My infertility story is best summed up by one word: denial.
I had to face that denial when I was 28. My husband and I decided that we needed to see a specialist to find out what was keeping us from starting a family. I met Josh when I was 19; we were instant best friends, and we married 8 years later. While we had talked about a family, we never set an exact date to begin, we just thought it would happen.
I felt pressure to have a child by the age of 30. In hindsight this was such a ridiculous thought given that it really had no base. Nevertheless, a year into our marriage and a year away from that number 30, I started to wonder why I wasn’t pregnant. We weren’t keeping a pregnancy from occurring, if you know what I mean.
Here we were, unlike the many couples who announce a pregnancy within a year of marriage, not pregnant. I read everything I could in a short amount of time about what my next steps should be to get pregnant, and the steps after that, and the steps after that. This was going to be a long road. I just knew it.
I made around 20 appointments with my gynecologist and would drive past the exit almost each time. Some times I would pretend to forget the time of my appointment, or suddenly fall ill. On one hand, I knew something wasn’t right; but on the other, I didn’t want to know what wasn’t right.
When I finally followed through and went to a series of appointments, follow ups and exams it became clear that I would no longer be able to pretend things were alright. I had a hysterosalpingogram done and watched the screen as the dye didn’t do what it should. My fallopian tubes were blocked. I knew right away that this was it.
So we decided to try IVF.
That short sentence represents a tremendous decision for us. We kept telling ourselves that if we decided not to, it wasn’t a regret we wanted to live with down the road. I read blog posts from women who had spent years, thousands of dollars, and had traveled around the world trying time after time to become pregnant. I convinced myself that I would be writing words like theirs soon enough. I was in denial about any success rates that we were told by our doctor.
Once I began taking hormones I continued in my negativity and it wasn’t until the embryo transfer was complete that I felt a shred of hope. We anxiously sat in our living room with our phones in our hands waiting for the phone call that would determine the rest of our lives. I don’t remember what our doctor’s exact words were, because the moment I heard her voice I knew I was pregnant.
Right there began an important journey that would take us to April of 2013 when our twins were born. Any doubt or negativity ended as I looked at my sweet babies.
A few months after our twins were born a family friend asked for support and advice as she went through IVF. I told her what to expect, and how she would feel. I kept my advice cheerful but shared that I also felt intense sadness during that time.
Looking back, I realized that I never allowed myself to believe that there was hope, answers or a happy ending for our family. More importantly, I had believed that we would only be happy if I did get pregnant. It took the next year as I watched my premature twins begin to thrive to realize that I was hopeful for their future. I found myself feeling that a happy ending isn’t guaranteed. What we feel we need or deserve isn’t guaranteed. It’s what you find along the way and how you overcome it is the guarantee.
I whole heartedly regret my attitude and outlook before our babies were born. I am fortunate that our IVF led us to our sweet twins. I can only offer to any women considering IVF this advice:
Face what you fear head on so that you have a clear mind and heart to endure what comes next. Fill every bit of yourself with hope.