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“I hope this does not happen to me,” is what I kept thinking after one of my friends told me about her challenging journey dealing with infertility. After she struggled to conceive and then disclosed her miscarriage to me, I was one of those friends who naively but still insensitively said, “I am so sorry for your loss, but at least you know you can still get pregnant naturally!” Those words still burn in my brain because I can see how cliché that response was, and how that response did not bring her baby back. Luckily, just a month before pursuing in vitro fertilization (IVF), she got pregnant again naturally and finally had her rainbow baby.
The journey dealing with infertility is not one that I wish on anyone. I hoped that my journey did not turn out the same as my friend’s, but with the new statistics of 1 in 5 couples struggling with infertility, getting pregnant felt like a near impossible feat. And indeed it was.
I started trying to have a baby after numerous tests, blood work, hysterosalpingography (HSG) scans, and consults. My husband had an “above average” semen analysis, so the pressure was on. It almost felt like déjà vu because I had gone through all of this before, almost 5 years ago, when I was initially diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
After that diagnosis, I went down a self-destructive path, which caused my previous marriage to end. “Not this time,” I said to myself after I was given a chance to redo my life and try again with my now soulmate. Instead, I went into action. Negative thoughts such as “will I ever become a mother?” “what’s wrong with me?” or “why me?” continued to invade my mind as I went through the infertility testing process again.
“Not this time,” I said to myself after I was given a second chance to redo my life and try again with my now soulmate.
In December 2021, I had 5 fibroids removed and was hoping that after 3 months post-surgery, I could try to get pregnant naturally. But it did not happen. Fast forward to December 2022: after 3 months of testing, consultations, and waiting, my husband and I were ready to try intrauterine insemination (IUI). We’d then proceed with IVF if that did not work.
I was hoping so badly that IUI would work, but sadly after 2 rounds, it did not bring us our baby. I was extremely scared to do IVF. I did not know how my body would respond to it. I also continued to feel jealous of other women who did not have to go through the struggle and were able to get pregnant without spending a penny. But I knew these thoughts were not helpful. My husband and I had a goal in mind: a baby.
Before embarking on the IVF journey, I created an Instagram page to open up about my struggles and feel support from other women facing similar obstacles. I wanted to document this difficult journey and perhaps bring others hope.
After a few years, a laparoscopic procedure to remove 5 fibroids, a hysteroscopy to remove a single fibroid, and 2 failed IUIs, we finally got pregnant after our first round of IVF with a fresh embryo transfer.
Even after getting pregnant, I am not naïve about what infertility trauma does to you. The anxiety and the grief do not magically go away. Infertility trauma has stolen the excitement and joy about my pregnancy journey. It continues consuming me even after 12 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy. I cannot say I am out of the woods. Sometimes, I cannot even enjoy this new season of life for fear of losing my “precious cargo.”
I appreciate my everyday milestones, but fear those I have not yet reached. But my husband, my faith, family, and close friends have been there to support us throughout this journey. Everyone is praying that we get to meet our angel. I am 1 in 5 struggling with infertility. But I hope to overcome it by November 2023 with our bundle of joy.