Many of you may not be aware that as I was sitting at my desk across from you, talking about your money, your insurance and anything else that happened to come up, I also was walking my own path of infertility beside you. I celebrated all of your successes and cheered for you. You have no idea how much happiness your victories brought to me and to all of us here. I, too, however felt your infinite sadness and loss when things didn’t work out. I wanted to stay positive for each and every one of you, encouraging you to continue to take steps forward when all seemed lost, while I was selfishly trying to listen to my own words as I said them out loud.
I was finally able to celebrate my own success on Friday, July 24th when I had my first positive pregnancy test. The support, happiness and hugs I received from everyone at the office and from my wife were beyond anything I could’ve imagined. I couldn’t believe it was finally true after the struggles we had faced.
For me it was a journey over 2 years – it started in February 2013 with a surgery to remove fibroids and 3 month recovery period. Our first attempt at pregnancy after that was IVF using my wife’s eggs, transferred to my uterus. We knew it would be a challenge based on some of our factors, but wanted to explore all of our options. That unfortunately didn’t work, but it was our first attempt and at the time we thought our longest shot, so in the moment it didn’t feel as disappointing as it may have otherwise.
After that, I felt it should be easy to get pregnant with IUIs. I was a healthy 31-year-old with no other issues! My AMH and all supporting labs were in the normal range, the HSG showed “beautiful fallopian tubes” according to Dr. Couchman. After the first IUI didn’t work, I thought, “No big deal, we’ll try again.” This led to failed IUIs #2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 with a change in sperm donors half way through (surely it was the sperm, not me!) Fast-forward to October 2014 and my first IVF cycle using my own eggs. I was so confident that this would be the be-all, end-all to my longed for pregnancy. But…another bust!
I can’t describe how low I felt at that time, something that I didn’t expect. After all, I always told myself in the beginning that if kids didn’t end up being part of my future, that would be OK too – I would always make the best of what life handed me. It may look different than what I always expected, but it would still be a great life.
I really felt like giving up at that point, but was lifted up in spirit by all of my friends, family and my Carolina Conceptions family. February 2015 saw IVF #2 come and go, again with no success. Feeling defeated and like that was the end of this journey, my wife and I had some tough conversations and decisions at home. I was really ready to give up at this point. If it weren’t for her strength and encouragement during this time, we would never be where we are today.
You see, all along I have always told our patients (and truly felt this way) that our embryo adoption program was by far my favorite treatment option that we do at Carolina Conceptions – how amazing it is for a such a selfless, generous, loving couple to donate their unused embryos to an equally selfless, generous, loving couple sitting in the same position as they were just a few years apart. Well, I still feel this way about that program and now my reasons also include the fact that this is how I finally became pregnant. I will never be able to thank our anonymous donor couple in person, but every night when I lie in bed I wish them well in life and thank the universe for the way things have turned out. My life still looks nothing like what I expected or planned, but I couldn’t be happier for what the future will bring.
Now my time at Carolina Conceptions sadly winds down. After 4 years of working along some of the best people I have EVER met, I am now on my way to my next job – staying at home with our new babies when they arrive sometime in early 2016. As someone who has both worked with these angels in scrubs (and those in work attire, I love my fellow administrative co-workers for many reasons other than medical) and had my emotional life in their hands as a patient, I could never say enough “thank-yous” for all of their expertise, generosity, kindness and positivity along the way, personally and professionally.
My biggest take away from all of this, that I will carry with me forever now, is that life is beautiful and weird and all has some sort of crazy meaning that we may not ever fully understand. Life will take you to places you never imagined, both good and bad. My continued wish is success for all of our patients – don’t ever give up! You are the reason that Carolina Conceptions exists and flourishes and gets the chance every single day to help make your (and my) family a reality.