Buy 2 or more items and get FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. with code FREESHIP at checkout!
Liz Peagram's Infertility Journey

☀️ CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET TO HELP WOMEN WITH INFERTILITY! A portion of every single sale will go to an incredible woman experiencing infertility. They make the BEST gifts for women experiencing infertility to remind them they are loved OR to wear to your own appointments while working hard to grow your family to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you. You are incredible, sister!

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

Read Liz's Story here:

______________________

A few months before my 24th birthday, and after a long struggle with anorexia, my doctor told me that I would most likely never be able to have children of my own. Being a Type-A person, I stubbornly refused to accept this prognosis and knew I would try everything in my power to carry a child. Fast forward six years later: my husband and I started our long journey almost immediately after we returned from our honeymoon. I was 31 years old. 

I made an appointment at Cornell Weil and started my first treatment of Clomid a few weeks later. Our doctor thought this was a great first step while I had a very strong feeling that IVF was going to be the ultimate path to success. My intuition was correct and the Clomid cycle was a failure. Our doctor wanted us to move to an IUI but I pushed back and told him we wanted to move straight to IVF, which would provide us with the best chances of success. This was the first sign that I wasn’t going to heed to my doctor’s pre-determined path and just “go along for the ride.” I was invested and informed and was my own advocate. We started IVF a few weeks later.

For my first IVF cycle there were not a lot of resources, blogs or other support outlets concerning the whole “infertility thing,” so I went into the process very lonely, only knowing about and focused on the medical part of the journey. The shots and daily trips to the doctor were draining, not to mention that it was wreaking havoc on my body. It was pure torture. I didn’t know anyone who had gone through IVF and, as such, didn’t have someone to talk to for advice and support. I look back on this first cycle and now see how naive I was about the mental toll IVF takes on you – I thought I was a strong person full of determination, but it was breaking me. I never wavered in thinking that it wouldn’t work and remained completely positive throughout the cycle. We did a fresh transfer of 2 embryos and found out I was pregnant 10 days later. Nine months after that we welcomed our first son, August. I was a mom and I had proved the doctors who originally told me I wouldn’t bear children wrong. I was just getting started.

 I knew I needed to have the “infertility” part of my life over with, so when August was 6 months old we went back in to start an FET with the only PGS normal embryo leftover from the first IVF cycle out of 25 embryos. The frozen transfer was a breeze compared to the entire IVF cycle, so I went into the transfer feeling really good and excited. Bolstered by my success with August, I had a good feeling it would work and it did. We found out I was pregnant a few weeks before Christmas. I vividly remember our optimism; how happy and lucky we were. I went to my first “regular doctor” appointment on January 21st and that was the day my world game crashing down. We had lost our baby. We had lost our little girl. I had a D&C the next day. I was devastated, shocked but most of all I was no longer naïve – I had for the first time felt the true sorrow and pain of losing a child and the realities of the infertility process. I had been incredibly lucky the first time, and this episode put things in perspective for me.

 After a few weeks of recuperating and gathering myself, I was once again determined to go through the process and went back into the clinic to start IVF (#2). When I was doing all the blood work and test in order to start the next round they discovered a very large follicle. My doctor suggested we do a trigger shot followed by timed intercourse. I was EXTREMELY skeptical, but we couldn’t start IVF until that follicle was smaller/released an egg, so I thought to myself, sure, why not? Might as well try it out. Two weeks later, I hadn’t gotten my period. I went into the clinic ready to finally start the second cycle. It turned out I was actually pregnant (what?!) But my beta was so low that they thought it was a chemical pregnancy and told me to come back in two days for a repeat test. During the next test the numbers went up but they still weren’t sure and over the next week it went up/down/up/down. The following week we learned that it was an ectopic pregnancy when I went to the ER. I ended up having my tube removed. I remember crying to my husband about how unfair it was that everyone else gets pregnant so easy and it seems like a never-ending road for us. I think I was mentally and physically drained having undergone a D&C and a Salpingectomy within months of each other. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t give up or slow down. I look back at it now and wonder why I couldn’t just enjoy the moments with our son August. I wanted to get to the end of this road and have my life, not be all consumed with infertility – there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think about next steps, treatments, appointments etc. It was all consuming. And again, I knew no one that had gone through this. It is hard to talk to someone who hasn’t gone through it because they don’t truly understand the physical and mental burden.

