Meet today’s guest blogger, Tammy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your infertility journey. I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I always envisioned starting a career buying my own home, finding the perfect man to marry and starting a family of our own. My whole life I have been a fiercely independent woman, I figured my most difficult task would be finding a man that could tolerate my independence, my career and my mouth!
I became a paramedic at age 21, worked on an ambulance for a couple years and was hired by the fire department as a firefighter medic at age 23. My immediate goal became buying a home as a single woman in Southern California. I was able to make that dream come true by 27. As 30 quickly approached I began to panic as none of my long-term relationships had shown themselves to be lifelong contenders.
30 came and went. Meeting new people became high on my annoyance list, “Hi nice to meet you, oh your 30? Are you married? Do you have any babies?” As I answered No, No, No, I quietly would think “go ahead just ask what’s wrong with me!” I felt as though having a career and a home had no merit. I was my own worst critic. What the f***? I set my life up in a way I thought was responsible and available to spending my life with someone.
I focused my attention on my career and travelling though I always hoped I would run across the “one”. I quietly made a plan that if I had not met someone and married by age 38 that I would pursue having a child on my own. I just could not let go of the dream of being a mother. As each long-term relationship ended, it brought me closer to the “trigger point”.
11-11-11 I met a 6’8” red headed man for a dinner date, and as some say the rest is history. He was 39 and I was 37, neither of us had ever married or had children. Dating moved to the fast lane and we were married 11-11-12. We knew that we both wanted a family and we knew because we were older that we would have to get the show on the road immediately.
As soon as we returned home from our honeymoon we decided we would start trying to get pregnant. This was a scary thought. I had spent a better part of my life preventing pregnancy. To our complete surprise the first week of January 2013, I peed pregnant, in the most “classy” way. The bathroom at my fire station! Though we were scared we were also elated that we had dodged the infertility bullet………or so we thought.
Our daughter was born via crash c section 09-12-13. We were parents! We were elated and scared all at once. We loved being parents and loving this tiny human, but we also knew because of our ages it would be time to start trying again soon. I so foolishly thought, “meh no big deal.” We got pregnant the first time trying it will surely happen again.
When our baby was 9 months old we got pregnant again the first time trying. It happened again! Though our journey had just begun. At 9 weeks pregnant the night before my first OB appointment I saw blood when I wiped after using the restroom. I began violently shaking and crying and could barely speak. I told my husband we must go to the hospital. The ER visit confirmed that our baby had no heartbeat. They tried all the reassuring lingo. “Maybe your days are off, maybe you aren’t as far as think, maybe, maybe, maybe”. I knew it was over.
This baby was the first of six babies that I would eventually lose in 13 months. After this first loss I insisted we go to fertility and get checked out. I am thankful I listened to my women’s intuition. We learned that my AMH was less than 0.04 and that I had the eggs of a 55 year old woman. I felt so alone. No one else my age was trying to have babies what the hell were we thinking?
I had no support from friends or family in this endeavor. I decided that at the bare minimum I would start a secret Instagram account to document my journey and help my mind put all my drama in one place. The infertility journey was on the fast track to crazyville. Peeing on all things that would hold still, OPK, Pregnancy tests. Doing all the ridiculous shit you do when you want something so badly in your life. Peeing on a stick, taking the stick into every lighting condition possible, squinting one eye, switching eyes, taking it to the window, going out into natural light, walking away only to come running back to the bathroom 5 minutes later, throwing it away only to dig it out of the trash 3 minutes later. Infertility began to take over my whole life. I took supplements. I charted. I joined fb groups on infertility. My life became infertility.
We achieved 5 naturally and one via IUI out of those six pregnancy losses. My husband was not the problem he was referred to by our doctor as “superman”. The problem was me all me. This shit sandwich was hard to take a bite out of. I felt damaged like I was letting my husband down, like I had no worth was a wife. The nights of crying, the lost sleep, the panic the worry the fretting. The utter disappointment when my period would show up each month. Defeat. Each time I would lose another pregnancy my heart would slip deeper and deeper into the reality that we would never have another child.
People began telling me the most ugly things. You are too old to be a mother. Your obviously losing babies because they are messed up. You are selfish, you already have one.
We finally decided to give up on having a natural born child. We moved on to donor embryos. We met with our local fertility clinic and were matched with donor embryos in TWO WEEKS! The process usually takes two years. I was ecstatic we were being given a chance to add to our family. We met with a lawyer and he began drawing up our contract. The day our final draft for donor embryos was delivered we found out I was PREGNANT naturally!!!!!
This eighth pregnancy at age 42 brought us our miracle unicorn baby via successful vbac on 7-24-16. Carter Grace Hojsack.
Did you ever deal with unsupportive people doing your journey? How did you handle this? I never found support until I joined Instagram and began keeping a “journal” of my infertility. I was told I was too old, too fat, selfish. The ugliness began to seep in from everywhere. I stopped telling people in my real life. I kept all my successes and disappointments and shared them instead with my Insta crowd.
Are you going to share your infertility journey with your children? Yes. I have two daughters. Infertility like mine is genetic. My mother went through menopause at age 40. I feel it’s very important to share with my daughters as it may affect their future fertility. I also want them to know how much they are loved and how much we went through to get them safely earth side.
What would you like couples or women who don’t struggle with infertility to know about infertility? I would like them to know its okay to ask me how I am doing. It is okay even if you don’t have the “right” words, to just say “I am here”. I would like them to know YES every baby lost DOES matter. It doesn’t matter if it was 8 weeks or 40 weeks, a baby was still lost. A mother will still be without her baby. I would like them to know that I will always talk about the babies I lost, it normalizes pregnancy loss, sharing also helps my healing.
In what ways has infertility changed you and affected your life? Infertility stole all my joy of being pregnant. It made me live in fear until the day my miracle baby was born. It wouldn’t allow me to connect with my baby in utero as I wished I would have. Infertility causes PTSD so to speak. Your worries become an irrational freight train. Though I have two children that can only be explained as miracles I will always wonder who those six babies would have grown up to be.
Want to contact Tammy? Instagram @Ready4amiracle
Want to be a guest blogger? Email me at email@example.com or message me on Instagram @ivftwinmomadventures