"We’ll try again."
It was these three words from Keith that pulled me out of my misery and stirred another fight in me just hours after reeling from the negative news of our first round of In-Vitro Fertilization. What many don’t know is after impatiently waiting the required wait per doctor's orders, we jumped right into another round of IVF just a few months later.
This round was different.
I went in completely prepared and full of hope knowing that no matter what, I'd be strong enough for any outcome. I had just survived the biggest blow of my life, so worst case scenario? I survive it all over again.
My foundation was clear: Have faith. Keep hope. God’s word and my relationship with Him has been the driving force behind my strength during our infertility. I gave my whole heart to Jesus and I’ll tell of my testimony to anyone willing to listen. It’s scary to think about how I’d be handling life without my newfound faith in God's will for us. Since experiencing His unconditional love and guidance, His will has only become even more obvious.
As the IVF process started and the shots, meds, ultrasounds and bloodwork consumed my calendar, my emotions were in total check and my overall wellbeing was back to good. It was such a nice, relieving feeling to have so much confidence and courage again.
Even after the sadness and sorrow of our failed first round, I never once questioned our decision to jump right in. Because in all that I do, I am DETERMINED.
(B I G surprise for this rottenly stubborn girl, eh?)
It’s just who I am. If I fail, it’s only temporary until I can figure out a way to try again. No matter what it is, I WILL find a way. Just ask Keith. (Bless his heart.)
So I continued to confidently walk through each step with my head held high and my hopes even higher. To be clear though, it wasn’t always easy. I still had hard days. Hope just made those hard days hurt a little less. Thankfully, I have had hands-down THE best squad on my side. My family was my rock, the friends who knew were encouragingly sensitive, and my best friend Janna was my daily guide, helping me through every single hard day.
On a Monday morning in June, I donned my favorite shirt and sweats and waited nervously, too distracted to do anything but wish the seconds away. It was the day of our transfer - the final step of IVF. A few days prior, our embryo reports showed they were thriving and it was time to put one back where it belonged. As I type this, it’s been almost 2 years since this day but I can still vividly feel the floating butterflies flapping rapidly in my belly. I was 100% worry free until this day, and it was as if 11 weeks of nerves flooded me with fear all at once. I was wrecked, and I couldn’t get a handle on it.
Last time, our transfer went as planned.
This time, minutes before heading to the hospital for our transfer, my phone rang.
Last time, my phone didn’t ring.
I recognized the number right away. ‘What does the hospital need?’ I thought as I answered, hardly a full ring in.
I didn’t want to realize this, but as soon I said hello I could hear the panic in my voice and it was then I knew something wasn’t right.
Something wasn’t just not right. Something was very, very wrong.
On June 6th, 2016 – just four months after our first IVF – instead of arriving at the hospital full of anxious hope, we stayed home.
Instead of seeing a microscopic photo of our growing embryos before the transfer, we mourned them.
Instead of lying flat on my back on a hospital bed, praying my body would protect and grow our baby, I writhed in bed in complete and utter devastation at home, overcome with agony at the loss of all of our embryos.
And instead of waiting a long, harrowing two weeks for a pregnancy test, we weren’t even given a chance.
Like I said, this round was different.
The embryologist told me the embryos had arrested. They stopped growing. And there was nothing viable to transfer.
I’d hate to have that job.
I don’t remember what I said or if I even said goodbye. I let my phone fall and then I fell into Keith’s arms.
And that was that. It was over. And it ended way worse than I ever imagined.
The sadness was sickening and so painfully empty I didn’t think I’d ever be able to smile or laugh or love again. Not only was my belly still barren, but the pain of losing our embryos hurt like hell. Remember the lucky shirt I wore on that fateful Monday morning? I couldn’t look at it for months. I didn’t wear it for over a year.
The agony that followed was dark and empty, void of anything even remotely related to happiness. I don’t have any other words to share besides those. It’s indescribable. As hard as I wanted to feel happy, it didn’t happen. Unlike last time, there was no “we’ll try again” whispered. A next time didn’t even cross our hearts because mine was too broken to do anything but beat.
I’m smiling and crying as I write this story almost two years later. I’m so far removed and recovered from this horrid day that it hurts to relive it, but doing so reminds me of all I've overcome and the character I've built along the way.
I can’t say how long it took me to recover, because the days and months that followed this fateful day were some of my hardest. I sure as heck didn’t keep track of how long that sad war waged inside of me. I wasn’t myself. I felt as if we’d reached the end, but I wasn’t willing to give up. I hated the options we were given following our second failure, but there was nothing I could do to change that. I could only focus on what could have been, which was so pointless and so painful. I wanted so desperately to be ok. I wanted to be better to Keith. I wanted to want something different in life. I remember recognizing the confusion I felt amid my melting pot of emotions. Why has God placed the eagerness of motherhood on my heart so firmly, but fill our path with all of these roadblocks? Why do I mourn motherhood so fiercely? Will I ever get to fulfill this dire need to raise a family with my best friend?
These words I’ve written barely touch the surface of my actual feelings, but that’s not the reason I’m writing. I’m writing it to share our story and flip the script on infertility. I know we’re not alone and reminding other infertility warriors of that is so important. It may not be encouraging to those in the wait, but trust me, this is only the beginning.
Because you see, at my very lowest point of all of this, with my own miserable darkness shadowing any chance of finding direction, I realized something. I realized that I steered us off course, aiming toward the path traveled by many, when really, the road less traveled was where we belonged. We didn’t start this journey to create a son who has Keith’s eyes or a daughter who has my squishy nose.
The purpose of this journey was parenthood. Period.
TO BE CONTINUED…