I never planned on sharing this story. It hurt too much.
Then, I realized that stories like these are what kept me going. Kept me hoping. Kept me from losing myself.
So here goes. Our unexplained story.
Maybe it’ll help somebody. Maybe it’ll help you. Maybe it’ll just help me.
It starts with my husband and I becoming best friends, falling in love, and getting married. We knew we wanted kids. Not right away… but someday. So when people began probing for information on when we’d have kids, we jokingly replied “Maybe Someday!” We figured it would just happen someday. No need to rush. We weren’t not trying. Someday was bound to come soon enough.
Someday turned into years and there was still no baby in sight. No pregnancy. Nothing. Surely “someday” should have arrived by now.
Countless Baby Shower Invitations. Pregnancy Announcements. Second, Third, and Fourth Children.
It was time to talk to my doctor.
First came pills. Nothing.
More pills. Nothing.
Stronger pills. Nothing
Further testing. Invasive testing. This was going to be worth it, though. At the end of this, we’d have a baby.
Testing for the hubs.
For us, this was a hard pill to swallow. If there was something wrong, there may be someway to fix it. Unexplained meant… we don’t know why. There’s no fix.
Next up, Invitro Fertilization. Better known as IVF.
If you’ve gone through IVF, or are planning to, I’d like to give you a virtual hug. *hug*
If you haven’t, I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s not easy. It starts off with classes, then drugs. So. Many. Drugs. Then more classes to learn how to use the drugs. Doctor’s visits. Every other day. Massive financial burden. IVF comes with a substantial price tag. Both monetarily and emotionally.
None of that mattered. Our chances were high of conceiving a baby. Finally. A baby. Our baby.
IVF cured me of my fear of needles. Daily numerous subcutaneous injections on myself. This was my designated protocol. Nightly intramuscular injections that my husband was to administer on me.
It was our routine. Ice the area. Hold breath. Exhale. Wipe tears. Kiss. Bandaid. Massage area with a heated pad. Bed.
Our daily lives didn’t budge. We were crazy busy. Wedding season was in full swing. The medications made me emotional. That didn’t matter. We were going to have a baby. All of this was worth it. Just a few more months.
Our friends knew nothing.
In fact, some made occasional mention of not wanting children. I wanted to burst and let them know that I did. I did want a child. I was just too ashamed to admit that this was a desire that was so difficult for me to obtain.
Now comes retrieval. After a possible OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome) scare. I felt like a science experiment. Off to Boston we went with our hearts on our sleeves as they extracted my eggs. I was scared about being put under for this procedure. I held my breath as my husband blew me a kiss. Off to OR I went. A prayer under my breath.
The phone rang a few days later. Results were good. We had successfully fertilized embryos!
We head back to Boston in the morning. It’s time to get pregnant. This time, my hubs could come into the OR. A few pinches and some pressure later, we saw our little embryo enter the uterus through an ultrasound screen. It wasn’t the way I ever imagined I’d get pregnant. It was beautiful just the same.
We stopped for lunch. I was careful with every step I took. I didn’t want the baby to fall out. I know that this is a totally ridiculous notion but I was determined to keep this tiniest being safe.
Now we wait.
Ten long days.
We go in for bloodwork. Hopeful. Ever so hopeful.
Nothing. No baby. No pregnancy.
“I’m sorry hunny. It just didn’t stick.” is what the nurse tells me.
“Now we try again.” Explains my doctor.
I breathe in deeply. At least this time, we only have to do the second half of the procedure because we were lucky enough to get another chance.
Time to be brave.
We start different drugs this time. These made me a mess. My anxiety reached levels that I had never experienced. I couldn’t sleep. I cried. A lot.
I spoke with my doctor. Time to end this cycle and try again in a few months.
After all, third time’s a charm right?
Here we go again. Third try.
New drugs. Both injections and oral. The injections are intra-muscular again. This time they’re oil based. They hurt more. I don’t care. This is it. Our last chance. Time to give it everything we’ve got.
Our lives were crazier than ever. More traveling. More weddings. More work. More photography sessions. I choked back emotions during newborn sessions in particular. Family gatherings included reports of pregnancies. Everything was buzzing. Everyone was right where they were supposed to be. I felt like we were standing still. In limbo. Waiting.
It was time again. Off to Boston we go.
The OR was so quiet. It was right after Thanksgiving and we discussed what we had for dinner. Let’s keep this casual light talk. This time, I prayed harder.
Ten days to wait.
This time, I knew I was pregnant.
I had morning sickness. I had symptoms! I FINALLY had symptoms! I loved my symptoms. “Give me all the morning sickness”, I thought to myself. I didn’t mind one single bit.
I was terrified of getting my hopes up but so very hopeful at the same time.
Let’s go for bloodwork.
The call came in a few hours later.
“We’re pregnant!” I screamed as I ran into my husband’s arms.
To say I was elated was an understatement. I was beyond in love with our baby already.
This was going to be the best Christmas ever.
It was 2 days to Christmas Eve. The tree was twinkling. The music was playing in the background. I was baking banana bread.
I suddenly felt “off.”
I’ll spare you the gore.
We lost our baby.
This was the worst Christmas ever.
I lost myself for a little bit here. Second guessing my self worth.
I was broken.
I couldn’t do it again.
We agreed that it was time to take a break from the ever consuming world of IVF.
We began discussing adoption.
We booked vacations.
I prayed. This time, I didn’t pray for a baby. I prayed for inner peace. I prayed that God would help guide the way. Whether or not this included motherhood.
Two months later. I was brushing my teeth and glanced over at a box of unused pregnancy tests. I took one.
It was positive.
We were pregnant.
We experienced the most uneventful 40 weeks of pregnancy that I could have ever hoped for. It was beautiful.
Today, we have an amazing almost 6 month old baby boy.
Our Rainbow Baby.
If you’re still reading this, thank you. If you’re going through infertility, hold on. I can’t promise it’ll be easy. I can’t promise you’ll end up with what you’re expecting.
I can promise that it’ll be an experience unlike any other in your life.
We try to plan our lives. God laughs.
We do not plan.
The experience is everything.
“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” Mark 5:36