This was our social media announcement on New Year’s Eve!
As many of you dear souls know, N’s and my journey to parenthood thus far has been long and grueling. When the holidays hit last year, I told him I didn’t think I could keep going. I didn’t think I could spend one more Christmas believing it “would be different next year.” I didn’t think I could get my hopes up again, only to endure yet another negative pregnancy test. I didn’t think I could emotionally handle another fertility treatment.
Together, we decided that we would give it one more year. We would call it “Baby or Bust 2018.” We would try every single thing – both legitimate (acupuncture, our two remaining IUI cycles required by our insurance before they’d kick in for IVF, and finally – up to 3 rounds of IVF), and also silly (like every foolish thing that well-meaning people have told me worked for their friend’s cousin’s sister’s aunt). We did it all.
Our last two rounds of IUI failed, bringing the total up to the six failed cycles required by Aetna. I did 3 months of weekly acupuncture. I drank “fertili-Tea,” took herbal supplements, DHEA, read and applied what I learned from books like “The IVF Diet” and “It Starts with the Egg” (including a pretty intense vitamin regimen). We did the Whole 30. I cut out prescription medication I was taking for anxiety and ADHD. I did guided visualization exercises every night while in a fertility treatment. I did prenatal yoga.
Finally, this summer, we were able to begin IVF. For a needle-phobic person such as myself, the process was terrifying. In addition to the 4x daily injections, there was also a minor surgery (which required an IV). But by the second week of injections, I was able to do them myself – and I felt myself getting tougher and stronger (albeit heavier and more emotional). Jaimie and I fought for our relationship and our future during that first cycle – and fought even harder once that cycle failed, when none of our embryos tested PGS normal. I spent the majority of our 10th wedding anniversary trip to California (where we first met 17 years ago), in tears. I felt like we had finally come to the end of the road, and I didn’t think I could take another step.
Our 10th anniversary trip to California this past August ended up being really helpful, though. In addition to an opportunity for us both to grieve, it was a reminder of what makes us “us.” Of what makes us great. Of what has given us the strength to get through career changes, deaths in our families, a deployment, 17 years of life, and 10 of marriage. Oh – and the slow burn that is prolonged infertility. We returned feeling renewed, and closer than we’ve ever been. We had a new plan for our life, and for what we’d start focusing on if we didn’t get to be parents. I was excited and refreshed and optimistic for the first time in years. What an incredible gift to realize that the “worst case scenario” would be to “only” get to share the rest of my days on this earth with my best friend.
With the pressure off, and a new outlook, we decided to undergo another round of IVF. The second time around didn’t feel nearly as awful. We knew what to expect, and we already knew we could handle it – regardless of the outcome. It was our new normal.
Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the phone call I received on November 7, 2018 from my dear nurse at Shady Grove Fertility. I was walking to the Department of Forensic Science with my trial partner to conduct a witness conference for an upcoming trial. My phone rang, and I saw that it was the clinic’s familiar number. Even though I’d already taken several at home tests, all of which were positive, I still didn’t really believe it. I had heard of a chemical pregnancy – it was probably that. Or I had those positive tests, but they were false and it would just be another sad phone call from my poor nurse who has had to make these crappy calls to me this past couple of years. Instead, she just exclaimed, “Do you know you’re going to be a mama?!” (All I could think was – “How did this happen?!”)
I absolutely lost my shit. Sobbing. Cheering. It was all very undignified. My poor trial partner was just like, “… so… good news, I take it?” N and I were so hopeful that the follow up test (2-days later) would also yield happy results, so we decided to call N’s family with the news, and then drive up to Boston to tell my family in person. (Many of the photos in https://spark.adobe.com/video/5CILH2n1qCUOr/embed“>our announcement video, made by my sister Erin, are from that happy trip – all of us in our matching #TeamBabyClark shirts!) I could say so much more about these past couple of months, but this post is already so long!
So we decided to wait until today to post this update. Even though we’ve been as transparent as we were capable of being during our journey, it all felt a bit different once there was an actual baby. We just wanted to be more private during these past couple of months. But today seemed like the perfect day to share this happy news because it feels like a great bookend for the last day of #BabyOrBust2018. Also, I hit 12 weeks last Sunday!
Baby Clark is doing great so far – we got to hear his or her amazing heartbeat at our midwife appointment 2 weeks ago. It was the most beautiful sound either of us has ever heard. We held each other and sobbed like babies – in complete wonder and disbelief, still, that (with lots and lots and lots of help) we were able to create new life.
This little world-changing warrior is due to come on the scene July 14, 2019. We can’t wait for him or her to meet each of you who has encouraged us, prayed for us, been an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on these past many years – years when we never thought this day would come. We are proud of the community we are part of, and look forward to our child getting to be a part of it, too. Thank you so much.