February 28, 2022

Pain With a Purpose: Our IVF Journey Part 2

Pain With a Purpose: Our IVF Journey Part 2

Today I have my husband, Chris, back on the podcast to share his side of our IVF Journey. This is a big step for Chris as he imagined this was a story we would keep to ourselves. Infertility has many challenges, and he has seen first hand how helpful it is to share our experience. If you or someone you know are going through treatment, then this episode is for you. 

On today’s episode you’ll hear:

    •    About our 3 IUI experiences that led us to IVF

    •    The challenges we faced on our journey to get pregnant

    •    Chris’ advice for the opposite spouse going through IUI or IVF

    •    The one question not to ask 

    •    “If you’re going through this, you’re not failing.”

Read our IVF journey Blog Post here

Listen to our IVF Journey Part 1


This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to Life with Loverly. I'm your host, Britney Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram. Grab an ice coffee and let's do life together. 

Hello? Hello. How are you guys were on the podcast today? I have a special guest with us. Chris is back.

Hey babe.

Chris: Hi, I'm back.

Brittany: It's been a few months since you've been on the podcast 

Chris: After London, which was first week of October, but it was pretty close to that. So, probably four months ago. Yeah. 

Brittany: Yeah. We did a podcast episode, a few, I guess it was kind of one of the beginning ones. Where we talked about IVF, and it was really just sort of my side of the story and just kind of an overview of our experience, but I thought it would be kind of interesting slash maybe good for our readers to hear a little bit more about your side of the story when it comes to our IVF journey.

For those of you who are new to the podcast are new to following along with Life with Loverly or Loverly Grey. Chris and I went through IVF and other infertility treatments to get pregnant with Collins. And so we had about a three year struggle before we got pregnant. And then. When Collins was about six months old, we found out we were pregnant just naturally with Hazel, which was kind of a shock.

We just thought we would have to go through infertility treatments again. So she's our little miracle, but our story leading up to like starting our family definitely didn't start the way that we, I guess, hoped when we got married. So I thought it would be kind of helpful for. Some of our listeners who are maybe going through this or know somebody going through this they can pass this podcast, along to that, you could kind of share your side of the story.

Cause it's really not that common when we hear like you know, from the, I don't really hear from the dads. Yeah. You know, so that's where you come into play.

Chris: Cool. So we got married and obviously kids were something we definitely wanted and it's not that we were actively trying, as soon as we got married.

I remember I had that. I guess it was in December. I went to the doctor for just like an annual screening and they found those polyps. And so they suggested I have them removed and they told us, you know, with this surgery, some scar tissue might build up and you could have problems getting pregnant, just, you know, There could be some issues there might not be, but just FYI.

And I think that's when you, and I kind of were like, you know, let's go off birth control at this point. If we get pregnant, like great. If it takes a little while, that's fine too. And at that point we were just like, I'll probably, you know, it'll probably take a year at most, no big deal that it didn't. And right around that time is when I started traveling a lot for work.

So I was out of town a lot and then we kept trying and kept trying and then itchy. Wasn't happening. For whatever reason, it's just, you know, it is what it is to take the timeline back a little bit. We did Italy for our one-year anniversary. And so we are kind of. Not really trying before that trip, we wanted to go to Italy and you wanted to enjoy Italy.

Actually, if you listen to the last podcast, I don't drink, but the wine there apparently is really good. And the idea was alright, we'll go to Italy. Maybe we'll get pregnant in Italy. If not, we'll really start, consider maybe tracking or trying a little bit more intently. 

Brittany: Yes. So then that obviously didn't happen. And so then I think I remember like that next January. So I guess it was like January, 2017 is when I kind of a lot more closely was like, okay, we're gonna track, we're going to start monitoring. So what was kind of your thoughts around when it just wasn't working as easily as like, it was for some of our friends?

Chris: The hard part is when you are trying to get pregnant and you're not, and you're seeing everybody around, you get pregnant. And then it's kind of like any situation where if something starts going wrong and you start pressing and you start, you know, putting pressure on yourself and you start like making it, Hey, we got to do this at this exact time.

We have to hit this and we have to do that. And it, we got to the point where we were basically taking the joy out of it. And we're taking the joy out of the. You know, things that were supposed to be like a fun adventure and, you know, a fun journey. It became more of like a second job, or it was like, Hey, this is the date. This is the time. This is what we're doing. And this is what has to get done. And then all of a sudden you start doing that and it happens and it continues not to work and it continues not to work. And you're seeing friends get pregnant and you're seeing, , you know, babies get born at this point and it's still not working.

