Written by Anna Berry, guest blogger
Growing up a family was something I always wanted. Pretty much my whole life I thought getting pregnant was such a simple thing. I mean that’s what you learn in school, TV, and movies. A man and a woman have unprotected sexual intercourse (or sometimes protected if you’re lucky ;)) and you’re pregnant. Boom! Easy peasy right!!!?? Nope, not for us anyway or the 1 in 8 couples that deal with infertility.
My husband and I met in high school but didn’t start dating till after school when we were 19. The relationship started off pretty causal but pretty quickly turned serious. I knew I loved him pretty early on. Of course we went through our ups and downs but at 24 we got engaged and were married at 26. We had a plan for the most part and that included trying to get pregnant when we turned 30. Well when we turned 27 that plan to wait till 30 went out the window. My friend had her little boy and I was obsessed with him. I immediately told Tom (my husband) that I think we should start trying for a baby because I had baby fever. We decided I would get off birth control which I had been on since 18 (because I was sure I’d get pregnant if I wasn’t on it) and we’d start to try without really trying. We did this for about 6 months and each month Aunt Flow would show her ugly face. I went for my annual GYNO appointment and mentioned it to my doctor. She said to try for 6 more months using ovulation kits and then if we’re still not pregnant I should contact an infertility doctor. So, after 6 more months and not getting pregnant I contacted an RE.
Once I finished with all the different tests, I was told everything looks good. Which was a relief but also frustrating cause we weren’t getting pregnant. Once we found out I was good Tom decided to get checked. His results came back not so good. He had low sperm count, low motility, and abnormal morphology. I was always a little worried there would be an issue because he had a varicocele in his teen years. The good news was he didn’t have the varicocele again so he didn’t need surgery. I had switched insurances by this time so I started to see a new infertility doctor. She looked at both our results and felt that we would probably be able to get pregnant with IUI.
After a little over year and half of trying things on our own, in June 2016 we did our first IUI. I’ll never forget that first HCG shot. I was terrified and freaking out. Tom’s numbers post wash came back really good so we were extremely hopeful. The TWW was terrible. All I wanted to do was take a pregnancy test and find out if I was pregnant. Well when I finally took one it came back negative and it was a little heartbreaking. I think we both thought we had good numbers and gave the sperm a good head start so we will definitely get pregnant. We tried again in July but Tom’s numbers weren’t that great. He’s a firefighter so we think environmental issues decreased his sperm. After that IUI failed, we took a little break. We just needed to reset and get back to being us. We started again in October but we got another negative pregnancy test. Tried again in November but yet again negative. Finally, in December we spoke to our doctor about moving on to IVF. We were going to try IUI one more time but if it didn’t work we wanted to move on. She agreed that she thought that was a good plan. I remember it all so well..I was supposed to take a pregnancy test on December 13th. I was pretty hopeful but after all the fails I didn’t get my hopes up too much. Once again it was another fail. It was hard but the sad part about it was it felt normal. That’s such a sad thing to say. I was so use to it that I almost feel like it didn’t faze me like it had before. My doctor’s office called and I let them know it was negative and we made an appointment to come in to discuss IVF. I couldn’t believe it. This was never something I ever thought I was going to have to do. Tom and I had talked about it before and we both were so unsure we’d want to go that route, but once the IUIs kept failing we knew we would definitely try it. We wanted a family so badly we would’ve done whatever we could to make one.
A week after my 30th birthday I started my injections for IVF. The shots were not easy. I wasn’t as scared of them as I was when we first started our journey, but there were more of them and some of them stung. For 11 days Tom or myself injected 3-4 different medications into my abdomen and I also took an oral pill to help my body create more egg follicles. January 25th 2017 was our egg retrieval day. I was so nervous but excited at the same time cause I felt like we were finally making moves to where we wanted to be. My doctor retrieved 19 eggs!!!! We were ecstatic! On day 5 we were told that 6 embryos made it to day 5 and were maturing well. 6 was a good number but after getting 19 eggs we were a little upset cause we definitely thought we’d have more. We opted to do the PSG testing on the embryos. After the PGS testing we ended up with 5 beautiful embabies.
