So my story begins as a child when my little cousin was born and I was tasked to help take care of him. I knew from that point on that I couldn’t wait to become a mom myself someday. I just loved every aspect of caring for him as a baby, watching him grow and teaching him anything he was wanting or willing to learn.
As I grew older I met my first husband and we dated for a very long time because we had different paths. I had many interests as a young student, but as the years passed I decided on a career in medicine. There was undergraduate, graduate and medical school, followed by marriage, residency and divorce…. Although I desperately wanted children, but bringing a child into that world, at that time, in that marriage was not ideal.
I was commissioned into the Army and after residency I became an Army physician. Although I was so nervous about dating as I was in a fairly remote town I did meet my current husband. He seemed eager to have children as well, which was an added bonus. But time continued to pass and there was always another obstacle in our way. He deployed to Afghanistan so he didn’t want added worry if I were to be pregnant during that time. Then he moved to complete further fellowship training and again didn’t want to worry or miss out.
He would try to encourage me to avoid worrying because “it” would happen for us. He couldn’t understand my concern as he’s never known anyone to have difficulty having children. In fact, his sister had two children then a tubal ligation. When she wanted more children she had a tubal reversal followed by 2 more pregnancies in her 40’s. My own grandmother also has two children in her 40’s. So I tried to stay positive and believe him. Then the day finally came when we actually tried getting pregnant and guess what? It didn’t happen.
I decided it was time to see a fertility specialist who said everything seemed fine. And then one day it was, as I took a pregnancy test and for the first time it was positive! I was so happy and excited! My parents came for Mother’s Day and I was passed the 12 week mark so I decided to reveal the news. But unfortunately at my next OB visit there wasn’t a heartbeat. I thought I could go to work as I hadn’t scheduled the day off, but as soon as I walked through the doors tears just started pouring. Then, I had to endure this awful miscarriage.
Later we were blessed with another pregnancy and this time she stuck! We have the cutest most precious and amazing daughter ever!
I knew I wanted another child so I made a trip back to the REI. We tried 2 cycles of IVF resulting in 5 embryos, but transfers were unsuccessful. I decided to try donor eggs, which was a huge challenge as my husband and I are multiethnic. My clinic was strict as to which egg banks we could use and I pleaded with them to use a reputable egg bank where I found a perfect ethnic match. I was turned down and ended up having to use the bank they support and after all that time and money no embryos!!!
After years of trying for a second child my husband couldn’t tolerate any more. All the uncertainties and challenges having to alter our work schedules were too much. He also didn’t feel strongly that our next child had to be genetically ours, so that is why we decided to move on to donor embryo’s. In searching for clinics ASB seemed like a great match and speaking with ASB was always encouraging so here we are.
I think my personal struggle with fertility is mostly because I allowed others to make me believe I could wait. And as an eternal optimist I couldn’t help but believe these positive stories could happen to me too. Society focuses on all these amazing births to mothers over 40, but never mentions the struggles that many have even in their 20’s. On this same note, I feel like miscarriages are not spoken about often enough. Why is this subject taboo?
Even to this day I have people telling me I should just try naturally because they know this person or that person who amazingly got pregnant after they stopped trying IVF/ART. Guess what? I know people like that as well, but it doesn’t mean that path will work for me. I also know people who have tried for over a decade to get pregnant without success, but those stories get ignored. It IS challenging to overcome questions like, when are you just going to give up? haven’t you spent enough time and money? don’t you think you’re getting too old for this? My saving grace is joining several groups of women who struggle with fertility, who are going through IVF, who have suffered miscarriages, who are using donor eggs or donor embryos. And of course good friends and family who know how to be supportive. Good luck to all and sorry for the long story.