Guest Post by @Lisanschrader
Lisa is a Washington native and still lives in the small town of Gig Harbor where she and her husband both were raised. She is a mom of two, an infertility warrior, and has three sweet angel babies. Sharing her infertility journey is something she takes great pride in. Lisa owns and operates an amazingly cute and meaningful Etsy shop with her business partner Lindsey. Follow them at @shopbirdieandgrace and on Facebook.
My journey started in February, 2013. My husband and I had been married for 2.5 years and we always decided we would wait for 5 years before starting a family when we got married. For some reason, we both decided we wanted to try earlier. That was a blessing that we didn’t even realize.
We were naive and thought we would get pregnant right away. Both of my sisters had no problem getting pregnant and we just figured it would be the same for us. I had done my research and knew it could take a healthy couple a full year to get pregnant. Getting to know your body and your cycle can take a while. After 6 months went by, I was feeling quite defeated. Everyone I knew got pregnant right away and I honestly have never really heard the word “infertility” or had any clue what that meant. I had a physical done by my OB and she didn’t think there was any reason we needed to wait a full year to go get checked out by a fertility specialist. She gave us a referral that day.
My husband and I talked and we both were on board with getting checked out. It couldn’t hurt, right? During all of this time, only my best friend knew what was going on. My family knew we wanted kids but didn’t really know specifics. Our fertility testing came back. Male Factor Infertility. Honestly, we were in shock. That was never something we thought about. We absolutely thought it would be me. We were told right away that IVF, possibly IUI was the only way we would conceive. They did suggest my husband get checked out by a Urologist, where we found out he was a candidate for a specific surgery that could help his sperm count. We scheduled that right away, and waited. We waited for three months to have another sperm analysis done to see if there was any improvement. Three months later…no improvement. We were devastated. We were told it may take 6 months to see improvement. So, we waited again. All while desperately wanting a baby. 6 months later… no improvement. At this point, we were over a year and a half in of trying. Everyone around us was having babies while our life was still in the same spot, except with more frustration. We took a few months off to just live and not have infertility be owning our life. At this point, we had become aunt and uncle to a new sweet nephew and also a niece. We loved them so much, but we were still so broken.
September, 2014 we decided to move on with IUI. The most anxious two week wait ever only to end is disappointment once again. October’s cycle didn’t match up for us, which is so frustrating when trying for a baby. To just press pause and skip a month is so hard! November came and went after our second failed IUI. Before that cycle was even done, I had moved on. I was done. I felt like we were not being heard by our clinic. I was ready to go somewhere else. We found a new clinic that looked amazing. The only problem was that it was an hour away. Both of my husband worked full time so this was going to be tough. But we both felt that it didn’t matter.
We met with our new clinic the next month. We did ALL of our testing over again and found out some more issues. Our new doctor said there was NO way we would have been successful through IUI and IVF was our only option. A very expensive option. My husband took on a second job, and we literally lived off of top ramen. We saved EVERY single penny. Nothing we had done so far had been covered by insurance and we were paying it all out of pocket, but we were saving what we could all along the way.
In February, we wrote some pretty large checks to move forward with IVF. My meds got delivered and we were ready to go. I started going to acupuncture twice a week and thankfully I had a very understanding and supportive boss who let me miss a lot of work.
After a month long preparation, which included daily injections multiple times a day, driving an hour (one-way) every other day for ultrasounds, retrieval day was here! Up until this point, I had never been sedated for anything, so I was very nervous. My retrieval went well, and we were able to get 29 eggs!! My husband did his part () and our embryos were created. Of my 29 eggs, 19 were mature and 16 fertilized. We waited until day five, were we learned 4 made it. We were hoping we would get more, but just happy we had some. We moved forward with our transfer on day five, transferring 2 of our fresh embryos. Our doctor was actually very against the idea of transferring two, but we were pretty committed to that decision.
The dreaded “two week wait”. We kept ourselves busy, did projects around the house. We decided we would not test at home and wait for our blood test. My husband and I both took the day off knowing that call was going to be either the best day ever, or the worst day ever.
The call. We were so nervous. BUT, we were pregnant! My numbers were low, but we were pregnant. Finally, for the first time ever. After two+ years, we finally heard it. We went upstairs and began taking every pregnancy test we had! Seeing those two lines were everything. Reading the “Pregnant” was everything. We had many ups and downs the next week. In a healthy pregnancy, your HCG levels should double every 48 hours. After our first blood draw, we were entering a holiday weekend so we had to wait four days for out next test. At that point, we figured they would have quadrupled. They didn’t. In fact, they didn’t even double. We were crushed. I had consulted Dr. Google enough times to know what this meant. Our clinic told us to expect a possible chemical pregnancy, but that we would retest in two days. Those two days were pure torture. During this time, I was still going to weekly acupuncture appointments. My amazing acupuncturist told me there was no way I was going to miscarry, I was keeping this pregnancy. Of course that was wonderful to hear, but how could he know that? We went back in two days later and waited for our results. By the time I got into my office, my nurse was already calling. I locked myself behind a door and took that call. My nurse was crying saying my numbers shot up! She said they ran them right away and my doctor hadn’t even seen them yet, but she had to call me right away. The thing most people don’t know is these nurses become your family. They are with you through it all. They rejoice with you and they cry with you. This was one of the best days ever.
We welcomed Lucy Jean 37 weeks later (November 23, 2015). My delivery was traumatic and there were complications, but thanks to an amazing medical team, we were both healthy and our miracle girl was here. We were in heaven. She was perfect. She was worth every needle, every tear, every penny!
We’ll be hearing more from Lisa about her journey to baby #2 soon! For now, enjoy the beautiful family photos below. Check out Lisa’s amazingly cute and meaningful Etsy shop and follow at @shopbirdieandgrace and on Facebook.