You spend your single/dating years trying NOT to get pregnant and then when you have found the one you want to spend your life with and grow your family with your body then has other plans. For me I didn’t get married until 30, so my biological clock and alarm was going off badly, so we didn’t want to wait to try for a family. We went on a 17-day honeymoon in South America and when we came home, I found out two weeks later I was pregnant with our son. I couldn’t believe it; it was a true miracle (I wished on a shooting star on our honeymoon for a baby and here he was).
Flash forward nine months and our son made his grand entrance into the world after a 55-hour hard labor, a fourth-degree tear, two blood infusions and a near death experience. Needless to say, I swore he was going to be an only child. When all of the horror memories of my birth wore off, I wanted a sibling for my son, and for some reason after my son I didn’t feel our family was complete.
We tried for a year naturally as the OBGYN suggests and we still had not gotten pregnant. How strange I thought, it happened the first time without even trying. We then called our local fertility clinic and there was a SEVEN month waiting period for just a consultation. We made our appointment at the clinic and decided to do IUIs at my OBGYN’s office in the months leading up to our IVF appointment. We were convinced the IUIs would work and we would just then cancel the IVF appointment. SIX IUIs later, after all six failed we already felt defeated going into our IVF appointment for that we waited seven months for. The day of our consultation, We did all of the genetic testing and it happened to be day two of my cycle so I could start baselines that day. Baselines came back perfect and so did our genetic testing. What came back completely off the charts low was my AMH level.
The hormone that measures your ovarian reserve. As a healthy 33 year old my AMH level was that of a 45-50 year old- I was perimenopausal. I was devastated, how could I be a few short years from entering menopause?! Along with a diminished ovarian reserve, it’s also paired with poor egg quality. So not only did I have very few eggs left, but they weren’t going to be great quality. I was given a .5% chance of conceiving naturally and a very low chance of success for IVF, but my clinic didn’t care about my numbers or their success rates because they believe everyone deserves a fair shot at IVF.
We decided to try our first round. All the drug orders, shots blood tests, hour drives to and from the clinic, ultrasounds and many babysitters for our then 2-year-old we were ready for our first retrieval when many women get 18-26 eggs in a retrieval, I had ONE. I opted for a frozen transfer (retrieve the egg and inject the sperm immediately and incubate if egg fertilizes). So not only does the egg have to decide if it wants to get fertilized, but then you wait 3 days to see if it even survives/have the cells divide before you can freeze it until the next cycle! So many days on edge to until the next phone call of each stage. Our one egg fertilized, and the cells started dividing, so at day 3 we froze it and waited for transfer day. It was the day after Christmas of 2019, and I was super hopeful for a Christmas miracle… two weeks later I found out it failed.
Absolutely devastated, pushed through and made my appointment to start round two. Round two started just like round one, ordered all the drugs and started them, blood tests, ultrasounds, hour long drives back and fourth, babysitters leading up to retrieval. This time we got THREE eggs!! I was overjoyed, we opted for another frozen transfer, so we awaited the phone calls of each stage of our embryos. All three eggs fertilized, but after 24 hours only one embryo made it. The next cycle we transferred the embryo, and two weeks later, another fail. By this point, defeated wasn’t even the word at how upset I felt and NOW, COVID had hit. They suspended any new rounds of IVF indefinitely, but I knew I had more fight left in me. I was in infertility/IVF support groups through my fertility clinic and I was asking for help with anything I could do for my AMH to boost my chances at a successful round. I got so much feedback and so many suggestions… I did them ALL. At a certain point I was taking 20 pills a day twice a day, supplements up the wazoo, reiki, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic appointments and even taking HGH to boost my egg quality. I did all of this for the two months I had to wait until the fertility clinic started appointments again.
Our THIRD round commenced, again with the blood test and appointments (you get the drill) and it came time for retrieval, this time SIX eggs… I cried with this news coming out of anesthesia. I found out all six fertilized after 24 hours but then got the news only three made it to day three, we froze all three. Come transfer time we pulled out all the stops. I did a PRP/HCG wash 24 hours before my transfer (PRP to make the uterus extra nutrient for the embryo and the HGC wash to trick the uterus into thinking it’s already pregnant), oh yeah, and the two weeks leading up to the transfer I also started intralipid infusions (to lower your immune system to basically nothing so your body doesn’t reject the embryo). So came transfer day and I just was oddly calm going into it, I honestly at that point had done everything I could.
Eight days later I took a home pregnancy test and it came up positive. I broke down in tears with pure joy, excitement, exhaustion and also nervousness. Four days later at my appointment at the clinic it was confirmed, third time was a charm. She stuck and she stayed 37 weeks and 1 day and was born almost 9 pounds at 3 weeks early.
I am one of the lucky ones, some people do rounds upon rounds and finally have to give up, mainly due to money running out.
My family and I moved here to Oregon from New York only four months ago but in July I transferred my two remaining embryos from that third round (and again I did all of the things: PRP/HCG wash and intralipids), but it failed.
My last two babies I had worked SO hard for, gone. I struggled hard knowing this was it, my childbearing years were over. For what, because my body decided that for me, not my own conscious self, but nature decided, and I had a VERY hard time accepting that.
I still have moments of sadness that there will no longer be infant cries at 1, 2, 3 AND 4am again, or clogged ducts in my boobs that I have to massage out painfully to pump in the most bizarre places at inconvenient times. Then I tell myself, I am lucky to even know about all of those things. I have my natural miracle baby and my scientific miracle baby.
Support from others going through my journey helped tremendously and being fortunate enough to be able to afford three rounds of IVF (CNY Fertility).
My platform for the Mrs. Oregon pageant is to make people aware of this journey so many struggles to go through: emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially and hope to help in any way possible to connect people to resources to complete the family they have always dreamed of.
Pictured above is our Elselina (or Elsa -because she used to be frozen), and how she became to be.
Thank you for being a fellow warrior and hearing my story! I am so proud of you for your organization, Roaring Adventures, and thankful and honored to have met you!
Roaring Adventures is very grateful to Amy for sharing her personal story, and the Mrs. Oregon America and Miss Oregon for America Strong Pageants organization for your support and contribution to our mission.