Making a baby is supposed to be the fun part, but sometimes it doesn’t come easy. According to the CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth, 1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
Even with as common at it is, it is often kept a secret or treated as taboo and in result, many women face this struggle alone. I want to say to all those women: You don’t have to. Please reach out to your family, friends, church or a support organization. You are not alone.
A dear friend of mine, Rachel Bennett, shares with us her journey with infertility. Although her struggle was painful, she found joy along the way. Read and be encouraged.
We have been on quite a journey since getting married almost five years ago.
My husband Kristoph and I were married in December of 2010, and had hopes of starting a family right away. We had begun to wonder if it would ever happen when it happened naturally a year and a half later. It was a dream come true!
We immediately threw ourselves into the planning and nesting. When it came time for my first ultrasound, we never imagined that there could be devastating news awaiting us.
My doctor was concerned when there was no heartbeat. She was hesitant to diagnose me, but she voiced her concerns. We immediately shared with our Church family at Communion Church. That Sunday, our pastor Jim prayed for us.
We hoped for a miracle.
We went back to the doctor for a follow up a week later. She diagnosed us with a blighted ovum. We continued to hope and pray that there would be a miracle, and decided not to have any medications to speed up the miscarriage.
On July 10th, 2012, at almost 11 weeks pregnant, I miscarried naturally. It was heart breaking.
The congregation gathered around us in our grief. Many, the women especially, reached out. They were a beautiful demonstration of what it means to “weep with those who weep”.
Today, we thank God for holding our marriage together through that dark time. If it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t have made it.
We gave ourselves some time to heal, but began trying again. When we didn’t conceive after another year and a half, we decided to see a fertility specialist. Before taking that step we talked with several friends who had been to a specialist up in Bellingham, Washington. We decided to make an appointment.
In December of 2013, we began treatment with Dr. Branigan. Kristoph got an A+ on his sperm analysis, and through an ultrasound Dr. Branigan was able to determine that I don’t ovulate regularly. We were discouraged when we found out we wouldn’t be able to conceive without intervention. But we are so thankful that God has provided medical advancement, as well as financial means to begin the process.
For seven months we were on the roller coaster of clomid, ultrasounds, and HCG injections.
Everything seemed to be working beautifully from what Dr. Branigan could see on the ultrasounds. He was pretty surprised when after a few rounds we still didn’t have any success. So after 6 rounds we met with him to discuss In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). We did a 7th and final round of the clomid/HCG. But alas, it didn’t work.
We faced the next step of IVF.
The financial burden was pretty high, so we went through the humbling process of raising support. We held a huge garage sale and received enough donations to fill our large garage up to the ceiling! We watched God turn junk into cash. We are still amazed at how God provide the funds for us.
The next step was scary and emotional. I was on a cocktail of hormones and medications to control my cycle and to grow a bunch of eggs. It was an amazing and crazy experience. We were so nervous when the day for “harvesting” arrived. Would there be enough? Would they be good quality?
We were once again amazed when the doctor told us they got 20 eggs!
Out of those 20, 15 fertilized! And from there 13 survived to embryo status. The next step, was implanting 2 and freezing the remaining 11. I love to refer to them as my little Han Solos.
From implanting it was a long two weeks of waiting and strict daily injections of Progesterone, which would continue through the whole first trimester if successful. At last the two weeks were over. I went in for a blood test and waited anxiously for the phone call. My heart nearly stopped beating when I got the call from the nurse. She was so professional, I braced myself for the devastating news… but it wasn’t devastating news!
She said “Congratulations Rachel, you’re pregnant!” I burst into tears of joy.
I couldn’t believe it was finally happening! From that moment on, my life changed forever! It feels like a lifetime ago as I look at my beautiful 2-month-old daughter. The journey to her was so long. Filled with so many tears and heartache. Now, my heart has never felt so full.
This isn’t the end of our journey; only the beginning. After all, we have 11 more embryos waiting! It’s a beautiful journey.
Don’t be afraid if you’re on a journey of your own. If it feels hopeless at times. You are not alone. I have been there.
There is hope in the struggle of infertility. There is a light at the end of the long dark tunnel. And its so worth the wait.
If you navigating infertility and would like to speak with Rachel, she would love to give you support and encouragement. Email me your contact information and we will arrange for her to contact you.
If you want more information on infertility visit www.resolve.org.