For our 1st IVF cycle we did a medicated cycle to help my lining thicken and make sure everything was going to be nice and comfy for our little embryo. I didn’t respond to well and my lining wasn’t as great as we would’ve wanted it to be. On March 3rd we transferred one of our little embryos. I remember when it happened I cried. All I could think was this is it. I am officially PUPO and I am so happy. We are getting the family we wanted. Throughout the 10 day wait for the blood test I didn’t feel anything. I had no pregnancy symptoms or even implantation pain or bleeding. I was pretty positive I wasn’t pregnant. My husband was trying to be more positive but I just couldn’t because I had read all these things saying I should be feeling something and I wasn’t. When the doctor called on the 13th and told me I wasn’t pregnant I was devastated to say the least. Even though I had already felt that I wasn’t to actually hear it was so different. To me that was our baby it was our DNA and it felt heart wrenching that I couldn’t keep that little embaby alive. I was on a hike with my friends and I tried not to let It affect me. The worst part was Tom was at work. I knew he was waiting for my call and to have to call him and tell him it was again negative was even more heartbreaking for me. I remember getting home and just screaming and crying and not understanding why this was happening. Being alone at any point of the day when you find out your IVF failed really isn’t something anyone should ever do.
I spoke to my doctor the next day and we decided we wanted to go forward right away with another transfer. As soon as my next cycle started we were at the doctors. We decided to do a natural cycle this time and let my body kind of do its own thing without medication. I also stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol and added acupuncture to the mix. This time my lining looked amazing. I responded so much better to just letting things happen plus I think acupuncture probably helped. On April 6th we transferred our beautiful hatching embryo. When I saw the picture of our embryo and it was hatching there was something that came over me and thought “this is our baby.”
During this 9 day wait I really didn’t feel much again. I also was religious about all the myths that help with implantation. I ate pineapple, I wore socks, I only ate and drank warm things, and I pretty much sat on the couch throughout the 9-day wait. Did it help? Who the heck knows, but I tried it because at one point it worked for someone. There were 2 days where I had like a dull cramp but other than that I felt no different. This again made me think that it didn’t work. This time Tom was so positive and he just kept saying “I know you’re pregnant.” I kept saying “I don’t think I am.”
On the day we went to get the blood test done Tom and I went to breakfast. During breakfast I looked him in the eye and said “I need you to be prepared for this to be negative again. I haven’t felt much and I just don’t feel pregnant.” He just kept being positive and saying I was pregnant. He asked if I would take a pregnancy test when we got home so when the doctor called we would already be expecting whatever she had to say. I really didn’t want to I just wanted to wait to hear it from the doctor. When we got home I went and sat on the couch and he walked up to me and said “Well are you gonna take a test.” I finally agreed but told him he couldn’t come in with me because I had to do some other business in the bathroom (LOL). He said Fine, but don’t look at it till I can come in.” So once I was done I opened the door and called for him to come in. Right before he got to me I looked at the test. I immediately started crying. Tom said by my look and the way I said his name he thought it was negative. I than looked at him and said “this thing says I’m pregnant.” I had never seen those 2 pink lines before. I had always just seen 1 and squinted a lot to make sure there wasn’t 2. I couldn’t believe it I was in shock. I was so happy. We were finally pregnant!!! A couple hours later our doctor called and confirmed that we were pregnant. It was the best news I’d ever heard.
On December 21, 2017 I gave birth to our little chunky monkey Clayton Michael Berry. He makes us so happy and I couldn’t imagine him not being here. Even though during the wait I was skeptical about being pregnant I will never forget that feeling of looking at his embryo picture and thinking this is our baby.
Infertility is hard and it sucks. I knew nothing about it before we went through it. I had friend after friend get pregnant and have babies while Tom and I were trying. Every pregnancy announcement or baby announcement was a little heartbreaking. I couldn’t help but be sad for Tom and I but happy for the person. It was such a strange feeling. The good thing was we had a really great support system. I was really open about our struggle. It made me feel better when I could get it off my chest. Tom was completely different. He didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. It was hard for him to even speak to me about it. I couldn’t bottle it up. When I did I would just have a breakdown. The only time I was able to keep things a little bit under wraps was during our 2nd transfer. I had told people with the 1st so when it was negative it was really hard to let people know we weren’t pregnant. So, we decided to keep the 2nd a little hush hush. I still spoke about it a little just didn’t give many details. I am eternally grateful to all my friends and family that were there for us. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through this without them.
To all those infertility Survivors congratulations. You are a true warrior. To everyone still going through it don’t give up. You’ve got this! Stay positive if you can. I know it’s so hard but the end result is so worth it. Talk to people if you can, join a group or blog. Honestly, talking to people really helped me. I made 3 really great IVF friends from one of my infertility apps.