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Linley Hutchinson'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 Linley's story here:

______________________

As a child, I asked to hold all the babies and I was the queen of babysitting. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to be a mom. In fact, if I am totally honest, I wanted to be a mom way more than I ever wanted to be a wife. Is that bad to say?

I was married in September of 2007 at the age of 21. I was approaching college graduation and my husband was starting graduate school. We were young,  but too excited to wait any longer to begin our family. I honestly remember thinking I would pee on a stick the next month and see that little blue positive line. I imagined how I would show my husband and tell our families. So naive. I know better now.

Each month passed, and nothing. I counted down the days to my “year of trying” mark because I was told no doctor would do anything until after the year mark. I willed it to come so I could start finding the answers I was so desperate to get.

I still remember anxiously showing up to our college health center. I assumed my husband was “the problem” and we could just give those swimmers a little boost. The doctor asked about my menstrual and health history and I was actually bothered that the attention was all on me. I thought, “I am fine. I was born to do this. This is what my body is suppose to do. This is what I want more than anything in the whole world. Stop asking me questions and move onto my husband so we can start fixing the problem!” But then we got the first labs back, and my husband’s sperm count was great. He wasn’t the problem. I was crushed.

I went back to my OBGYN and reviewed every symptom I ever had. We chatted again about my menstrual cycles, cramps, bleeding, potential ruptured cysts, major pain during cycle, etc. My doctor asked if I had any family history of Endometriosis. I said no. He thought that was most likely and recommended a dye test, ultrasound, and potential laparoscopy. The laparoscopy concluded that I had grade 3 Endometriosis, which was severe for someone my age. They burned and scraped all that they could and removed a tennis ball size cyst from my left ovary. In recovery, I felt defeated. I didn’t fully understand what my diagnosis meant, but I knew it would take a lot to get me pregnant.

The doctor put me on Lupron (the worst drug in the history of drugs) to stop my flow. It basically put me through menopause. Mood swings, weight gain, and hot flashes like I never knew were possible. I’d wake up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat. Every month I went to get the Lupron shots and my doctor began recommending a few infertility specialists. I still left all these doctors appointments not really knowing what Endometriosis was, why I wasn’t getting pregnant, and what I was up against. I knew we were in an uphill battle, but I just felt like I had to keep going. I hoped we were getting closer. I was still naive.

We desperately needed more information, but it wasn’t easy to find. We were poor newlyweds still finishing school. We didn’t have a lot of options. We researched everything from holistic approaches to any new medical approach. We knew about infertility treatments and IVF, but we felt like we had to cross off every “cheaper” option before we considered those.

 The next 2.5 years was what we call the “one and done” phase. We tried many different things, but nothing felt right. I’d find a new idea, get on the appointment waiting list, only to decide it wasn’t right after one appointment. One and done. Over and over again. It was so discouraging. I tried acupuncture, hormone therapy, Clomid, etc. I was emotionally, spiritually, and physically tired and didn’t want to try anymore. I didn’t know where to go or who to talk to. I just wanted a baby, but none of the options given to us felt right. I wanted to give up.

A few days after I made the decision to be done, my mom called me. She found a doctor she wanted me to try. I told her I couldn’t do it. I cried and felt very overwhelmed.  She was gentle and loving, but began telling me about the doctor’s credentials and his patients’ success stories. I got a peaceful feeling from my head to my toes. I'd never experienced anything like it. I felt like this was God’s way of telling me that I could do this one more time. I called immediately and had an appointment with the new team of doctors the following week. 

I still remember sitting in that doctor’s office, medical records in hand. It was painful for me to talk about all the terrible medications I had been on and how extreme my Endometriosis was. But, for the first time a doctor made me feel understood. He validated, apologized, sympathized and finally gave me all the answers I’d been searching for.  IVF was absolutely what we needed to do and we didn’t want to waste anymore time.

