How do you sum up nine years of infertility?
It started with “trying, but not really.”
Then tracking things.
Then buying stuff to track things.
Then buying more stuff.
Then getting really sad.
Then we took our sadness to a clinic.
We did every single test and they found zero reasons why it’s not happening for us. None.
So we started with low-grade infertility treatments.
It was expensive but less invasive. It should work, right?
A year of that comes and goes. All four treatments fail.
I take a year off to lose all the weight from the fertility drugs, to build our bank account back up, to gain back our (mostly my) sanity.
I can’t even look at babies at the grocery store.
I burst into tears a lot.
When acquaintances shove their kids in my face, desperate for me to give them the attention they crave, I get angry. I stew.
I didn’t go out much anymore because I just can’t.
My heart aches for a family, yet the path to get there is so unclear.
We started looking into the “big guns” of fertility treatments- IVF.
We are overwhelmed and devastated when we learned that insurance covers none of it, and local DC-area clinics charge 40k.
We looked into adoption and realized it’s even more expensive.
I hid for a bit, thinking this will never happen for us.
Joe, desperate for a family (and a sane wife) starts researching other options.
He finds a few clinics that are far away but more affordable.
I ask myself if I’m willing to cross state (and/or international) borders to start a family.
I decide I am.
We make the commitment.
We realize that the meds for one cycle are over $5,000.
Then, because I’ve been very open about the process, clients and friends tell me they have leftover meds and GIVE THEM TO US.
We end up spending $45 on meds.
I cry every time a box arrives.
We do the retrieval in upstate NY. My first time under anesthesia.
We feel lucky Joe’s family lives nearby and we got to spend Thanksgiving with people who love us.
The fresh transfer failed. I spiraled. It’s never going to happen.
But the doctor tells us all is not lost. Come back next month, he says- you have another embryo.
We travel the six hours back up to Albany. My hopeful spirit is mostly gone, but I decide to give it a shot. Joe is the ever-optimist.
A week after the transfer we both begin to get antsy and buy alllllll the home pregnancy tests. Well, that’s weird. We’ve never had a faint line before. It’s probably nothing, but let’s stay hopeful.
I’m texting photos of my pee on a stick to friends to analyze. Some say “yes!” Some say “sorry.” Joe convinces me to take a digital test. I take it, lay it on the counter and walk away.
“BABE. Look!” he holds up the test.
It says, “Pregnant.”
Like, the word.
Not a line to decipher, nothing to decode.
It’s right there.
I’m sitting in the chair at our kitchen counter and I can only say, “Oh my God” before I burst into tears. An audible ugly cry follows. Joe is standing, bear-hugging me from the side, practically holding me up.
It’s in slow motion. He’s holding me so close. I hear him sniffling.
I don’t know what happened next, how we transitioned from that life-changing moment to just a regular Saturday. But we did.
But not really.
All of a sudden every test, every appointment, every blood test, every damn needle (so many needles), every medication, every frustration, every cry, every angry email melts away. And I’d do it all again.
But we did not do this alone. In no way did we do this alone. First- we had the amazing doctors and nurses at CNY to lean on. They answered every question, no matter the time of day. They kept us informed of everything and kept us positive.
We have many local individuals in the medical field to thank. First and foremost the incredible phlebotomists at LabCorp who were truly ANGELS to me during the process. I was in there 1-2 times a week for months, and they took such good care of me, including my crazy paperwork (out of state blood work orders ain’t easy) They knew my name, they hugged me, they truly cared.
Another big thank you to the front desk staff at Community Radiology who went above and beyond, and to the tech who did all my ultrasounds. She treated Joe and me like royalty and might have been just as excited as we were at our 5, 6 and 7 weeks scans. It made such a huge impact on us.
And last but certainly not least- all of our friends and family who have been such a HUGE CRAZY SUPPORT. It makes me weepy just thinking about it. Not a week went by without texts, cards in the mail, flowers at our door, chocolate, all sorts of goodies. We felt so loved and more importantly, not so alone.
So here we are. On the “other side” of infertility. We have a long way to go, but we could not be more excited and humbled to be parents in September. It feels so weird to type that. Joe and I are so blown away by the kindness of so many. We truly have a TEAM. Thank you so much, dear clients, for sticking with me during this crazy time.
TeamBattles is really a thing. We love you guys.
(and yes, those really are all my needles. I hate needles.)