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




This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
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