Meet today’s Guest Blogger, Rachel!
I am really glad to be writing to you all today. To be honest, this is a unique experience for me, and finds me outside of my comfort zone. I would describe myself as a rather private person, but I realize from our infertility journey that being silent is rather lonely and that there is much to be had with transparency.
So, here goes nothing. We struggled with infertility for over three years. I had long since known that I had PCOS, and that alone quickly drove us to connect with a reproductive endocrinologist. We did the standard testing consisting of an HSG test, semen analysis, and even a laparoscopy with ovarian drilling. All came back good, which was great news, right? Well, yes, and no. As anyone going through this can attest, this is where you start scratching your head going “now what?” Throughout this all we followed the normal protocol of clomid, beginning with HCG shots to trigger ovulation, next came letrozole, followed by an estrogen patch (yikes-sorry Robert) and then to IUI’s. Month after month and doctor visit after doctor visit nothing proved successful. Then the day came that we sat in our doctors office awaiting what we thought was another routine visit. We waited and waited as everyone got called back before us, even those who had gotten there after us. Finally, our names were called. We figured out the reason we had to wait, we needed to have a “talk”. Here enters the IVF talk. I knew all along this was a possibility, but I knew it was our last resort for what she could do for us. I started sobbing. The cost, the less than great success rates, the risk, the fact that it had even come to this. We listened and took the information in, and even before our meeting was over we told her somehow someway we wanted to do this. She said, well, you need to take some time. Needless to say, we talked some more and still felt just as strongly as we did in that moment. So, we took out a loan to make it happen. The amount of the loan still shocks me to this day, but we looked at it like this. We had to put our money where our hearts were. Yes, IVF is pure risk, but if we never explored this risk and opportunity we would live our entire lives questioning the what if’s. So IVF it was, May 12th 2016 was our retrieval day, May 17th our transfer, and May 26th the day we would find out if it worked!
Once we opted to do IVF all went fairly well with the protocol, however I developed a mild case of OHSS. It can be very serious, had it gotten any worse we would have had to cancel the round. Luckily, we had our amazing doctor keeping a close eye on me. Fast forward nine excruciatingly slow days to May 26th (one of the days that forever changed our lives). We were in JCPenny killing time when Amanda from our doctor’s office calls. She said “Rachel” (we were on pins and needles). I said “yes”, she goes on to ask “did you take a pregnancy test this morning”? (almost in a scolding kind of tone). I said “no”, (worried I did something wrong). Only to be followed by her bubbling with excitement and stating “well good” because you are pregnant, and the levels of HCG are really high so maybe it’s twins” (cue the crying). As I cried, Robert proceeded to tell anyone that would listen. As I type this to you today I just smile as I reminisce on our journey through IVF and to our twins. The pain does not hit me like it use to because May 26th and January 13th (their birthday) changed my world. I can no longer tell you how many nights or days I cried, how many pregnancy tests were negative, or the hurt I felt to read a pregnancy announcement, be around a baby and or see a family enjoying life. But I do promise this, I will never detach myself from the pain because I never want to lose touch with those undergoing infertility or forget how lucky I am to be entrusted to be Logan and Landon’s Mom.
Frankly, infertility has shaken the very core of my being. I like to believe I am a better Mom because of it. I made a promise that if I were to be so lucky to become pregnant and give birth that I would not take them for granted. I believe I have kept that promise in the 11 months they have blessed our life. The sleepless nights, the crying fits, I gave thanks, because I knew it didn’t have to be me. I really believe I love them more and I love them better, I just hope as they grow older I learn the balance that doesn’t leave me smothering them. When faced with the threat of never having children, and ultimately realizing you can and do have them just makes it all a blessing. One day, we plan to tell Logan and Landon of their beginnings. There is no secret here. We want them to know how wanted and loved they were and are from the very beginning. To commemorate their beginnings, our doctor’s last name is their middle name. Don’t worry, it’s a cool name, at least we think so! I feel their middle name helps us to remember how much of a miracle they really are.
For those that cannot understand infertility I would like for them to know that some people cannot just pop out children, and for those of us that cannot it is incredibly painful both emotionally and physically. Please do not tell us silly things like “relax”, or “just have a drink”. I am pretty sure some of us wouldn’t have loans the size of expensive cars if “relaxing”, and “having drinks” worked for us all. Bottom line, please watch your words, we are already sensitive and maybe nothing or “I am sorry you are going through this” would be more appropriate.
Some other little pearls of wisdom I’ve learned along our journey:
-Find a good reproductive endocrinologist, you don’t have to name your children after them, but at least be able to trust them to make your dream a high priority.
-If there is no insurance coverage for infertility, be ready to pay. There has been nothing cheap about any part of this journey. Thankfully, there are several companies that offer loans for IVF.
-IVF is not for the faint of heart, you become a personal pin cushion, and if you don’t like needles…well you really wont after this.
-There is something special about a woman willing to undergo infertility treatments and IVF for a chance at becoming pregnant.
-Men feel the loss too, it may not look the same, but the struggle is real. Working so hard to have a child is not easy for either party.
-Cherish your partner, infertility is down right awful. You need a support system that understands and no better then to turn to the one with the same goal in their heart.
-Connect with others, I made the mistake of being silent. Please, please seek others out and be willing to share. There’s no shame.
I would like to thank you for reading and really hope to connect with others out there. You don’t have to go at this alone, and while I cannot fix it for you (though I wish I could) I can listen.
Want to contact Rachel? She is always happy to talk and be of any help! 🙂 Instagram @Livelaughlove0708