Confessions of an IVF Warrior Mom

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that I would need to go through a 2.5 year journey of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive.  Neither would I have guessed that I would be divorced by 24, live abroad for 3.5 years, and then return back to California to get remarried. Isn’t it amazing how God’s plans are so much better than our own? 

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom.  I didn’t think, however, that it would take me 16 years into adulthood to finally have my desire realized. 

At 20 years old, I thought I had life all figured out.  I got married, dropped out of college, and moved away from all of my friends and family to follow who I thought was the love of my life. Sadly, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I married an abusive man who was slowly destroying me emotionally, spiritually and physically. I remember crying at every baby dedication at church realizing that my dream of becoming a mom may never come true because there was no way that I was going to bring a child into an abusive household.

At 23 years old, I got a divorce and began the long journey of emotional, spiritual, and physical healing. 

Less than a year later, in 2008, I left for China to teach English. Although I have a lot of good memories of my time in China, I also have a lot of bad memories.  I was still so broken and desperately trying to find myself. 

The picture on the left is from a trip to India. I had just completed my year-long contract teaching in China and decided to do some traveling before returning to California. While in India, I visited a local family and immediately fell in love with this little cutie. When I left for China, I joked that I would be bringing a baby back to California with me.  Despite feeling lost and broken, I still so desperately wanted to be a mom. 

Shortly after returning to California from my year-long teaching contract in China, I had a wake up call that my weight was out of control.  I immediately began eating less and moving more.  In 2010, I began my two-year teaching contract in Mexico and continued on my quest to better health.  
In 2011, runstrongrun was born when I stood on the sidelines of my first ever race, a marathon, and decided right then and there that I was going to start running. 

Less than a year later, in March 2012, four years after leaving my abusive husband, I crossed the finish line of my first marathon with hands in the air and tears streaming down my face.  God had taken a lost and broken woman and helped her to become healed and hopeful. 

That same year I got remarried and became a bonus mom to two awesome kids. I prayed and prayed that God would take the desire to be a biological mom away.  This, however, never happened.

In spring of 2015, my husband and I traveled to Texas to take the first step towards making my dream of birthing a child of my own come true. We were told by the Texan doctor that by August, we would be pregnant. August came and went. No pregnancy. 

A year later, in 2016, we made the decision to seek out medical tests to try to figure out why we hadn’t conceived yet.  All tests came back normal, but still no pregnancy.

Finally, we went the Northern California Fertility Medical Center for a consultation.  We were hoping to be able to do Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)  which is cheaper and not as invasive as IVF, but the doctor told us that our chances of convincing with IUI were so slim that he recommended IVF. I remember leaving the fertility center feeling hopeless.  How were we ever going to come up with the tens of thousands of dollars for IVF? 

It took us a year of prayer before making the decision to pursue IVF.  In June 2017, I began my first cycle which included multiple injections a day in preparation for the egg retrieval. 

The egg retrieval was a success with 23 eggs retrieved. From the 19 eggs that were fertilized we had 5 embryos.  July 2017, I went in for my first fresh embryo transfer. After going in for several blood draws, two weeks later we received the news that the transfer failed. I was heartbroken.  After texting “BFN= big fat negative” to my family and friends, I turned my phone off and wept.  There was nothing anyone could say to lessen the pain. 

Five months later on December 16, we tried again, but this time it was a frozen transfer (the embryos were now kept in cryopreservation and would be brought out to “thaw” two hours prior to the transfer).  On Christmas Day while at my in-laws, I began bleeding.  Big fat negative again. This was a real low for me and had me crying out to God, “Why?  I’m not strong enough!  I can’t do this!”

Three months later, on March 4, 2018 we went in for our third transfer.  This time we transferred in not one, but two embryos.  This time I had a scrape procedure done that literally scraped my uterine lining in preparation for the embryo transfer. 

Ten days later, I received the phone call that I had been waiting for.  I was pregnant! 

The picture on the right was taken yesterday morning. I had just finished getting ready and ended up putting my toddler in a wrap to hold her since she was feeling a little extra clingy.  Secretly, though, I loved it!

That smile on my face is pure joy.  I’m grateful for my 2.5 year journey through IVF, the countless injections, the tears, the crying out to God, and my miracle baby!  We still have one more embryo left in cryopreservation, so my story is not over yet. 

Are you currently in the trenches of your IVF or IUI journey? Please know that you are not alone. Do you know someone who is currently in the trenches of an IVF or IUI journey? The best thing you can do is to lend them an ear or a hug. There are no words to lessen the pain or to fill that gaping void in their heart. Just let them know that you are there.

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