My husband and I have been married for twelve years now, this past March. I was 19 years old and he was 22. After our first year of marriage, I decided to go back to school to finish my four year degree and work my way towards becoming a teacher. We had just bought our first house, so we were both a bit fearful of the finance aspect of things, but it ended up working out just fine. I was in school for a total of four years (three years to finish my BA and one more year to earn my teaching certificate). Towards the end of my final year, I had an interview with a school. They called me the next day, in the middle of my class, to offer me a position. I couldn't believe it!! I was so excited, I told the kids, "I can't focus right now. We have got to call my family and tell them the good news." I called my husband and both of my parents. As soon as they answered, I held the phone up to the class and they all shouted, "SHE GOT THE JOB!" Later that day, my parents had sent a bouquet of flowers to my room to congratulate me. My husband surprised me at the end of the day with flowers and a bouquet of balloons...as I looked at the balloons, I noticed that one of them said, "It's A Boy!" I was pretty puzzled by that...what was that supposed to mean? He shared with me that it was finally time for us. We have reached that part of life where we were both in a place to begin our family.I was speechless!!
About four years later...and my husband and I had been trying to conceive on our own for one year, the recommended amount of time before you are considered to be infertile. During that year, my OB/GYN put me on clomid for about five cycles...with no results. After that year, we were referred to a specialist. They took a few tests and we found out a lot about ourselves. I found out that I don't always ovulate, that my hormone levels are not at a place to sustain a birth even if I were to get pregnant...and, oh yeah, somehow my body has created antibodies to attack and kill any sperm that comes into contact with my body. As for my husband, he was great...at least for the time.
When the doctor went over our results, he said that these are issues that can be overcome with certain procedures, namely putting me back on clomid and adding IUI. He had no doubt that we would be pregnant within the next three months. After two failed IUI attempts, I had to take a break during my third cycle because I had developed a large cyst in one of my ovaries. Finally, the third IUI attempt failed and the doctors response was to schedule me for a laparoscopy to make sure that my ovaries were in working condition. The laparoscopy showed that everything was in great working order. He saw that apparently I had endometriosis at one point due to some scarring on my ovaries, but it was no longer an issue.
It was right around here that I found myself surrounded by depression. Well, let's be honest, it was long before this moment!!! However, it was at this point that I needed to get help from an outside source because I knew that I could no longer carry this burden on my own. I ended up calling on my Pastor's wife and asked to meet with her. She became my saving grace. Through a long process, and many meetings, she was able to help me find the part of "ME" that got lost and buried from the "INFERTILE" me. You see...I was the first of all of my friends to marry, however, the last remaining one to have a child. During this long journey of infertility, I would just sit by and watch each one of my friends announce their news of pregnancy...even to the point where a few of them began announcing their second pregnancies. I became extremely jealous and even bitter as I watched them tend to their new bundles of joy. It got to the point where I started to avoid all baby showers. Honestly, I think that I avoided babies, all together, for at least three years of this process. It didn't matter how close the friend was, if they had a baby, I began to isolate myself from them. It was too hard to watch them with their child. It was too hard to be in the same room with a baby and not wonder if I would ever have one to call my own. It helped to distance me from something that I wanted so badly, but couldn't have. Though...I know now that that was the opposite of what I should have done.
After our fifth negative procedure with the infertility clinic, the doctor decided to do one more test on my husband. It turned out that the results showed us that his sperm cannot penetrate an egg. Imagine that?!?! After all that we had gone through...after all of the hormones and injections that I shot up...it would have been nice to have had that test taken in the beginning rather than putting my body through all of that and finding out it was a wasted effort.
From my husbands results, the Dr. told us that our only chance of conceiving was through IVF with ICSI. We were blown away. We would have never imagined that our lives would have ever ventured in this direction. It took us months to be able to actually make a commitment towards this. Craig was all for it, he was all ready to move forward...EASY FOR HIM, he was the one administering the shots and standing next to my bedside during the retrieval and transfer. Me, on the other hand...I wasn't ready for it. I just thought of the pain that we went through with all of the other procedures, I imagined that IVF with be a million times harder to accept if it didn't work out. My prayers during that time were for God to change Craig's heart. I was ready to begin looking into adoption. However, you've heard it a million times, you ask God to change someone else's heart, and it is your own heart that eventually comes around. And so it was, my heart began to change and I felt that, in finding "ME" again, that I had become strong enough to move forward with IVF. I knew that we would regret it if we didn't try everything in our power. So, through much discussion, and hard work trying to save up all $14,000...we decided to go for it. Finally, in the summer of 2008, we did it.
Being a person that HATES shots with a passion, I can't believe that I made it through alive. My husband did so well in giving me my shots. They started out at just two shots a day for about a week, and then to four shots a day for the last week. I took my pills religiously and ate all of the recommended foods while trying to conceive.
At the retrieval, they knocked me out with some good old anesthesia and the doctor went in with a HUGE needle to retrieve all of my eggs. We ended up having a total ten eggs retrieved, eight of which were mature enough. Of the eight, five of them were fertilized. The day finally arrived for the transfer (day #3)...it was MY BIRTHDAY!!! With the Dr.'s advice we transferred all five embryo's (that was a scary decision, but not all of them were of high grade. The Dr. said that they would just help to tell my body to do what it needs to do in order to sustain a pregnancy). It was absolutely amazing when the embryologist came in to show us the video of him fertilizing each egg and then watching the cells divide each day until the eventually reached a total of 8 cells. AMAZING, truly amazing. It was the first picture of our five little babies.
The "two week" wait was the worst...the longest two weeks of my life. The day came for my blood draw...and the results...NEGATIVE. As soon as I got off the phone, I dropped to my knees and cried on the floor for the rest of the day...and then some. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know why this was happening. I didn't understand why we had to go through all of this. I was broken, and I didn't want to be fixed.
After time had passed, and we were able to gain some sort of healing, we both came to an understanding that God must have a different plan for us in starting our family. It wasn't until November 1st (The first day of "National Adoption Month"...though we didn't know it at the time) that we made the decision official. Through it all, we felt that God must have other things in mind for us and we felt ready to find out what they were. We felt that the doors were being closed through the fertility treatments and we were both curious to see if doors would start opening up for us with adoption. We began meeting with other couples who have adopted and/or fostered children...we wanted to talk with them about their experience. It was so encouraging hearing each of their unique stories. We also signed up for PRIDE training through DSHS to get the ball rolling...I am so NOT a very patient person.