A Story of Hope for Mother’s Day: My Infertility Journey

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

Many of you know that I am a mom to beautiful, talented, smart and funny 3-year-old twin girls, Attley and Avery.  What you don’t know is that it took Joe and I 5 1/2 years to become parents.  It was a very long, very painful journey that is difficult for me to even think back on.  But as Mother’s Day approaches, I want to share our story.  It is a story of hope.

Joe and started dating when we were 19-years-old and got married 5 years later {when we were 24}, just a few days after I graduated from law school.  The first few years of our marriage we were busy with DIY renovations to our first home in Tampa and with establishing ourselves in our careers.  But we often talked about our plans to become parents and both agreed that we wanted to be “young parents.”

I had been on birth control pills for many years, but stopped taking them a few months before we turned 27.  We approached our “let’s make a baby” plan in the most relaxed way possible.  We did not obsess over it.  I didn’t use ovulation testing kits or chart my temperature.  We planned to be patient and felt it was in God’s hands and would happen when it happened.  And we maintained that relaxed attitude for a solid year.  Nothing happened.

Even after a year with no positive pregnancy tests, we were not overly concerned.  We were still young, after all, and moving back to North Carolina after several years in Florida served as a nice distraction.  But we did become a bit more proactive.  I started using ovulation testing kits and taking my temperature every morning to chart my cycles.  That caused me to discover that my cycles were fairly irregular and some months, I did not ovulate at all.  It also prompted us to have Joe’s “sample” tested–his test results were glowing.  He was not the problem.  That meant I was the problem.  That triggered an illogical guilt in me that I lived with for years.

Life went on and we still did not get pregnant.  About 14 months into our journey, we started experiencing intense disappointment and sadness each month when a new cycle would start for me, confirming that we still were not pregnant.  I shed a lot of tears, especially as friends and acquaintances surrounding me became pregnant quickly and easily.  I was happy for them, but sad for us.

After about 18 months of trying with no results, I went to a regular OB/GYN for some insight.  I was not surprised to learn that I had endometriosis {I had always suffered from very heavy and painful cycles}.  I was surprised to learn that I had something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome {PCOS}, a condition that causes women to ovulate irregularly or not at all.  I had a laparoscopy to have the endometriosis ablated and was thrilled when my OB/GYN told me that “lots of women conceive in the months following” such procedures.  I had renewed hope.  That was something.

We did NOT conceive in the months that followed.  On my OB/GYNs recommendation, we went on to complete 3 cycles of Clomid, which would help me ovulate more regularly.  Each month I was full of hope.  Each month I was more and more devastated when we did not find out that we would be becoming parents.  Perhaps the worst part of the Clomid cycles was having to go in for serum blood tests every month.  I recall calling in after the third and final round of Clomid while I was driving up to Washington, D.C., for my best friend’s baby shower.  The nurse said she was sorry to tell me that my results were, again, negative.  She then had the gall to say, “Darn.  I was so hoping you would be pregnant.”  Ummm, yeah, me too.  I know she was trying to be thoughtful and sensitive, but at the time, it seemed anything but.

My best friend’s shower was great and there was so much to celebrate about the impending arrival of my God-daughter {yep, she asked me to be the God-mother!}.  I have many vivid memories from that weekend, most of them happy. But the most vivid memory I have from that weekend is of a conversation I had with Margaux and her sister, Raquel {who is also a very close friend of mine}, in Raquel’s basement.  You see, Raquel was struggling with infertility as well.  She had been at it for about 6 months longer than I had.  I remember bursting into tears and saying that Joe wanted to be a dad so badly, and that maybe he should be with someone else–someone who could give that to him.  I loved {and love} my husband more than anything in the world, and I actually had that thought.  I felt like I was ruining his life.  I know it wasn’t logical, but it’s the way I felt.

Let me pause here and tell you that there are no words for how perfect, amazing and supportive Joe was through all of this.  I was so consumed by my own sadness at times that it was often hard for me to stop and think about how hard it was for him, too.  After all, he wanted to be a dad just as much as I wanted to be a mom.  But there he was, an optimistic, supportive rock through it all.  He made it clear to me time and time again that he did not view me as the problem.  We were a team and we would figure it out.  His love for me did not depend on my fertility.  I was, and am, eternally grateful for him.

We took a fertility treatment break for a couple of months after our third Clomid cycle.  I think we needed a bit of a break.  It is absolutely disappointing to not get pregnant month after month on your own.  For us, it was FAR MORE upsetting and disappointing to fail to get pregnant even in the face of medical intervention.  At that point, I think Joe and I were both really starting to wonder if we would ever get pregnant.

