“When I grow up, I want to have 13 kids, no husband, and live in my parents’ basement,’ said three-year-old me. Only one part of that dream is true…
Babies, and lots of ‘em!
Since I was a little girl, I dreamt of the day I would turn in my baby dolls for the real deal. A little one, half of me and half of the person I love. Fast forward 23 years and here we are. Married to the man of my dreams, living in the coziest of homes filled with two sweet pups and one not so sweet kitten (we are working on it). Our home is full, but our arms are empty.
Going back in time for a moment, I met my husband, Levi, the good ole fashioned way. I was casually stalking his Facebook page, liking his photos and statuses every so often. Enough to notice me in a ‘you’re kind of cute’ way and avoiding at all costs the ‘who is the crazy girl liking every single one of pictures!?’ way. Which, by the way, nailed it!
A year after dating, Levi popped the question on his family farm. We married a year later in September of 2016. It was beautiful and perfect, but let’s be real here, I could’ve have married Levi by the dumpster in some alleyway and I would still say it was beautiful and perfect.
On our wedding night, we decided we didn’t want to wait to start a family. Despite others’ opinions, we both knew our hearts. We knew we wanted the big family, sleepless nights, poopy diapers, early morning school drop offs, family vacations. We wanted it. So, we tried. And tried. And we tried some more.
6 months of trying and more negative tests than I can count, I knew something was off. Something just didn’t feel right. I met with my OB/GYN in May of 2017 and after a long wait in the waiting room, a round of blood work, and an ultrasound, I was told I had two large cysts on my ovaries. My OB was not concerned with the cysts and left me with, ‘Keep trying, if in six months you still aren’t pregnant, call me.’
I left feeling defeated and conflicted. I just knew in my heart something was off. My mom has always taught me that I know my body better than anyone else (thanks, mom!). After a couple of months of discussion with my husband and many hours of prayer, I made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist.
I met with my RE in August of 2017 and within minutes he diagnosed me with endometriosis. The two cysts on ovaries were the size of a lemon and a golf ball. The cysts were endometriomas, a cystic mass of ectopic endometrial tissue (thanks, Google) otherwise known as ‘chocolate cysts.’ My RE immediately sent me to a surgeon I was thankfully able to meet with same day. We scheduled surgery for September, the weekend of our 1st year wedding anniversary. How romantic, right?
Surgery confirmed I, in fact, had endometriosis, stage 3 endometriosis. My surgeon removed the cysts and as much endometriosis as he was able. I left with a positive prognosis. Everyone, myself included, believed we would conceive within months of my surgery.
Plot twist. 1 year later still no pregnancy.
So, we began looking into our next option – In Vitro Fertilization. Otherwise known as ‘cash out your 401K to have a baby.’
We fundraised, cashed out my 401K, and took out a loan for the mere chance of conceiving. We began our IVF cycle in November of 2018. We did all of the injections and medications. Hello bloat, mood swings, and hot flashes.
We transferred one embryo, the most perfect embryo we could wish for according to the embryologist. We left our clinic with high hopes, we stopped for McDonalds fries, rested, ate warm foods, kept my feet warm (old wives tales) journaled, and recorded a video diaries of the symptoms I was feeling. We prayed for our baby, planned when a gender reveal and baby shower would be. We did all of the things.
How? Why? Why us God?
I never knew devastation until that call.
We grieved and still grieve to this day. That loss is one I will never forgot. The pain still radiates our hearts and brings us to our knees. We have one beautiful embryo waiting for us, we just aren’t ready. I don’t know when we will be ready. Our hearts shattered Valentine’s Day and we are still picking up those pieces. I have found sharing our story on Instagram and YouTube to be therapeutic, connecting with other women who have worn my shoes and walked that mile.
For now, Levi and I are enjoying each other, our family and friends, enjoying normalcy for a little while. We are exploring and open to all avenues of parenthood. God placed a promise on our hearts a long time ago to be mama and dad. How we get there, is up to Him. We have complete faith and hope in His plan.
Of all of the unknowns with this process, I do know my husband is the greatest man God could have ever given me. God is still good and we will have our happy ending… one day.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Elayna Cain. You can follow his journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more stories of strength surrounding infertility here:
‘Daniel may have trouble fathering children. He had a botched surgery when he was very young. As 18-year-olds, we didn’t grasp the seriousness of his male infertility. Then I realized something was wrong with me, too.’
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