I always had a fear that I would have problems with having children, and that fear became a reality after me and my wonderful husband got married in 2014. Now, being on the other side of infertility, I want to share our story to give others hope and let them know they are not alone.
We knew we wanted to have a family and started trying to get pregnant once we got married in 2014. I stopped taking birth control in December of 2013 and started taking a prenatal vitamin. After a year of trying to conceive with no success, I had laparoscopic surgery to diagnose endometriosis and to clean out any endometriosis that may be contributing to the infertility. My OB did indeed find that I had endometriosis and gave me and Justin about a 3 month 'best chance to conceive' gap, after having that surgery done. Charting basal body temperature and mucous day in and day out--3 months later we were still not pregnant. I then started going to an acupuncturist and had another appointment with my OBGYN. Although I always had regular periods and according to my charts, I was ovulating between days 14 and 18, I reluctantly agreed with my OBGYN to go on Clomid to induce ovulation. I regretted that decision the day I took that first pill because I knew that was not the issue. After 1 month, I decided to stop taking the Clomid and try a different route.
We were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist and soon found out that we had dual infertility. After seeing specialists and having several tests done, our reproductive endocrinologist determined we had less than a 5% chance of us conceiving on our own. IVF was our only option, as we were not good candidates for IUI. We did not have any insurance coverage and the thought of spending $20,000 to try to get pregnant seemed out of reach. We prayed asking God to point us in the direction we were supposed to take--go down the IVF route, continue trying on our own, adopt, or foster to adopt. Throughout our infertility journey, we both tried to make lifestyle changes that would improve our chances of conceiving. I charted more than I ever could have imagined to the point it was driving me crazy and was impeding on our marriage. I was trying to control what God already had his hand on, and was becoming a person and wife I didn't want to be. All the changes I had made, books I had read, and research I had done was not providing me with that one gift I was wanting--a baby to call our own. I came to a breaking point, literally falling to my knees in our kitchen, surrendering our infertility journey to God. Justin and I opened up to others about our struggles and we started to pray together. I was refocusing and choosing to trust in God and His plan. We decided to try Natural Family Planning and unfortunately after 6 months we still weren't pregnant. At this time we both felt at peace with trying IVF.
After 2 transfers, on July 9th, 2016 we got our first positive pregnancy test! My pregnancy went great and I truly loved being pregnant, always having a little buddy with you. I tried to never take for granted a single moment being pregnant. This may be my only chance to be carrying a precious baby and I knew there were so many other couples out there praying to be in our shoes. We we were blessed with a healthy baby boy on March 23, 2017. Becoming a mom is the most incredible experience and I pray everybody who wants to become a mommy one day is able to have this experience.
We decided to try to give Grady a sibling with the 3 frozen embryos we had left starting in February of 2018. After another failed attempt of transferring 2 embryos, we had a positive pregnancy test with our last embryo in June of 2018. I knew miscarriage was a possibility, but I didn’t think that would be a part our story. However, on July 13th, the day before leaving for our family vacation I went in for my 7 week ultrasound to find the baby had no heart beat and had stopped growing at 6w2d. I laid on that exam room table praying to God to please take the pain away and to start that heart beat again. That following Wednesday in Orange Beach, AL I started to miscarry. I was mad, sad, felt inadequate, etc and questioned God's plan. But I also had a sense of peace that I never would have had 2 years before. We knew God had this. I had 2 choices, 1) to trust God or 2) not to trust God. And not trusting God was no longer a choice. I would wake up every morning and read my devotions about miscarriage, instead of devotions about praying for your unborn baby. Now there were days and are days that I struggle with choosing to trust God, but my husband reminds me…”are you choosing to trust God because He’s got this”.
After much prayer on whether we were supposed to be a family of 3 or if we were to try to grow our family, we were pointed in the direction to go through IVF one more time in October of 2018. We were blessed with 6 “good quality embryos” and 2 “froze out of protocol”. This was 2 more than the last IVF cycle. We went in for our first transfer to find out that our best graded embryo did not survive the thaw. As many of you may know, IVF is very emotional and expensive--lots of appointments, injections, and hormonal swings. So to get the news that an embryo didn’t survive a thaw is just one of those things you don’t ever want to hear. This was another burden for us to carry and another feeling I had never felt, being heart broken for losing another embryo but 2 minutes later transferring another.
We found out 9 days later we were pregnant and had our beautiful baby girl, Dakota, on July 17th, 2019. We came home on July 19th, as a family of 4—exactly 1 year from the date I miscarried the previous year. On July 19th, 2018, I would have never dreamed a year from then I would be holding a healthy, 2-day old baby girl in my arms, with a 2-year-old boy right beside me.
We are planning to transfer another one of our frozen embryos sometime in the next few months. This journey isn’t over...and I don’t know what the future holds. I know there will be more ups and downs and I don’t know what God’s plan is for our family but I do know that He is good and that I want the plan and gift He has for us. I can honestly say that I am grateful for our heartache and infertility story because without it I would not have a true relationship with God, Justin and I would not be as close as we are, I would not pray daily for those with infertility, I wouldn’t be praying daily for Grady and Dakota, and I would never have the opportunity to share our story in hopes to help others down this difficult road. Although we have been blessed with Grady and Dakota, the pain of infertility and miscarriage will always be an open wound that I will never forget. I’ve had a “push” (that I know is God!) telling me get out of my comfort zone, to share our infertility story and use my gift of being a dietitian to help others trying to conceive. Slowly, I’ve been saying “yes” and listening and acting upon this “nudge”. Last year I started a blog focusing on nutritional, physical, and spiritual health to improve fertility. Just this past month, I released my first Fueling Fertility program where I provide women with 30 days of tips focusing on food, faith, and fitness to improve their chances of conceiving and help support them on this infertility journey. I hope to provide others with comfort and encouragement along their infertility journey to becoming a parent, no matter what that looks like. There are lifestyle changes you can work on throughout this season of your life that yes, will help you increase your chances of conceiving but also will help you become healthier and a better wife and one-day-mommy. But remember, ultimately whether you become pregnant or not is up to God. No matter what your story looks like, remember he wants the best for you and is perfecting His gift designed specifically for you!
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