A few months later, we graduated from my OB/GYN {who couldn’t do anything more for us} to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.  This is where things started to get expensive.  I will NOT get on my soap box about the lack of insurance coverage for infertility right now :)

After undergoing a rather painful procedure to determine if my fallopian tubes were blocked by something {they were not}, we completed 3 rounds of much stronger fertility medications that are injected.  Those were used in conjunction with intrauterine insemination {IUI}.  My hope soared with the additional medical intervention.  And each cycle we learned that we STILL would not become parents.  It was after the failed third IUI that I reached a very, very low point.  I did my best to put on a happy face and to continue to be a productive adult, a good friend and the best wife I could be.  No one, not even Joe, knows or could understand the depth of my sadness at that point.  Thinking back on it is genuinely difficult for me to do.

Again, we took a hiatus from fertility treatments and did something that helped to pull me out of “my funk”; we got my dear, sweet boy Titan.  He was only 7 weeks old when we brought him home.  Taking care of him and loving him was a much needed band-aid for my broken heart.  I think Joe would probably say the same thing.  My sweet dog will never know how grateful I was to have him during that time.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

Titan at about 8 months old, enjoying his first snow.

During our hiatus, we had many discussions that you might expect.  We talked in passing about adoption, but both agreed we weren’t ready to take that step.  We talked about pursuing in vitro fertilization {“IVF”}, but were a bit uncomfortable with pushing things that far.  We both had a feeling that maybe God was trying to protect us from something and IVF would take it too far out of God’s hands.  So, we waited and continued to long and hope for a baby.  And all the while, I continued to feel tremendous self-imposed guilt since I was the problem.

Finally, in late 2009, we decided to consult with the most WONDERFUL IVF doctor on the face of the planet.  She was not just a wonderful doctor, she was a wonderful, caring and sensitive person and I am forever grateful that we found her.  It was because of her that we decided to proceed with IVF, completing our first round in January, 2010.  We transferred two beautiful embryos and prayed that we would meet one or both of them in 9 months.

We received our first ever positive pregnancy test on February 8, 2010.  We were OVER THE MOON WITH EXCITEMENT.  I can honestly say I have never felt such a surge of happiness.  And relief.  Finally, we were going to be parents!

Then we went for our 5 week ultrasound and found out that the one embryo that had implanted was not developing.  There was no yolk sac.  We would not get to meet our baby.  The days and weeks that followed are still somewhat of a blur.  I remember texting the devastating news to the few friends and family who we had told about the baby and instructing them not to call me, text me or email me in any way.  And I meant it.  I would reach out to people when I felt up to it.  It took nearly 2 weeks for me to talk to anyone but Joe or people that I absolutely had to talk to at work.  I just couldn’t.

The week that followed our miscarriage was, hands down, the worst week of my life.  I know many people have experience far worse tragedies.  But for Joe and I, it was the worse thing that ever happened to us and we intensely mourned the loss of our baby together.  There were many nights that I woke up from the sound of my own sobs.  It was bad.

I don’t know how I pulled myself together enough to go to work and otherwise function, but I did.  In retrospect, I think it is because at least I had learned that I was capable of getting pregnant, which is something I had seriously started to doubt.  That, coupled with Joe’s support, the support of family and friends and my doctor, lifted me up enough to move forward.

We moved forward with a second round of IVF on April 15, 2010.  The cycle went very well and we transferred 2 beautiful embryos on May 1, 2010.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

My Attley and Avery, as blastocysts :)

Again, we prayed that we would meet them in 9 months.  We hoped and we prayed.  Hoped and prayed.

And our prayers were answered.  Our ultrasound confirmed we were having twins!  At 19 weeks, we learned we would be blessed with sweet baby girls {which totally threw me for a loop–I thought we would have at least one boy!}.  Here is our first “family photo” when I was about 28 weeks pregnant with the girls.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

Our first “family photo” :)

After an easy, comfortable twin pregnancy we met our beautiful baby girls after carrying them full term {I was soooo lucky} in December.  They light up our lives in every way possible.  I read a quote today that said, “I may not be perfect.  But when I look at my children, I know I did something perfectly right.”  That is exactly how I feel when I look at my girls.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

My sweet Attley and Avery, 4 weeks old.

So why I am telling you all of this?  I am telling you so that if you are struggling with infertility you will know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  So many others have made this trying, difficult journey as well and have survived and thrived because of it.  And I am telling you it is okay to be sad.  It is okay to be mad and confused and to feel that life is unfair.

