had a lot of blood and ended up in hospital. They told me they couldn’t confirm miscarriage and to keep getting blood work. My hormones kept increasing and we remained hopeful.
Then it was time for my first scan at 7 weeks. This day I will remember forever. My worst day to date. The doctor saying ‘this is not good’ replays over and over in my mind and the nurse looking at me like oh you poor thing. Then the doctor saying ‘I’m so sorry but I think you have had a miscarriage’. I cried for hours that day. My husband held me in his arms while I sobbed in bed for hours and hours.
The next day the doctor called and said my hormones were still increasing and he wanted to do another ultrasound to rule out ectopic pregnancy. He booked me in for the following day.
I didn’t get that far.. I woke up in the middle of the night in utter agony. I was a heap on the floor screaming and crying out for my husband to call an ambulance. Once the paramedics arrived they gave me morphine so that I could get to the hospital and actually move. I was in the hospital for 14 hours before they confirmed it was an ectopic pregnancy and my left fallopian tube had ruptured. My abdomen was full of blood and I was rushed in for emergency surgery.
Here we are 6 weeks later still recovering and still trying. We are ready to start IVF again and look to the future. We will be amazing parents and we will never give up trying for our baby.

Q: What has been the hardest part?
Suffering my ectopic pregnancy was definitely the hardest part of my journey and knowing I had a little healthy baby inside me that had just got lost (a lot like mum) and I would have to remove the baby to save my own life. I also lost my tube that day which has made me feel like I lost part of my fertility. I now know that I had a 1% chance of an ectopic pregnancy doing IVF. I really find it hard to believe I was that unlucky and that this really happened to me. But we stand strong and we fight for a better tomorrow.

Q: What has been the best part?
Getting that positive pregnancy test. I had taken so many in the past all negative. It was the first time I saw those beautiful two lines. Even though it didn’t result in our baby being born, I will remember that smile on my husband’s face for the rest of my life.

Q: Where are you now on this journey?
Waiting to start IVF again and go ahead with a frozen embryo transfer.

 
Q: What is one thing people kept/keep saying or asking during your journey you wish they wouldn’t have?
When can you do it again?
Why don’t you just adopt?
Why don’t you use such an such’s sperm?
It was probably not a good time to be pregnant anyway.
And the rest..

Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?
IVF is really really hard on your mental health. Prepare yourself mentally for a ride and a half. Join Instagram even on an anonymous page. There is so much support online, you will need it!

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?
Every single Instagram follower I have. They show me that we can get through anything. Without them I would be in a much darker place right now.


Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?
@ivf.diaries.dogmom @my_ivf_journey_infertility @mylifeof_love @kings_journey_to_ivf and so many more
I also follow some IVF Groups on facebook and ectopic support groups. I have found Instagram the most helpful by far.

Q: Where can people find out more about you? (Instagram, Facebook)
@ttcbabychev




This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
Submit your own story, by emailing us at infertilitychronicles@yahoo.com
Do you know someone who could benefit from this story? Please SHARE on Facebook and Instagram with your friends and family.






Infertility Warrior: Rachael




Today on the blog I want to introduce you our infertility warrior Rachael. Rachael is a mom to three beautiful children, two born after six years of secondary infertility and pregnancy loss. She is also an Advocate for infertility and her Instagram highlights the struggles and trauma associated with this journey. We are thrilled to have her here today to tell her story and answer a few questions.

Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
For almost six years I battled secondary infertility with my husband, Brad.. After the miscarriage of our second pregnancy at twelve weeks we were ushered into the heartbreak of this disease with the label “unexplained”. For almost a year after my first miscarriage I was unable to get pregnant again which led us to pursue treatment from a doctor of Reproductive Endocrinology. Many things were considered under his care; low progesterone, low sperm morphology but nothing glaringly obvious was found to suggest the reason we were having such difficulty. After trying naturally unsuccessfully with additional progesterone for months Brad and I decided on InVitro. OHSS, another devastating miscarriage and two chemical pregnancies later we chose to move on to another RE practice. During that second round of IVF we were shocked to find we had gotten pregnant spontaneously. The pregnancy anxiety after infertility and loss that I experienced during that time was a difficult and unexpected burden to bear. After three long years of waiting, our son, Dean, finally arrived in 2016.

