During National Infertility Awareness Week, (NIAW) I was hoping to share our infertility story, but time escaped me and honestly, I was scared of being vulnerable. There's a quote in the TTC community, "Don't be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others" that I just love, so I have finally decided to share our story more publicly. I've been so inspired by all of the ladies I have met on this journey and in this community. Their strength, their courage, their resilience, and most importantly, the sense of community that these women have created through Instagram, is truly incredible. (Read my infertility resources tab to learn more about the TTC Instagram community.) I have made new friendships that I am so grateful for, and was able to build up a support network as I went through some of the darkest times. I isolated myself from so much because I felt like no one understood me and the struggles you face on a daily basis when you go through infertility. The littlest comment that had no intention of hurting you can sting so badly. Running into a pregnant woman, seeing a mom with her baby, they were all triggers that made me sad, so it was easier to isolate myself, which isn't healthy either. If I hadn't connected with all of these women, this journey would've been so much harder. I am so grateful for the TTC community. My hope is that by sharing our story, I can help others going through this tough journey to not feel so alone, and to document our journey.
Todd and I were married on October 11, 2014 (see earlier post). We were so carefree at the time about when we would like to start our family. I thought it would happen right away, it always does in the movies right? You always hear stories about how so-and-so got pregnant on their honeymoon or without trying. Todd and I both have different answers as to when we started "trying" (haha!). If you were to ask me, I'd say I started trying on our honeymoon in the Cayman Islands, but Todd would say that he wanted to wait until I was back from my trip to South America I had planned in January. We tried casually until my trip. I stopped birth control, quit Adderrall (don't worry, I was prescribed it....and goodbye size 25 jeans), and started using ovulation predictor kits (OPKS) for a couple months. Each month, the test never showed that I was ovulating. WTF? It turns out that our journey to start a family wasn't going to be easy as we had thought.
We are so incredibly fortunate to have a family member who is a top fertility doctor here in Minneapolis. In May 2015, after 6-7 months of trying, we decided to meet with him to see what was going on. During that appointment I was diagnosed (via Ultrasound) with PCOS (umm, what the heck is that?), which is why I wasn't ovulating. This diagnosis also helped me better understand why I struggled with breakouts my whole life and has helped me research what types of foods I should be eating to manage PCOS (there's a strong link between PCOS and insulin resistance, being overweight/trouble managing weight and skin issues.) Well, awesome. I also had to do an HSG where they look at your tubes to see if they're open, and let me tell ya, there's nothing like showing your crotch to a family member. OMG so embarrassing! I don't know what was worse my embarrassment or the procedure itself. Welcome to infertility.
We started taking Fermara (a breast cancer drug that suppressed your system, so when you stop taking it a few days later it makes your body kick into overdrive) and went in for blood work and ultrasounds every couple of days to monitor my follicles and lining. When it was time and my follicles and lining looked just right they told us when to administer my trigger shot and time intercourse (sounds romantic, right?). And...OMG. It worked. Now that they made me ovulate, I got pregnant! First try! I remember that day so vividly. I went to lunch with a girlfriend that day who told me she was pregnant. I was so happy for her! I had taken a pregnancy test that morning, and it was negative, I was heartbroken (you aren't supposed to do that, you are supposed to wait for the blood work, but I never could). But when I got home from work, I dug it back out. Beka told me her lines on her test were really faint at first, so I decided to double check my test that was in the trash and OMG there were TWO LINES!! All weekend long (it was Father's day weekend) I tested and sure enough, we were pregnant! Our little baby was due on Leap Day (Feb 29, 2016). I visited our home that was in the process of being remodeled and looked at our nursery in awe and with visions of cribs and cute decorations. I was over the moon, and sobbed with happy tears when I told my husband. I went in for my beta test on Monday morning and it was 15. Good (low but a positive), now we just need it to start doubling every 48 hours. I went back in on Wednesday and 16. And just like that it was over. I was so crushed. I felt my body miscarry the baby, and it was a terrible time for me. I was so depressed, heartbroken and didn't understand His plan for us. I took a week off from work, shut myself off from the world and mourned our loss. I know it happened so early on, but it was very heartbreaking and hit me so so hard. Despite the heartbreak, I was determined to try again. I wanted this so bad.
Same plan, Fermara. Except this time, my body didn't want to cooperate. My ultrasounds showed that my follicles stalled out and my lining remained thin, so the cycle was cancelled. My clinic wanted to give me Provera to induce a period but I opted not to take it. I just let my body do it's thing.... another month of disappointment. This month was so hard. We were still mourning our loss, and so bummed that we lost another month of trying.
