In 2017, Chris and I realized that even though we had 2 perfect little kids that we just didn’t feel like our family was complete. With Jackson and Rylee, I had no issues getting pregnant which makes my IVF story a little different than most, or at least I thought. The reason we decided to go through IVF was because Chris had a vasectomy in 2016. At the time, we had a 3 year old and a 1 year old and a growing business that we could barely keep up with. We honestly thought we were done having kids. I was 29 and know now that I was too young to make that decision. Fast forward to a year and a half later, we had changed our minds and started researching our options. It was either a reversal for him or go through IVF and somehow the doctors convinced us that IVF was the easiest route. Looking back on this now, I would have chosen the alternative.
We had our first consultation in December of 2017 at Nashville Fertility Clinic. I was so naive that I thought we would be getting pregnant within just a few months. That’s until they started handing out all the paperwork and going over all the tests you and your husband have to have done before even starting IVF. It was like a book. With how busy I was with our company, it took us several months to get all the appointments, do all the medical tests and complete everything that they needed. By the time we were done and ready to actually start the IVF process it was April and I was getting frustrated. I was supposed to be pregnant by now.
Once we got cleared to officially start the process, they had to line everything up with my cycle. I started Birth Control in May since they have to be able to control your cycle down to the day before your egg retrieval. Once I stopped the birth control, that’s when the shots started for the fertility drugs. This part was tough. I wasn’t used to giving myself shots and my husband basically can’t stand needles so it was a learning process. My hormones also started going a little crazy about this time since I was pumping myself full of fertility drugs. Fun times.
In July of 2017 we had our retrieval and they got 18 eggs. I thought this was such a good sign and that everything else would be smooth sailing from here on out. Then, I got a call back just a few days later that only 6 had made it to becoming a day 5 embryo. I was a little bummed that only ⅓ of my eggs became viable but we still had 6 great ones to choose from. Or so I thought again.
We decided to do the genetic testing to ensure that our embryos were genetically ok before a transfer. I don’t know exactly what all they test for but I do know it’s for abnormalities that could cause you to miscarry or the baby to not make it through a pregnancy. This testing took a month which seemed like forever. I was so ready to be pregnant and we were already going into August at this point. We finally got the call that 3 of our embryos were genetically ok for a transfer. This is when it really got a little concerning for me. Only 3 made it out of the original 18. But still, I had high hopes that we would get pregnant on our very first transfer and everything would work out perfect. I was wrong yet again.
I had to wait a few more weeks before our transfer and start more fertility medications and shots. Our first IVF transfer was scheduled for September 6th, 2018. I went in with high expectations. Since I had no issues getting pregnant with my other two, I just knew I would have no issues this time. But it failed. Two weeks later after the procedure my period started and I wasn’t pregnant. I was devastated. How could it not work? At this point, we had already paid close to $20,000 and had nothing to show for it. This was also around the time that two of my very best friends got pregnant and man that was tough. I was right there with so many other women wondering what the issue was and why I didn’t get pregnant.
From there, they decided they wanted to do some testing to see what the issue was and if I was becoming infertile or had any health issues that would stop me from getting pregnant. I had to do a mock cycle which means I had to give myself the fertility shots for another month like I was preparing for another transfer but instead they go in and do testing to see what the issues are. So basically, waste more time and money on fertility drugs and push everything back another month. This is when it really became overwhelming. My husband and I hadn’t told most of our family or friends we were even doing IVF so it was hard to keep it all a secret and struggle in silence.
My testing came back with normal results which made it much more frustrating. If I didn’t have any issues then why wasn’t I pregnant? We decided to take a month off due to the holidays at this point and the stress and give my body a rest. We took a much needed vacation with the kiddos and just enjoyed being our little family of 4.
