FET 3: Beta Eve

I debated for awhile on whether or not I would write this post right now. But then, I really got to thinking, which I will explain in more detail below, and decided I would. 

We found out a few days ago through a HPT that we are indeed pregnant. It is surreal to even type those words. Its been a long time. 7 years of trying, failed IUI’s, surgeries, 4 IVF’s, 3 miscarriages, and here we are again, pregnant. 

First, I should start off by saying that we are thrilled. I cant, and I wont deny or take away from that. We are thanking God every minute. And thats exactly why I am sharing this with all of our supporters so early on. 

The truth is, from the moment we saw those 2 pink lines show up, our lives forever changed again. We are beyond invested. We already have our hopes & dreams for this pregnancy, we share them with each other everyday. We want to celebrate every minute of this life or lives inside of me that we can. 

We know how quickly it all can change. And God forbid it does change, we want the support of those around us. That means more to us then keeping a secret. If our betas dont rise this week, or if there isnt a sac or heartbeat in a few weeks, we will need all the love and support we can get. We are trying not to think that way right now, but we know anything is possible.

We believe in the power of prayer. Please keep praying for us. We really believe this or these are our rainbow babies. We believe we will see them this winter. I have to believe because if I dont, I know thats a really dark place and I wont go there. So, we hope you can rejoice with us today in our news! Today is a good day, today we are pregnant! 

  

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Guest Post–A Happy Ending for a Couple Diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility

Today I am featuring a guest post from a couple diagnosed with unexplained infertility who are so very dear to my heart- my 1st cousin, Nina and her husband, Bryan.

Although I am sad that we both have had to battle infertility, I am forever grateful for the support and love we have been able to give to one another through this time in our lives.  Those of you who follow my blog know that I always say infertility has brought my husband and I closer.  Well, I can easily say the same thing about my cousin & I’s relationship, too.

Here is their story.


Nina & Bryan’s Story

So, when Ang asked if we would want to share our journey, I right away thought yes of course….then I thought oh goodness I am no writer and have never really written out our story….but quickly let her know that we would be honored to be a part of this amazing avenue for those on the infertility rollercoaster!  I am so proud of you Ang!

If you would have told me 7 years ago that I would be sharing our story on an infertility blog, I probably would have said, “No certainly not me…you must have the wrong couple!”  I say 7 years ago because my husband and I just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on June 21!  As newlyweds, we knew we wanted to have a year to enjoy being married, but wanted to start our family soon after.  We envisioned choosing a month to start trying, become pregnant and soon after have our sweet little bundle of joy!   Perfect picture right?!  Well, the reality was much different….

After about a year of trying with no success one of my very best friends (who was going though infertility) told me she would, without a doubt get to the doctor to get things checked out.  Without hesitation I did just that, all the while still thinking we weren’t going to find anything wrong and would be pregnant soon enough!  My friend advised that it was a good idea to start with the male factor to rule out anything.  For this, I would have to get a referral from my OBGYN first.

Here begins our journey!  To be quite honest I am horrible with dates and I cannot remember the exact timeline.  But, here are the steps we took.   First, I made an appointment to see my OBGYN.  We explained our concerns and asked for a referral for my husband to have things looked at.  She reassured me that I was young and healthy (I had no previous issues, regular cycles, etc.) and that these things take TIME….oh boy was she right about the TIME thing!  The next step was heading to the Urologist for Bryan.  We found that Bry had sperm for days, but they seemed to be taking a vacation.  Our urologist also informed us that Bry had some sort of infection.  One that could easily be taken care of with an antibiotic and that after we would do another analysis.  Fast forward to a few more visits to the urologist and a few more tests….she basically tells us that she is stumped and isn’t sure what to do!  Hence, our unexplained infertility diagnosis.  It felt like months of “wasted” time!

So, I then make an appointment to see the fertility specialist for a consultation.   It was over Christmas break, being a teacher I took any appointment I could get…that being said Bry couldn’t get off work.  So I take my sisters along with me for support and extra ears!

December of 2010 began our journey with the amazing Dr. Karnitis!  He thought that we were great candidates for IUI.  We started up right away.  We were so excited….first IUI cycle was simple.  Clomid, trigger and Bry to the office for his “intimate” alone time, then the procedure…wahoo we were sure to be pregnant after all of this!  We had everyone praying and hoping for the great news.  We choose to be pretty open about everything.  We figured we needed the prayer and support regardless of what was going to happen!  The IUI’s continued….another round of Clomid with injections, then we tried Femara with injections.  Nothing seemed to be wrong, but things just weren’t working!  Even with the injections my eggs didn’t seem to mature like they should be.  We tried a few more rounds of IUI, thinking it just had to work.  But after 5 failed IUI’s, we were finally ready to move on to IVF.  You are probably wondering why we continued trying IUI’s.  I think it was a combo of our doctor being very conservative and careful, and honestly I’m not sure that we were ready to make the IVF move quite yet!

