Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Sharing Hope for Success

June 11, 2018
Written by Jen Ward, guest blogger

I share this story with a desire to provide hope to all the women (and men) out there in the throws of infertility. To give strength during a time that feels hopeless, lonely, and uncertain. During my struggle, I was desperate to connect with others who were going through what I was. I wanted to hear success stories so I knew there was a chance for me. Often times you read the stats, the heartbreak, and how perfect the stars must align to successfully get pregnant it almost feels hopeless.  So here is my story…When I was 17, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I didn’t think much of it at the time other then I had irregular periods, cramps, and small cysts on my ovaries. As I got older, I learned some of the more serious side effects of PCOS, difficulty getting pregnant being the main one. Even with that I still thought ok, maybe it will take some planning but it should be fine. My husband and I tried for a year before we decided to meet with an infertility specialist.  Age was not on our side as I was just about to turn 35…. (the dreaded cut off age they all talk about).

I remember the first visit feeling so overwhelmed. Questions, upon questions, family history, blood work, ultrasounds, financial discussions, testing for my husband etc…. it seemed impossible, yet I was excited to get the ball rolling. Through our testing, we learned that both myself and my husband were the problem and naturally getting pregnant was close to impossible. So this is where we embarked on our infertility journey.

We started with IUI. I should mention that our insurance did not cover infertility at ALL! So every visit, ultrasound, blood work, and follow up were all out-of-pocket costs. Anyone who has been through infertility knows how many times that actually is! Anyway, that’s why we started with IUI using Clomid. The first time I was so hopeful! I remember after thinking “Omg. I could be pregnant!” Every odd feeling, cramp, body ache made me think “Am I preggo?!” That dreaded two week wait felt like 2 years!

Unfortunately we were unsuccessful. We tried 3 more times but each time was a soul crushing “I’m sorry but you’re not pregnant.” We decided to move onto IVF. Before we began however, we had to decide financially how we could do this. We had already spent so much money and time, and IVF was an entirely different ball game. We decided to take out a loan. They worked directly with my doctor’s office. I’ll never forget the conversation my husband and I had. He sat me down one day and said I know you don’t want to think about this, but we have to decide when to stop. How many times can we afford to do this? IVF is not a sure thing and there might come a point when we have to pull the plug and we need to have this conversation now. I lost it. Realistically he was right, but we hadn’t even started and that was a decision I didn’t want to even have to think about making. I would give up everything to have a baby and my husband knew that. I know now, it was his job to stay level headed about our situation, but in that moment I just felt devastation that he would be willing to walk away from having a baby.

Finally, after getting everything together for the loan we were able to begin. I started to feel hopeful again, until I learned the loan did not cover the medications. Anyone who has done IVF knows how expensive those shots are. I broke down for what seemed like the millionth time since I started this journey. Someone happened to see me in the waiting room and approached me. Her brother’s wife had just finished the process and was currently pregnant and didn’t use most of her medication. They ended up selling $10,000 worth of medication to me for $900. They were my guardian angels!! It just happened to work out it was all the stuff I needed.

We could FINALLY begin. The shots every night, the regular ultrasounds, the blood work, etc. Things were looking good, until one day I ended up in the ER with terrible pains in my sides. Turns out I had an obstructing kidney stone that required me to do lithotripsy to remove it. This was unrelated to anything I was doing for IVF but unfortunately I needed to take care of it before I continued my journey. So everything needed to be put on hold until the kidney stone was removed.  Yet again, more bad news and devastation! It’s such a process to get to this point, and now I have to start all over!!

During the wait, it was hard not to be bitter. With every pregnancy announcement, baby shower, birthday party, I found myself falling deeper into depression. My marriage was stressed, my body was failing on me, I was bloated, fat, tired, and consumed with the fear that I would never be a mother. If one more person asked me when I was going to have kids, I might just lose it completely!  I wanted to join the mom club all my friends were a part of!

Fast forward: Kidney stone removed IVF begins again. Things look good. I’m responding well to the medication. They were able to retrieve 12 eggs, 5 of which made it to the blastocyst phase! As I was preparing for my transfer, I couldn’t help to feel plagued with stories that IVF rarely works the first time. I wanted to be hopeful but also realistic. So much was on the line for me as I did not have much money left for another cycle.  The transfer went well, and they sent me away with a good luck, like it’s that simple, and then we enter the dreaded 2 week wait yet again! Each day was longer than the next.  Looking back now I wonder how I didn’t lose my job. I don’t think I focused at work during the entire time I was trying to have a baby!

About 6 days in I decided screw the rules, I’m taking a pregnancy test. It was negative which I expected it would be. The next day I took another one, and I see a verrrry faint second line. I took pics and sent it to my mom just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. She saw it too! Each day after, the line got a little bit darker. By the time I went for my blood test, the lines where clear as day. PREGNANT! I knew I couldn’t be excited until test results came back. I’ll never forget that day the doctor called: “Congratulations Jennifer, you’re pregnant!” Words I never thought I would hear! We cried, we laughed, we screamed, we called our parents, and then we panicked!

Those first few weeks, I was a ball of emotions. I know what can happen, as much as I wanted to scream it from the rooftops I knew I had to be cautiously optimistic. I literally would go to the bathroom just to make sure I was still pregnant (As weird as that sounds). I had waited for so long for this, and I was so afraid of something bad happening. I’m so happy to say that it did not! I had a beautiful baby boy named Lucas who is now 3. I also have a beautiful baby boy named Dylan who is currently 10 months old that is also an IVF baby from my frozen embryos. They are the loves of my life!

I tell my story because when I was going through this process, I so desperately wanted to hear the success stories. Like I stated earlier you often hear how rare it is that IVF works on the first time. I’m here as proof that it can. It did for me both times!  I realize how blessed I am, and how rare my story is. My babies are miracles and I know that. I also know that so many people out there that struggle with infertility suffer devastating losses along the way. They feel alone, sad, frustrated, and scared. Each story is unique. Sometimes you just need to know you are not alone.  I did not go through half of what so many amazing women go through, but we all share the same ache for a baby. If this can give even one person just a little hope, then writing this was worth it. Sending all my love to all the women waiting for their miracles! It will happen!

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