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Kate Knapton's Infertility Journey

☀️ CLICK HERE to buy the Slice of Sun's beautiful products like pajamas and socks! A portion of every sale will go to women experiencing infertility. Wear to your own appointments or while cozy at home to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you and that you're not alone. You are incredible, sister. They make the perfect gifts, too!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

Read Kate's story here:

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If you know me, you would know that I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Not just a mom, but a young mom. Get married young and then have babies right away. I checked off the “get married” box pretty quick. Right away, we decided we would start trying for a baby and if it happened, great! Time started to pass, months went by, and boxes of negative pregnancy tests started to pile up in the garbage. But when those months turned into a year, we started to wonder if it was something more.

At my yearly exam with my doctor, I discussed with her what was going on and what our next steps should be. She informed me that we could go in to get tested to see if there were other issues. She told me that having my husband go in first to rule him out would be easiest because it was less invasive than what I would have to do.

A few more months went by and FINALLY I made an appointment for my husband. We sat in the doctor’s office and we were told that the chances of having children were low and if we were able to, we would have to do in vitro fertilization (IVF). Our only chance of seeing if we could do IVF was for my husband to have a surgery to see if it was possible. My husband had his surgery and I’ll never forget that day. The doctor pulled me into a room and told me that the surgery wasn’t successful and there was a “.02% chance for genetic children”. When I went to see my husband, he was coming out of anesthesia and the first thing he did was look at me and asked if it worked. I didn’t have to say anything. I just put my head down and we both just hugged each other knowing our dream of having children was over.

We took some time to fully wrap our heads around the news we were given. Yes, we found out that day that genetic children were not an option, but there are many other ways to have a family. We met with our doctor and discussed what path we would take. Our options were traditional adoption, donor sperm, and donor embryos. I knew that I wanted to carry a baby and be able to experience pregnancy. Which means we were down to donor sperm or donor embryos. I was familiar with donor sperm, but I was not at all familiar with donor embryos. There are about 1,000,000 frozen embryos in the United States alone from couples who went through IVF and are storing their remaining embryos. When a couple has completed their family they have the option to donate their remaining embryos to a family who was like us- unable to have genetic children. When we heard this option, we knew right away that this was the right option for us. We finally felt like we were on the path to becoming parents.

In August 2017, we had our first frozen embryo transfer (FET) with two, anonymously donated embryos through our fertility clinic. We were so excited and were convinced we were pregnant with twins. I started planning our life with two babies. We had been through enough, there’s no way this wouldn’t work. Oh… was I naive. I went in for blood work and my levels were too low. I wasn’t pregnant and we were devastated. With our clinic’s embryo adoption program, you only got one chance at the bank of embryos they had because they wanted to be sure to give everyone an equal chance. We were back at square one.

When we found out we would be going through embryo donation adoption, I found a few Facebook groups to join with people who were going through the exact same thing. One thing my husband and I really struggled with was going through this alone and having no one who could relate. Both of our family’s and friends were extremely supportive, but no one had dealt with not being able to have their own genetic children. This was uncharted territory for us. One Facebook group in specific saved me. It was a group of 1,000 women going through exactly what I was. They could relate, answer questions, listen to me vent, and lift me up when I needed. This group also gave us something we couldn’t get on our own, babies. 

In this group, they have a section dedicated to couples who are ready to donate their embryos. They were done with their family and ready to donate their embryos to a family to give them a shot at life. I contacted the only profile that was up. A couple who had gone through IVF using donor eggs and the husband’s sperm. They had six embryos left after they used one embryo to have their beautiful daughter. I messaged her right away asking if she had already found a recipient for the embryos. She had told me they were already donated. My heart sank knowing another option may be out the window.

The next day, I woke up to a message saying: “Hi Kate, I would like to speak with you if you have time.” What could she possibly want, she said the embryos were already donated. I messaged back to see what it was about. She responded with, “the embryos”. She explained to me that she would like to donate the remaining embryos to us if we would still like. I called her and we chatted for a bit and she told me that they had been searching for a family that they connected with and felt comfortable giving their embryos to. They ended up not finding a couple and had signed the embryos to be destroyed, another option that couples can choose to do with their remaining embryos. After I had messaged her the day before, she looked at my profile and felt an instant connection. She said she called the storage facility that was keeping the embryos on ice and asked if they had been destroyed yet. They hadn’t so she asked them not to destroy them because she found a family.

I couldn’t believe that we were being offered six embryos in hopes of starting our family. After three months of legal contracts, psych appointments, and shipping these precious cells over 800 miles to our clinic, we were ready to give this another go!

In December 2017, we did another FET. This time around, I was preparing for the worst. It didn’t work the first time, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. That’s one thing you do when you are going through infertility, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. On December 23rd I took a home pregnancy test. I wanted to know before Christmas if this had worked. I assumed it would be negative. Except this time, it wasn’t. There was a nice line and no denying it. I told my husband and we went through the holidays cautiously optimistic. After my first blood draw, I had a very high hCG number and it continued to double like it should. The further along I got, my anxiety never went away. I worried through my entire pregnancy that this little baby would be taken away from me. But it wasn’t and in September 2018, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Josephine. She was pure perfection and had the sweetest dimples I ever saw. 

In August 2019, we decided to try and give our JoJo a sibling. We had another FET and again, it didn’t work. This time around, I was prepared for that and we went back to back. We transferred again in October 2019 and found out that we would be expecting a baby boy in July 2020. We welcomed our son, Bennett, and he too had those two dimples that are to die for.

I spent my whole life up until that day we were told we have a .02% chance of having genetic children wondering what features my babies would have. Would they have my defined chin? Or be short like me? Or maybe they would have my blue eyes? I couldn’t wait to compare my husband and my baby pictures with our babies. Except for us, that wouldn’t happen. I often hear that our sweet babes look like us. But they don’t, they look like themselves and they are beautiful. We fell in love with memorizing their features, like JoJo’s gorgeous brown eyes or Benny’s sweet button nose or the fact that they both have the sweetest dimples, one on each cheek. We stopped looking for our own. 

If you are going through infertility, I can say with deep confidence that one day this journey will make sense. As hard as it can be, I always remember without infertility I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have my two little babes that I love so much it hurts. I wouldn’t be the determined woman I have grown into. I wouldn’t have the empathy that I have for others who struggle with this. I wouldn’t have the strong marriage I have today. I wouldn’t be me. 

So yes, you will have bad days. You will have days that you can’t even get out of bed and face that day. You will wonder if you will ever be a mother and maybe at times, even question if you should give up. But I’m here to say, you will look back one day and be so grateful for this journey, wherever it takes you. This is YOUR journey- one different from anyone else’s.

Our journey wasn’t easy - hell, it still isn’t easy now - that’s infertility for you-  but when these two babies came into our lives the pieces of our broken hearts all fell back into place and life was so much sweeter. 

Instagram: @jojiiandco

Facebook: Kate Knapton

☀️ CLICK HERE to buy the Slice of Sun's beautiful products like pajamas and socks! A portion of every sale will go to women experiencing infertility. Wear to your own appointments or while cozy at home to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you and that you're not alone. You are incredible, sister. They make the perfect gifts, too!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️ 

To read Cindy Maudsley's Infertility Journey, click HERE.

 

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