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    Posted April 16, 2015 by
    Kansas City, MO
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Infertility stories

    Through the darkness we found the light of our lives

    Infertility has been a part of my life for over eight years. My husband and I were married in May 2006 after dating for almost seven years. We waited to get married until I was finished with college. In January 2007, my career was well under way and we were settled into our new home, so we decided to start a family. We thought it could take some time and tried "for fun" for about nine months before we started getting serious. For the next nine months, we tracked ovulation and timed sex accordingly.

    Feeling frustrated after 18 months of trying, I sought guidance from my OB/GYN at my annual appointment. I was told that tracking ovulation would stress me out and cause me not to ovulate and that we should "just relax". My doctor’s theory was that since my cycles were regular, we didn't have a problem. After two years we decided something had to be wrong, and we went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist for testing. We were diagnosed with male factor infertility. My husband was in the midst of an ongoing weight loss endeavor and we waited a few months prior to being tested again. My tests were all "normal". His counts improved and we decided to try an intrauterine insemination (IUI). We were eager with hope and excited for the future.

    Fourteen days after our IUI we got a positive pregnancy test! We were ecstatic! Finally! Finally, after watching all our friends welcome babies into their lives, we did it! A few weeks later, I started having pain and was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. The baby was growing in my Fallopian tube. I was given methotrexate to end the pregnancy. I had never felt so broken before. My precious baby didn't have a chance growing in the wrong spot. We were devastated and mourned the loss of the baby we would never meet.

    About four months later we got pregnant without medical intervention and went down the ectopic pregnancy road all over again. I felt like my body was betraying me. We decided to perform a test to see if my tube was completely blocked. The test was very painful and we discovered that fluid would not flow through my left tube. We did a second, less painful test and discovered my tube was just narrowed. We did another IUI, got pregnant and were diagnosed with our third ectopic pregnancy. Our third lost baby.

    Our dreams were fizzling on us and we were getting scared. Are we headed down the right path? Should we try something else? Does God not want us to be parents? What did we do to deserve this? We decided to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and saved for over a year to afford the $15,000 treatment our insurance didn't cover. We were thrilled to start the process and confident that IVF, which would eliminate the tube from the reproduction process, would be our ticket, especially since it gave us at least a 60% chance at successfully conceiving. We had 13 eggs retrieved and 7 fertilized properly. We transferred 3 embryos to up our chances and improve our odds of success. Unbelievably, the treatment didn't even work. After getting pregnant both on our own and with significantly less successful treatment, IVF didn't work at all. Not pregnant.

    When I got the call that the blood test was negative, I was at work. I walked to my car and sobbed. We had now been trying almost five years. Collectively we had spent more than $20,000 on treatment and testing, and we had nothing but broken hearts and three lost babies we would never meet. I was never going to be a mother.

    Two months after our failed IVF, we got pregnant without medical intervention once again. We set ourselves up for disappointment, because we knew our luck just wasn't there. We were diagnosed with our fourth ectopic pregnancy, and after medication to treat it wasn't working, the pregnancy was growing still, and my life became jeopardized. I underwent emergency surgery to remove the pregnancy and subsequently my bad left tube that was found to be severely damaged.

    During the surgery I was diagnosed with stage 3 endometriosis. We had a diagnosis! We had a reason for all this heartache! Convinced that my only good tube could never work, along with our new diagnosis, we tried reluctantly. We were not in a place financially to pursue adoption, so we moved on thinking if it was meant to be, it would happen. To our surprise we got pregnant rather quickly! And this time, the baby was growing in the right place! We finally did it! We saw our baby's heartbeat and I had never cried happier tears in all my life! We couldn't contain our excitement!

    Just two short weeks later and a repeat ultrasound showed our beautiful, miracle baby's heart had stopped. There was no heartbeat. I remember the ultrasound tech leaving us alone in the room to cry together. We comforted each other and cried in each other's arms. We were angry, and we were suffering. We did a D&C, and I began to heal physically. The emotional healing took much longer though. We were scared, but we took comfort knowing that miscarriages are common, and most people who have miscarriages go on to achieve healthy, long lasting pregnancies.

