Worth Every Shot
If you know me, you know I'm a planner. I thrive with structure, and I like to be in control. At least I'm self-aware, right? ;)
This is about to get kind of personal, so if that is not your jam, move forward a couple of paragraphs.
When Charles and I started dating, we both knew we wanted kids. When we got married, we said we wanted to wait 5 years before bringing kiddos into our world. We wanted to be "us" first-- travel, build a solid foundation, get financially ready, have a home-- you know, adulting.
Well, our 5 year anniversary was 2020. We looked at each other and laughed. Bringing a kid into the world at the height of COVID? No, thank you. I wanted my husband by my side at doctor's appointments and during labor. May 2021 came around, and we were ready.
I'd done lots of research and knew how to make the most of the process. Lots of ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, and disappointment followed. Trying for a whole year with no luck and no answers was incredibly difficult. Our hope was diminished, but we weren't giving up. By July 2022, my doctor had started running tests. From what we could tell, everything was fine. The last test was to examine my fallopian tubes. The "dye test" as they call it. Quickly, we realized my tubes were blocked. At this time, my OB said she wanted to hand me over to a fertility specialist.
There was some confusion between the two doctor's offices, but I got in to see Dr. Malizia the first week of October 2022. She advised surgery to clear my tubes. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy... so we thought. When Charles and I met with her, she mentioned there was a 10% chance I could lose 1 tube and a 2% chance I could lose both. We knew the risk and moved forward.
October 14, 2022, was a day I'll always remember. Surgery day. The surgery had been scheduled so soon that my mom and Charles had to play tag team that day. Charles had a big presentation and couldn't stay the whole time. Thankfully, his office is just down the hill from Brookwood Hospital. I woke up from surgery and for whatever reason, I asked the nurse if they had to take my tubes. I don't know why that was the first thing that came to my brain, but I guess my body knew. The nurse said yes, and my heart sank. "they did?!"The nurse quickly went to my chart and realized that was not why I was in surgery. "Oh, Anna... I'm so sorry.. you still have options, I promise."
In a matter of hours, my ability to naturally conceive children was taken away from me. My heart was broken. I'd been in surgery way longer than expected, and my mom was waiting in the room with knowing eyes. I called Charles, and he was at the hospital room within 5 minutes. "Where did you even park?!", I asked him... "It doesn't matter, I'm here". We were sad together and talked about options. My doctor came in and explained my tubes were full of scar tissue and were not working. At least we had answers. Next step-- IVF.
I need to pause and say thank you to the people who rallied around me from October 14th to now, honestly. But those first few weeks after surgery, I was shown so much love and support. Between the packages, phone calls to Charles, and visitors dropping by with food, my favorite treats, and flowers... I felt so seen, and I am so grateful for each of you.
The day after Thanksgiving, we started the IVF process. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say egg retrieval isn't for the faint of heart. Our first transfer was on December 12th.
I found out on December 20th it didn't work. I'd bought a couple of cute things to tell Charles on Christmas Day if I was pregnant, and it was disappointing and sad, to say the least.
We tried again in February, but my body wasn't ready, so we had to stop before transfer. June 2023 came and I was ready to try again. My doctor said my body was perfect. I was hopeful, but anxious, of course. I tested at home 5 days after the transfer, and it was negative. I was so frustrated and OVER it. I waited for the 10-day mark, and heard from the IVF clinic what I already knew -- transfer #2 wasn't successful. I was so over going to the fertility clinic every week for ultrasounds and bloodwork, giving myself 2, sometimes 3 shots a day with ZERO results. My doctor was sad for us... It was then I knew I needed to make some hard decisions. I took time off work and pressed the reset button.
Cue July 27, 2023. This, I'd decided, was going to be our last try for a while. I tried acupuncture and went to see an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility. It was kind of a weird experience, but hey, we were willing to try anything. We also were babysitting my favorite female Goldendoodle, Merida, and she is the most snuggly little angel. She and Teddy kept me in good spirits.
We knew what to expect, and went in for transfer #3. (See picture above). My doctor was out of town and another doctor had to do the transfer. Not ideal, but we were in good hands. The clinic had become like family. It felt like my second home, as much time as I spent there.
****** Start here if you want the most recent details******
5 days after transfer, (August 1st), I was cleaning our bathroom and found 2 pregnancy tests. Ahh, what the heck. Why not. I took a test and started cleaning some more. I came back to the test and saw what I was used to. 1 line and stark white. I leaned against the bathroom counter and tried to mentally prepare myself. As I did, I looked back down... A SECOND LINE APPEARED... I fell to the ground, crying tears of gratitude. Thanking God for hearing my prayers, and giving us this precious gift. Poor Teddy, he didn't know what was happening. His mom was crying and on the floor and acting crazy. I couldn't believe it... I schemed enough to get Charles home early and finally got to give him some of the presents I'd bought for him 2 years earlier. My favorite one -- a t-shirt that says "I keep all my dad jokes in a dad-a-base". He said omg are you pregnant?! I took out the pregnancy test that I'd been hiding and showed it to him. That reaction was everything. It was worth every shot, every tear, and every negative pregnancy test (over 50 tests if you are wondering).
Being "high risk" means we were spoiled with lots of ultrasounds early on, and it has been so rewarding to see this little bean grow.
Charles said something to me early on that has stuck with me. "Anna, when has anything you've ever done been easy?" At the time, I wanted to scream "But for once, I wanted something to be easy, dammit!" This certainly hasn't been easy, but it is worth it. Pregnancy hasn't been all roses and butterflies either, but we're making it. I'm so ready for the magic everyone talks about that happens in the second trimester. I'm a little too comfortable with my bathroom floor these days.
To those who have supported us and prayed for us (namely Nicole, Kelsi, Kera, Jessica, Jennifer, Blaire, Jaclyn, Stephanie, Lily, Josh, my sweet Johnson and Wilkerson family, my incredible neighbors, my family, and so many more), thank you! We couldn't have gotten this far without you.
To my rock, my soft place to land, and my now baby daddy --- I love you. Thank you for putting up with the hormones, the moodiness, the sadness, the happiness, and everything in between. Together we made it.
I could have just posted the photos and not shared the story behind what we've been through, but let me tell you. Infertility SUCKS. It is silent suffering. At times, you feel bad for not sharing enough, or for sharing too much. I don't want to feel silenced, and I don't want others to feel silenced either.
Yesterday we got to do something I thought would never happen. We took announcement photos, as I'm now out of the "danger zone". We are so thrilled to tell you that Baby Read will make its grand appearance in April 2024. :)
Now, let the adventure continue!