Can you believe it I am taking off the infertility mask? I am back doing our last and final frozen embryo transfer. To catch you up to speed since I have been keeping a low profile on social media about this transfer I have waited almost two years to transfer our last baby. If you are new to my fertility journey, you can start here and here to get caught up. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this last transfer experience. I have done so much soul searching since the failure of our first frozen embryo transfer (Yes it was PGS tested) in February 2016. I have explored hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, self-help books, audiobooks, vacations you name it I have done it. I just couldn’t understand why we had a failure of a healthy PGS tested embryo until I went and had surgery to find out if I had endometriosis. Well, well, well imagine that I had stage three endometriosis all along. Endometriosis doesn’t mean this is the sole answer why our first FET failed but it’s a good indication on why it did.
You know how passionate I am about being your health care advocate. I can’t even read my blog post timeline about everything I have been through and all the fighting with doctors for immune testing etc. over the past four years. It makes me sick how women are treated in the infertility world, and I see no change happening soon.
So what is this blog post regarding? For starters, I have felt from the very first time I stepped into a fertility clinic that I had a mask covering my identity. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. What? Me? Why? I have regular periods every twenty-eight days. I have never missed a period they are like clockwork, and I am healthy and in shape what’s the problem? OK so I am thirty-seven (now forty-two and loving it) I get it, but there are plenty of women that get pregnant way over forty and I know that I make normal PGS tested embryos. I felt like a veil of shame covered my face not only when I walked into the clinic, but everywhere I went. No one understands the feelings of loss, despair, sadness, loneliness, and heartbreak unless you have gone through infertility.
So here we are our last PGS FET embryo transfer. October 19th was going to be either door number one or door number two. We were to be either celebrating a new life or celebrating our new childless life. So much build up to this day and how our lives were to play out. Thank goodness my husband, and I was smart enough to seek out professional help months before the transfer. I told my husband that I think it would be extremely beneficial to talk to a couples therapist to prepare us emotionally. He took my request seriously and found us a therapist so we could acknowledge our anxiety, uncertainty and talk about how we felt. Therapy is another aspect to infertility that couples have shame. No one wants to admit that they are seeing a therapist but WHY? Fertility clinics from our experience don’t care how emotionally stable or unstable you are, but they love to take your money. I can’t image going through this journey without professional mental help and clarity.
This transfer was different from my FET #1 first and most important was my excision surgery for the endometriosis and removal of three fibroids in October 2016, I did inter-lipids before the transfer, I added in Lovenox and prednisone, and I had both PIO (progesterone in oil) injections and progesterone suppositories. A couple of things that I didn’t do were Lupron and acupuncture. It was tough to get excited and positive about this transfer since our past was so laden with failures six to be exact.
Transfer day went beautifully uterine lining was over nine millimeters with the coveted triple layers, and the embryo thawed without a hitch. The trial transfer was a breeze and the words again “What a beautiful uterus” was said. I forgot my transfer socks but looked at it as lucky. Transfer went as planned and the picture of our beautiful baby was handed to us. The two-week wait was terrible as usual but I had some good signs that I never had before. Day four post five-day transfer I had implantation bleeding and cramping. I adhered to the two days of bed rest and took the entire week off to just chill. We decided not to do a home pregnancy test because it’s just not worth it for us. I have never seen anything positive on a home pregnancy test and to me it’s like playing the lottery, I was just not up for it.
On October 19th at 7:30 am I went in for the beta (blood work) and the pregnancy test. I decided to wait for the results of the pregnancy test thinking it would be better to have some idea before the phone call. The nurse came out to get me and couldn’t look at me, we were walking down the hall, and I said “Is it negative?” she just nodded. I was like what? This is weird why can’t she look at me? Was it my infertility mask that was scaring her? She took me into a room and just stared down at the pregnancy test in the biohazard bag. I was looking around like can this be happening? She said, “This never happens, you at least, possibly, maybe get a faint line with a PGS embryo.” Oh, great lady thanks, way to make me feel like a real loser. So after my moment of emotion, I told her “Look, I am not that girl that’s going to spend her life looking at a stick hoping for a double line. It’s not my first rodeo I am ready to start my life, and God has other plans for us.” She said that she sees some women spending years and years just cycling and missing out on their life waiting for that double line. I told her well; I am NOT that girl. I gave it five years, 2 IUI’s, 3 IVF Cycles, 2 IVF banking cycles, 2 PGS FET’s, 2 States (Colorado + Florida), 500+ injections, $175,000, 7 babies transfered and countless tears. I am moving on and living my life now without the infertility mask.
It has been way harder than I ever imagined dealing with this last and final loss. We are finally grieving everything we have been through with this infertility journey. My husband and I are a little lost, feeling like we are naked in the middle of Times Square and we are not part of the naked cowboy gig. It’s a bizarre feeling not having the next step all planned out. Yes, EVERYONE says to “Just Adopt” which I find highly insensitive because that’s not the answer. There is nothing wrong with wanting your biological child. So to answer everyone’s burning question we are moving forward with our lives with no plan only prayer. We are not losers we just got beat by infertility and there is a huge difference. Our fertility journey brought us closer, stronger, gave us growth, knowledge, character building and success. We aggressively went after what we wanted, fought hard, prayed harder and sometimes life has bigger plans for you than what you planned for yourself.
I am taking off the mask for good today. I represent the women out there in the world that went after their dreams and might not have received what the initial goal was but came through a better stronger woman. I know everyone wants the happy ending story, the fairytale of the baby wrapped up in a bow at the end of IVF but guess what? Sometimes you just can’t make that happen no matter how perfect your numbers are. I know there are thousands of women out there that share my story and no one wants to talk about it. Who wants to talk about all this infertility struggle and coming up empty-handed? Who? I want women to know that it’s OK, It’s OK that it didn’t work out, it’s OK that you are moving forward in your life without a baby if that’s what you choose. I am tired of feeling like I have to fit into society’s perfect picture of what a family means. This was the hardest challenge of my life and I feel empowered as a woman to be able to come forward and share my story and knowledge.
My blog will now represent life after infertility. What do you do now? How do you find the joy in life if you can’t have a baby? It’s never over when you put God in charge of your life.
Here is to new beginnings, a glass of Rose and a first class trip to Paris.