A personal story from Owner of Luxxe, Adrienne Redman
World Infertility Month, honored every June, exists to increase awareness about infertility issues faced by women and men worldwide.
Infertility is typically defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. Over 48 million couples worldwide experience some form of infertility, so if you are struggling, you are not alone.
Many factors contribute to infertility, but in females, the biggest issue is irregular ovulation. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also significant causes of infertility in women.
Here is Adrienne’s Story:
In 2015, my husband and I got married. After trying to conceive for a few years, we finally decided to start IVF in 2018.
I had been diagnosed with endometriosis in 2014, so mentally, I was prepared to have some difficulty conceiving. But I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for how the entirety of my IVF journey would go.
As I prepared to begin IVF treatment, I was so nervous but also incredibly hopeful. Once I announced it to my friends, I was hit with many stories of different IVF experiences, all filled with emotional ups and downs. I expected for some aspects of the treatment to be difficult, but it’s completely different when you’re the one experiencing it, in real time, in your own body.
When the medication box came, and it was time to start my first cycle, I was so excited! I opened the box full of medication and syringes and immediately took a photo and sent it to my husband, telling him we would be pregnant by the end of the year. I was already planning it all perfectly in my head.
But I was quickly and harshly reminded of all the stories I’d heard about the downs of IVF treatment when a couple of weeks later, my doctor called and informed me I had to stop taking the medication immediately. My body had responded to the medication too quickly, and my ovaries were overstimulated, meaning I had to wait until the following month to begin the entire process all over again.
Wait…what? That wasn’t in the plan! I felt frustrated and disappointed. However, I had no choice but to listen to my doctor and try to patiently wait until I could restart the meds.
The next month, I began a new round of treatment with an adjusted dose of the medication. I was back on track! I got much further than the first time, and it seemed like this was going to be it. I was so close to the date of my egg retrieval!
But then I got another call from my doctor. He informed me that my ovaries had once again become overstimulated. However, this time, since I was much closer to egg retrieval, I could still attempt to retrieve the eggs. The only catch was that the chance of them being good quality was much lower. My husband and I were faced with a difficult decision: start over for the third time, or take our chances with an egg retrieval that may not work. This was extremely tough. I remember sitting in my car just sobbing. I felt so defeated, and I was also super angry with my body. Most stories I’d heard had never included anything like this. Why was it happening to me?
After much contemplation, we decided to stop all the medications and wait to do round three. Although this was frustrating and disheartening, we knew we had a fantastic doctor, and he reassured me that if I made it to egg retrieval, I would be successful.
I was ready to start round three as soon as possible and with a new mentality: It will all work out how it’s supposed to. If we aren’t meant to have a family through IVF, we will find another way.
Another box of medication arrived, and I started in again. (On the plus side, I was now a pro at injections!) My doctor monitored me closely this round, and I was doing great! My body was finally responding just as it was supposed to, and my egg retrieval was finally scheduled! We were SO excited.
A few days after a super successful egg retrieval, we found out we had many grade A embryos ready to freeze! We couldn’t believe it. At that moment, all of the emotional lows of the journey were more than worth it.
The day they implanted the embryo was the most magical experience of my life. No matter what happened, my husband and I were so grateful for our doctor and the chance to get to the implant stage. I went on to have a successful pregnancy and had my daughter in March of 2020. ♥
However, although my IVF journey was over, my battle with infertility was not. In 2021, I got pregnant naturally. This was something my husband and I thought would never happen. We were shocked but elated! Then, about seven weeks into the pregnancy, I had a miscarriage.
You cannot understand the magnitude of infertility until you experience it. The journey is a mix of hope and feeling defeated, of joy and deep sorrow. Ultimately, it has made me more compassionate and taught me not to take anything for granted.
My infertility journey has shown me that you never know what people are going through when it comes to pregnancy and having children. You never know who is struggling with infertility, and you might also never be able to tell, so I’m now super aware of the language I use when I talk about pregnancy.
We must always create an environment of respect and compassion when talking about pregnancy issues. Infertility is not uncommon: According to the CDC, 12.2% of women in the US have used infertility services. That means that many pregnancies aren’t perfect and is a reminder that the path to parenthood looks different for everyone. If you’re experiencing infertility issues, you’re not alone–with a solid support system, there is hope and healing on the other side.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions or feel called to share about your own infertility journey. Let’s open up the conversation and normalize discussing the things that make us all human.
By Bridgett Pittman