Written by Leah Scriver, guest blogger
“So do you have any kids?” That dreaded question that ALWAYS comes up when you meet new people. Do I go ahead and tell them that my husband and I have been trying for the past 9 years but I have PCOS and have done everything under the moon to try and get pregnant with no luck? Or do I just tell them “maybe someday”? I am an open book and tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I usually tell my story.
It may sound like my story is a depressing one and for a long time, it was. However, a huge epiphany changed that.
Growing up, I never saw myself as a mother. I never played with dolls or played the role of “Mommy” when playing House. I always wanted to fall in love, get married, and of course kids will come….right?
In October 2004, I married my first husband. We tried for one year with no medical help at all. When I wasn’t getting pregnant, we decide it was time to see the fertility specialists at Kaiser. First, we tried Clomid and while I was responding well to it, nothing was happening. As we were about to start the class for injections, our marriage took a nose dive, ending in divorce in 2006.
In 2008. I met THE ONE. He was, and still is, the man of my dreams. We met and got married in 3 months. Hey!…when you know, you know! We’ve been married now for 9 years. About a year into our marriage, we started trying to get pregnant. I just knew that God would bless me this time around because I had married the right man… a man who loves me unconditionally, loves God, his family, and life. And after 3 months of trying, I was pregnant! I cannot tell you how crazy excited I was when I saw those two pink lines show up. I really couldn’t believe it. Felt like a dream. Around 7 weeks along, I started spotting and knew it wasn’t good. The bleeding got heavier and cramps began. My husband and I went to the ER and it was there that I lost the baby. We were so incredibly sad.
As soon as my cycles were normal again, we started trying, but a normal cycle was few and far between. My periods were very absent. At the time, my husband was in the Army and received orders to be deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months. He came home safe and sound and we started trying again. But again, my periods were not normal. When the hubs was honorably discharged from the Army, we moved back to our hometown in Roseville, CA and I decided to go through Kaiser’s fertility clinic again. They diagnosed me with PCOS. We tried everything except IVF and nothing had worked. At this point, I was beyond desperate. Not only that, but I also started to feel like I was being punished. I felt like this so much, that I actually called up everyone I have ever wronged and apologized and hoped that they would forgive me. I asked God to forgive me for not seeing myself as a mother in my childhood and young adult years. Sounds so crazy, but that’s where my mind was at that time.
So, after my husband and I realized that our only option would be IVF, we took the plunge. I’m just glad I don’t have a fear of needles at all, because let me tell you, there is SO much needle sticking! So I gave myself all the injections and the day came for my retrieval. They were able to retrieve many healthy eggs which made me super excited and hopeful. After the eggs were fertilized, we only had 4 that were healthy enough to transfer. Trying to pin point the date of the transfer was very stressful for me because I am a photographer and had a wedding to shoot the day they wanted to transfer. There’s no way I could find a photographer to fill in for me, no way at all. Thankfully, we were able to make it work and two days before the wedding, two embryos were transferred. The other two which weren’t as healthy stayed in the cup so they could keep an eye on them.
Now the awful 2 week wait began. I tried so hard not to read into any symptoms I was having but, as we know, that’s nearly impossible. After the 2 week wait, I got the phone call and the embryos didn’t attach and the other two that they were watching died. I was devastated. We had spent SO MUCH MONEY and now we have no baby and no frozen embryos. And forget about the money, what about my sanity? That’s when my bitterness and anger towards God and the world began. I was angry. SO ANGRY. I put on a front like I was fine and I accepted the cards I had been dealt, but under the surface I was hurting. I stopped going to church, didn’t feel the need to pray at all, and was irritated by every little thing that didn’t go my way. For two years, I was in this horrible bitter state. Finally, about 6 months ago I came to a fork in the road. I realized I could either continue down this path where I’m super unhappy or I can go down the other path of choosing to be happy. I chose happiness and it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.
So here I am 36 years old, married to the love of my life, no kids, a dog, and as happy as can be. But remember that epiphany I was talking about? Here it is… this realization has COMPLETELY changed my thinking about my struggle with infertility. I was on the phone with a girlfriend who is pregnant with a baby girl. They just found out that her baby has down syndrome. She was very distraught, sad and scared over this news. I told her that it’s probably natural to have those feelings, but she also needs to know that that baby girl is going to be crazy loved. She is going to bring so much joy to their lives and be such a blessing to them. She then proceeded to tell me that she’s grateful for my trial. At first I didn’t understand and was wondering if I should be offended. She said that she thinks of me often when she’s having a meltdown from her 3 other children and that my trial helps her have more gratitude for her little ones. When she told me this it was like a light came on in a dark room and I could see. If my trial of infertility can help and bless others, then I am happy to go through it. I am happy and grateful that my trial can bless others. If this is my mission while I am here on the earth, then I am happy to do it. With this realization, my life has become so much more simple and filled with so much more gratitude. We all have our trials and some are harder than others. But one thing that I think isn’t thought about much at all is how our hardships can bless others.
So I may not ever have children, or maybe we’ll adopt, or maybe we will or won’t do IVF again. The important thing is that I remain happy. Come what may, I choose to be happy and I hope my story touches and help others who are struggling with infertility.