After monitoring my cycles for a few months, we began our first round of IVF. Going through IVF is brutal. It’s constant medication, doctor appointments, ultrasounds, urine samples, etc. I felt like I was holding my breath. My stomach was bruised, my mind was consumed, and I was an emotional wreck. My husband was a trooper, but he couldn’t do much to help. No one could. As we were monitoring the growth of my follicles, I could tell something was off. My follicles weren’t responding well to the medications. I remember lying in the doctor’s office as a nurse cleaned all the tools. She told me it was like trying to make a sports team and that this time, I didn’t make the team. Worst analogy ever. It has stuck with me forever. I hate it. I didn’t make the team. I’d have to start all over.

Round 2. I felt more settled the second time around. I knew what to expect. I knew what had to be done, what numbers needed to be seen, what levels I needed to get to in order to “make the team.” I thought I wouldn’t be as emotional since I knew what to expect but that wasn’t the case. Even with some experience behind me, it’s such a mental and emotional roller coaster. As hard as I tried, it’s impossible to stay logical and measured when what you want most is on the line. I beat myself up for being scared or for holding on to expectations. I put so much pressure on myself. It had to work this time. I couldn’t do this all over again. They altered my medications to stimulate my follicles in a different way and it was time for retrieval. I held my breath. What would they look like? Would they fertilize, etc.? It is such a mind game. They were able to retrieve nine follicles, but only three were grade A embryos. We decided to transfer two and freeze one.

On transfer day, I felt the weight of the world. Everyone I knew was praying for a successful transfer. I felt the support. I felt the love. I felt pressure. I was nervous. But nothing was greater than the hope I had that the transfer would work. Please work. Please work. Please work. Those days after transfer were awful. Waiting was hard. Every time the phone rang, my stomach dropped. THE call finally came, my HCG levels were high, and I was…pregnant. I bawled. I cried. I cried that it worked. I cried from exhaustion. It all hit me. I went through it all again in that moment. I had finally made the team. And at 11 weeks, I could finally call the OBGYN for my first appointment.

Our healthy baby boy was born on October 30, 2011. It was definitely the best day of my life. I’ve never felt closer to heaven or my husband. We had gone through this together and we made it…together. When our child turned 2, we decided to try with that frozen embryo. It failed which meant we needed to try IVF again. I was ok with that.

My body was still had issues responding to the IVF medication. I was only able to retrieve 3 follicles and only 2 of them fertilized. They transferred two embryos and we had a healthy baby girl 10 months later.  We were so thankful.

Five years later we felt we needed to try IVF again. I had a ruptured cyst and needed surgery. Since I had to go under to remove cysts, we decided to clean out my Endometriosis hoping it might improve my pregnancy odds. I was 33 and just couldn’t close the door completely on having another child. My son and daughter begged for a little brother or sister. They asked me why other families got babies and why can’t we have a baby. It broke my heart everyday. I wanted to try one more time for all of us. I wish I could say that the process got better, but it didn’t. It sucked all over again. Every IVF Mama has a little PTSD. So many doctor appointments, so many needles, so many vaginal ultrasounds, etc. It was all a lot. In our first two IVF rounds, we told our family and friends. This time, we didn’t really tell anyone. There were a select few that helped with my kiddos while I was at doctor’s appointments, but that was it. I can’t tell you what was better. It was very lonely, but at the same time, I didn’t have to go through my phone list to tell everyone the updates, the excitements, and ultimately the devastating news that it didn’t work. My follicles didn’t respond to the medication. Like nothing, no growth, nothing. I didn’t make the team.

My son and daughter are now 9 and 6. I am forever grateful for science. Conception is talked about a little different in our house. They both know that Mommy and Daddy went through a lot to get them here and that many really smart doctors and scientists helped. They know how many days I cried hoping they would come. They know how many people prayed for their safe arrival. They know how much I love being their mom. But two beautiful kids doesn't end the pain. The pain won’t ever go away. I will always ache a little that I couldn't "make the team" I wanted to for my kids. 

Instagram: @thebuyguide

☀️ 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 Mekkena's infertility journey, click HERE. 

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