Tell us a little bit about you and your infertility journey… We started TTC in 2008. My diagnoses are PCOS and endo. I also lost one tube and ovary in 2005 due to a cyst. We first did clomid through my GYN. When that didn’t work we moved on to an RE. We started with our RE in 2009. We did so many IUIs that I lost count; I think we did a total of 9. We had breaks in between due to some diagnostic procedures (laparoscopy for endo, HSG) finally in January 2010 we did an IUI with injectables. It was our last cycle, before we knew we would need to move on to IVF or adoption. We maxed out on the Follistim and had 5 follicles at trigger (please note this is not the norm for an IUI and we did this based on my own personal past history and responses) on Valentine’s Day 2010 I took an HPT and so that beautiful line pop up! In October 2010, we welcomed Kathryn Marie to the world.
In January 2015, we decided to head back to the RE to try for number two. I naively thought we would go back recreate the cycle that gave us Katheryn and we would be golden. No such luck. After a year of doing IUIs and different drug protocols, we made that call that this wasn’t going to happen from an IUI. We stopped treatment and saved for IVF. We started out IVF cycle in July 2016. In august we had 24 eggs retrieved, of which 20 were mature. We ended up with 17 embryos! We transferred one perfect embryo, which we name Petey. It didn’t work. We were heartbroken. Never ones to give up we moved forward and in November we did an FET. We transferred one more perfect embryo. That was the magic one, and in July 2017 we welcomed Charlotte Raye.
What led you to the decision of the route you are pursuing or pursued? I don’t know that I ever even stopped to think about. We wanted a baby, it wasn’t happening the traditional way so we just continued to move onto the next step in getting to a baby. If medicine didn’t work we would have went to the next step of adoption.
What things helped you cope with infertility? Music. Always and forever music is my therapy.
Was giving up on adding children to your family ever considered? Yes, especially with adding a second. We had to think about the cost and how that would affect Kathryn. What was she missing out on because we had to save everything for treatments.
Do you think your infertility journey is going to or has shaped the way you parent? I think it does. Parenting is hard, and I have bad days. Even on those bad days I can remember the fight to have these girls. Infertility gives you a different perspective on parenting. It’s never far from my mind how lucky I am to have my children, and I don’t take on second for granted.
Are you going to share your infertility journey with your children? Yes! We already do (as much as you can with a 7-year-old) both girls have joined me in DC on Capitol hill advocating for infertility coverage. We are very open with them.
What is/was the hardest part of this journey for you? The loss of control. I want to have a plan. I want to know what will happen and be prepared for it. With infertility, you have no control. Just when you think we have it all under control – BAM, curveball!
What brings you hope during this journey? The women and men that I have met along this journey. Infertility is the worst club ever, but the members of the club and the most amazing, strong people.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to share with our readers? Don’t hide from your feelings and reach out if needed. There is an amazing support system out there. Even through anonymous sources (resolve.org has a hotline you can call) join the message boards and the Instagram community. You are not alone and each and every feeling you have is valid and ok. It’s ok to be angry or sad. This all sucks. Sometimes you just need to scream and cry. So do it! Let the tears flow and let the screams come out!
Want to contact Jennifer? Instagram: @jennchaps email@example.com