Elise's Journey: Fighting for a Family | Fertility Out Loud

My Fertility Journey: Fighting for a Family

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment.

Infertility is hard. 

If you had told me how our journey to starting a family would go 5 years ago, I would’ve thought it was a sick joke. 

Our experience was grueling, heartbreaking, depressing, and anxiety-inducing, and felt very hopeless at various points. I always say infertility is like a wildfire: every single aspect of your life is vulnerable and in jeopardy. It takes a toll on your mental health, your finances, your social life, your marriage. Everything is at risk. 

I always say infertility is like a wildfire: every single aspect of your life is vulnerable and in jeopardy.

I want to start my story by saying that my husband and I did finally get our happy ending. I am 22 weeks pregnant with our miracle rainbow twins (a boy and a girl), so if you are in the trenches right now, cling onto that hope and keep fighting. 

I also want to pay tribute to the families and individuals whose infertility journeys ended without a baby because that does happen far too often for various reasons. 

My husband Carl and I started trying for a baby in 2019 and quickly sought out professionals to get all the testing done. Turns out we had issues on both of our sides: male factor due to a varicocele, plus irregular, anovulatory cycles on my end. We were told in vitro fertilization (IVF) was our best option, so we moved forward full speed ahead. 

In the past 4 years, we have been to 3 different clinics, gone through 4 rounds of IVF, 6 embryo transfers, 2 failed transfers, 3 heartbreaking losses (including the second trimester loss of our son, Wilder, due to Trisomy 18), countless needles and procedures, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t even touch the aftermath of the grief, anxiety, depression, and confusion it all brought. 

It was truly the hardest thing my husband and I have ever gone through. And we had both been through a lot in our lives prior to infertility. 

If I could go back and give advice to the version of me 5 years ago, here are some things I would share:  

  1. It’s going to be really, really hard, but you can and will do it.
  2. No one can guarantee you a baby. IVF doesn’t always work.
  3. Find a community of others who get it.
  4. Let go of the timeline you have in your mind.
  5. Resist the rush and feeling of urgency and desperation. 
  6. Take breaks when you need it (and you will need it). 
  7. Try not to get consumed by the process.
  8. Find a doctor you trust (beyond just having good bedside manner or a good personality).
  9. Move clinics if you feel like things aren’t right.
  10. Remember that your mental health and marriage always come first.
  11. Therapy is great. 

Like I mentioned, our dreams finally came true with our 6th transfer, and we are pregnant with twins. However, pregnancy after infertility and loss is a whole other beast. The constant anxiety and fear can be a lot at times, and I’m a mental health therapist with all the resources. It’s still really hard. 

Looking back, our journey really changed me. Now that I am on the other side of it all, I do see the value in what we experienced and how it made me grow. Although it was so incredibly hard, I have an appreciation for all the growth I have made along the way. 

Hardships come with lessons and evolution. My best advice is to surrender to your journey. It’s already written. From a fellow warrior, you can do this. Keep fighting!

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