One year. 365 days. It some aspects it seems like a long time, but it many other aspects, it feels like it was just yesterday. This time of year, and this week in particular brings up a lot of emotions for me. For those that know me, you know that on September 13 of last year, my sister had her first child, a little girl, Ingrid. This was such an exciting, special day for our family. I have a beautiful step-niece whom I love and adore who is almost 8 and has been in our lives since she was 2, but Ingrid was our family's first baby. I must have taken over 400 pictures that day at the hospital. I was enamored by her beauty and I immediately fell in love with her. But as happy as I was, my heart was also breaking.
In August, after the failure of our 9th fertility assisted cycle and our 6th IUI, we decided that before moving onto IVF we wanted to do another laproscopic surgery and hysteroscopy to check to see if there was any obvious reason that things weren't working. It had been 3 years since my last laproscopy, which found a significant amount of scar tissue, adhesions, and cervical stenosis. We were hoping to find something that would possibly explain our infertility and that could have been an easy fix, but we were told by my doctor that unless he saw something that really blew him away, his recommendation would be to pursue IVF in Nashville.
The morning of September 16, 2013, I was being prepped for surgery on the first floor of the hospital while 2 floors above me, my sister was being discharged and taking her newborn baby girl home. It was a crazy day for my family as my mom and dad were literally riding the elevators between the floors switching off roles and trying to be there for both of us. I awoke in recovery and looked at Harrison and I knew the results. My doctor came to talk to us and said while he did find some endometriosis and scar tissue, overall he was not "impressed" and did not think it was enough to warrant trying anything else.
The next few days were some of the lowest I had during our whole journey. I was devastated. During all the other treatments, I did not allow myself to grieve each negative result. I just kept going and kept cycling. I finally did grieve some after our December cycle when I had my gallbladder fiasco and we took a 6 month break, but I still don't think that I fully let myself feel everything I needed to feel because I would always just focus on our next attempt and counting the days on the calendar. I just never thought we would need IVF. The thought of IVF was terrifying to me at this point. It seemed so huge, daunting, and the end all be all. I guess knowing it was the final option was what made it so terrifying for me. Physically, emotionally, and financially it just seemed so extreme. When we were first on clomid, I knew there was always the option of IUI. When we started IUIs, there was always the option of injectables. On injectables and IUI, there was always the thought that "well, if this doesn't work, we always have IVF." Now, here I was, staring down our final option.
The day after my surgery was my mom's birthday. She was staying with my sister since she had had a c-section, so we all went over there for dinner. I watched my sister and brother in law with their newborn daughter as well as my parents and I saw their joy and love for this new, tiny little person, and I was completely broken. I remember sitting around the dinner table that night trying so hard to hold it all together telling everyone I was "fine." Of course, no one bought it and after a lot of encouragement to talk about what I was feeling, I broke down. I remember specifically saying that maybe I just needed to come to terms with the fact that children may not be our future and that I may never get to experience what my sister currently was. My mind was automatically taking me to the darkest of places. I started to tell myself that IVF wasn't going to be an option because I thought the doctors would look at my medical history and pain issues and tell us they wouldn't do it. I argued that we couldn't adopt for the same reason. In those days and weeks before our IVF consultation, I honestly was preparing myself to come to terms with idea of a life without children. I cried and grieved more during these weeks that I had in the previous 2 1/2 years.
One year later...I am just a few short weeks away from meeting our daughter, our miracle. I still can't believe it. Nine months later and I am still completely blown away by the success of our first IVF cycle: 11 embryos, 1 transferred, 10 frozen. Our beautiful transferred embryo implanted and has grown the last 37 weeks into the currently six pound baby girl that is kicking me in the ribs, pressing on my bladder, keeping me awake at night, and generally just making me quite uncomfortable...but I wouldn't have it any other way.
To those who are still struggling with the heartbreak of infertility, I write all this to give you hope, to encourage you not to give up on your dream, even if you are feeling that you are at your lowest point and are questioning how much more you can take. Your miracle could be only a few weeks or months away and it is truly amazing the difference only one year, 365 days, can make.