Angela’s Lab | Blessed to be a Mom
For some becoming a mother is a no-brainer, you get married, get pregnant, have a baby and live happily ever after. Okay, life is never really that simple generally, but millions of women get pregnant by design or by accident every year. As women, we spend a chunk of our life in our 20s, worried about getting pregnant and if it happens what will we do?? Then, there are the women who dream of becoming mothers, but don’t get to take the easy road.
This was me.
Photo Credit: Jacqueline Hanna Photography
My husband and I had known each other for several years before we got married, so when we finally had our fairy tale wedding we decided to start our family right away. In our early thirties, it never occurred to us that we wouldn’t get pregnant in short order. At the time we didn’t know of anyone in our family or circle of friends that had struggled with infertility. And, you didn’t hear much about it back then or at least not that I had noticed. Of course, sometimes topics don’t hit your radar until you or someone you’re close to is faced with an issue. I felt alone in my situation. And so we began trying. A couple of months went by, then a year and my OB/GYN suggested that we do some testing and make sure there wasn’t anything identifiable standing in the way of my getting pregnant. Whew — the news was good — everything looked just fine and at 33 my age wasn’t too much of a problem yet. So, we kept trying and more time went by. We were both super busy with our careers and my job involved considerable travel — I found myself working long hours and getting sick on a regular basis. This probably wasn’t helping our cause, so at 35 we made the decision to have me leave the corporate world, so I could focus on taking better care of myself. I started my own PR consulting business and tried to relax a little more.
Two more years went by and still no success. We finally went to an infertility specialist, where we were re-tested and everything still looked normal. We were told we were in the 15% of couples that struggled with “unexplained infertility.” It was recommended that we try taking hormones to stimulate egg production, followed by artificial insemination. I still remember what a letdown it was when it didn’t work. We finally had taken a bigger step and I thought for sure that would do it. It was not to be. We spent three more years on and off trying different methods and saw a couple of different specialists. I tried Chinese herbs and acupuncture, inspired by Charlotte on Sex and the City. Remember her struggle to have a baby? I wonder how many of us she inspired to try that route? I still miss that show. I wasn’t excited about trying in vitro fertilization (IVF)… I really worried about the long-term effects on my body and health. I had one specialist tell me when I was 38 that I was already looking at having a geriatric pregnancy so I better step it up. Geriatric pregnancy, seriously, who came up with that term? Not a woman, obviously. I found another doctor and finally with him I felt safe trying IVF… one time anyway.
I was 40. We signed up for it. The shots, the hormones, the emotions — if you’ve been through it, you know what a crazy ride it is… especially at 40. All pumped up on hormones, my 40-year-old body produced 11 eggs, which isn’t a whole lot, but not bad. However, only four were viable, then only two made it through the fertilization process. The big day came and two embryos were transferred. We worried a little about twins, but figured we could handle it if that was in the plan for us. One thing that is great about having to work so hard to have a kid is that you really have a lot of time to think about what you want out of life and appreciate the miracle of birth. Granted, I feel lucky that we only had to go through IVF one time… I know a number of people that struggled much harder through miscarriages and failed IVF cycle after IVF cycle.
We waited anxiously to hear the result of the transfer… and finally we got the news we’d been waiting to hear — we were pregnant! One precious baby. The rest of my pregnancy was a blur and easy, thank goodness. On August 2, 2008, we had our beautiful 7 lb. 10 oz. baby girl and our fairy tale ending.
The message here is… Don’t. Give. Up. Being a mom is the best thing to ever happen to me. If you want to be a mom, there are so many options, whether you have your own or adopt. And remember, if you are struggling with infertility, you are not alone.