I’m Shawna and live in Memphis, TN. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, regardless of whether or not I was married or had found my person. By the time I was in my mid 20s I was doing a lot of praying, thinking, and researching on becoming a “single mom by choice”, or just a mom as I prefer to call it. I wanted to make sure I was prepared in the best way possible.
In May of 2019 I had my first appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). We did all the normal testing and blood work prior to beginning fertility treatments. Everything looked fine, besides a low-normal AMH.
My RE recommended we try IUI first. I was prepared for it to not work the first time. Maybe not even the second time. Then it didn’t work the third time either. I was getting discouraged. But I trudged on, and then finally after IUI #4, I saw two pink lines for the first time. However, we quickly realized something wasn’t quite right. My labs to confirm pregnancy (beta) were low and slow rising. It was an ectopic pregnancy. We did a d&c and I got methotrexate. After the dreadful 3 month wait due to the methotrexate, it was finally time to try again! Two more IUIs later, still no pregnancy.
By this time I had finally accepted that IVF would be the best option. Fast forward to January 2021. IVF prep began, things moved pretty fast from there and before I knew it, it was egg retrieval time. I’ll never forget being in recovery after the retrieval, in my groggy state I heard the embryologist say “we got 13 eggs”. I remember feeling somewhat defeated and thinking, “only 13?” I know how ungrateful that sounds, because some women come out of retrieval with absolutely nothing, but it felt like my luck had run out again. The next night my RE called with an update. Of the 13 eggs, 3 were mature and only 1 had fertilized. She said for reasons no one really knows, some women just have immature eggs and there isn’t anything we can do to change it. I was devastated. Eight long, torturous days after retrieval, I got the final call that I had two embryos. They were able to “rescue” one of the immature eggs. I breathed a big sigh of relief.
Six weeks later we transferred, and only three days after that, (yes, I am a crazy tester!) I got a positive test! My lines progressed beautifully; my betas were great. At 6w4d I saw my baby and that beautiful, flickering heartbeat for the first time. It was firmly attached to its yolk sac and we laughed at how it was taking after me not venturing far from the food. A week and a half and another ultrasound later, I “graduated” from my fertility clinic. The milestone we all look forward to, and the one I wondered if I’d ever get to experience. I had 3.5 weeks of ignorant bliss before my world was once again flipped - I went in at 11w3d for an ultrasound. I was so looking forward to hearing the heartbeat for the first time because my RE had only ever let me see it on the screen. But there was no heartbeat. The baby had stopped growing probably weeks before. My teeny baby with the cutest nub arms and legs was gone, and unrecognizable. An image I hope to one day forget. So ten months after my first d&c, I was having another. Then the weeks of doctors appointments and lab draws, constant reminders of this sucky situation and my bad luck. Two + years of treatments, still no baby in my arms, the significant mental and financial suffering that no one deserves, back to square one, again.
I had a dry heart and an annoyed spirit, mad that God had dealt me another blow. I had stopped talking to Him as often, for when I did only anger seeped out. But I know he can take my anger and my honesty.
There is still hurt in my heart, but God has already renewed my hope and my faith in what is to come. That scares me a little, because the higher your hopes the farther you could possibly fall.
I don’t know what my future looks like exactly, but I trust it’s going to 1. Give Him the glory and 2. Turn out more beautiful than anything I could’ve ever dreamed up on my own. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see how my story will end.
If you have climbed this mountain and come out on the other side, thanks for being a bright light and giving hope to those of us still waiting.
If you are in this valley with me, I see you. I am you. We are in this together, sister. Keep fighting. We are worthy and deserving of goodness.
“Faith is the motivation that keeps you running the race even when you can’t see the finish line.”
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