My journey to motherhood began 3 years ago when my husband I decided we were ready to start trying to have a baby. After 1 year and no luck I went to my OBGYN who referred me RMA where I would begin my fertility treatments. Tests showed that I had a low follicle count and my doctor recommended we start IVF. I however, was not ready to jump right in head first, so I decided to try a few IUIs first. After 4 months of unsuccessful attempts, it was time to begin my IVF journey.
I had a positive attitude, thinking I would do it once, get pregnant, and that would be that. Unfortunately for me, though, that was not the case. First round of IVF we retrieved 2 viable eggs. We transferred 1, and YAY!! I was pregnant! 1 week after finding out I was pregnant, however, I had a gush blood (while at a bachelorette party in Savannah, no less) and that was miscarriage #1.
I decided to do another egg retrieval, and got 1 viable egg. We transferred and again, YAY! I was pregnant! This pregnancy lasted a whopping 8 days, until...miscarriage #2.
We decided to transfer the 1 remaining egg, and I was hopeful that 3rd time would be the charm. I got the positive pregnancy results, and 9 days later...miscarriage #3.
On to another egg retrieval, and 4th positive pregnancy test. I kept waiting for miscarriage #4, but it never came. People would ask me throughout my pregnancy if I was excited, I could have lied and said yes, but I never did because I wasn’t excited. I was terrified. I was terrified for 9 months that my pregnancy would not end with me holding my baby in my arms.
The amount of times throughout the past year that I googled “baby after 3 miscarriages” must have exceeded 1,000 times. The only thing that made me feel better was hearing other success stories, and I guess that’s why I feel compelled to share my story now that I finally have my miracle of a baby.
With such an eventful journey to pregnancy I never thought that my labor experience would be equally as dramatic. Enter the Corona Pandemic.
My original birth plan was to go full-term, and deliver at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan with my husband, mom, sister, and sister-in-law all in the room with me for support. But things changed as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the tristate area hard. I decided to get induced a week early, on March 27, when I was 39 weeks pregnant. I was fearful that if I waited, the hospital would be overrun with more coronavirus cases, and I was worried I might contract it there. I decided I wanted to get it done as soon as possible without endangering the pregnancy.
On the date of my delivery, no support person was allowed in the room for labor, or for visiting afterwards due to social distancing rules set in place by the hospital to limit exposure. As sad as I was that my husband couldn’t be there with me, I definitely understood and respected the hard decision that the medical team had to make for the safety of its patients and staff alike. After everything we’ve gone through to get here, my mindset was basically: As long as our baby is okay, nothing else really matters. As such, my plan B became my reality, and I gave birth while my husband watched via Zoom conference. Surreal, I know.
For the 48 hours my baby and I were in the hospital, we were FaceTiming. I found his “virtual” support to be much more comforting than I initially thought it could be. It obviously wasn't the same as having him next to me, but I felt him in spirit. During labor, he was blowing me kisses every time I looked at him and waved. Literally, one day after I gave birth, Governor Cuomo put out an executive order that allowed a partner in the delivery room. I honestly laughed when I saw this. I’m just so happy that my little guy is okay, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. My husband agrees.
Anyway, labor really was just that: labor. After pushing for two hours, my doctor informed me that I needed some help getting the baby out, and recommended we use clamps. I guess that was a big deal, because all of a sudden the room was flooded with eight more doctors and nurses. It was petrifying, considering everything. Thankfully everything was okay and the baby was perfect. I cried. A lot. And my husband cried too, one of the only times I've ever seen him cry in an over 10-year relationship. The nurse brought the computer over to me as I held our baby for the first time, and in that moment, where it mattered most, he was right there with me.
My plan was always to go straight to my parents’ [house] after delivery to spend the first couple weeks at their place. We always felt as though this baby was as much theirs as it is ours, and we were so looking forward to spending this special time together. We’re missing them already, as well as the extra help they could have provided. Once it started sinking in that this would not be an option for us because of coronavirus, it definitely left me feeling more anxious about life post-delivery. However, we are a few days postpartum and doing just fine.
Despite all the challenges, we’re so thrilled to finally be parents to the most delicious little guy. We feel so extremely blessed.
You can follow Stephanie's journey on Instagram at @schtoofa