We started up on our 1st round of IVF.  We were both very excited, knowing that with this more invasive procedure our chances of having the sweet babe we have been longing for was pretty great!  Dr. K was always so very optimistic as well.  During this process we were very fortunate to have a wonderful support system and prayer chains galore!  After our many rounds of IUI, we were able to find out that my body did react a little funny to the meds.  It was almost like I would need them upped, but when he would my body would go a little too crazy when they were.  We had to tread lightly.  Again, my eggs weren’t quite what Dr. K wanted, number or size, so he would up the meds just barely.  The eggs ended up getting there, but my levels shot through the roof.  He said it was too dangerous to trigger and continue with the retrieval.  We were so extremely devastated that our cycle was cancelled!  We then took a little break to give my ovaries and body some recover time.

Then it was on to IVF Round 2.  This time around we used a little different med concoction.  Things were going very smoothly, many eggs were developing and my lining was just where he wanted it.  My levels were getting nice and high, which was scary, but he felt comfortable moving forward to the egg retrieval.  YAY!!!  I apologize for not having many details, but to be honest I have difficulty remembering it all.  What we were living day to day, that I never thought I could forget, seems like a blur!

I will tell you that I did not forget any part of the egg retrieval.  We were so excited to finally get to this part.  We were one step closer to our goal!  During the retrieval I was in twilight and was feeling very good.  I remember trying so hard to focus because I wanted to see every single egg Dr. K got and wanted to be sure everything was good to go…as if I could change anything that was taking place!  Dr. K was able to retrieve 17 eggs!!  The next few days were just crazy…we got calls daily explaining how our embryos were doing.  By the end, we had 4 awesome day 4 embryos.  4 days later we did our fresh transfer of 2 embryos.  The other 2 were then frozen.  The day of the transfer was super calm and easy.  We just took it easy and prayed!

I thought for sure that it didn’t work.  I am a worrier to say the least…I didn’t feel any different and I was totally bummed.  Then watch out….here came day 11.  Bry was actually sick with the Norovirus.  So to get me away from it all my mom took me to Outback to eat.  I felt a little queasy, thinking I had caught the awful bug that Bry had.  Oh my goodness was I wrong!  I was a hot mess.  I was getting sick, had migraines, and was passing out on the bathroom floor.  We were on the phone with Dr. K who advised us to get to the clinic, which was located in the hospital and that this was actually great news.  Ummm…I felt absolutely terrible, how in the world could this be good?!

I got there and was hooked up to IV’s right away.  I was extremely dehydrated and had OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome).  They kept me all day.  Dr. K then decided to do a beta….he said it was early and that if it was negative, there was still the possibility that it could be positive, but if it were positive I was in fact pregnant!  He came back shortly, and the news we had been waiting to hear for years was given to us!  CONGRATS…we were pregnant!!  I am going to be honest we literally looked at each other, smiled and kissed.  I then tried to fall back asleep!  We had def pictured something a bit different, but hey who the heck cares!!!  We were going to be parents finally!  As Dr. K walked out of the room he had a smirk on his face and said under his breath, those are twin numbers!!!  Oh my…could it really be!? I felt pretty terrible for weeks after.  I remember Bry literally carrying me to put me into the bathtub!  He is my ROCK!   I looked like I was 4 months pregnant in the matter of a few days, due to the fluid because of OHSS.

Our next appointment was scheduled at 7 weeks to have an ultrasound.  I was still under the weather, but doing a bit better!  We were nervous…so so nervous.  We just wanted to be sure we really were pregnant.  We wanted to see that heart beat!  In comes Dr. K and here we go…“Yep….2 sacs, and 2 heartbeats”!!!!!! WHAT…….we literally looked at eachother and started laughing!  It was a nervous, super excited laugh!  Dr. K joined in the fun!!  Then I had to triple check that they were both healthy so far and look just as they should!  He reassured me they were.

We gave birth to two beautiful babies on September 8, 2013.  They just couldn’t wait to meet us and came 2 months early, but we made it through the 5 week NICU stay!  We thank God everyday for our sweet miracles.

