My journey to motherhood is nothing I ever expected, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This past week I had the opportunity to chat with a friend for a podcast she is starting soon, called The Mom Job. It was a tender mercy being able reflect on my opportunities to learn and grow through my experiences as a new mom and expecting mom as well.
I wanted to share with you some of the things we were able to talk about and other things that it led me to reflect on. So, here it goes.
Story of Infertility & Deciding on IVF
I’ve known that I’ve had PCOS for years, but not so severe a case that it would lead me to be infertile. I thought I’d be fine and maybe have a few difficulties — for me however, the ladder ended up being the case for me, revealing itself just after a year of trying to start our family, with no success.
At that point I met with an OBGYN to discuss the options of our next steps. My doctor at that time suggested to have me start taking Clomid (which is the option I figured he would have me start with, after talking with others and reading what I could find on infertility). For most people, Clomid is successful, however, for me it led to an ovarian torsion and the loss of my left ovary.
Now, with another complication of having only one ovary in addition to PCOS, we decided it was time to meet with a fertility specialist. We set up a plan and were just going to wait a little while before starting anything because, well, it’s not always cheap. In the time that we were waiting to start the process, I began experiencing similar pains as when I had the ovarian torsion. This time, I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy and had to go in for surgery leading me to lose my right fallopian tube.
I now had no left ovary and no right fallopian tube, so things wouldn’t ever work naturally. IVF was our only option now if we wanted to have our own biological children. We knew we wanted to have children of our own and we decided that we would begin the process of IVF.
In total I have been through two IVF cycles. The first cycle we were able to receive enough embryos to go through with two transfers (two embryos each transfer). Cycle one was unsuccessful, then cycle two was a success with our first daughter, Emma.
After Emma, we had to start IVF cycle two to get more embryos to continue growing our family. We have 4 total embryos to use now, and we are successfully expecting with embryo one, which is another girl!
Dealing with the Loss of Emma
Emma was an absolute miracle and we are so grateful for the time we had to spend with her, even though it was much shorter than we ever expected. I went into pre-term labor with Emma when I was 21 weeks, leading to her early arrival and short 2 hours of life.
During that time of going through the loss of Emma at the hospital and the time since then, I would have to say that family support has been the greatest blessing and help. I have been open and willing to share my feelings and experiences with others, which ended up being therapeutic for me.
The best and most helpful way when dealing with the loss of Emma (and even still now that it has been almost a year since her passing), is the knowledge that families are forever. We believe that we will be reunited with Emma again one day. Since going through all of this, we have learned and grown in ways we never expected. It may seem counterintuitive, but for us, this loss and hardship has made our family better; it has given us the opportunity to become stronger, closer, and more believing as a family. This was a choice we made instead of choosing bitterness and hopelessness.
How to Stay Positive & Keep Trying
I could have easily fallen into a dark, deep place after losing Emma, but I chose not to. I felt deep sadness and mourned greatly for losing Emma (I still do at different moments) but I chose and choose now to celebrate her life and find joy in the time we had with her. We know that God has a plan for each and everyone of us, and there is a special plan for Emma.
New Pregnancy & How It’s Going
This was IVF cycle two for us, and the first transfer was a success! Because of the complications with Emma, we went through pre-genetic screening (PGS) with all the embryos from this cycle. With PGS we were able to find out the day of this first transfer the selected embryo was a Girl (how crazy is modern science, that we can know we’re having a girl before the embryo is even implanted in my body)! Knowing that we were having a girl from the very beginning has made this pregnancy so special and given us such a special bond with this baby. Through all that we experience with this new baby girl, we continue to feel Emma close by – those two must be best friends up in heaven.
This baby girl is already loved so much by family and friends. Not to mention that she’s beyond spoiled too – she already has more clothes, bows, and shoes than I’ve ever had!
To help with a few things that we think may have caused the pre-term labor with Emma, it was suggested that we do a cerclage (stitch the cervix). At 13 weeks the cerclage was placed and I also began progesterone shots and, as of two weeks ago, have also started wearing a belly belt to keep the pressure off the cervix.
Tips for Those Trying or Wanting to do IVF
Be willing and prepared to sacrifice A LOT! That goes for both you and your spouse. If you begin IVF you are beginning a journey of hundreds of shots, numerous blood draws, and a wide variety of exams. Also, learn to be open with not only your specialist and their nurses, but be open to share how things are going with your family and friends – their support will be beyond helpful. Other things to be prepared for, just because things could end up going so many different ways – pain, heartache, joy, and love.
Comforting Thoughts for Others
Don’t let go of the memories with your child or loved one(s) that you have lost. Don’t let fear rob you of your current or future joy. It’s okay to be sad and miss those you’ve lost – they’re still with you and watching over you.
My journey to motherhood is still an ongoing process for me. I’m a mother to an angel, the little girl that’s still growing, and our other future children. I wouldn’t change the experiences I’ve had as a mother and I look forward to all the opportunities that will come in the future as I raise my children.
Happy Mothers Day to all you incredible and amazing Mammas!