My TTC journey starts almost 4 years ago when my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. I can still remember that first month, looking up all the pregnancy symptoms and feeling like I had every single one and that I was definitely pregnant. Little did I know, this would be a much more difficult road that would take years. I also remember that I didn’t know much about infertility back then. I didn’t have any friends that were struggling with it as far as I knew and no one really seemed to talk about it so I was very in the dark so this world. I just sort of assumed that once you started trying and you got the ovulation date right that it would basically happen. I mean I had heard tons of stories about ‘we tried once and got pregnant’ or ‘we weren’t even trying and got pregnant’, so how hard could it be?
Slowly, a year passes and we are still no closer to starting the family we’ve been dreaming of. Thankfully, I now had a friend who had opened up to me about her and her husbands' struggles with infertility and that they went to a clinic to get themselves tested to find out what the issues was. She let me know that this could be a long process and to start it sooner than later. So I quickly made an appointment with my doctor with which she referred us to a fertility clinic. We were soon given an appointment to meet with one of their doctors to talk about our situation. From there, we both had testing we had to complete. Jamie’s was much simpler, he just went into the clinic and gave them a sample of his sperm. Mine was a bit more intensive. I had to call when I started my period and then book an appointment for 2 weeks after that. I went in and they would take my blood and then give me an internal ultrasound to find out how long my follicles were. This was to make sure I was ovulating properly. And I would go in every day and have the same thing done until I did ovulate. After all of that, we met back with the doctor to go over our results just to find out that we had slight male factor infertility. We were then given 3 options: we could keep trying naturally while being monitored so we know exactly when I ovulate (free), we could do IUI which is a treatment where they insert washed sperm manually directly into the cervix ($700), or we could do IVF which is when they fertilize your egg with the sperm outside of the body and once fertilized place them back in ($15000-$20,000). Thanks to my friend and some research, I had looked up what these things were before meeting with the doctor so we could both discuss it and have an idea what we wanted to do if we were given all the options. So we had decided to go ahead with IUI.
As we prepared for this treatment, I just remember feeling very hopeful that this was something that could work, but also feeling this great sadness that this was how we were creating a family. I hated how unnatural it felt. I hated that Jamie didn’t even have to be there for the treatment. I hated that it was just so clinical and cold. I knew I should feel grateful that this was even an option but I just remember really struggling with it. During the time that our first treatment was scheduled, my friend was told that her cancer she had been battling for 2 years had returned and that there was no longer anything they could do for her and that she’d only have a few months of life left. I was devastated and crushed by this news and the stress of this caused my body not to ovulate regularly, so they gave me an injection to help force the ovulation so we could continue with our treatment. Although we went ahead with the treatment, it was unsuccessful, and again I was broken and devastated.
We decided that it was best to take a break from treatments so that I could focus on spending as much time with my friend as possible. In December of 2016, she passed away. This rocked me to my core. Even still as I am writing this almost 2 years later, I have tears. How could something so awful happen to someone so wonderful? Nothing seemed fair. Months went by and I just remember feeling so much pain, wondering if that would ever truly go away. Jamie and I were still trying naturally, but we just couldn’t think about the idea of treatments while grieving. Almost a year later, we began having conversations again about treatments and if we should go ahead with it, however, my husband started to feel like God was asking us to do something else. To backtrack a bit, before Jamie and I got married we had heard this call from God to go to Africa, specifically Kenya. We weren’t really sure when or how this would all happen, we just knew he was asking us to go. We sort of left it in the back of our minds, but occasionally it would start to creep up again. Well for Jamie it started to creep up more than it ever has before. So we prayed about it and started to look into the possibility of going to Kenya instead. We got connected with an organization called Africa Inland Mission that does short-term mission trips to Kenya. And what was even better was that they did sports ministry there. I do sports ministry as my full-time job, so it felt like such a great fit. So we started to pursue this opportunity and started putting plans in place to go.
We had set a date of August 2018 and that we would be going for 3 months. However, at the same time that we started planning this, Jamie’s Crohn's started acting up more than it ever has. We weren’t sure what to make of this but kept making plans and hoping that God would somehow heal Jamie so that we would still be able to go including new heavy medication that we would somehow have to figure out bringing to Kenya (it had to be kept cold). Well, Jamie kept losing weight, was taking time off work and getting worse to the point where he ended up in the hospital. This is when we decided we had no choice but to pull the plug on going to Kenya, 2 months before we were supposed to leave. We were both so broken but also slightly distracted because of Jamie’s declining health. Nothing he was eating was getting absorbed in his body and he was in pain and nothing was helping. So we spent over a week in the hospital just to find out that not only had his Crohn’s flared up, but he had massive infection around his bowel. The major concern with that is that they could burst at any time and then leak into your bloodstream. So he was on very heavy antibiotics while trying to also control the inflammation from his Crohn’s disease. We were told that if they weren’t able to control the infection with antibiotics that they would have to do surgery. This is something we desperately wanted to avoid. So we prayed that what they were doing would take effect. Jamie was off work for almost 3 months trying to get better from this major set back. Meanwhile within that time, my younger brother and his wife had announced to us that they were expecting. This felt like another blow to the gut while we were already down. We were of course so happy for them, but also grieving our own journey and wondering if this would ever happen for us.
I believe it was late August that Jamie was finally able to get himself to a place where he was able to return to work. He did it gradually so as to not exhaust himself and it was a frustrating process but he took his time and listened to his body as best he could. Also around that time, I had realized that my period was a few days late which is pretty uncommon for me. I didn’t really think anything of it and thought maybe it’s just stress. But more days went by and I started to wonder. I counted back to when we would have had sex last and although we weren’t seriously trying, it happened to be right around when I was ovulating. So I ordered a box of 20 pregnancy tests on Amazon because I wasn’t about to pay $20 for 1 test. I remember they arrived on a friday evening, just around the time that Jamie would be getting off work. So I ripped it open and took a test. The test went instantly positive. I could not believe what I was looking at. I’ve never gotten a positive test in my life. So I took about 4 more. Positive, positive, positive, positive. I couldn’t breathe. I ran to find my phone to call Jamie, but he wasn’t answering. That meant he was driving and on his way home. Maybe 2 minutes later that felt like 2 hours, I hear the door unlock and see Jamie walk through the door. At this point, I am sobbing and can hardly get words out. He knew I had ordered tests and that I was a few days late, so all I said was ‘it’s positive’ but I could see on his face he already knew and he ran and grabbed me and hugged me so tight and started to cry along with me. I don’t know how long we stood there holding each other, but it felt like forever. How could this have happened? Jamie was on so many medications and drugs for his health that we thought there was no possible way his numbers would be good right now. When we counted back to when we had sex, we realized that it lined up with the day that we were supposed to leave for Africa.
Wow. All of the stuff we had been through these past 4 years no longer mattered. We were
pregnant for the first time and we knew this was a gift from God. And the best part is that the first person I was able to share it with was my friend in heaven. I could just picture her with the biggest smile and doing a huge happy dance for us. I am now 5 months along and things still don’t fully feel real. Every time I buy something for the baby, I can’t help but think I am buying it for someone else. But no, finally I am buying it for us, for our baby. And my sister-in-law is 3 months ahead of me and it has been so special to be able to share this together knowing that our babies will be cousins and will be so close in age. We couldn’t have planned it any better if we wanted to. I can now look back on this entire journey and say I am in fact grateful for everything we have gone through and that I wouldn’t change a single moment
. You can follow Chantale on Instagram at csindrey