My name is Vickie, my infertility story is a long one, over 18 years I battled with this awful condition. I don’t even know how to put the entire story down on paper. My journey started long before social media was even a thing, or before anyone ever thought about being so open about such a personal experience in one’s life. But I finally have gained enough courage to share my journey with other.
So here I go…. I am a plus sized woman over 40. I have a fulltime career, co-own a busy construction company with my husband for over 20 years and a mother to two little girls, that I call my blessings.
Looking back on things, my infertility journey began long before I even knew I had infertility or would have any troubles conceiving children. At the age of 13 I started to experience severe headaches, and abdominal pains that would have me doubled over in pain. These pains were worse during my menstrual cycles, if I even had one. I would go months without a menstrual cycle and then have one so severe I thought I was dying. The pain from a cyst bursting open on a woman’s ovary is comparable or even worse than labor pains. Labor pains come and go, pain from an erupted cyst is a consistent throbbing internal pain. After years of this pain and suffering with no conclusion, in 2002 I was financially diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with Endometriosis. Even after my diagnosis I experienced severe double over abdominal pain for many years after. The pain would land me in the emergency room 3-4 times a month from ages 14-39. I would receive pain medication and be sent home like it was nothing, it was such an emotional rollercoaster not knowing what or why I continued to have these pains.
My husband and I married in 2000, and of course, during this time, like any other married couple we started trying for a child without no success. In 2002 we were diagnosed with infertility. We had the double whammy; male and female factors played a part in our infertility. We saw 3 separate specialists that stated we would NEVER have children. I still remember bawling my eyes out as we left each doctor’s office. I felt crushed, every emotion a women could feel ran through my mind and body. But I also still always felt hopeful.
So, we started with medication and IUI’s. 9 procedures and 9 losses later we took a break. We were both mentally and physically exhausted. We also needed time to heal from a house fire that took everything but our lives. As well as losing my cousin on a 4-wheeler accident at our home. We took about 5 years before we made one last appointment to see if there were any other options. By this time, I was approaching 40 pretty quickly and my husband was already over 40.
Our last option was to try In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), although our chances were decreased to a 4% chance of conceiving due to my age and weight. We went through 2 rounds of IVF and after the second round we were ended up with 9 embryos. We decided to move forward with the fresh cycle first and freeze the remining. We also decided that we would transfer 2 at a time, using as many cycles as we could. If they did not work, then we would be done trying to have children.
The first fresh and proceeding first frozen cycle resulted in a miscarriage. At this point, we had experienced 11 pregnancy losses during our journey, I honestly don’t even know how we were even still functioning humans. Loss is loss, and you don’t just bounce back from any kind of loss. But again, we still had hope and faith and that’s what kept us going. The third frozen transfer worked. I remember us driving from the clinic and just feeling different this time. I was finally pregnant, but I was terrified the entire pregnancy. We gave birth vaginally to a beautiful, healthy baby girl in August of 2016 and we were overjoyed with emotions.
We were extremely happy content and blessed with her, but after a couple years of paying storage fees on our 3 remaining embryos, we now had to make a new decision. Do we use them, destroy them, donate them to another family or to science? Oh, my heavens, the journey was still going strong.
We decided to use two more and by the grace of God got pregnant again. I was terrified during this entire pregnancy as well. Meanwhile, I was still worried by first born would stop breathing in her sleep. In April of 2020 at the beginning of covid we gave birth via c-section to our second daughter. Who was not breathing when she first came out, I remember laying on the table not being able to move while crying and thinking this cannot be happening to us again, can it? I prayed to God to please let her breath, and just then the nurses said she was breathing, and her oxygen levels were increasing. After what seemed like forever, we were finally able to see out beautiful and healthy little girl.
Even though I was blessed with our beautiful girls, I still live with the traumas of the entire journey, I still fear my girls will stop breathing. I have been in therapy for over 5 years working through the aftermath journey. On a good note, my abdominal pain and headaches have reduced to only a few times per year.
To be continued….we still have one frozen embryo.
I genuinely believe that our faith- faith in the man above, each other, the doctors and the process is why we never gave up.
My own journey has sparked a passion in me to encouraged, inspire and give back to women experiencing infertility and the ups and downs that come with it.
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