My name is Ashley. I am 34 years old. I live in Texas. I met my husband, Ryan when I was 14 years old at a church dance in San Antonio, Texas! We’ve been married for 8 years with 2 daughters via IVF, and we are currently working on baby #3.
Ryan and I always remained good friends throughout the years until we FINALLY decided to get married in 2013. When we got married, we knew we immediately wanted to start a family. He was finishing up school. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We also knew we wanted a bigger family (4 kids); so we thought we’d better get started. And we did. You know what it is like when you’re in that “honeymoon phase” right? Well, we just knew that I would end up pregnant any day. Fast forward 3 months, I was not pregnant. My periods have always been abnormal and I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 18. I was uneducated on trying to conceive and PCOS, but I felt in my gut that something just wasn’t right. I took it upon myself to go straight to a local fertility doctor. After taking some medical history, she decided that and IUI would be a good first step. We just thought we just needed a little help. We did all the prep work, the IUI, and it did not work. I actually found out on my birthday. During the IUI, the hope was there. The excitement. I was crushed when it didn’t work. I also felt like my doctor wasn’t in this with me. I felt like just a patient for a super emotional experience. After some praying and pondering, we decided not to continue care with her.
During that prayer and pondering time I called an ad for a fertilty doctor. Before they could answer, I hung up. Why? I don’t know. I think I was unsure if I even wanted to put myself through all that again. Well, fast forward a couple of days, they called me. It was the weirdest thing. Why did they call me? Days later? I asked them. They said they had a missed call from me, and if I would like to make a consultation appointment? I decided to make an appointment “just to see” what they could offer.
It was consultation day with our potentially new doctor. I was nervous. Ryan was a rock. They called us back, and I immediately started to tear up. The doctor handed me tissues, hugged me, and reassured me that it’s okay to cry. I knew instantly that this was our doctor. Our doctor to help us make a family. I felt it in my heart. This clinic was an answer our prayers. She met with us for 2 hours. Answered all our questions. We ended the consultation with a plan. A plan to start the IVF process. With my PCOS, IVF gave us a better chance to get pregnant. Every time I walked into that clinic, I felt like part of a family. They knew my name, not my chart name, but my name!! They asked about Ryan. It was just an real genuine experience.
IVF #1: Addison Mae
Addie’s round was the round that we had to do all the testing for. I actually had to have a surgery to help shape my heart- shaped uterus a better home for the baby. We did the egg retrieval and we got 22 egg which we were able to freeze 13. We felt very blessed with our outcomes. We did not do a fresh transfer because we were worried about over-stimulating my ovaries so we did a Frozen embryo transfer (FET). She was a first try success. We were over the moon and so excited to become parents. Honestly, we thought despite what we have been through; this is pretty easy. We had an easy pregnancy and delivery. She was born on September 4th, 2016.
IVF#2: Raegan Elise
Raegan’s round was a brainer. I remember being in the hospital with Addie and saying, “yep, we are gonna do this again!” When Addie was 9 months old, we went back to the doctor and started our second round of IVF. We did the 5 weeks of medications and then another FET. First try success, again! We couldn’t believe. I convinced myself I was IVF invincible. Easy pregnancy and delivery. Raegan was born on April 16, 2018.
IVF#3: Embaby #3 (2019)
This round happened very similar to Rae’s. When Rae was 9 months old, we went back to the doctor to start our 3rd round of IVF and get that baby boy! My doctor’s exact words were, “Well, this should be easy. Just copy & paste!” I had NO doubt in my mind after 7 weeks, I’d be pregnant, and we’d have to talk about that baby #4. Well, IVF round #3 did not take. I found out on Thanksgiving Day (why I find out such devastating news on such big days- no clue why). Needless to say, I was heartbroken. This couldn’t happen to me. I was IVF invincible remember? Well, it did happen to us. I remember taking pregnancy tests trying to force that little pink line. Holding it up to the light. In that moment, I also remember thinking that this is what so many couples feel when things don’t go as planned. I got IVF punched in the face, and it sucked. I did feel super blessed that I was able to go hold my girls which I did- for days after.
IVF #4: Biochemical Miscarriage (2020)
In between rounds 3 & 4, I found out I had Graves’ Disease and ended up getting my thyroid taken out. After some time to regulate my medication dosage, we were ready for IVF round #4. That confident feeling I had going into round #3 was there, but I also experienced a loss. Now, I knew something could go wrong, and I was more nervous than before. Well, I did the 5 weeks of medication, and 2 weeks later I found out that I am pregnant. Yay, right? Well, I knew something was wrong because the phone call was not very congratulatory. My initial HCG was low. It was 25. I was to come back in 2 days to see if it doubled. Two days later, it was 30. I was to stop all medications and prepare for a miscarriage. At this time, my sister became pregnant through IVF. The jealousy flags were flying high. After my miscarriage, I decided to focus on my mental and physical health.
IVF #5: In-Progress
We are currently in the trenches for round #5. We are pushing for that boy to complete our family. I’ve started my birth control pack with doctor appointments lined up. I am actually more nervous than ever. We’ve talked about this being our final try whatever the outcome is. I’m hopeful and excited. I’m already thinking about what I could do with that nursery upstairs.
I know understand the full aspect of infertility. I have experienced the success and the failure. I have been closed off. I have felt jealousy and happiness all at the same time. I truly believe that God gave me my two girls first because He knew I needed them to get through this process for baby #3. I am thankful for the good, bad, and ugly. I thankful that I have the best village to help conceive and raise my babies. I hope that by you reading this blog, you will feel hope, love, and happiness for whatever your situation is. I also hope that your prayers can be answered, you can find peace with this journey, and you know it’s okay to feel the way you feel. Also, let’s not judge the infertility book by the cover. You never know the successes or failures of someone’s story.