One frozen normal embryo had resulted from that second IVF cycle. Since having exhausted our financial means and mental capacity to continue with infertility treatment we knew this would be our last attempt at growing our family with the help of Reproductive Medicine. That frozen embryo transfer in late 2017 was successful and our son, Aden, completed our family in 2018. 
After his birth I suffered life-threatening birth trauma from a placenta accreta. Waking in the ICU I immediately complained of an intense headache. Three days later, tests revealed that the excruciating pain had resulted from a large undiagnosed pituitary tumor which had ruptured from loss of blood during the hemorrhaging accreta event.
 In spite of these years of intense pain and trauma, I am acutely aware of how blessed my journey has been. I have found the family of my dreams and that isn’t everyone’s reality. I am still on the path of healing myself, body and soul. In that way, my journey with infertility continues.



Q: What has been the hardest part?
In one word: Loss
The death of my children is an indescribable pain and by far has been the hardest times in my infertility journey. But, loss also occurs insidious ways. It slowly weaves its web of destruction throughout every aspect of your life; loss of relationships, of financial stability, of a healthy sex life. A loss of faith, loss of mental and physical health. A true loss of self. It doesn’t always happen all at once, but rather takes a piece of things bit by bit.

I will forever mourn the loss of my children but, I’m also still navigating the grief I feel in all the other ways I lost myself and my life along the way.




Q: What has been the best part?
Connection. Infertility changes you. How can it not? During that long and winding road I lost - people, faith, myself. And yet, I discovered connections of love that have changed my life; the incredible infertility sisters and brothers of the TTC Community, a deeper love for my family and friends that stood by me, my husband. For God and  for myself. So many gifts along the way that I wouldn't change for anything.

Q: What is one thing people kept/keep saying or asking during your journey you wish they wouldn’t have?


    Saying “At least you have a child”
Having a child does not lessen infertility. Though I acknowledge that secondary infertility presents different challenges than primary, the fact is infertility hurts everyone going through it no matter the circumstance. Devaluing someone’s feelings going through infertility is wrong. The raw and broken emotions you feel in the death of your unborn children, in the negative pregnancy tests month after month, in the face of your partner when you tell them the treatment failed, in the physical and emotional tolls of InVitro. Having my feelings of grief, loss and pain devalued because of my having a child only caused a greater chasm in my quest to maintain mental health during the battle.
Bottom line-
Stop saying at least in any form to those going through infertility. It hurts.

Q: Where are you now on this journey?
I am in the thick of motherhood after infertility. Though I am no longer trying to conceive, my journey with infertility is still very much a part of my life in the form of healing. I wish the truth was you have a child and the scars of infertility are erased from your heart and mind. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. The scars and fallout from those years of loss and trauma, things that were not properly processed and worked through at the time are now begging to be dealt with. So these days I am mothering not only my three kids but, myself. Through persistent patient love I am committed to healing all of me, body and soul.



Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?
Support is key. In the first year or so, I battled infertility alone. Stubborn, grieving and ashamed I began to flounder as the stakes of infertility and time only grew. I felt completely alone, as if I were the only person in the world who was going through this. One evening I broke down. I realized I couldn’t do this on my own anymore. It was only when I made the choice to actively take care of myself and let others in that my world finally began to shift. I started seeing a therapist and receiving reiki weekly to care for my mental health. I sought out others going through infertility online and found a community of incredibly brave and inspiring warriors who supported me every step of the way. And I let Jesus back into my heart. I was once so angry, blaming God for the death of my babies that I shut Him out. It was only when I opened my heart again and trusted Him completely with the plans He had for my life that the burden of infertility once too heavy to carry became lighter.

Focusing on caring for myself - mind, body and spirit allowed me the endurance to keep battling far beyond what i ever would have had i not had these life lines of love and support in place. Don’t leave yourself out when waging war with this storm. You’ll need pillars of light supporting you through the darkness. You don’t have to do this alone.

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?
My daughter, Ella, was a driving force of both inspiration and desperation, and sometimes she was both at once. With secondary infertility, I felt immense guilt for not providing her a sibling. On my best days, Ella provided me with strength I didn't know I had. She woke me up when I was lost in despair, reminding me of the joy and blessings I had right in front of me. At my worst, she was a trigger to the anxiety and fear that threatened to break me. Being a mother while aching for another child filled me with conflict and confusion. I do believe she was sent to me to
I was and continue to be deeply inspired by all the men and women I met both online and in person who are going through their own battles with infertility. To be invited to share in their most intimate family-growing experiences inspires me daily.


Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?

@hopeheals
@ihadamiscarriage
@infertileafcommunity
@notsafeformomgroup

Q: Where can people find out more about you?

