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Keisha McGowan'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 Keisha's story here:

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For a first grade assignment I wrote a book titled “When I grow up I want to be a mother.” It was my dream to be a mom from a very young age. I grew up with six siblings and when we got married my husband and I said we wanted at least 6 kids … maybe 8.

 In October 2018 my husband and I went on a trip to where he grew up as a “baby moon,” a last trip before we got pregnant and I was sick for months. We were excited to start trying again, even though being pregnant had been the hardest thing I had done up until this point. After a few months of trying, (longer than it had taken with my previous pregnancies), I called my OB. I felt like something was wrong. I was spotting through the middle of my cycles. He told me, over the phone, that I might not be ovulating regularly, causing the spotting. He prescribed me clomid. Although I still felt like that didn’t explain my spotting, I decided to try clomid for a few cycles. It was horrible. I started getting migraines, which I’ve never had, and also experienced very severe cramps, even though I usually didn’t have any. I was moody, and the ups and downs of hoping and heartbreak were lonely and depressing. After three months, I went in to see my OB, sure that I didn’t want to take clomid again and wanting answers. I left more discouraged than before. He offered me nothing. No information, no guidance. He told me that it was normal to get pregnant quickly and then have it take a long time the next and said all he could do was prescribe more clomid. So I went home and searched the only source I could think to go to if my doctor wasn’t going to help - Google.

This is when first heard of secondary infertility. Everything I read said you needed to try for one year before seeing a specialist. I wanted to be able to have done everything possible while I waited for the year mark, so that when I saw a specialist we weren’t starting at square one. I decided to take clomid for 3 more cycles. The holidays were very hard for me. I started my period on Thanksgiving Day, and then on Christmas Day. I felt so numb as I tried to pretend that I was okay, and tried to be happy for my kids, but inside I was hollow and full of discouragement. It was hard gathering with family and having my sisters and sister-in-laws line up their babies to take a picture together knowing that I could have a baby there in those pictures if I had been able to get pregnant. I wanted someone to talk to, someone who knew what I was experiencing but when I found infertility groups and would go to share I felt guilty. I have three children. Most women were still trying for their first or second. I felt like there wasn’t a place for me. If I shared then would I make other women feel frustrated and sad - I knew they would give anything to have three kids. How could I explain to anyone that even though I am grateful for the children I have, the dream of having a big family was still something I wanted so badly. It is because of the kids I already have that I want more. Every time my seven year old daughter tells me she wants a baby brother to take care of, and every time I’ve been told be the unknowing neighbor that my little boy needs a brother, I long for more.

In February we saw a Reproductive Endocrinologist, and began navigating the world of infertility acronyms, and tests. After getting blood work, a vaginal ultrasound, and an HSG, I was told that I had a c-section scar defect, an Isthmocele. Another word I had never heard of before. It is a pocket that forms when your scar doesn’t heal correctly and it collects menstrual fluid, causing your uterus to be a hostile environment for an embryo. It was also causing spotting through my cycle as the fluid slowing leaked out of the isthmocele. He also said that because of its location, near my cervix, that there was a chance that the sperm was not even able to get into my uterus, but was going into the isthmocele instead. I felt some relief, knowing that I wasn’t crazy and that there had been something wrong. I was also angry, and sad that we had tried for 16 months experiencing the heartbreak month after month, wasting all that time, and experiencing the side affects of clomid all for nothing.

I would need surgery to repair the defect, for my own health, and if I was ever going to have a chance of getting pregnant again. 

The week we found this out, the country shut down because of Covid. My doctor had never seen a defect as significant as mine and had never performed surgery to repair one before. He reached out to other doctors in the area trying to find one that was familiar with isthmocele repair but he wasn’t able to find one. My options were to fly to Chicago, or New York where a few doctors are that have performed the surgery or trust my doctor and let him try to fix it once hospitals opened up again for surgery. 

On July 2, 2020 I went in for surgery. My doctor performed a robotic surgery to fix the isthmocele, and found endometriosis. My two hour surgery turned into a four hour surgery, but he was able to reduce the size of the defect. After surgery he told us that we should start trying right away before the endometriosis could return. 

After three cycles, I went in again for more blood work, an HSG and saline sonogram because I still wasn’t pregnant. 

The next step for us is to try letrozole. Then an IUI. We are still in the unknown. Still in the waiting.

Infertility is a lonely experience. It is fighting for your dream every day, only to have heartbreak month after month when your dream doesn’t become reality. It is trying to smile when you feel like crying. It is trying to be happy when your friend, your neighbor, your sister, is pregnant… again - and your not. It is learning to see others' pains, and knowing that they don’t expect you to fix it, they just want you to cry with them, to hug them, to acknowledge their feelings and struggles. I may not know the ending to my story yet - but I am grateful for the way it has changed how I see and treat others in the challenges that they are experiencing.

- Keisha

IG linked HERE

☀️ 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 Staci Hartline's story of never losing hope, click HERE.

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