Baby Dreams

I hadn't planned on discussing fertility as part of my very first blog, but after seeing my fertility doctor on last weeks episode of Real Housewives of Potomac, I felt like I was lead to discussing my very personal infertility journey as watching this episode brought me right back down memory lane and I wanted to write about it while the thoughts and emotions are still fresh in my head and heart. Before I delve into my experience with infertility I would like to first say that I am no way an expert on infertility but because of my experience with it I can tell you that I have done research, read about, and talk to doctors that helped me along the way and I hope to help anyone that is experiencing this today. No one ever tells you that when you are trying to start a family the "right" way that things may not always work out the way that you plan. I am the youngest daughter of four women who have never had any issues conceiving, so when it became my turn to start a family after starting my career, getting married, and buying a house I expected for everything to be business as usual in the pursuit of the "American Dream". Boy was I ever wrong. After trying for what seemed like forever, we finally decided to consult a fertility doctor and this is where my infertility story begins. After many examinations and test of my uterus some of them extremely painful, I was told that just like most women of color I had fibroids, not just one fibroid but several and I needed surgery to remove the fibroids to give us a better chance at conceiving. I wasn't surprised at all given my family history and a history of very painful menstrual cycles. At this time I was in my early 30's and felt as if my biological clock was ticking and I was willing to do whatever it took to get the one thing that we had longed for, a baby. I had asked the doctor if he had thought that my fibroids were the reason that we have been having problems conceiving, he replied no but let's make our chances better. He determined that because of the number of fibroids that he detected from an earlier MRI (11) and where the fibroids were located that a myomectomy would be the best option. A myecmotomy involves making an incision through the skin on the lower abdomen, known as a "bikini cut", and removing the fibroids from the wall of the uterus. Most women that has ever had a cesaren or "c" section know exactly what this is. The doctor explained that this was a very common surgery one that he has done many times before and I would need 6 weeks recovery time afterwards. I absolutely loved my fertility doctor because his voice was so very soothing and he made everything seem so easy and I had learned to trust him as he had so many certifications and all of the successful pregnancies and baby pictures that he had on his office wall gave me confidence and hope that we would be successful as well. As a person who is big on feelings and people's aura's, he had a good, confident and very comforting one. After surgery I was in the recovery room waking up and it felt like I had just been hit by a mac truck. After a few minutes the doctor walks in and proceeded to tell me that surgery wasn't as expected and instead of removing 11 fibroids, he actually removed a total of 33 fibroids all of different sizes and that wasn't all of them, I still had some very small ones left. I was blown away to say the least. Even so he was satisfied with the surgery and very hopeful that after healing we wouldn't have any problems conceiving. He told us to go home and come back after one year if we were still not pregnant. Well after one year we still had no luck conceiving. We returned back to the fertility doctor for advice on next steps. After a quick examination of my uterus he couldn't find any reason that we were not getting pregnant, so he sent us downstairs to see another doctor to check hubby out to make sure that he was healthy enough to make a baby. After meeting the male fertility doctor and answering some questions, the doctor performed a quick physical examination on my partner. He returned to the room looking perplexed and gave us the reason that we were having problems conceiving. While I will not say what the exact issues was to protect his privacy, I will say that we finally had an answer for our fertility issues. It's a very popular misconception that infertility is a woman's problem when in fact that is not always the case and I urge that every couple that is having problems conceiving that both parties should be examined to get a more comprehensive view of where all of the issues may lie and save some time. Now that we had this information we had a planned. The plan was for me to start taking fertility drugs to increase the amount of eggs that I produce in order to increase our chances of conceiving and go three to four rounds of artificial insemination and if that didn't work he recommended IVF with ICSI. Artificial Insemination is the procedure of injecting semen into the vagina or uterus. IVF(in vitro fertilization) is the process in which mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. ICSI(intracytoplasmic sperm injection) refers to the laboratory procedure where a single sperm is picked up with a fine glass needle and is injected directly into each egg. Let me tell you, the fertility drugs were absolutely no fun. My hormones had me on a constant emotional roller coaster. After four rounds of artificial insemination one disappointment after another and another and another, we made the costly decision to move to IVF. Thank God for health insurance which primarily paid for each round of artificial insemination and one round of IVF. We were disappointed but sill hopeful as we made the transition to IVF. IVF meant more drugs, more hormones, more emotional roller coasters, but we were not going to be defeated by infertility we were ALL in on the journey on bringing a beautiful life into this world. The shots in the stomach were brutal as I am not a fan of needles, the weekly visits to have blood drawn was taxing, but our eyes were on the prize and we were in this thing together. For better or worse, in sickness and in health right? Well after retrieving 14 eggs and marrying them with my husbands semen, we only had one very low quality embryo which was inserted into my uterus but the doctor wasn't very hopeful and he prepped us for disappointment. Well as expected the embryo did not implant into my uterus and we were devastated to say the least. It felt like a deaf all this for nothing, I started the process of reaching out to other women that was going through this same grief, I needed support. I had only told a couple of close people to me about this journey and now I felt like a complete and total failure and alone. What do we do now? Where do we turn? We went back to the doctor for next steps. His advice was to try a different method which included different drugs that he thought may work better for us, so we agreed. We understood that a second round of IVF was not going to be covered entirely by insurance but we wanted this more than anything in life. So again, more drugs, more emotions, more hope, more payer, but I wanted something more to give us a better chance this time around so I added fertility acupuncture. I had read that many women had success with IVF when they added acupuncture so I thought ok it can't hurt. The second round produced only 9 eggs each were fertilized and after the three day waiting period I was EXTREMELY anxious and nervous when I found out that I had 3 high quality embryo's, we were excited. We went back to have two of the best embryo's inserted and put the other on freeze. The doctor was very hopeful this time. Six weeks later I got a positive pregnancy test, 3 weeks after that I heard two heartbeats. They were called Baby A (Chloe) and Baby B (John), and so the pregnant with twins journey and story began. So many woman like myself go through this journey alone because of the stigma that is attached to infertility. Society expects us as women to be able to conceive with no problems and when it's not easy for us to do what is expected we sometimes feel as though we have failed at the one most important thing that we are put on this earth to do. Ladies you are not alone, there are millions of women that are going through this same exact journey. Allow me to coach you through this process, together we will conquer the stigma of infertility. #infertility #letstalcaboutit #faith #selfcare #motivation #supportforwomen

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