I write this post as I sit in the waiting room of my reproductive endocrinologists office. Waiting, hoping. Ive put off writing this post for a while even though in stark contrast, I’ve felt so compelled to share because I truly know I’m not alone. 1 in 8 women struggle with infertility, whether it’s secondary infertility (as in my case) permanent infertility (also in my case) or first time unexplained infertility. I never imagined myself sitting here. Well actually, I’ve been here before, this is the same office as my high risk doctor was for my twin pregnancy, my successful MIRACLE twin pregnancy. The fact that I have two living beautiful babies that I’ve watched blossom over the past 6 years is simply not lost on me, not in the least bit.
It’s been nearly 2 years since we lost our baby and my ability to conceive more children on my own (you can read the whole story here). Since then, we’ve grappled with the feeling of incompleteness. We LOVE our children so please don’t think for one second we aren’t so grateful for what we have but there’s a hole in our hearts that we feel destined to fulfill. There’s options for us but they’re not easy roads. We’ve headed down a few avenues to get to baby number 3 and we hope we’ve landed where we’re supposed to be.
We first began to explore infant adoption as it’s something that has been on our hearts even prior to our loss. We dove deep in and learned as much as we could, we met with agency’s, joined all the support groups, began to build an adoption plan and then COVID hit. We continued to meet with agencies and one by one they told us how increasingly difficult this choice would be for our family. More and more and continually, this route has seemed so unobtainable. Now, that’s not to say that if we kept trying, it wouldn’t end up being our destiny, and we aren’t at all ready to rule it out, but for the time being, we’ve shelved this path to baby number 3 and landed where we are now.
Surrogacy. You see, physically carrying a child isn’t an option for me as I had a total abdominal hysterectomy butttt… making an embryo is an option because I still have my ovaries! Surrogacy wasn’t really on the table for me when we started thinking about what it would look like to get baby 3. I know how terribly wrong a pregnancy can go and while I fully understand I’m one of 28 total documented cases of what happened to me, my case and circumstance is rare. I’m an outlier of negative pregnancy outcomes and I fully understand that but nevertheless, pregnancy still scares me so much.
Enter in my best friend. Someone whom I’ve looked up to since the moment we met, someone who carries herself with so much grace, someone who wouldn’t even skip a beat if asked to hand you the shirt off her back. Someone who isn’t just handing me her shirt, but is going to carry our baby! One night we were talking and I was expressing my frustrations with the adoption process when she brought up surrogacy. Here she was, telling me she’d thought about it and would like to be my surrogate if I opened my mind to the idea. My mind was and is still a little blown. Not just because this seemed like an option I never thought I’d consider but also because to know that I’ve got someone who has my back and would literally carry my baby for me is just mind blowing. Not many people have a person like that in their lives. I’m beyond grateful that she’s my person. This came together in the most organic way, not one of us could’ve orchestrated and I’m someone who really believes in signs and following your gut feelings and this just feels like the right path.
We put a lot of faith in medicine, how many times over the past year have you heard “trust the science”? Honestly, it took on a whole new meaning for me. In October, we began our Surrogacy journey. We met with our RE who came highly recommended from multiple friends who had experienced infertility. We put our trust in him, we went through the steps, had countless ultrasounds, blood draws, started the hormone injections, did our trigger shot and showed up to the fertility center to retrieve our future embryos. After thousands of dollars, countless needles, 11 eggs retrieved, 8 fertilized, and 6 growing, we ended up with 2 embryos, yes just TWO. We had them tested and both came back abnormal. Seriously, if you’re thinking WTF, how much bad luck can one person have, you’re not alone. I was devastated. I put my faith in this process and really thought it was our answer. It took me a while to come around but I realized I’m just simply not ready to throw in the towel so here we are… sitting in the waiting room of our RE (reproductive endocrinologist) . Waiting, hanging on to hope because after all, that’s all we really have.
We still don’t know if this will work. We don’t know if we will get any viable, quality embryos out of this second round of IVF/egg retrieval. We don’t know if they will transfer successfully into our surrogate, my best friend. We don’t know if she will even actually be a viable candidate to be our surrogate (even though she’s literally the picture of health). Literally, all we have is hope, this journey hangs on it. My biggest take away in this infertility path is that you can choose to be torn apart by the past or hopeful for the future and we choose hope, again and again and again.
Thank you so much for sharing this journey you and your family are embarking on. Your sweet children are just so precious. I understand the desire for more. I have followed your stories through your hardships that you have shared with us and I feel so badly for what you’ve experienced. But I want you to know that I appreciate you sharing your experiences.
I know I have shared a little bit with you in the past but since then we have had a total of four miscarriages. We had one in between our two girls, and then three after Charlotte. One was an explained chromosomal issue, monosomy X or Turner’s Syndrome and all of the others unexplained. We have had thousands of dollars of tests run, blood work, scans, ultrasounds and every keeps coming back normal for both of us. This is great news but also does not provide us with any answers. All of the doctors we have seen are stumped. Alan I have looked into IVF before whenever we had a hard time getting pregnant with Charlotte. We did not have a very good experience meeting with the head physician of the facility at the time, who came highly recommended by multiple people, he had more of a sales pitch than anything helpful to say. It seem as if he hadn’t even opened my chart. We were both very put off by this and luckily I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte right after this appointment so I didn’t need to even think about IVF again.
After my four miscarriages, I’m considered high-risk pregnancy every time I’m pregnant now. My OB/GYN has told me that if I want to get pregnant that I need to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist and probably try IVF. Alan and I actually started this process back in February. We finally decided to go through the process after much discussing of things including financials, that was a huge one. Luckily we have great insurance. But we are still going to be out thousands of dollars of our own, as you know. I was very excited to have a plan and be on the road to being able to have the opportunity to get pregnant again. We have had a few appointments and ultrasounds, my ovaries produce a lot of eggs so the doctor was happy with that. When we were finally ready to begin the process, we hit a few bumps in the road. This has delayed us almost a month now and my body does not seem to want to cooperate. It’s been very frustrating to say the least.
I keep waiting for things to go right, it seems they hardly ever do. Not only do we have this huge issue going on, but we have issues with my new car (currently in the middle of a lemon law case) and found mold in our shower and are having to fight insurance. It’s a bunch of major things all at once., but that is life.
BUT, as you said, I am hopeful! That’s what we can cling onto! And anxious! Thankful! For science and technology to provide us with this amazing opportunity. I keep praying for things to work out, and for patience, that’s something I am having a hard time with. When you’re ready, you’re ready…but my body just isn’t. But HOPEfully it will be soon.
I pray you and your husband are able to retrieve successful, strong embryos at your next retrieval! What a blessing to have such a sweet and generous friend to carry your future for you!