    We quickly got pregnant a sixth time. Our blood tests were great, our ultrasound showed a strong steady heartbeat, and I had morning sickness. This had to be it! I was desperate for this to be the baby I would bring home. I felt like I was drowning and this baby was saving me. Our repeat ultrasound showed that yet again our baby's heart had stopped beating. This time I started yelling. I wanted a hysterectomy. I never wanted to feel this sad ever again. I could never endure this much pain ever again. Six lost pregnancies, and all the lost hopes and dreams that went with them. Six babies I would never hold. Six babies I would never kiss. Six tiny scars carved into my heart.

    I was facing my third surgery in less than two years. I cried the morning of that last surgery. I felt like I was mourning all my lost babies, not just that last one. I felt lost. I didn't know who I was anymore. I was bitter, I was broken, I was hopeless. My heart had been crushed repeatedly for the past six years. Our bank account had been drained to pay for testing, treatment, medications, and surgeries. At each step of the way, we had been filled with so much hope that all we needed to do was fix "x, y or z" and we'd get our happily ever after. We kept fixing things, and we kept failing.

    I will never forget the moment I realized we should stop trying. I was driving, and crying, and out loud I said "I hear you, God. I hear you loud and clear. This just isn't meant to be, it's not for us." We decided to stop trying and began preventing pregnancy. We just couldn't take another loss, we couldn't be filled with any more hope and then get crushed again. At that point, the overwhelming cost of adoption was too much for us. We looked into a foster to adopt program. We discovered that in that program you can get matched with a child but the biological parents have one year to try to get their children back. In 50% of cases, they do. So theoretically we could get matched with a child, and after an entire year we had a 50% chance of losing them. We just couldn't do it.

    We decided to be the greatest aunt and uncle we could be, and travel. It was a very difficult decision. On one hand it was freeing to let go of the desperation that had held me for the last six years, but on the other hand I was grieving the dream I couldn't achieve. I had bad days still where I was devastated that I would never hold my baby in my arms, but I tried to focus my attention on my free time and began planning fun trips with my husband. After almost a year of reluctantly accepting our child free life, the topic came up again. Maybe we quit trying too soon, maybe we should try again. We decided to give it one last shot. If it took longer than six months or if we lost another pregnancy, that was it. We would stop forever. I was scared to try again. What if we lose another baby?

    But we tried, and on our first month we got a positive pregnancy test. We decided not to get our hopes up and waited two weeks to call the doctor. The blood test came back great and we were scheduled for an ultrasound. At our ultrasound we saw the heartbeat, but we weren't happy yet. We wouldn't be happy until the next ultrasound when we saw that heartbeat again and could see that our precious embryo was growing. At 12 weeks we heard our baby's heartbeat with the doppler and my doctor asked us how we were going to celebrate. I remember asking her if it was safe to celebrate yet. It was!

    We waited until our next ultrasound at 14 weeks, which was also on our eighth wedding anniversary, before announcing our news! It was finally beginning to feel real, but I would be lying if I were to say that I had a care free pregnancy. While I was completely healthy and there were no complications during my pregnancy, I was nervous every step of the way. I took so much comfort with each kick I felt, and I longed to reach each milestone. We found out we were having a boy, and I began to talk to him, sing to him, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my pregnancy.

    We welcomed our son on October 31, 2014, and I truly mean it when I say that his first breath took my breath away. The moment I held him, I knew all the heartache and every sleepless night had led us to that miracle. He was worth every tear that had ever slid down my cheek. Our struggle with infertility is engraved on my heart forever though, and I will never forget it. But looking into the eyes of our little miracle son, I know every step of our journey prepared me to be the best mother to him. He is by far the greatest blessing of my life.
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