My Instagram account, @Motherhood_after_infertility. Here I share my life, all the big and little moments of motherhood, after secondary infertility. My hope is that these little squares offer support, awareness and connection for all mothers who have been touched by infertility, loss and trauma.
There are some incredible supportive projects in the works for 2020. I’m looking forward to unveiling them to you soon!



This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
Submit your own story, by emailing us at infertilitychronicles@yahoo.com
Do you know someone who could benefit from this story? Please SHARE on Facebook and Instagram with your friends and family.



Infertility Warriors: Jessica & Ryan Viet






Growing up I had always envisioned being a Mother. When the ever so popular question in school came up of “What would you like to be when you grow up? – my first response was always a Mother. I never once thought of being a Teacher, a Chef or the President – I just wanted to be a Mom. Growing up I watched my Mom raise us five children and did it flawlessly. She could nurse a newborn, help my brother with homework all while making us lunch and looking gorgeous while doing it. She was such an amazing caretaker, cheerleader, best friend and comforter. I knew when I grew up, I would be just like her and have a house full of kids running around. Sadly, that dream vanished, and we entered the dark world of empty bank accounts, bruised, battered and botched up bodies from countless procedures, a home with stained walls from our screams and carpet soaked in tears. Not being able to conceive children has really taken a toll on me both physically and mentally and I have become accustomed to infertility life as it has been apart of me for so long. 
We began our journey in 2013 and after the old-fashioned way was not working for us, we mustered up the courage and made an appointment with my OBGYN to see what might be prohibiting this oh so simple task. My OB performed all the base line tests and found nothing – he said we are still so young and not to worry (note to all the Doctor’s out there: never use this line on a patient because it fills the couple with false hope). To speed things up he prescribed Clomid with timed intercourse and we did the baby dance for a year. Naively we thought this would do the trick. I had never taken hormones before and obviously they were working because I was bat shit crazy, but in the end, there was no baby. After a year of Clomid, we were referred to a fertility specialist who we saw from 2016-2018. During our first consult our new Doctor looked at us and said, “I WILL have you pregnant within three cycles of Intrauterine Insemination”. We left that appointment on cloud 9 knowing we would have a child soon. Sadly, we underwent six failed medicated IUI attempts and were back at square one. 

Looking back, this is when we should have switched clinics as our Doctor had absolutely no answers and wasn’t willing to try anything different in-between cycles – our protocol stayed the same for each insemination. Feeling as though we had invested so much time in our Doctor, we decided to give IVF a shot and began in September of 2018. We had a great stimulation cycle and ended up with 19 eggs and 8 frozen embryos once all was said and done. Our Doctor urged us not to test because our embryos were of perfect quality and again “we were young”. From there we endured 3 failed frozen embryo transfers (FET) an ERA cycle which was Pre-receptive which was followed by another failed FET totaling 4 and not to mention, the loss of 8 embryos resulting in no baby. 

We finally decided to switch clinics in May of this year (something we should have done years ago) and began fresh. We took a few months off giving my body time to heal and geared up for a fresh new round. After several tests and procedures, we received the all clear to begin IVF. We started another IVF cycle; a completely different protocol and we were able to create 5 PGS tested normal embryos! It was recommended to do an HSG test, a Hysteroscopy and another ERA cycle before transferring, so that's what we did. The HSG and Hysteroscopy came back clear - tubes were open and no scarring or polyps found. We completed our second ERA cycle and discovered I was Receptive. 

On January 27th, 2020 we transferred one perfect embryo and finally after years of failures and negative pregnancy tests we received our first ever positive! When our nurse called to tell me the news I heard her say “ I am sorry, but the results are negative” and she had to repeat herself several times before my brain registered the good news. We are now 11 weeks along with our miracle baby boy and are adjusting to this new journey. 

To be completely honest, we are still in shock and disbelief. We have had a fight or flight mentality for so many years that it has been quiet the adjustment to accept that our time has finally come, and I am growing a child in my womb. Along with adjusting to our new life there is PTSD that is embedded deep into our souls. I still come across pregnancy announcements with a pit in my stomach and scroll fast as to not hurt my heart or see a mother and a child walking hand in hand and long for that reality. Infertility lives within you forever, once you become pregnant you do not suddenly become fertile – you are just now infertile and pregnant through the grace of God and science. IVF takes a toll on your body, mind, spirit and all relationships in your life. My husband and I have put ourselves on the line for what we believe in for years, not once giving up or thinking this was the end of our story. No matter how tough the battle is, never give up

We have learned to endure until we've overcome all the adversities we were facing. Miracles can and will happen – they just might take a little longer than expected. To all the Warriors out there, I see you, I am you and I love you – keep climbing Mama.

