When I was 17, I was put on birth control pills to help regulate very long and erratic cycles that I had been having since I was 13. As the years passed, I stayed on birth control not only to continue to regulate my cycles, but to also prevent any potential pregnancies from happening before I got married. Little did I know that I probably didn't need to stay on birth control to delay any family building until myself and my future husband were ready. We never thought that trying to have a baby could throw us into such a tailspin. We never knew how infertility could change our lives in so many ways.
After getting married at the age of 24, we decided that I would stop birth control and throw caution to the wind. After a 15 month deployment, my husband and I decided to try our hand at getting pregnant. All we had to do was have sex and it would happen for us, right? One would think that's all we needed to do. That plan proved to be successful for so many friends while I sat back and waited impatiently for the deployment to end.
Unfortunately, things didn't happen quite like we had planned them to. My periods became more infrequent during that first year of trying to conceive. I expressed my concerns to my primary care doctor - many times bursting into tears while sitting on the exam table - and was ignored. I knew something wasn't right, but my insurance mandated that we had to try for one year before being referred to a specialist.
In the fall of 2008, we were finally referred to an OB/GYN after being unsuccessful for one long and painful year. Over the next five years, I was diagnosed with PCOS, hypothyroidism, and progesterone deficiency and we went through the infertility treatment gauntlet. We started with Clomid and worked our way up to injectible cycles, five IUI cycles, two IVF cycles, and finally three FET cycles. We experienced a huge range of emotions throughout our treatment journey - joy when we got pregnant the first time in February 2010, sadness and anger when we learned of our first miscarriage in March 2010, disappointment when cycles failed, fear and disappointment when we got pregnant and miscarried again in October 2010, frustration when each IUI, IVF, and FET cycle failed.
After our last remaining embryo from our second IVF cycle failed to implant after our third round of FET, my husband and I found ourselves at a crossroads. What should our next step be? Should we find another RE since we had moved yet again to a new location? Should we throw ourselves into another IVF cycle without a definitive reason why our embryos failed to implant? Should we give up on having a biological child and embark on the journey to adoption? After many emotional conversations, we decided that we wanted to turn to domestic infant adoption in hopes that we would finally become mommy and daddy to a special little girl or boy.
We started researching agencies in September 2013 and were accepted into an agency's program a few weeks later. We began the home study process in October and were home study approved by mid-January. Our profile became active on January 27 and on February 6, we were asked if we would like our profile shown to a birth mother. On February 8, our world changed in a big way. Our social worker called at 11:20 AM to let us know that we had been chosen by the birth mother and that we were going to be parents to a baby girl. A huge wave of emotions washed over us as we frantically packed to go pick up our daughter - excitement, disbelief, happiness, confusion, fear.
We drove about seven hours that day and arrived at our destination around 8:30 PM. Unfortunately, we arrived in town after visiting hours were over, so we had to wait until the next morning to meet our daughter. I vividly remember pacing back and forth in the hotel room and trying to picture what our daughter would look like, what our lives would be like, and what challenges lay ahead for us as a new family of three. We felt overwhelmed, scared, and unprepared to become parents so quickly. Most people had nine months to prepare for a new baby. Us? We had hours.
The moment we both held our daughter for the first time was a game changer. All those fears immediately vanished. We were both in love with this tiny miracle who was placed into our arms. We couldn't take our eyes off of her. We didn't want to put her down. We wanted to meet and thank the woman who chose to trust us with raising and loving her child, but unfortunately she didn't want the same thing - a decision that we respect and understand. We talked about how life was going to be - what we hoped and dreamed for this little baby.
That first night as I lay awake in the hospital bed, holding her close to my heart, I reflected on how infertility changed my life in so many ways. All the pain, loss, and disappointment led up to this amazing and life changing experience. I didn't realize that something amazing could come out of our inability to have biological children while we were in the midst of treatments, but here she was - something completely amazing. Because of our infertility, we now have the honor and privilege of raising a beautiful, smart, head strong little girl who brings so much joy and happiness to our lives. I never thought that I could love someone as much as I love her.
This blog post was inspired by RESOLVE's Bloggers Unite Challenge in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week that runs from April 20-26. This year's theme is to Resolve to Know More. Want to know more about infertility? Check out these articles about raising awareness, what to say and not to say to people who are experiencing infertility, and what has and hasn't changed for people with infertility.