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Read Mikelle's Story here:
"It's strange, because with your levels where they're at, you should be able to conceive...no problem." My fertility doctors told me this a handful of times, and each time they did, I had to fight rolling my eyes. Because there we were...two years trying on our own and six months into doing fertility treatments: WITH NO RESULTS. No pregnancies, no miscarriages, nothing.
After every test on the planet, the results were in: Unexplained Infertility - that was our diagnosis. I honestly would have rather had a problem that they could point to, place the blame on and try to fix. But nothing? No reason whatsoever that was making it so I couldn't get pregnant? I was really unnerved by that.
I wanted a baby so badly, it was blinding. Once we had finally decided to try to have kids, I was ready for it...right then. I thought I would get pregnant within a month or two, but the years went by with no luck. Seeing the baby announcements of other people got more and more painful...hearing about people getting pregnant when they didn't want to...the worst. Having people complain to us about their kids/telling us never to have them...just made us feel sad. We wanted to be parents so badly that it started to form this dark cloud over us that was constantly hovering. I started thinking, "It's not fair. I'm doing everything I possibly can, emotionally, psychically, spiritually...to try to prove that I'm worthy of becoming a mother". Still nothing. I felt like God didn't think I was good enough. Which put a strain on that relationship as well.
Disappointment is one of the hardest emotions for me to deal with. I could honestly teach a Master Class on expectation management and emotional self-preservation. So the infertility thing really put me through the ringer.
After 6 unsuccessful IUIs (3 with no meds, 3 with Clomid) and staring down the barrel of IVF...I had a few days of intense darkness.
What if IVF doesn't work for us? What if I'm never able to have my own children? I'm not sure how comfortable I would be going the adoption route, so what is the other alternative? Being a childless couple for the rest of our lives? No grandkids? No nothing? Just us?
Coming to terms with that made me more nervous to start IVF than the uneasiness of doing the shots ever would.
We took a break from treatments for a month, celebrated Christmas and got some much needed sunshine. I wanted to give my body a break/ gear up to start IVF. Which we did, that January.
Nothing can prepare you for the day your box of medications/needles arrives. You know it's coming, you've probably done a prep class, and yet this feeling of complete dread washes over you when you open it. Can I really do this? There are so many medications in here, I'm for sure going to do something wrong. It's not going to work because of a stupid mistake I'm going to make. These are the feelings. They are overwhelming, intense, and compounded by the emotional months/years of wanting/trying for a baby. I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide.
The key is to not look at everything as a whole. Take it one day at a time and it's much more manageable. Plus, your doctors are there with you every step of the way and will tell you exactly what you need to do.
I thought Judson was going to end up doing all of my shots for me. That ended up not being the case. I felt more comfortable doing them myself, surprisingly. My ovaries started getting bigger and heavier, which is a really bizarre feeling. We were getting closer to my egg retrieval date and my doctor warned me to not walk too fast...because my ovaries could flip over. Once flipped, the only way to fix them would be surgery....YIKES. One more thing to stress about.
It wouldn't have been a big deal if I was living in the suburbs. But we were living in New York City and I walked a TON. Just going to work every day, I would go up and down lots of stairs to get to the subway...and walk the entire length of Central Park South, twice. Every step was stressful...because now I had to worry about my ovaries flipping over!
Retrieval day came and I definitely wasn't prepared for how painful it was going to be. It was probably the hardest part of doing IVF, for me. They fully put me under (which is standard), then recovery for a while, got in a cab to go home and was so nauseous that I had to open the door of the cab and throw up in the street. Our cab driver wasn't thrilled...
When I went back in for my appointment where they were going to put the embryos in...we told them to put in two instead of just one. They had a very serious talk with us about the fact that both of them would probably take because I was so young and healthy. They talked about the risk of twins, etc. But we said, yeah we're cool with that, put two in. They thought we were nuts.
The next week, early on a Sunday morning, I hopped in a cab to the East Side to have my blood taken for a pregnancy test. Things were quiet and empty, as Sunday mornings usually are in the city. I was nervous but calm. They drew my blood and said they would call me in a little while with the results.
I went home and we got ready for church. I kept my phone right next to me, and tried not to panic. It's just another day, it's just another day, it's just another day. I was preparing myself for bad news - because that's what I was used to getting. I knew I was going to be heartbroken and was trying to convince myself it would be fine. But I didn't believe me.
We left for church...no call.
Walked to the subway...no call.
Got off of the subway...no call.
Walked to the church building...no call.
Got in the elevator, up 3 floors...no call.
Walked into the chapel, sat down on a pew...missed call and voicemail.
My stomach DROPPED. I looked at Judson. He looked at me.
"What do we do? Do we go home? Do we go to another floor of the church and listen to it somewhere quiet?", Judson asked.
No. I couldn't bring myself to listen to it. I was avoiding the inevitable heartache like the plague. I made Judson go to ALL THREE HOURS of church without leaving to listen to it. Which, if you know me, am amped about a good excuse to sneak out a little early.
We left the church.
Got on the subway.
I put sweats on. Slowly.
Then sat on my bed.
Judson stood next to me and held my hand. I opened my voicemail and pushed play.
Nothing happened. The message wouldn't start playing. I tried and tried, but it wouldn't work. I turned my phone off and on...nothing. Tried calling the doctor to just ask them to tell me the news, but since it was a Sunday, they were already closed for the day! Then I remembered that I saw a notification pop up on my phone the day before, saying I needed to update my software. Could that be why it's not working? Worth a shot. There was nothing else we could do at that point. So I started the update...which always seems to take 8 years to do, on a normal day. This was not a normal day. This was a potentially life changing day. The phone didn't care. It took it's sweet time.
Once my phone was up and running again, I opened my voicemail and pushed play. Expecting not to hear anything. But the message started playing...
"Hi Mikelle, this is Paula calling from Dr. Muhkerjee's office. Wanting to let you know that you ARE pregnant! So congratulations! We will bring you back in in two days for more blood work....."
I stared at Judson and just burst into tears. Complete shock. He immediately wrapped his arms around me and held me. I kept thinking "is that real? Did she really say what I think she said? Am I pregnant? This isn't a joke? This has to be a dream."
It wasn't a dream. It was very real. I couldn't believe it. It had worked. We were going to have a baby.
Magnolia arrived that October; not without a few scary bumps along the way. We have since then, had two baby boys without having to do any fertility treatments (which still completely baffles me). I know a lot of people don't end up being so lucky and my heart goes out to you. It truly does.
Being unable to conceive is one of the most intensely emotional/physical experiences in life. You're supposed to be relaxed, positive and hopeful - in order to increase your odds of conceiving. Yet month after month of soul crushing disappointment, it's extremely difficult to have an optimistic attitude about any of it. I know. I've been there.
I just want to say that it is 100% ok to not be ok...to be frustrated and sad. It's normal to feel a hopeless, exhausted and angry. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Just keep moving forward, whatever that looks like for you. Try to find some fulfillment outside the potential of parenthood and remember that your worth as a person is not dependent on being a parent. You are worthy of love, family and all the wonderful things.
So whether you're just starting out in the world of infertility, or are well versed and still battling through it... there are people out there who know how you're feeling and want to help you not feel so alone. Myself included.
xo - Mikelle
To read Giuliana Locacy's IVF story, click HERE