You can follow Jessica on her Instagram @mamainthemaking21.22



This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
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Infertility Warrior: Victoria

                                                            

Today on the blog I want to introduce you our infertility warrior Victoria. Victoria is endometriosis fighter as well as infertility warrior who gave birth to her beautiful daughter via IVF egg donor. . Victoria runs a successful Instagram, is a published author and blogger who openly shares her struggles with infertility. We are honored to have her here today to tell her story.

Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
We started seeing a fertility specialist when I was about 33 years old and my levels were, as my doctor put it, “that of a 48-year-old.”We started with IUI, and did about five rounds, with the full throttle of stimulation in hopes to do an IVF cycle, etc. I could only get one follicle to fully grow after all the shots and meds my body could consume. After a laparoscopic procedure I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis and diminished ovarian reserve. We still tried Injections and meds for a few more months in preparation for a potential IVF and when I finally got 2 mature follicles, we decided to seize the day! “All you need is one”, they say! Most people would never even consider doing IVF with only 2 eggs, but it was the best we had ever gotten and I needed to try. I needed to know. On retrieval day, I learned – I officially had rotten eggs. Neither egg ended up fertilizing. That was the death of my DNA. After a long break and a lot of grieving, we moved on to an egg donor, who “spoiler alert” also ended up having fertility issues. We discovered this the day before her retrieval, the day we thought we were finally on a road to having a baby. More time off, more grieving. We decided to switch doctors, and get a new donor, and ended up with 3 normal embryos. We transferred the first one, and now have our beautiful daughter, Florence. Recently, we transferred a second, but unfortunately it didn’t take.

                                                                                              

Q: What has been the hardest part?
The grief. I have been grieving for a very long time. I have tried EVERYTHING. Podcasts, yoga, writing, writing, lots of writing. Therapy. Drinking, oh the drinking. I ugly cried - A LOT. I created a shrine in my closet where I would go sit on the floor and pray, and I’m not a religious person. I don’t even know who I was praying to, but I prayed. With infertility, every day is a new battle. A battle against yourself. To stay strong, when all you want to do is cry. My strength has been tested to unimaginable depths. I wanted to give up so many times. I wanted to quit it ALL. The needles, the pills, the probing and prodding, the constant doctor visits. The procedures. The surgeries. The egg donors. I constantly asked myself - is it all worth it? The financial stress? The marital stress? I would often think: I just can't do this anymore. But somehow, I did. Somehow, I could. I just kept going. It's easy to dwell on how unfair and hard it is. But at some point, enough is enough. I knew I couldn’t be sad and angry forever. I needed to find the good to carry on. And that’s exactly what I did. Infertility showed me a new version of myself - a woman who survived tragedy and became stronger from it.

                                                                           

Q: What has been the best part?
My beautiful daughter is the best part, hands down. Also, I have become such a better, stronger person from this. I realized that if this is the only curveball I'm thrown in life, I'd consider myself pretty darn lucky. I have so much other stuff in my life to be grateful for. I have fallen in love with my husband in a deeper more intense way. He has my back in a way I can't explain. After all of this, he stills chooses me - an infertile woman. And yep, I FINALLY got my miracle baby. She came to me when she knew I was strong and ready. My beautiful rainbow after an ugly storm - Miss Florence Viola, born on our 9 year wedding anniversary, the perfect love story. And I know now, it was ALWAYS meant to be her. Had I gotten pregnant years ago, the easy way, or even with my own eggs, it wouldn’t be her. And without her, I wouldn’t be me. I used to ask myself - Why me? But, now I know why. She is why. She was always meant for us.

Q: Where are you now on this journey?
We are on hold right now, planning the steps to take for our last and final transfer, in hopes to give our daughter a sibling. There is a lot of testing I am going to have to go through to understand why my last transfer didn’t work that I need to do, but I’m not giving up hope.


Q: What is one thing people kept/keep saying or asking during your journey you wish they wouldn’t have?
Who is the “real” mom?” is a question people often ask a donor egg mom. I’m sure in most cases, this question is asked with good intention, but it’s important to understand that it’s probably one of the most hurtful things you can say to us. My answer is always the same - ME! I’m the real mom. Mom’s come in so many different forms, and every path is unique in its own way. Sometimes children have 2 moms, sometimes 3, sometimes 4. Some born from our bellies, some born from someone else’s belly. Always born from our hearts.  By asking this question, you are indirectly implying that I’m the “fake mom” and in no way shape or form, is my motherhood fake. If you google it, the definition of real is... “actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.” Think about that next time you want to ask this question. It’s insulting, it’s hurtful. I am not “imagined”. I am REAL.


Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?
NO ONE chooses infertility - it chooses us. A woman recently described this to me as being chosen for the Hunger Games - a select group of people get chosen to go into battle to fight, not knowing the outcome, in an arena where we must weigh survival against love. I truly believe that the strongest women in the world got that way because they fought for something. Because they survived something hard. Whether winning the battle is finally holding your beautiful baby or living a happy, child free life, you earned every bit of the strength you gained from this disease. Because, remember, not everyone gets chosen! We are the special ones.

                                                                                                      

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?
 This community of women has continuously been my inspiration. This is the shittiest club with the best members. Each one of us, bonded together through an understanding that only the ones who experience infertility understand. It’s a sisterhood. I am inspired on a daily basis by the other warriors in this battle with me.

Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?
For those of you considering donor eggs I highly recommend the podcast “Half of Me”. I’m also a huge fan of Brene Brown, she has a great Netflix special! Also, I started a local support group @infertilityunfiltered that is constantly sharing words of hope and inspiration.

Q: Where can people find out more about you? (Instagram, Facebook)
@expectinganything on Instagram or Facebook and also my blog www.expectinganything.com




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Infertility Warrior: Erin



Today on the blog I want to introduce you to our infertility warrior Erin. Erin is the mom to her beautiful baby girl Scottie, born via Surrogate. I am so honored to have her here today to tell her story.

 Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
          We began trying for kids when we got married in 2012. I was tracking my cycles but nothing was working. In 2013, after a routine pap smear, my OB found I had precancerous cells on my cervis to I had a LEEP to remove them. Later in 2013, I had laparoscopic surgery to remove my left Fallopian tube because it had become infected and died at some point. After recovering, we went through three unsuccessful months on Clomid. With no luck, we saw a fertility doctor. In May 2014, we tried three months of IUIs – again, nothing. So we moved to IVF. From November 2014 to August 2017, my husband and I would go through nine IVF transfers with fifteen embryos, five egg retrievals and six miscarriages. During this time, we also lost my dad, Scott, very unexpectedly to a short cancer diagnosis in March 2015 – it was then that my husband and I knew our future child would be named, Scottie, regardless of gender. Around our fourth loss, one of my best friends saw my struggles and offered to be our gestational carrier/surrogate. We took her up on her offer late 2017. In January 2018, we transferred two embryos in our surrogate, Rachel. She gave birth to our rainbow baby daughter, Scottie, on September 19, 2018 – the same birthday as my dad. It was meant to be and she is truly our rainbow after the storm.


Q: What has been the hardest part?
          Man, so many hard parts between literally having no guarantees that you might never become a mom and watching those around having children, that you so badly want – but I would say the hardest part for me was feeling like I was failing my husband and not being able to give him the child we both wanted so badly.

Q: What has been the best part?
          By far, the best part, was going public with our journey. We have been able to raise awareness for infertility and pregnancy loss, but also the incredible warriors we have met along our journey to three has filled my heart with so much joy.

 
Q: Where are you now on this journey?
          We are enjoying our life with our daughter Scottie, who is now 19 months old! We have four frozen embryos, two are “normal” and two are “mosaic” – as much as I’d love nothing more than to give Scottie a sibling, I’m just not sure it’s in the cards for us. Surrogacy cost us $40K and that was still with our friend taking no money from us to carry her. We have thought about trying again with my body, but I’m not sure I can go there again – physically, emotionally or mentally. I guess only time will tell!



Q: What is one thing people kept/keep saying or asking during your journey you wish they wouldn’t have?
          We heard countless times “just relax” or “you’re still young yet” – the best thing you can do for those that you know are struggling is to just be there with them. Truly think about what you are saying to them – you may think it’s good advice, but it may end up hurting them more.


Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?
          Be your own advocate! This is so important. With all my losses, we did have some testing done from our clinic, but I knew there was more going on so we pushed to see a reproductive immunologist. You know your body the best of anyone, so don’t be afraid to speak up!

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?
          Truly, the incredible women in the TTC community on Instagram. They are strong, fearless women and are warriors.

 
Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?
          @wearerobyn @resolveorg and @fertiliyiq are all excellent resources for those going through infertility


Q: Where can people find out more about you? (Instagram, Facebook)
          Instagram: @journeytothree_ivf
          Blog: www.ourjourneytothree.com


This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
Submit your own story, by emailing us at infertilitychronicles@yahoo.com

Do you know someone who could benefit from this story? Please SHARE on Facebook and Instagram with your friends and family.



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