Infertility Warrior: Tess

Photo by Lindsay Chan

Today on the blog I want to introduce you our infertility warrior Tess. Tess is a mom of a beautiful little boy Ferris, and pregnancy loss survivor. She is also a author of a children's called "I'm very Ferris." that gently explains the IVF process through a child's point of view. We will be giving away a copy of this wonderful book this week on our Instagram. We are thrilled to have her here today to tell her story, talk about the inspiration behind her book and answer a few questions. 

Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.

I never thought becoming a mama would be hard. 
After over a year of trying to conceive, my husband, Dan, and I were referred to a fertility specialist.  After a surgery and many blood tests, it turned out that there were problems on both sides, and the odds of conceiving without medical assistance were less than 1%.  IVF would give us approximately 63% success in conceiving, and not knowing what I would be in for, we decided privately that IVF would be our chance to carry a baby. 
I had seven eggs retrieved, and all seven were successfully fertilized.  In the process of IVF, we ended up losing some of the embryos and were down to three to be sent for genetic testing.  One needed to be discarded, and one came back positive for transfer.  There was one embryo that did not come back with a result, and I remember the doctor’s office asking me if I wanted to have the embryo retested.  Dan and I decided that we did, and while that embryo went out to be retested, I could have the embryo that came back positive transferred. 
A few days after a successful transfer, we were cautious and careful in everything I did.  I took off work the day I took the blood test to find out whether or not I was pregnant.  I wanted to be alone and as prepared for the result as possible.  Then I got the call…we were pregnant.
I decided not to tell Dan until he got home. I had baby Air Jordan’s and flameless candles set up in what would be the future nursery.  When Dan went upstairs he was so happy, and I was feeling things I couldn’t believe…I was finally pregnant.
Right before the transfer it is important to note that we received information that the embryo that needed to be retested came back positive.  Stunned at this news, we decided to keep that embryo frozen and would think about the possibilities later. 
It was time for additional blood tests to see how the baby was doing and the pregnancy progressing.  I remember getting the call telling me that the HCG numbers should have doubled but mine did not. Worried about what could happen, I did all I could to shield Dan for the heartache and pain of bad news. The numbers were not rising, and I had a miscarriage.  Knowing how excited Dan was about me being pregnant, and then telling him we had lost our baby, well, some moments truly make you stronger in life.  That pain is something I will never forget.
We now had one embryo left that could be transferred.  Soon my body healed and with continuous shots and medication, I was ready for the transfer of the final embryo; the “surprise” embryo that was retested and came back positive.  I remember that whole week acting completely different than I did with the first transfer.  I was doubtful and felt like I needed to prepare myself for further disappointment. But, Dan reminded me to stay focused on this fighter embryo.   And so I tried.
We had the transfer, and I remember our nurse specifically telling us to do everything opposite we did with the first transfer.  “You’re not superstitious are you?,” she asked.  Being that I am not, we tried to be as normal as possible and not live in fear of the tiny embryo that was fighting to stick inside of me and become a positive pregnancy.  And even though my body was reacting completely different with this transfer, I did all I could to remain calm. 
Then the day came for the blood test to determine if I was pregnant. This time, I went to work and tried not to think about what the result would be.  When I got the phone call that afternoon, the nurse was happy and told me the transfer was successful, and we were pregnant.  Still, knowing that things could take a turn for the worse (the HCG number was lower now than with the first transfer), I played my emotions cautiously.  A few days later, I took another blood test, and the HCG number grew more than expected.  I remember getting the call, and this time things were dramatically different.  The pregnancy was healthy and although anything can happen, we were farther along than before!  I called Dan with the news, and I will never forget the tone in his voice and how he reacted that day. That little, last fighting embryo we had worked.

Photo by Lindsay Chan

On April 20, 2018, after four hours of pushing, I gave birth to the most incredible, gorgeous blessing in a baby boy.  His name is Ferris Jobs, and Dan and I love him so much our hearts hurt.  I remember the day he was born.  We chose not to find out the gender or tell anyone our name choice.  When the nurse handed him to me and said I had a son, Daniel and I looked at each other and cried (so much so that the staff had to ask us if we were okay!).  It was the single greatest moment of our lives.
So, yes, I never thought becoming a mama would be hard.  But now that I have Ferris and a completely new outlook on life, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Q: What has been the hardest part?

Knowing that there is still such a negative stigma for women with infertility and children of IVF.  As an infertility advocate and someone who has gone through miscarriage and in vitro, I work everyday to help others understand that this is completely normal and not anyone’s fault.  There is no need to go through this in silence or shame…ever again.

Q: What has been the best part?

Living my best life with my family complete.  I have my son and my husband (my pup and my cat, of course), and I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Q: What is one question you wish people would stop asking?

“Are you sure you aren’t just trying hard enough (or doing this (insert whatever you can think of and I have heard it) or giving it enough time?”  Seriously, what the hell is that supposed to mean to me?

Photo by Lindsay Chan

Q: Where are you now on this journey?

So with Ferris’ birth, not only did my life change, but so did my career.  I decided to start my own company and create the only children’s picture book series focusing on IVF through the eyes of a child.  It is called, “I’m Very Ferris,” with the first picture book published in 2019, and the second to come in 2020.  It is my passion, and I am so honored to see the lives it is touching through a storybook explaining IVF for a child to understand.

Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?

There are so many support groups and people out there that do “get it” and for me, it has become somewhat of a sisterhood.  Complete strangers hear my story and end up giving me a hug.  We are not alone in this journey, and although everyone has opinions, the ones that truly care for you and about you, will never judge or try to hurt you.  Those are the people you want around during this time of ups and downs and everything in-between.

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?

My husband.  He has been the best friend a person could have through this all from day 1.

Photo by Lindsay Chan

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

Wow…there are so many, and it is a personal preference.  When it comes down to it, find what speaks to you and helps you get what you need without the “noise” of unnecessary advice. 

Q: Where can people find out more about you?

Instagram:  @tesskossow
Facebook:  Tess Kossow
                 I’m Very Ferris

This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
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