My husband's brother and wife tell us they're expecting with their second baby the week of my 30th birthday. While we were thrilled for them, the news was incredibly difficult for both my husband and I. It made us question our faith - why can't we have that, too? Why is our path so difficult? Why can it happen so easily for others? We wanted to be pregnant so badly. It was a really hard time for us. This month, we graduated to injectables. I have a major fear of needles, but hey, I'd do anything for a baby! We started Follistim, and after a few weeks of ultrasound monitoring we had 1-2 lead follicles. So we did our trigger shot and hoped for the best.
I went to a girlfriend's bachelorette party the weekend before my beta (pregnancy blood test) was scheduled. I didn't drink the whole weekend in hopes that I was pregnant. My home pregnancy test (HPT) was negative that Sunday and I still remember crying almost the whole drive home from Wisconsin and what a terrible day it was. We were staying at my husband's parents lake home where everyone in his family goes on the weekends (because our remodel was still going on), so I had nowhere to hide out and be sad which was really hard for me. I had my husband take me for a boat ride so I could escape and cried the entire time. Then, the next morning I took another test and hallelujah! we were pregnant on my HPT! Those two lines. Cue all the heart eyes and excitement! <3 <3 <3 <3
I went in for my beta results which were really strong. Each time we'd get the phone call for the results my husband would come have lunch with me so he could be with me until we got the call confirming things were progressing. Then we went to our first ultrasound. There was baby! That sweet little bean. It was week 6 and we weren't able to see the heartbeat, but we were told it could still be a little early - they for sure want to see one at 7 weeks. Baby was also measuring a couple days behind. Not exactly the appointment we were hoping for, but it was still so very exciting to see baby. We went in again on week 7, and saw that beautiful little bean and it's heart flickering away. Baby was measuring small and the heartbeat was only 90 bpm. Things were not looking good. We waited a week - one really long, hard week - to confirm whether or not our baby was going to miraculously pull through, or if the heart was going to stop beating. Sure enough, when I saw the ultrasound, I could tell immediately that our baby's heart stopped beating during that 8th week. I had a D+C done, and felt so empty and broken after that. (I still remember, we had family pictures the next morning and it took everything in me to plaster on a smile.) Words cannot even begin to explain the heartbreak we experienced. We had the tissue tested and it confirmed that our little baby had Trisomy 16.
October - December 2015
Our 1 year wedding anniversary 10-14-15, and he we were, still trying and recouping from our losses. In the church bulletin, we saw that there was an infertility support group at our church, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. We met several other couples battling infertility the night before we went in for our D+C. The immediate love and support we received from this group was much needed in this time of crisis. I am so thankful that He brought these wonderful people into our life. The D+C went well, except that there was a little particle left in me that continued to give off HCG (the pregnancy hormone) through Christmas. So, we wanted to try in November and December and weren't able to do any medicated cycles due to my HCG levels, We lost a full five months of trying, and deeply grieved our loss.
We moved into our newly remodeled home, with our empty nursery, and stayed on the crazy infertility roller coaster hoping that 2016 would be our year.
Late December/January 2016
We did another cycle of Follistim injectables, and things were looking very hopeful. I had a nice lining, 1-2 perfectly plump follicles...But, we got a big negative, despite my feeling so hopeful and positive. There is nothing worse than taking a home pregnancy test and seeing only one line show up. You drive yourself crazy thinking there may be a faint line and taking test after test, only to see negative after negative results. Crushed again.
We decided to try another drug, Menopur, which is typically used in IVF cycles. The same thing happened... my body was responding nicely, and all things were looking great! Our beta day was on Valentine's Day, so I thought this HAD to be our cycle. It wasn't, and it was a heartbreaking Valentine's Day. And to make matters worse, when I went in for my Baseline Ultrasounds, I had giant cysts on my ovaries that meant we were on hold again. UGH. Why did this have to be so hard? Why wasn't my body cooperating? Why was everyone else getting pregnant? It was so hard.
We decided to get out of town and went on vacation to Florida. During our trip, we made the decision to move forward with IVF. I was intoxicated with hope when we made our decision, as our odds went from ~20% each month to over 60%. But the wait list was long, and they were scheduling people out into May. Another period of waiting. I secretly hoped that while we waited we'd be one of the lucky ones who gets their natural BFP (big fat positive). But we weren't, so here we go... I am documenting our IVF journey to our baby now.
Next post documenting our IVF is here and transfer day.
Above - Todd and I in Florida when we decided to do IVF.
Below - My local TTC tribe. Three of us have now had our babies and there are more on the way!
Hi! I'm Lindsay, a new mama to our little boy, Parker. I started my blog as a way to channel my creativity and document our life happenings. From the pretty, styled shots to the real, raw experiences, too, like our journey to start our family. I love to share about my faith, my personal style for interior decorating, holidays and entertaining & for our little guy. too. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your support. XO