Years of failed inseminations and IVFs didn’t deter this couple from pursuing their family.
My husband George and I first met when we were 20 years old, but it wasn’t until we’d dated, become friends, and then dated again that we married—16 years later, in 2005. For six years we tried to have a child of our own, going through three miscarriages, six failed rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI), and four tries at in vitro fertilization (IVF).
But in the beginning we had a lot of hope. Why wouldn’t we? After each and every IUI we were certain I would get pregnant. For the entire month, before and after the insemination, I’d be extra-cautious. Then, after the blood test, the dreaded call would come from the nurse to say that we weren’t pregnant. So we moved on to IVF. Our first try actually worked, and we were elated. We knew it would happen! But at eight weeks I miscarried. I was so mad; I couldn’t understand why this was happening to us. George, though, was more neutral and continued trying to keep me going strong. Our doctor advised us to try donor eggs or consider adoption. But for us these weren’t options; we wanted our own biological child. We were starting to reach a point, though, where we were certain that having our own child wasn’t going to happen. That was all we were focused on—and it was killing us.
It’s a funny thing when you’re going through fertility treatment—even the process of creating a new life isn’t sacred anymore. We went from trying to make a baby to it actually feeling like a job. Just before we were about to start a new cycle for an IUI or an IVF, we’d become irritated. We knew what was about to happen: the medications, the shots, the daily observation of my menstrual cycle, the early-morning doctor’s visits for blood work so I could still make it to work on time. During the IVF cycles I needed four shots a day—three I gave myself and one my husband gave me. I was sore and very tired of the whole process. Getting pregnant became a job we wanted to quit—but we really wanted a baby that was a part of the two of us, and we knew that if the outcome of all this hard work was a baby of our own, it would be well worth it. We were so exhausted that we decided to take six months off from everything connected to babies and IVF.
We had stored three frozen embryos from our fourth (and final) IVF cycle. After our six-month break, George and I decided to get a second—more like a last—opinion from another doctor before transferring these last three embryos. But tests showed that my uterine lining wasn’t thick enough to hold the embryos. Thankfully, this was something that could be fixed by a pill, so we felt things were finally looking up.
We knew that transferring the three embryos was a long shot, but we’d decided that whatever happened, we’d put to rest the idea of having children after this try. In my heart I knew I wanted to be a mother, and I knew my husband would be a great father, but we felt we had given it 110 percent, and if it was not meant to be, we were learning to be okay with that. I realized we were blessed to have each other.
The embryo transfer took place in July 2007 and I was told to come back on August 4—my husband’s birthday—for a pregnancy test. Soon after the transfer I could feel something good happening. But I told George that no matter what the results turned out to be, we’d get through it. The nurse called me later on George’s birthday to tell me that I was pregnant! I couldn’t believe it—and on my husband’s birthday, no less! When I told him, he was calm and weary; we had gone through this before and lost a baby, after all. I knew, somehow, that it was going to work this time. But we decided to stay calm and wait out the first trimester. I was put on bed rest due to some bleeding, and we found out I was pregnant with twins, but one of the babies didn’t survive past eight weeks. I was very careful, avoiding anything strenuous and even walking slowly and carefully for the entire first trimester.