Jana and Kevin (USA): Our hopeful journey to Baby Anderson
Infertility comes with many emotions and delays. Everyone’s journey is so different yet so similar, as we share the hopes of one day giving birth to a healthy baby. My husband and I talked about children almost immediately upon dating and we tried conceiving naturally on our own for several years. One year went by, two years and now seven years… I feel disappointed every time Aunt Flo rears her ugly head, yet hopeful to ovulate afterwards as it means another opportunity to try to conceive.
Initially, my husband went into a state of denial that there could be something wrong with him, partly because I have a son from a previous marriage and my husband does not have any biological children. That denial went on for several years because, as a man, infertility was not something he wanted to talk about. All of his friends have children except him. During that time, he felt that the unknown was better and that going to see a fertility doctor might confirm his worst fears.
In 2014, my husband and I finally agreed that it was time to see a fertility doctor. Through a hysterosalpingography procedure, the doctor determined that my left fallopian tube was blocked and, through semen analysis, we found out that my husband had low motility. In 2016, my husband had variocele surgery to improve the motility but unfortunately it did not improve. Our doctor at the time darn near shoved IVF down our throats and we were both very uncomfortable with the idea because of our spirituality and the fear of having multiples. Since then, we have tried different doctors but it never really felt promising or the right fit for us.
In 2017, we had substantial conversations about our infertility and it got to the point where we both were about to just give up. Infertility hurts and it is too much to bear sometimes. Despite knowing our chances of getting pregnant were low, every single month was difficult but we still tried to no avail. After years of failed attempts, it took a toll on us individually and as a couple. The constant pressure we were putting ourselves through and the unwanted visit of my period each month became too much. However, I heard about the Fertility Center of Maryland from a co-worker and it changed everything. I discussed it with my husband, who admitted that he really did not want us to give up, so we scheduled a consultation with the new fertility center and it has truly softened our hearts on the idea of IVF and our spirituality.
I subsequently had laparoscopy surgery to remove my left blocked fallopian tube, which was hydrosalpinx. Shortly after, we started our first IVF cycle and we were excited about finally moving forward with the process. However, during the cycle it was discovered that I had a 7mm polyp and we were told that we were not able to do a fresh transfer because the polyp reduced our chances of getting pregnant and, if pregnant, could cause miscarriages. This brought on yet another delay because we had to wait until January 2018 to have the hysteroscopy surgery and wait for another menstrual cycle. The delays for me felt like setbacks because we wanted a baby so bad but kept encountering roadblocks.
During the surgery, they also discovered scar tissue when removing the polyp. As a result, the RE inserted a balloon catheter to prevent the scar tissue from reforming. When this occurred, I felt defeated by my own body. There were so many things that were wrong with my reproductive system that were preventing us from getting pregnant. Even though we were gaining more knowledge as to why we had been so unsuccessful on our own, it did not negate the fact that I felt my body was impaired and it brought on unwanted fears and stress. I wondered what else they would discover, how much longer each step in the process would take, and whether I would be able to conceive again. I hated that I had those thoughts; wanted to be positive but, since it was happening to my body, I had my moments of doubt. The positive energy from my husband lifted my spirits and allowed me to believe that we are worthy of having a baby and that the doctors are doing everything in their power to prepare my womb to be strong enough to conceive and carry a baby.
In March 2018, we were able to transfer one frozen embryo and we’re now on our two week wait. We decided as a couple to not take an at-home pregnancy test and to trust the process. Shockingly, I have done quite good with this decision and have not had the urge to test. This is big for me because I always need to know and need to know now. It is about control in a sense, but this infertility and IVF process has taught me that I am not in control. I am excited about the possibility of us being pregnant – but a part of me is scared that we could not be, so I do not want to get my hopes up too high. I learned with this that the higher our emotions are the harder we fall when it does not go as we imagined. That makes it harder emotionally to deal with the disappointments and delays.
Tomorrow is our OTD and I feel excited and fearful at the time as tears fill my eyes: excited about the possibility of us finally having a BFP and our son being a big brother, but fearful of being disappointed. Even though this is our first IVF cycle we have been trying to conceive relentlessly on our own for years. The cost of IVF, along with the various medications, injections and hormonal side effects takes a toll on you mentally, physically and spiritually. I guess my fear is “what if IVF fails.” Our insurance only covers three IVF attempts. In addition, there are several out of pocket costs that our insurance does not cover such as the freeze, storage and thaw of the embryos, which is very expensive.
I hope and pray this is our time. For my husband and I, we can only pray and ask the Father to strengthen my womb and allow our embryo to implant. We are spiritual and understand the doctors can only do but so much in terms of surgeries and in the labs with our embryos. Ultimately, it is up to the Father and in his hands.