As soon as I healed from my surgery, we went in to finally start IVF (#2). This cycle I was ready, I knew what to expect. I was becoming a pro at self-administering the shots, and because I wasn’t working, the daily trips to the clinic weren’t such a burden. I knew this cycle was going to be “it.” Sure enough, we got pregnant on a fresh transfer of 2 embryos. The due date for this pregnancy was January 21st, one year to the day I had the miscarriage. I thought it was God’s way of saying He always has a plan. Early on, I felt different and I had a feeling that I was pregnant with twins. The first ultrasound to check for the heartbeat revealed that there were two little flickers on the screen – my heart was filled with pure joy (my husband on the other had looked like he was going to pass out). I thought, this is perfect, we can complete our family with three kids just as we’ve always wanted. I also naively thought I was done with infertility treatments. We went to our OBGYN for our first appointment. My husband accompanied me this time; the last time he didn’t and I miscarried alone. I was scarred from that experience and he now would come to every appointment. During the appointment, my doctor became really quiet and I thought: Oh no. For sure I'm miscarrying again. Instead, he sighed nervously and said “I think I see 3 heartbeats.” My heart dropped. We were immediately sent to a high-risk specialist doctor. We went through scans and tests over the ensuing few weeks. We were sat down and walked through the statistics, outcomes, complications and risks to myself and the babies. We had to make a decision. As someone who wants nothing more in life than to have children this was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. We were with the top doctor in the country that deals with challenging pregnancies like this and she guided us on our decision and would fully be on board with whatever we chose to do. The twins were Identical and due to certain observable facts they posed a great risk to one another and could cause us to lose all three babies and/or for me to lose my life. After all the digesting research and praying, at 16 weeks, we made the decision to selectively reduce the ID twins. This was and is the hardest thing I have ever been through and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them or second-guess that decision. The remainder of that pregnancy was riddled with anxiety, fear, anger and guilt, so much guilt. I was angry at God; I was angry we had to make a decision like this; I had the fear that I was going to lose the remaining baby as a punishment for what I had done. I was induced at 39 weeks because I just needed that pregnancy to be over with. I needed my son to be on the outside. I needed him to be born so I could know we made the right decision and the difficult decision wasn’t in vain. Our second son Finn was born and is a huge light in our lives. I knew I made the right choice as soon as I laid eyes on him.

 I knew we weren’t done with our family, especially after losing the two babies and in connection with Finn’s birth. I went back to the clinic to start an FET with the 1 remaining PGS embryo from our second cycle ( out of 15 embryos). I got a big negative. For some reason, this didn’t bother me – I knew my success was never to be found in FET or with PGS embryos. Up until this point, all my successes had been on fresh transfers. So I geared up for IVF (#3). I wasn’t in a good mindset in general and I don’t think I was over the trauma of the previous pregnancy. Half way through the cycle it got canceled: I was a poor responder. I thought the reason for the failure was attributable to me getting older now; my body is just not going to do this anymore. My doctor assured me that sometimes this happens so soon after we decided to try one more time. IVF (#4) ended up being a complete disaster. It was the longest cycle and only yielded 1 transferrable embryo. This cycle was a negative. I thought our journey was over; our family would be complete with our two perfect boys. For these two most recent cycles, I look back today and know that I jumped in too quickly after Finn’s pregnancy. I firmly believe that IVF is a combination of obvious physical phenomena but also mental components: being in a positive/happy mindset makes a huge difference.

During the summer that followed I couldn’t let go of the fact that I felt our family wasn’t complete. I couldn’t believe my body had given up on me. I felt that I could indeed have a successful cycle for one last child to complete our family. After much back and forth with my family, we decided that we would try again, but I refused to say it was the last time. I wasn’t going to put that incremental pressure on myself this time. By this cycle I had found a community of women going through infertility and it gave me so much comfort. We were out at the beach when I started IVF (#5). I was completely relaxed, happy and felt positive. The entire cycle I felt good and by this point I could basically teach people how to do the shots and go through the process. Pure pro. The nurses at the clinic that I saw every morning were now my friends. After all these years and through multiple cycles, I now knew what to expect. After a fresh transfer of two embryos, we were pregnant again. I felt extremely sick early on and suspected the symptoms were due to having twins. On the 1st scan there were two little heartbeats. Deep down, I knew we were always supposed to have twins, and here they were. Then, I started to bleed a few days later and was told I was most likely losing one of the twins. I would go in for scans every other day; this lasted until about 13 weeks when all of a sudden I stopped bleeding and there were two bouncing babies. I was nervous once again throughout this pregnancy.

I think miscarriage and infertility do a lot of things to your mind, but I think one thing that stinks perhaps the most is that it steals the joys from your pregnancies; there is always a thought in the back of your head that your baby/babies aren’t going to be safe until they are in your arms, that something could happen any given moment. I remember reflecting and wondering about why couldn’t I just go back to the mindset of my first pregnancy when everything was pure bliss. My twin pregnancy was uneventful after week 13, except for baby B was breached the entire time. Most of the time a doctor will strongly suggest or even require a c-section if one of your twins are breached but after two vaginal deliveries, and with the guidance from expert doctors, I wanted to at least try to have the twins vaginally and felt that I could do it.  My doctor was supportive and likely knew I wasn’t going to back off my decision anyway. Our hospital was also seasoned in breached deliveries and therefore I felt at peace with my decision. A few hours after induction, we welcomed Welles (baby A) and Olive (baby B). At that moment I knew our family was complete. 

My journey was filled with optimism, credulity, missteps and times where it seemed everything stood still. But the most important thing, to me, is that I continued to move forward even when there were days when it seemed like I couldn’t keep it up. My advice to someone just beginning this journey or in the middle of it is to be your own advocate, do your research, trust your intuition, and find a community. I believe once you struggle with infertility, you become part of this sisterhood. There are so many women along this journey with you and so many ready to offer advice, support, and open ears. I also would say to live in the moment you are in; nothing lasts forever, and the ups (and the downs) can pass you by.The journey to motherhood is not always easy, but that just makes it that much sweeter.

Instagram: @sweetpeags

Facebook: Liz Vegas Peagram

☀️ CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET TO HELP WOMEN WITH INFERTILITY! A portion of every single sale will go to an incredible woman experiencing infertility. They make the BEST gifts for women experiencing infertility to remind them they are loved OR to wear to your own appointments while working hard to grow your family to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you. You are incredible, sister!

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

To read Brianna Karel's IVF journey, click HERE

 

0 comments

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published