This morning I have another Infertility Journey story for you. This Mama has been through it and I hope you find some encouragement through reading it.
Here is Suzanne's story.
My name is Suzanne and I’ve been blogging about my infertility for over three years at Our Journey To A Baby Bump and trying to conceive for almost four.
My husband and I met in 2001. He lived in the apartment below me. Within weeks of my moving in, we were spending time together. That was almost 14 years ago. We dated for 10 years before getting married in 2011. Our story wasn’t perfect. Nor should it be. The best of relationships have ups and downs and ours or course had our share.
Thankfully ours have always made us stronger, more resilient and more in love. Our relationship…was worth the wait.
When we married I was 33. A few months prior, we had an ectopic pregnancy while I was on the Mirena IUD. Even though we weren’t trying, it was a loss that hurt us. It made us realize that we didn’t want to wait once we were married. So with the first period after our wedding…we were officially “TTC”.
We were pregnant within three months. I got my BFP early, only 10 days after ovulation and my hCG levels were great, but something never felt right. I never felt pregnant. At our 7 week ultrasound, there was nothing, just an empty sac. Six days after the D&C, my hCG was still over 40,000. Pathologist confirmed and I underwent an emergency second D&C.
We were still hopeful that after getting pregnant on an IUD and again months later, it would still happen for us. But 2012 wasn’t meant to be. We tried a few cycles of Clomid and two IUI’s. My local RE refused any cycle day three testing saying ,“I didn’t need it”. However, my instincts proved right. After pushing for more testing, we found out that I had severe diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). Once that was revealed, the doctor was done with me and refused any other treatments unless I went straight to donor eggs.
In our hearts, we wanted to do IVF to know for sure. I told myself when it doesn’t make sense…I’d move on, but until that time, I needed to see what my body could do before I could give up on a biological child. We found an RE that I loved in Chicago. He was kind and willing to give it his best shot for us. It’s all I wanted. In 2013, after a laporoscopy/hysteroscopy that found Stage III Endometriosis and was corrected, we moved forward with our first IVF. Between cysts and wonky hormone levels, we finally began our cycle.
Our cycle was heartbreaking. On the max dose of meds, we retrieved 2 eggs. TWO! And neither even made it to attempt fertilization. Just like that, it was crystal clear. I let go of my eggs and the biological connection to my children. It was difficult, but with donor eggs, at least we could have a child that I could carry—or though I thought. We flew to Colorado and officially became patients at CCRM. In June 2013, my uterus was approved to move forward with no abnormalities.
So we proceeded with a donor.
Now, curve ball…that same cycle, we were surprised by a natural BFP.
My hCG levels were all over the place, but never rose above the low 100’s. They decided to move forward with a D&C—a procedure that would change our lives.
Meanwhile, we planned a “freeze all” and once I was healed, we would continue with our FET. A week after my D&C, my hCG was still 178, and it was confirmed that it was another ectopic. The D&C was never even necessary.
As my body was prepped for our first transfer, oddly, my period never came. Almost 5 months after my D&C, another hysteroscopy showed Asherman’s Syndrome and that my uterus lining was permanently damaged during the D&C. We had surgery to try and correct, but after months of estrogen therapy and a failed FET, we knew that it was over. I would never carry.
With my amazing support group, I manage to keep pushing forward and a month later, I met my gestational surrogate and her family. I now have a friendship with a woman that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life and she’s currently almost 13 weeks pregnant with our twins.
The journey we’ve been on has been nothing short of the most insane roller coaster you could imagine. But I don’t believe that ones infertility story should be considered better or worse, easier or harder than another. There’s no such thing as an easy breezy infertility journey. Some may not take as long…some may be a few cycles of Clomid or Letrozole. Some may just need an IUI to take off the stress of “timed intercourse” (my husband’s favorite). Others may have to move towards IVF. And still there are those that have to look beyond their own biological connection to adoption, donor eggs or donor sperm. And sometimes…even more…surrogacy.
Whatever the direction infertility takes you, it’s mentally and emotionally hard and during some of the darkest moments, it’s heartbreaking. It takes strength, courage and support to get through what us “infertiles” face. One thing it’s never been for me…is lonely. I’ve never been without a friend picking me up off the ground. Whether that friend is someone close to me, or someone I’ve met through a forum or blog. I’ve had an abundance of love coming my way through these past four years. It’s what’s gotten me through.
There have been many tears these past several years as we’ve navigated through challenge after challenge and failure after failure. There were moments I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. But with the help of my husband, my friends and this community…I’ve pulled up my big girl panties, wiped away the tears and marched forward.
Thank God I did. My journey was difficult. But it has led me to where I am today and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Nothing…not my own eggs, not carrying a baby in my uterus, could make me love my babies anymore than I love these two she’s carrying.
I have so many people that have been involved in our struggles; our doctor at CCRM, our egg donor, our surrogate, my husband, all of my blog friends and ME. I have been reminded these past few months, these babies may not be in my body, but they are here because I never gave up.
Surrogacy is a gift that changes your life. It changes the life of everyone involved. Our friends, our family and her friends and family and our children…hers and one day mine. It certainly has changed my life for the better.
My only hope is that I can teach my children the kind of love, kindness and act of giving that the woman carrying our children has taught me.
My Surrogate’s Daughter…and Me.