Thank you for allowing us to share our story!  I hope that it can give everyone reading this hope.  No matter where are you in your journey!  Infertility is so very frustrating and it can be easy to lose all hope.  We were there on numerous occasions…keep the faith!

You are all in our prayers ,

Nina and Bryan

Our miracles!!!
                         Our miracles!!!

Progress Made

I guess you could say I sort of have my own pregnancy loss recovery “program” going on.  Over the past 5 months, I have slowly been making progress in my recovery efforts, but this week I feel I took a big step.

Months 1-2

The beginning of my recovery program included coming to terms with the fact I was no longer physically pregnant.  This was a brutal, harsh reality, and I thank God everyday that I was able to take a medical leave from work for a month.  It consisted of going from no periods for 3 months, to constant, continual bleeding & cramping, forcing myself to shower daily, trying to buy new clothes and dispose of maternity ones, adjusting my eating, exercising, & medicinal habits, getting accustomed to my new sleep patterns, & so much more.

You go from a baby bump to nothing to show for the bump but extra pounds.

You go from eating like a pig to eating just to survive.

You go from sleeping any chance you get because your baby is growing inside of you, to only sleeping when you self-medicate yourself. 

I also attended grief counseling during this time as part of my recovery.  This helped me understand that the physical anguish I was experiencing was quite normal and common considering what we went through. 

Next, came announcing to the world our infertility, IVF, and RPL secret (aka getting rid of the monkey we had been carrying around on our backs for years).  Lets face it, infertility treatments and recurrent pregnancy loss can become really challenging to hide after a while. Instead of announcing a baby to the world, we were now announcing how many we had lost. This included coming out of the closet with our families, friends, co-workers, social media, etc.  We began to realize we weren’t alone, as many people started coming out of the woodwork with their stories, too.  This part of my recovery program was actually quite soothing because the support we received was overwhelmingly positive.  Phone calls, texts, cards, presents, the works.

Months 3-4

These months centered mainly around 2 things–restoring my relationship with God, and making some decisions about our future. The big guy and I had a lot of sorting out to do.  I can’t lie and say I wasn’t utterly angry and disappointed with Him, because I was.  I was also confused & devastated that He allowed this to happen again.  I had went from talking to Him everyday, to seriously questioning my faith after loss 3.  In fact, I don’t think I ever doubted it so much in my entire life. When my mom or husband would bring Him up, I would tell them to be quiet.  I would tell them He doesn’t hear my prayers obviously anyways, and that His plan must be for me to never be a mother.  I yelled at Him and reminded Him that only He had the power to save our babies and He chose not to. 

Through each cycle and each pregnancy, we not only prayed and spent time with Him everyday, we also gave Him all the glory for those BFP’s. We even told our doctors it was Him who got us pregnant. Why then would He allow this to occur again? Well, I can’t answer that, and thankfully, I no longer have the desire to answer it. I do know there is a reason, but I can’t say I will ever understand it or know it.  And that is OK; I don’t need to understand everything.  I do know that I wouldn’t be sitting here typing right now had we still been pregnant.  I wouldn’t be advocating for this cause.  It took some time, and it’s still a work in progress, but I am so happy to say that my faith has been restored.  I know that He understood why I felt the way I did when we lost our babies and He keeps no record of my wrongs.

  
During this time, we also tried to figure out what went wrong with our pregnancy the best we could so we could prevent it from happening again in the future if possible.  I underwent numerous procedures, operations, blood tests, and doctor appointments.  We were able to eliminate many things off our list that could be causing our issue. We spent time praying and discussing our future options for creating our family-adoption, gestational surrogacy, another FET, a child free life.  We started researching getting second opinions from other RE’s and chose to finally go get one.  We made the decision that I needed to take some time away from my career, and hence, I put in my resignation.  I began to find other things that I enjoy and take pride in doing that do not revolve around us having a baby.  As you can see, a lot of clarity and healing came during this time.

Month 5

This would bring us to the present time.  Healing is definitely still in progress.  This week I made some progress (in my eyes) and I am proud of myself for it.  One of the hardest things for me since our last loss has been being around or talking to or about any pregnant women.  I have declined baby showers.  I have distanced myself from conversations. I have decided that I just could not be a part of any of this.  I have needed to protect myself from unnecessary hurt.  Unfortunately, anyone who has suffered through IF and/or RPL knows these horrible feelings all too well.  Basically, there is no other way to put it other than it sucks!  And I don’t think anyone enjoys feeling this way. 