What it is NOT okay to do is give up. It is not okay to stop hoping.  I can’t promise you that you will get pregnant and will have a child or several.  But I CAN promise you that if you give up hope and stop trying, you will never reach your happy ending, whatever it may be.  So keep hoping.  Keep praying.  Keep dreaming of your children.  Keep trying.  I know it’s hard.  It’s the hardest thing I have ever done.  But it is, hands down, the best and most worthwhile journey of my life.

Let me finish by saying that now that our girls are here, I can’t say I have forgotten about my struggle with infertility.  It became a part of me and will always be there.  But the sadness has mostly melted away.  And the most amazing part is that I am now GRATEFUL that I didn’t get pregnant sooner than I did.  And, believe it or not, I feel blessed that God decided to have our first baby join Him before we could ever met him or her.  Do you want to know why?  Because  if my journey had been any different, I would not have had the exact children that I have.  I wouldn’t have my Attley and Avery.  And I believe that they are precisely the children that God wanted us to have.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

Me and Attley on my first Mother’s Day, 2011.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

My sweet Avery, on her first birthday.

I HOPE that you can take something positive away from my story.  I HOPE that you continue to try.  I HOPE that your journey leads you to the exact children you were meant to have.  Most of all, I HOPE that you continue to HOPE.  Let HOPE be your fuel and keep going.  You can do this.

My Infertility Journey ~  A Story of Hope by Designer Trapped in a  Lawyer's Body.

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Hello there, I'm Tasha! Thanks so much for being here! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow me via social media so that you never miss a post or inspiring idea.

Comments

  1. Mandy says

    Such a heartbreaking story with a fabulous outcome…Your girls are adorable, you are truly blessed.

    I’m reading this in work and trying my best not to cry….thank you for sharing xx

  2. says

    Crying…. Crrrrrrrying! This is such a beautiful story Tasha, I had NO IDEA you struggled with infertility. My sister has been up against this battle for years as well. It breaks my heart… I don’t want to get pregnant again until she does. I’m so glad you have your baby girls and shared your story. I am excited to share it with everyone… As I know there are so many women out there that struggle

    • says

      Awww, Sonnet, I would never want to make you cry, but thank you so much for reading my post. I will be thinking of and praying for your sister. It’s such a difficult journey. If she ever has any questions, truly, I am happy to try to answer them. I wish you the happiest of mother’s days!

  3. says

    I’m crying…

    I myself have never struggled with infertility, but I could relate to your last statement about how without the exact journey you had you wouldn’t have your beautiful girls. Many times I think about my life’s journey…the loss of my two oldest children and end of my first marriage. If I hadn’t gone through that, I WOULD NOT have my Ellery & Everett. It’s crazy how life does not go as planned and we have to trust in the bigger plan.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Mother’s Day is always a hard one!

    Amber @ Averie Lane

    • says

      Hi Amber! I am familiar with your unthinkable loss of Averie and Lane from your blog. My heart has always gone out to you and I think of you often because it’s so easy to be reminded of your Averie when I think of my Avery; a beautiful name for beautiful girls. But you are right… Our paths led us to the exact children we have now and it’s hard to imagine it any other way. THANK YOU for taking the time to read my post and comment. I will be thinking of you tomorrow on Mother’s Day :)

  4. says

    Thank you so much for being so open about your story. Our journey to get pregnant with both our boys were not easy ones. Hopefully someday I’ll be brave enough to share.

  5. says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been struggling with infertility for the past 2 years and I feel so alone in the intense sadness and pain I feel on a monthly basis. It’s somewhat helpful to know that those feelings are normal. In fact, I almost felt like I was reading my own story (until the happy ending part :() because I am going through all of the same things you described. Thank you again for sharing and for the reminder to not give up hope (which isn’t always so easy to do).

    • says

      Hi Colette. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and comment. Know that my heart and prayers are with you. I know how difficult it is, I really do. Don’t give up on your happy ending. Hang in there! If you ever have any questions, feel free to contact me privately.

  6. says

    Wow – This hit me so close to home. I also struggles with infertility, had a miscarriage, and now have twins. While my miscarriage was a deep dark hole, I look at my kids now, and think that everything turned out perfectly. And how you never forget the struggle and emotions of infertility. There are some low points that I wish I could erase: being overly emotional, crying in the bathroom at a baby shower, or horribly handling news that yet another friend was pregnant. But the journey is a part of me now, and I hope that I can help people deal with their situation too.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • says

      Hi Megan! I am so happy to hear that you, too, have such a happy outcome after such a difficult journey. I have a lot of regrettable moments, too, but they were definitely part of the journey. Wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day!

