My name is Whitney and I am 34 years old and have two little girls (3 and 1), both frozen embryo transfers from IVF. My husband and I got married when I was 25 and he was 26. We had several conversations about when we wanted to start trying to grow our family. For him, he wanted to wait several years (5) this was laughable to me because of my age, desire to have a large family and this gut feeling that it may not be that easy for us to get pregnant. Both of us had a deep desire on our hearts to be parents. We started trying to have a baby 9 months into our marriage and kept at it for the next two and a half years.
With every yearly appointment I had, my OB at the time, would say, “keep trying” and that was the end of the conversation. I was so discouraged and had no idea how to advocate for myself medically at this point in our journey. After the third ‘keep trying’ conversation I finally said, we need help! My husband and I were referred to a local fertility clinic. We started with routine checkups and tests. Immediately followed by several medicated cycles. Through blood tests we found out I was not responding to the hormones. We switched to a different medication and tried several more cycles. Next was surgery. It was confirmed that I had endometriosis, and lazy fallopian tubes leaving pockets within my tubes. Following my surgery and “rest period” we attempted an IUI cycle. We received a negative result. We decided to go for another IUI resulting in a negative pregnancy test. My heart was hurting and exhausted.
My body was hurting and exhausted. My marriage was hurting and exhausted. My friendships barely existed anymore. My Faith was hurting and I felt like I had lost my way. Somewhere along the journey God redirected my thinking, my focus- realigning my heart with hope. After several late nights and long conversations we decided it was time to try IVF. We were able to move forward with my next cycle due to a generous financial gift from my parents. Up to this point we had paid for all treatment out of pocket. Both myself and husband had “good” insurance coverage through our jobs but neither covered fertility treatment. We started our egg retrieval cycle. I went to acupuncture twice a week because we had heard that it could help. It seemed to make a difference with the overall pain and discomfort. It was grueling but worth it.
On egg retrieval day the doctor retrieved 36 eggs. The next several days we received a call each day from the Embryologist telling us how many eggs were fertilized to how many embryos matured. We were not given the option to do a fresh transfer which meant more waiting. We froze 9 embryos and started a transfer cycle following my next period. We transferred one embryo in November 2016. August 2017 we had our first daughter, Ada! I had my first period 5 months postpartum. I became hopeful that we would conceive naturally, that despite the difficulty we had to conceive our first, my body would finally know what to do. Several months passed by with no pregnancy. In August 2018 we had a consult at the fertility clinic and decided to do a second frozen embryo transfer. We had to push back the transfer we were hopeful for in September due to finances.
A couple days later I received a phone call from our nurse about the bloodwork I had done. She informed us that my levels were off and our transfer would have been postponed due to the bloodwork. We discussed next steps. I was sent to an endocrinologist to consult on my thyroid. I was told by the endocrinologist I would not be able to carry a pregnancy due to hyperthyroidism. I consulted with fertility clinic and based on bloodwork at that time we decided to move forward with a transfer. After my next cycle we started transfer protocol. We made it to the week before transfer and I received a phone call from our nurse and she said my progesterone levels did not look good so this transfer would be cancelled. I felt so discouraged. I wasn’t even able to make it to a transfer this go around! I started my period on the last possible day in November in order to do a transfer before the lab closed down for the year!
We started transfer protocol for a second time. This time we made it!!! We transferred our second embryo in December 2018. We had our sweet Molly Ford in August 2019. When my husband and I discussed growing our family in attempt for baby number three, I finally accepted that fertility treatment would be apart of our journey to grow our family. We just completed our third transfer. It was pushed back the first go around due to my thyroid and completed in August 2020! We are hopeful to welcome a third babe into our family in the spring. (I initially wrote this in September 2020)
Our story continues... Pregnancy loss was one part of infertility we felt had escaped us. Still, even now it feels surreal writing these words. At our 16 week appointment we found out we had lost our baby. After many years I have longed for the desire to feel like my family is complete. Just recently I have realized how I have tried to push through this phase of our life as quickly as possible. I feel desperate for the pain of this season to end yet I am conflicted with the desire in my heart to have more children. I have spoken words to my husband such as “I just want to get there”. I have cried tears from physical pain and said “I just want to be done.” I don’t want my heart to ache feeling like my family isn’t complete, I want my body to work the way it was intended to work. I am sure others look at my family and struggle to understand.. but she has biological children. I do. I have two miracle babies. You wouldn’t look at my children and know how many doctor appointments, blood draws, injections, medical procedures it took to conceive them.
Infertility isn’t the absence of children, it is a disease, a medical condition and that doesn’t go away after you have children. Having a baby doesn’t fix infertility; in your body or your heart. But that’s the sweet thing. It’s not their job to fix our brokenness. I have realized after years of trying to control my story and timeline that God has a plan. I more now then ever do not know what that plan is, but I believe His plan is greater than mine. He will be my peace and my joy. He will be my planner. He is the great Healer. We traveled through this past advent season mourning our pregnancy loss and experienced God’s overwhelming comfort and love. We had made room in our head and our hearts for this little babe. We will forever be changed by this little life and the way in which God has met us in our grief. We advocate for hope. We advocate for fertility coverage. We advocate for growing families.
Please complete our survey and indicate your interest and willingness to reach out to your elected officials once our bill is submitted. We will provide all the necessary contact information and content.