So, I decided to try to take some small steps with this.  I went online and found my old high school friends baby registry (she is due with her first child in a few weeks).  I sent her some really cute presents and a card.  I did the same thing for a friend that I have recently met here in this wonderful blogging community as well.  In addition, I accepted an invitation to 3-year-old birthday party where another pregnant woman, baby, and children will be present.  I went out and bought him some play dough, a puzzle, and a book for the party.  I must tell you, I felt really great inside when I did each of these things for these special people. It brought me a lot of joy. And while I know that I have a long ways to go still in my healing, I also know that I am farther along than I was before!

  

Marriage…with or without a Baby Carriage

Is infertility tough on a marriage? Absolutely.  Is there a flip side to that?  Can infertility actually be good for a marriage? Absolutely.  There is no doubt that being infertile has made our marriage stronger.

Before we struggled with infertility, our life together was fairly easy, and by the book for the most part.  We dated, broke up, got back together, relocated, moved in together, got engaged, bought a dog, got married, bought a house. It wasn’t until we started trying to have a baby that we experienced real struggle in our marriage.  Up to that point, we had assumed we would fall pregnant rather easily and quickly.  We thought having a family was just the next step in a series of events that people embark on as they share their lives together.

We were wrong.  God had a different plan for us.  Little did we know, our marriage would be put to the test.  Initially, upon finding out we were “infertile,” we disagreed a lot.  Neither one of us ever wanted to do IVF & in all honesty, I don’t think we really thought we would need to.  We figured that it would just happen regardless of what these crazy doctors told us.  However, after a while, I knew these doctors were not that crazy.  He, on the other hand, tried to fight it.  And so the arguing began.

We bickered about our lifestyles, and changes that needed to be made due to our infertility.  We argued about timing.  We fought about the finances involved in fertility treatments.  We disagreed about the doctors we saw.  We even bumped heads about what we would tell others when they blurted out the dreaded question, “when are you having kids?” or “what are you waiting for?”  We went back and forth about appointment dates and times, and work schedules.  Looking back, all of it seemed so overwhelming to us.

NIAW

Many couples never have to endure these trials.  Making a baby is supposed to be easy and fun isn’t it? But our fate was different.  We did have to endure these trials.  There were many nights we went to bed angry.  There were many nights we both questioned if we were meant to be together since we couldn’t have a child together naturally. I am telling you the raw truth-all the things many infertile couples think and say to one another, but hesitate to tell the rest of the fertile world.

Finally, there came a point when we realized we had to both be completely united in this journey.  That it wasn’t either one of our “faults.”  That there was no easy way to accept this was the path we had to walk.  The choice now became whether or not we would come out of this journey stronger or not.

Gradually, we started appreciating each other more.  We began noticing that we had been taking each other for granted at times, perhaps because we got comfortable being together for so long.  We were suddenly seeing how we were living, and how we could both do better.  We started growing closer than we had been in years. The decisions started to come easier; no pointing the finger, no quarreling anymore over the many steps in the journey. So, the question is, how did this transformation take place?

Nothing short of giving our relationship over to God.  In the darkest times, we began reading our bibles together daily. We did devotionals everyday as well (there is a picture of my favorite one at the bottom…get it!!). We were praying for each other, and with each other, something we had never done.  We understood we were not alone in this journey, we were together.  Everyday, our marriage was getting stronger.  All thanks to infertility, and God, of course.

It is finally clear to us now that God has been preparing us for our future.  What if we hadn’t experienced this ongoing war with infertility? What if it had just been easy for us? Would we be as close as we are today? Would we have made it? Would we be grounded enough to survive what lies ahead 15 or 20 years down the road?

I do not know, and I wouldn’t change things to find out.  That’s right-I wouldn’t trade the infertility, or recurrent miscarriages to see what our life would look like without it.  Why? Because through all of this, we have found that we can handle any obstacle thrown our way. NOTHING can tear us apart.  In fact, these challenges only make us, and our future family, all the stronger.

I love my husband, and I am so blessed that God is allowing us to walk this road with one another.  I am so thankful that he has brought us closer; closer to each other and to him. More than ever before, we are firmly believing that the blessings he has in store for our future are truly immense.

If I could give any advice to couples out there, infertile or not, it would be to spend time really working on your marriage. You and your husband have to be each other’s top priority, so you can withstand all of the trials that may come your way. Having kids is a true blessing, but it will not protect or save your marriage.  Only the two of you, and God can do that.