There were honestly times in our marriage that I never thought I would be sitting in our now almost complete nursery. Sitting here now, writing about this journey… I still can’t believe we got here.
When Justin and I first got married, I told him we needed at least a year minimum before we’d start talking about having children. I was only 20 years old and we were still in college. I was determined to have us finish school, get settled and have jobs before little ones came our way. After that first year, I decided to get off birth control, but we didn’t start trying until nearly a year after that.
It was 2016 and we had just moved to Alaska for the summer. We both decided that we would start trying but in a no-stress way. We didn’t tell our families, we didn’t tell our friends… we kept it between us. I remember going to work and feeling sick like I was experiencing morning sickness. I had never been so excited to run home and take a pregnancy test. Little did I know, this would be the first of dozens of negative tests. Throughout the summer, my cycle was nearly always late or sometimes didn’t even come and I would get so excited only to have that destroyed by another negative test. When I went to my doctor for an annual appointment, she just kept telling me it was the stress of life and not to worry. But I did. My normal is stressed so I started to believe that though something kept telling me it was wrong as I really wasn’t stressed that summer.
When we returned back to Idaho, I told Justin that we needed to take a little break as I was starting to feel discouraged and school was starting again. But once and a while, we still tried. We still hoped. Then our friends got pregnant. It seemed like the rest of that year went by in a fuzz. I cried most days when Justin was at class and made sure to keep a sunny attitude as not to worry others. I kept thinking to myself, “Shouldn’t I be happy? We are in school, we don’t need a baby now.” But then there was always the feeling of something missing from our lives.
2017 seemed to come and go: school, work, life. It was a routine and slowly we started trying again but tried not to put the pressure on ourselves. The problem was, the pressure was coming from others. The constant questions of, “when are you guys having kids?” “oh, it’s been a couple of years now, time to have babies.” And the one that always cut me the deepest, “now that we have a baby, you guys need to get on it.”
It seemed like everywhere around us was that constant reminder that we weren’t getting pregnant.
In 2018, we made the decision to really focus on trying and even told our families. We took a little break as we prepared for graduation but as we flew to Italy just days after finishing college, I couldn’t help but get excited about getting pregnant while on that trip. It felt right, it felt like no stress and I was so happy. I was positive I was pregnant when my cycle didn’t come but little did I know that when I got home, a negative result was waiting for us.
I started to realize that this was more than just stress. Something was wrong. But I didn’t want to admit that to myself, to others. So, we just kept trying. This didn’t just take its toll on me, Justin was affected as well. I knew how much he wanted to be a dad and with each negative, I saw it crush him too. We’d sit and talk about this sweet baby that we were praying so desperately for, how they would change our lives and how we so wanted that change to happen. But I felt myself slipping into a dark place, thinking we’d never get pregnant.
During the summer of 2018, we started house hunting. In each house, I would imagine our children in the backyard or where we would have the nursery. As we left each house, I would also wonder if that was in the plans for us. When we bought our home that fall, I put as much storage as I could in the room that was planned as the nursery. I didn’t want to think about how long it would be empty for. As we moved to Idaho Falls, I felt it time to start getting answers… answers I had been avoiding.
Now, this is when I get a little more detailed about our process.
Over those three years, I had only had a total of around 17 cycles meaning I had about half of what I should had. In 2018 alone, I only had four. In order to get pregnant, I needed to ovulate and because I wasn’t having a cycle, I wasn’t ovulating.
I found a specialist. Someone that came very highly recommended, but even so I was afraid that he would tell me the same thing as the last doctor that is was just stress. As I sat in the exam room, I couldn’t help but be nervous. Was I going to be able to have children? As the doctor sat down and we went through my medical history, he finally gave me an answer. PCOS. Polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common form of infertility. 1/10 women have PCOS and each one is different with their symptoms as well as their outcomes when it comes to fertility.
I finally had an answer and a plan. I picked up my medication, sat down with Justin and we started this leg of the journey. We finally knew that we needed to do. I thought it would be easy after that then our doctor asked for Justin to go through a couple of tests. This is common especially when trying to conceive as we needed to make sure both of us were go-to go so to speak.
When his test results came back, they came with a phone call. “We’d like you both to go see an IVF specialist.” I was already struggling through the medication I was taking, the emotional rollercoaster it caused and now this. Justin’s tests coupled with my PCOS gave us less than ideal chances to get pregnant. But we both smiled and said, it’s part of the plan and let’s just keep moving forward. At that point, what else could we do?
That appointment was like nothing I could have ever prepared for. 5%. We were told, we’d have a 5% chance of getting pregnant on our own. I remember how shattered I felt and when I looked at Justin, I knew he felt the same way. But we also knew that we could get through it. We were in the IVF doctor’s office for nearly two hours, we asked every question we could. The process we’d go through for IVF, the cost, the timeline and more. We walked out of that office so emotional and physical drained. The doctor had upped my medication and put Justin on some as well.
We called our parents, let them know the plan and then went home. I remember talking about the process on the way home and just holding so tightly onto Justin’s hand.
We both felt defeated.
We looked over our new plan and started a savings account the next day. More tests were coming my way and the plan of action was supposed to start with my next cycle.
Now as I said above, I hadn’t had many cycles (this was due to my PCOS) but after my initial appointment, I was given medication to help jump start my body. A month or so before our IVF consult, I finally had a cycle and ovulated. Because I had to keep detailed track of everything, I made sure we tried during that time even though it was very unlikely that we’d get pregnant. This was my first cycle and ovulation in over five months.
One week after our IVF consult, nearly five days after I was expected to start my cycle, I took a pregnancy test. I hadn’t been feeling great and Justin, being the most supportive and hopeful spouse, encouraged me to buy a pregnancy test. I didn’t want to hope. I didn’t want to even think there was a chance because we were told that there basically wasn’t. It was 5 am on March 13, 2019. I was getting ready for my early morning fitness class when I decided why not. I mentally prepared myself for another negative test. I was not ready when it turned positive.
Justin was still sleeping as I sat there in the bathroom thinking, “This is a lie. This is a false positive.” I had one more test but really didn’t need to pee again, so I did the only logical thing I thought of doing at 5 am. I stuck the other pregnancy test in the toilet as I hadn’t flushed it yet (I know lots of information). I told myself that if it came out positive than I must be pregnant.
I walked into our bedroom crying and woke Justin up, I couldn’t speak instead I just showed him the two positive pregnancy tests. As the sun rose, we cried and held each other.
Though I still was partly not convinced. We both got ready for work and I scheduled a blood test of that morning. Justin and I work for the same company, so when I got my emailed test results… I couldn’t help but walk into his office with a big grin on my face. I was five weeks pregnant.
The medication had worked, the prayers had worked, the scheduling and planning had worked. There was no way it should have. We had a 5% chance and this time, we beat the odds.
Now as I sit here in our basically completed nursery with half-packed hospital bags and 36 weeks pregnant, I cannot help but be grateful for the last three years. It was hard. It nearly broke us at times. It hurt our marriage. It sent us to dark places of anguish and struggle. But this was the time when it was supposed to happen. God’s timing is everything and this was a testament to that. Now we are unsure of what will happen when we try again but all we know for now is that we got here, and we can get through the next journey again.