***The article below was something I felt passionate to share. Throughout our process of trying to conceive our second child, I was left with a lot of questions. Infertility can happen to anyone and the outcomes are extremely personal. This was our experience, journey and outcome (as it can be different for every person) my only hope is to share it to make just one person feel they are not alone.***
-At my sisters wedding, about 2 weeks before our transfer date-
I was in complete denial for a long time. My body worked to create a baby the first time with absolutely zero effort, so why was it so stinking hard this time around? Sure, I was little bit older, but I felt healthier than I had ever been before. That's the crazy thing about infertility, sometimes as painstakingly hard as it is, there are just no straight forward answers as to why. Why us? Or Why only us?
When we first decided to start a family, I feel like we looked at each other and said "Should we make a baby?" "Sure! Let's make a baby!" and BOOM she was here within two months! When we felt like it was time to grow our family again, we wanted to be sure to wait until we were good and ready. In a matter of a few short months we had an unexpected death in the family, we moved from Southern California to Northern California, my husband started a new job which had him travelling up to four nights per week and with an extremely passionate, tough cookie of a toddler, the timing seemed off. When all our friends were having their next babies, I was like no way...it's just too much.
When we did start trying for baby #2, Grace our daughter was around 3 years old, maybe a little younger. At first when it didn't happen right away, I went the holistic approach. I tried acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, meditation, and eased off on any vigorous exercise. My doctor at the time (I have a different one now) never used the word "infertility.” They gave me no cause for alarm at all. "Just relax a bit more and it will happen." Let me tell you, please, please, please don't ever tell this to someone trying to have a baby. It is the most frustrating thing, because you are trying to relax about it, but then you stress over not being relaxed enough and still nothing is happening! Argh!
Fast forward one year later, we tried an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)...and we tried that again 4 other times, with no luck. So frustrating that it didn't work, but I always knew it could be a lot worse. I felt like I always had that mind frame. Don't get down, someone always has it worse than you. Don't feel sorry for yourself because you have one healthy, living, breathing child. But that's the funny thing about second round infertility. You don't really fit into a group, you have a child, but you can’t make one again for some reason. It's tough to identify even what the heck is happening and most importantly, what to do next.
After long tearful talks, my husband and I decided to just stop trying all together. We felt so blessed with our family of three and that maybe this was our story. Another year passed and then the inevitable began. Grace began asking things like "When do we get to go to the hospital and pick up our baby?" "Mom, when will you have a baby in your belly?" "When do I get to be a big sister?"
-Our Daughter Grace, 6 years old-
Ugh, talk about a heart breaker. Not to mention the unending questions from others around us. That is another crazy thing about this whole process, had we not gone through infertility, I would have NEVER known some innocent questions are pretty tough to answer. When you are going through the thick of things, dealing with what's happening or not happening to your body, answering questions like "when are you guys going to have another one?" Can be incredibly difficult.
The feelings you go through during any point of infertility are so personal and can be quite isolating at times. It’s not really something you talk openly about (or at least I didn’t) but I also didn’t want people who knew what we were going through to feel like they couldn’t ask me either. I wanted to be open from the start, but it’s just a difficult topic to just bring up at a cocktail party, ya know?
-The morning of our transfer-
What I wanted to do from the very start of this whole process is share what we went though. Like I mentioned before, we didn’t have to do this to have our first child, so it made my husband and I feel incredibly grateful for it all. What we had, our journey and our hopeful outcome. If sharing my own personal story can help just one woman feel they are not alone, then I have shared it for the good. While everyone around you is having babies with ease (or at least what it seems) it can make you feel like your body is broken. I have been there and if you are going anything similar, I am giving you a huge, tight, virtual hug. It’s tough, but you are tougher. If it’s something you really want, then don’t let anything stop you.
We decided after countless discussions looking at all the potential outcomes (i.e. twins, triplets, and money…it’s not cheap my friends!) that we indeed were not done "trying" but needed an extra umph to get the job done. Enter IVF. It was a major decision and I’m pretty sure I had my first panic attack when the medications and injections were discussed! Yet, given where we were at and our options left, we pushed on. It was ALL going to be worth it. I had an incredibly supportive husband, family and friend community and without that, I am not sure I would have been as strong. In the end, I am excited to say we are pregnant with our second child, a baby boy due this fall. We are beyond grateful and know that every child is a complete miracle. Our mindset has completely changed and for that, I can’t even express the thankfulness for the growth I have gained.
-My nightly double dose injections-
-(Nervously) waiting for our transfer to begin-
That’s why I wanted to share “our story.” I knew I always wanted to share it. I know how isolated I felt even if I put on a brave and happy front. I feel like if sharing what we went through can help just one person feel like it’s okay and you can be hopeful, then I wrote this for the right reasons. Your body is not broken, you are strong and amazing. Regardless of what you are going through, you can have a family, you are not alone, you and your body are incredibly resilient!! There is a strong community of families that are rooting you on…we are one of them!
Follow on Instagram
If you want to read on about the process, I gave the brief version below!
We went to Northern California Infertility Center near Sacramento, California and cannot say enough good things about our experience. From beginning to end which is a long journey of about 4-6 months, the medical staff and doctors were beyond amazing. Without getting into too much crazy details and there are a lot, I'll give you the breakdown of what we did during those four months.
Month One you begin birth control. Weird right? But actually, it aids in tracking ovulation and getting down the calculations for everything that follows.
Month Two is the toughest. This is the injection time once or twice a day for 3-4 weeks followed by the egg retrieval. If you know me in person, this is when I had to take time off of teaching my classes for a month. They are literally blowing up your internal organs so the risk of even doing something like a down dog in yoga can twist and turn something and cause an emergency situation. This was so tough to keep hidden as my belly was getting bigger by the day and the bruising was pretty painful. But…doable—so doable for the grand prize at the end. The egg retrieval is a more intense procedure where you are put under. In the egg retrieval, you are put under as it can be a pretty intense process done in the infertility center. They retrieve as many eggs as they can (we had 8 eggs retrieved) and then put them with the sperm, hence creating the embryos. After a series of tests and levels of graduating embryos (for lack of a better term) we were left with two viable embryos. They can also test the genders at this time too and determine which are the healthiest to implant in month four.
Month Three is resting. No injections, no crazy procedures, just getting your body back to somewhat of a normal state.
Month Four is the “transfer.” We had our embryos frozen so we had what’s called a “frozen transfer.” According to our infertility center, the rate of success was higher with having the resting month and a frozen transfer versus a fresh transfer. It takes longer, but again they showed us statistics that made the wait worth it. The transfer was the easiest thing of this entire process. No anesthesia, no discomfort, just you looking at a screen while an embryo is being inserted into your body! Wild!!
We waited a long ten days and found out the amazing news that we were expecting!! I know so many couples do not experience the same outcome the first go around, so to say I am grateful, is an understatement.
Good luck and never give up!