My 2nd round of IVF was on January 10, 2019. I again had super high hopes. I just knew I was getting pregnant this time. And I did!! 10 days after the procedure, I started feeling pregnant so took a test and got a positive. I was so excited! But then, one day later the bleeding started. I woke up and just knew something was wrong. I rushed to the clinic the next morning where they tested my levels and scheduled me to come back the following day for another test. They said the bleeding could just be a coincidence and hopefully my levels would still increase. And they did! For a moment, I had a false glimmer of hope. I was still pregnant and my hcg was still rising. They had me follow up again the following day for more tests. That’s when I got the call that I was in fact miscarrying. My hormone levels plummeted and my body wasn’t responding to the pregnancy. I was devastated. How could this happen to me? I once was this girl that had no issues getting pregnant or being pregnant and now here I was having a miscarriage. It was one of the hardest things I had ever been through and still is hard to talk about. My body still felt pregnant for a few weeks and I started having horrible contractions that honestly weren’t much less painful than actual birth. I was an emotional wreck.
At this point, we still had only told a few people about our IVF journey and struggles. I finally felt the need to open up to my family and tell them everything I was going through. That’s when I also turned to social media for support. It was amazing to receive so many messages from other women that had been through IVF or through a miscarriage or even both and have them share their stories. I knew I wasn’t alone in this journey and even though it was so hard to go through, I clung to my faith to get me through. We still had one embryo left. One more chance to have a baby through IVF before seeking other options. At this point though, my high hopes that it would work a third time pretty much shattered. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. It was a struggle to make this happen. That’s when I realized that getting pregnant isn’t as easy for everyone as it was for me with my first two kids. So many women have these struggles and feel this pain. It really opened up my eyes and made me feel so grateful for my 2 easy pregnancies and that I was blessed enough to be a mom already. My heart really goes out to those that never get to experience motherhood. It really is the best thing in life.
Going back to our IVF process and my miscarriage, the doctors wanted me to wait to begin our third round until after 2 more completed cycles meaning I would have to wait until March to start fertility medications back. At this point, my hormones were insane. Going from medication to getting pregnant then no fertility drugs, I was all over the place. Work also was super stressful as we continued to grow and I was traveling so much. I tried to keep it all together but looking back, I know I wasn’t really myself during this time. I lived with severe anxiety and a little depression for the loss of a pregnancy masked by the determination to show everyone that I can be strong when all I wanted was to be pregnant. It was tough.
March rolled around and I started giving myself injections yet again. We scheduled the procedure for the 2nd week of April and I tried my hardest to not worry or stress leading up to it. We decided to take the kids on a last minute Disney trip to relax and enjoy another little getaway. My procedure was a few days after we got back and everything seemed to go well. I started taking pregnancy tests just a few days later even though they tell you not to. With IVF, there is a possibility of getting a false positive due to the medications so they prefer that you wait to have a blood test 10-12 days after the procedure. Being the impatient person that I am though, I couldn’t wait. I started testing daily until on day 5 a faint line appeared. I was so excited but instantly terrified. What if I miscarry again? This is our last embryo. What if it’s a false positive? So many questions and such a hard time to go through. I had to leave for another trip the following week so the clinic had me find a doctor to get a blood test during my work trip. I went the first day while I was there and then again the 2nd. I heard nothing. No one called and I was so anxious at this point. Finally, 3 days after my blood test I got the call from my nurse that I was pregnant. The last procedure worked. I was so happy. I changed my flight to come home early to be with my family to celebrate.
The next few months after, I tried my hardest to relax and rest more than normal. I was no longer allowed to workout due to the doctors orders until I hit the 2nd trimester. They didn’t want anything to cause a miscarriage so I rested and took it easy. We waited until the 2nd trimester to officially announce to make sure that the pregnancy would sustain. From then on I had a fairly easy and quick pregnancy. It really flew by and looking back, I honestly miss it a little.
Then, on January 1st 2020, our sweet little IVF baby was born. Reese Caroline. She weighed only 5 pounds 15 ounces and was absolutely perfect. I am now a mom to 3 and couldn’t be happier. It was such a long and hard process but everything happened for a reason and that reason was for me to have my sweet little Reese. She was our last and final embryo. She is so loved already and I couldn’t be more thankful that everything happened the way it did. Had I not struggled or had a miscarriage, I would have never known just what so many others go through or been able to put myself in their shoes. Infertility and IVF are not easy to go through. I am lucky that I had success and can now share our story.