I know we’ve had a much easier journey than many, however, we’ve also had a much harder journey than most. For those who have been through it, there are no words required. For those who have supported us, wiped our tears, listened and helped motivate us, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This has become such a huge part of our lives over the last 7 years. It was very difficult to write and even more difficult to share and I’m sure for some of you it will be difficult to read.
For those who want to know more about our journey so far, here are some of the numbers to you help understand.
7 long years of trying $60,000 invested 4,854 pills consumed 552 hormone suppositories inserted 428 appointments attended 386 blood tests processed 307 internal ultrasounds preformed 84 negative home pregnancy tests 234 injections administered 38 Intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures 27 beta tests failed 1 egg retrieval surgery (retrieved 10 eggs) 1 frozen embryo transfer 6 pregnancies 2 beautiful children (currently pregnant with #3) 3 traumatizing losses
I am on many different drugs each cycle. I take some of these drugs up to 3 times a day and some of them are injections taken at precise times. Side effects include: weakness, muscle pain, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, severe headaches, cramping, stomach pain, mood changes, anxiety, exhaustion and irritability. By far the hardest side effect is feeling pregnant when you are not. And these are only the physical ones: there are also mental and emotional side effects. These include lowered self-confidence and self-doubt. Experiencing exhaustion while trying to raise and take care of the two children I currently have, balancing a work/mom/fertility/wife schedule and maintaining a household. Each of these takes a severe toll on our marriage and our family.
If this makes you tired reading this, then try to understand the exhaustion of going through it over and over and over again in hopes for a family of your own.
The anxiety of trying to get pregnant for anyone can be intense. When you are ready for a baby that WANT to be pregnant can make you crazy. I have been trying to explain this and put it in to perspective for people. Imagine a few months of negative tests and how that takes a toll on any relationship. Now multiply that by a year or two. Now multiply that by $60,000. Now multiply that by waking up at 6:00 am 3-4 times a week to make it to the fertility clinic for bloods tests, ultrasounds and procedures before your kids wake up and notice you are gone. Now multiply that by drugs and hormones that make you feel terrible (and pregnant). Now multiply that by a loss of a baby (or three). The loss of those babies for us were more than a physical and emotional one. They were a financial one too. I want to apologize to every baby shower I have missed, every family event I have not been completely present at but I hope this helps everyone understand a small fraction of what we have been going through.
People usually say “Everything happens for a reason” or, “If
it’s meant to be then it’ll be”. While I appreciate the support, these are pretty hard words to hear. I do not think we deserve to go through this and I also do not believe there is a single, solitary reason this has happened to us. What I do know is that our desire to be parents is stronger than all our fears of failure or loss. Strong enough to not give up on our aspirations of having a family.
If you are wondering what you can do to help someone going through this, just ask them. Be honest. Tell them you want to help but don’t know how. Everyone needs something different. For me, it is support. Asking how I am feeling and if there is anything I need. I never expect anyone to understand what it is like to go through everything, but knowing that I have people who want to be there for each step of the way, really does help.
So next time you ask someone if they are planning on having kids, if they want more kids or why they don’t have kids, please hesitate. Hesitate because they might not be brave enough to share what’s going on behind their closed door. I know that it has taken me 6 years to finally have the courage to share. Hesitate because they might have tried and lost, they might have tried and not had success or they might not have the financial freedom to try. Before going through this I never thought of the weight of any of these questions. I never thought asking someone if they wanted kids or wanted more kids could cause someone actual pain. Now, because I have experienced something so difficult I feel like it has changed my outlook and perspective on life so drastically. It has made me a better person. A more patient mom. A more present friend. A more loving wife.
THE LAST 20 MONTHS IN REVIEW
May 2018: Failed Cycle June 2018: Failed Cycle July 2018: Failed Cycle August 2018: Failed Cycle. Started back at the fertility clinic and on 1500mg of Metformin daily. September 2018: Failed Letrozole/IUI Cycle. October 2018: Failed Letrozole/IUI Cycle. November 2018: Failed Gonal F/IUI Cycle December 2018: Failed Gonal F/ IUI Cycle. First IVF Appointment. January 2019: Failed Letrozole/ IUI Cycle. Decided to conquer my fear of openly talking about my infertility struggles in hopes to help others. Started this account and found the most beautiful community to help me through everything.
February 2019: Positive Pregnancy! March 2019: Found out the pregnancy was not viable and we had our second loss. Had to induce miscarriage. April 2019: Recovered from losing the baby and had to induce a period. May 2019: Positive Pregnancy! Found out the pregnancy was not viable and we had our third loss. June 2019: Started all of the medications to prep for our IVF Cycle. July 2019: Had Egg Retrieval Surgery and out of 35 follicles they were able to retrieve 10 mature eggs. Found out that 3 of our eggs made it to blastocysts and came back PGS tested as normal. August 2019: Frozen Embryo Transfer was cancelled due to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Had to induce a period. September 2019: Frozen Embryo Transfer was cancelled due to a very large cyst on my ovary. Had to induce a period. October 2019: Frozen Embryo Transfer November 2019: Found out that the Embryo Transfer was successful and got the see a heartbeat!! December 2019: Started bleeding and cramping and discovered a large subcholorinc hematoma. Put on bed rest until it gets smaller. Made it to 12 weeks and baby is still ok!!
So far our road has led us to two beautiful children (currently pregnant with baby number 3!), who we are eternally grateful for. Despite the difficult journey, we feel so lucky and we would not hesitate to go through this every day all over again knowing that we would have a family at the end, however, some people may not be as lucky. We are so incredibly thankful for all of the doctors and nurses that gave us our family. They became our tireless cheerleaders each endless early morning. We love you and owe you everything.
You can follow Ashley on Instagram at @brashleybabyno.3