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing your story. I know so many women that are struggling to conceive and it breaks my heart. Thanks for being so open. You girls are gorgeous!

  8. Amy T says

    Thank you for sharing your journey and story. We too struggled with conceiving a child, due to dual infertility issues. After 10 years, we finally had our daughter, our miracle, who turned 4 in March. She is my heart, our blessing, a joy and is a constant reminder to not lose hope. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    • says

      My pleasure, Amy! I am so happy to hear you that you had your daughter after a long battle with infertility! Happy Mother’s Day to you as well. Thanks so much for reading my post!

  9. says

    Tasha your story is so inspiring. I’m wiping tears away at the moment. I’m so happy that you and your husband were blessed with your two beautiful girls. While I can’t speak from personal experience, I know others that have suffered from infertility and it is a very difficult journey. It takes a lot of strength and courage to keep going forward, and I hope your story inspires others to not give up on their dreams of becoming parents.

    • says

      Hi Katie! I am so sorry I made you cry, but thanks so much for reading my story and for your sweet comment! I hope my story inspires someone on there to keep trying. Happy, happy Mother’s Day to you!

  10. says

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this post. What endurance you have. It’s amazing the amount of strength that comes when we don’t have it. What an incredible journey..thanks a lot for makin’ me cry! ;)

    -Sandra

    • says

      Awww, thanks so much, Sandra! Sorry to make you cry, but thanks so much for reading my story! PS- My mom’s name is Sandra :) She’s not NEARLY as tidy and organized as you, though!

  11. Chrissie says

    I know you are a strong woman and this solidifies it for me. I feel very sad you all had to go through your journey but I believe you were blessed through the heartache with two perfect girls.
    May God always watch over you all and keep you safe.

  12. Erin says

    I’m a fellow PCOS and after 3 failed IUIs and many empty clomid cycles, my hubs and I can’t take much more. I’m in the valley of despair just trying to keep my head up.
    So glad you have your happy ending. What a terrific story of hope for those of us still trying. Happy Mothers Day!

    • says

      Hi Erin! I know exactly what you mean, truly. Hang in there. I should have mentioned in the post that my friend Raquel got pregnant at almost exactly the same time I did and I have several other friends who had long infertility journeys and ultimately got pregnant as well. IT DOES HAPPEN. I remember feeling like it wouldn’t happen to me, but it did. My heart and prayers go out to you!

  13. says

    Oh how I remember being at the grocery store and seeing a mom with four kiddos trailing behind her and thinking, I just want one! I was fortunate in that I did not have trouble conceiving, but I did lose my first pregnancy and 16 weeks. At that point, I thought we were in the clear and had told everyone. I agree with you that it’s not the worst thing that could happen, but at the time, we felt as if we had lost all the hopes and dreams of what was to come. You are amazing to share your story. There are so many who are going through the struggle you have and it’s just nice sometimes to hear good stories; stories that offer hope. Your girls are absolutely adorable…so worth the wait. :)

    • says

      Oh Christy, I am so sorry to hear that you lost your first pregnancy at 16 weeks. Our loss was very early and it was terrible, so I can’t even begin to imagine what you must have gone through.

      I had that exact same thought at the grocery store SO MANY times! It was a difficult journey, but you are right, they were worth the wait. Thanks so much for reading my post and for taking the time to comment :)

  14. mary says

    that is a beautiful story. my friend was dealing with infertility for a number of years. she was in her mid-40s when she finally became pregnant, after they had stopped IVF or any other treatments. they would have preferred to become parents 10 years sooner but I think going through that struggle just made them stronger as a couple and they are now amazing parents!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Mary! So happy to hear your friend got pregnant after a long journey, and after stopping treatments. Amazing how that happens sometimes!

  15. says

    Hi Tasha!! I’m doing some ‘catch up reading’ tonight, as I’ve been crazy busy all week, and I, too am bawling!! I’m sitting here trying to get my boys to sleep while trying to muffle my sobs. I had no idea you struggled with infertility. I know a couple ladies in my life that have as well, but I’ve never had anyone lay out the details, emotions, etc like this. I am going to point anyone I know struggling to this article. What a sad, painful journey with such a happy and beautiful ending! Thanks so much for sharing! I’m sure this article will help many women cope and have hope in the years to come!

    Hope your having a great weekend!

    Xo,
    Katie

    • says

      Aww, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for your sweet comment! You are so sweet. Now get some rest so baby 3 will decide to arrive {we all know that the minute you try to rest is when babies decide they need something–labor is probably the same}!

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