Jan's success story
Hearing success stories can be helpful if you're going through infertility. The story below is shared to provide a positive example of a fertility journey. The woman in this story was not a client of My Fertility Coach.
Jan, age 43
Please share a bit about your fertility journey and where you are now:
I was fortunate enough to marry the love of my life at the age of 38. A few weeks prior to our wedding I went to my OBGYN and expressed our interest in starting a family ASAP. He ran some tests and told me he would be in touch on a game plan moving forward. The week before our wedding, he called and said he had some shocking news. My AMH level was extremely low - so low he suggested we not try on our own, but see a fertility specialist as soon as we returned from our wedding. We did just that and learned my level was barely acceptable for their clinic but they were hopeful, so we jumped right in and started IVF treatments as they didn't feel we had any time to waste with any of the other treatments offered. I was panicked, devastated and scared to death, but I wanted to be a mom so I pushed on.
Having a serious fear of needles was my first real challenge I needed to work on. During the IVF journey you are poked and prodded on nearly every appointment. This sent me into sheer panic the first few appointments, but I started to focus on what was most important - having a baby. I made it through my first round with my amazing husband giving me every shot except one due to his travel schedule. I will never forget the feeling of utter elation when I administered not one but two shots by myself! Tears of joy streamed down my face and I knew I had turned a corner.
We made it through our first cycle of IVF. Much to my doctor's surprise, we ended up with four viable eggs for fertilization. Of the four, two made it through to implantation. Then the waiting game started and I was in pretty rough shape. I took off work and did everything I could to try and remain stress-free, but I was pretty much a nervous wreck just waiting to hear the news.
My husband and I took off work the day we were scheduled to receive the call. I knew in my heart I wasn't pregnant, but hearing the nurse tell me over the phone felt like I was punched in the stomach. I felt like I was a failure as a woman and most importantly, as a new wife. I felt a huge amount of guilt, thinking I was taking away fatherhood from my husband. Of course he didn't feel that way, and did everything in his power to comfort me while dealing with his own sadness and sense of loss. We decided to take some time off from the process and went on our honeymoon in November. Our thinking was we would try again in January - one more time...I could get through it one more time.
Sometime in early December I started thinking that I hadn't had a period in a while. I had pregnancy tests at home so I took one on a whim. Low and behold it was positive...so was the next one I took. I was totally freaked out and really not convinced this could actually be happening, but I made an appointment with my OBGYN just to see what was going on. That is when we found out I was 10 weeks pregnant with our daughter - and it all happened naturally. Cate is now a happy, healthy, amazing three year old gift from God, and we love her dearly.
We've decided to be happy as a family of three (four with our dog) and not push our luck trying for another baby. Most days I am confident that is the right choice, but I do wish we could give Cate a sibling. I find myself sad sometimes that we aren't able to do that, but I am now 43 and I fear having an unhealthy baby and what that would do to Cate's world. If I were younger I would 100% try for more, and I think I would handle the IVF protocol much better having been through it once already.
What resource(s) would you recommend to someone on a similar journey?
Anything that feels right. I believe I would have benefited greatly from a fertility coach. I had one friend I confided in that had also been through it, but really didn't talk much about it to anyone other than her and my husband. After the fact, I discovered yoga and acupuncture specific for women going through IVF...that would have been perfect for me. Massage comes to mind as well. I think the more I could have done to calm my nerves the better. Instead, I turned to the internet and read every blog/message board I could find and just worked myself up. Hindsight is 20/20...
What tips would you share with someone just starting their fertility journey? Anything you wish you'd known before you started?
- Be good to yourself. Your body is going through so much.
- Take time to relax and do things you enjoy without guilt.
- Focus on staying positive through whatever means works for you - yoga, reading, walks, massage, etc.
- Try to eliminate as many other stressors in your life as you can. I am a runner, so I found it incredibly hard to not feel that endorphin release after a good run (my doctor advised against running during IVF). Find something else that can help you feel that same release...yoga is what is coming to my mind, but whatever it is embrace it and allow yourself the time to do it no matter what else you have going on.
- Be selfish. This is the one time you need to put yourself first.
- And try to let go of the worry. Way easier said than done, but try.
What lesson(s) did you learn during your struggle that has helped you in your life since?
Never give up on your dreams. They told us I had a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant without IVF and a 4-6% chance with IVF. Those are some really depressing odds, but we beat them.
Nothing good comes easy. The good stuff always takes a ton of work. We all know this but I think we forget how true it actually is.
What was the low point along your journey and how did you get through it?
Finding out we weren't pregnant after IVF was a really low blow. It was sort of like facing the fact that my dream of being a mom was over. I wasn't sure I could go through another cycle and I felt super defeated and sad. I let myself feel that for a while and then started getting my head around not having kids. Allowing myself to think of some of the advantages. I was going to go back to school to get my masters degree in a field I feel passionate about. We thought about trips we wanted to take and things we wanted to do as a couple that would be difficult with a family. I also quit my job. I'm not sure how tied into IVF this was but I was very unhappy in my position and knew I needed time to get myself back in a good place mentally. Going through the IVF process made me really look at my life and realize I didn't want to waste any time doing something that wasn't right. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives especially if I wasn't going to get to be a mom. I was done waiting...I wanted to start living my life again. Through all of this, I found a sense of empowerment, something lacking during my IVF journey.
Were there moments of joy, hope, or peace along the way that stand out - in addition to knowing your baby was near?
Giving myself the two shots was like climbing Mt. Everest.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I've had friends go through fertility struggles since mine and I try my very best to be a good support to them. I think our unique "success story" helps give them hope along the way.