Well, once you start adding that and then start adding the scheduling and start adding, you know, all the other things plus work, plus the stress of that. Plus the stress of just general life on top of that, it takes the joy out of it. So anybody going through this, I feel you. It's Incredibly difficult. I know.

Brittany: Let's kind of bring it back to when we were initially trying, we were tracking kind of before we went into any doctors. Cause I know there's a lot of people out there who are in that stage of life right now though. Like I want to get pregnant. I want to have a baby. It's been a year. We've been, you know, kind of trying, but for us it wasn't working, you were kind of traveling. And I remember there were times I would get really frustrated at that. How are you feeling? Like, was it equally as frustrating for you in that initial time before we actually went to the first stages of getting help, but like kind of what were some of your feelings from like a guy's perspective, seeing your partner be like really upset that it just wasn't naturally working.

I mean, that obviously was brutal because every month, yeah. You weren't pregnant. It was the, you know, the disappointment on your face and the sadness that you had. And on top of that, actually, that was probably the most stressful time I ever had at my previous job. I was under immense pressure and it was incredibly difficult.

So I would go to work, go travel, literally all over the world, under a lot of pressure to perform it. Wasn't going great. It was very difficult to please both my company in the club. And then on top of that, I get home. And then all of a sudden you're upset because you're not pregnant again. So it was a, basically I had no release, it was stress at home.

It was stress at the job. It was like, there was nothing I could do to escape 24 hour cycle of just bad news. So that was very difficult for me. And obviously as the husband, you're like, wait, why isn't it working? What did I do wrong? Is it my fault? Is it because of me? Is it because. Well, I think we both like placed like guilt on ourselves.

You know what I mean? I never like look to you being like, this is all your fault. And I know you were never looking at me being like, this is all your fault, but in the meantime, you're still blaming yourself, thinking your partners, blaming you, even though they're saying all the right things, I'm Irish. So I compartmentalize everything.

So I'm putting all the blame on myself and I'm like, you know, I'm the worst husband, this, that, and the other. And you know, I'm failing here. I'm failing. One, if you're going through this, you're not failing. Just know that, don't go to that dark place cause it's not helpful. But to know that was very difficult. It was not just the disappointment in yourself, but feeling like you're disappointing your wife and your partner, like that's, that's something that you have to overcome and realize, Hey, look at the end of the day, this is a lot more common than you think. What kind of touch on it a little bit later, but yeah.

Very common and it can happen to anybody. And I wish it doesn't cause this was incredibly difficult, but we all have our journey and it kind of worked out in the end. So getting to the end was difficult, but just getting to the point where we could go to the doctor and start getting. Just information. That was a long journey.

So I think once we really started to try to be like, okay, like let's, how about you go to a doctor, I'll go to a doctor. Let's see if there's any like initial things that we can check and see if there's anything wrong with you. If anything wrong with me. When those scans came back clear, it was kind of like, okay, now what do we do?

And. I remember one of our friends had their baby, and I was like driving home from the hospital after meeting him. And I was like, okay, I am calling the fertility specialist that our friend had given. Like, I like enough is enough. Like we can at least have an initial meeting and just see what our options are.

And let's just try to get some answers, like for so long, it just felt like so out of reach or that we were supposed to be able to figure it out on our own, you know, like I kind of never thought, like we were going to have to go that route. Like I just hoped it would work out for us, you know? Okay. But you're, you're basically in a hamster wheel because it just keeps spinning.

It keeps spinning and nothing changed. And it was like, all right, enough's enough. We need, we need help. So I guess, like one thing I feel like we did a really good job. Even like throughout the entire like infertility process, but a lot during this time of struggle was continuing to like be a team. I felt every time that I got my period and we weren't pregnant, I still felt.

It was you and I against the world. We weren't pregnant, but we weren't pregnant together. So I think that is such an important factor because while there were yes, times where I was mad at the situation, we didn't have answers. I wanted to be like upset. I knew it wasn't your fault. And I, I felt like I found more comfort in you knowing, like I was going through this with somebody.

And then I think we also continue to date ourselves. That was going to be my next point, which is be intentional about being married, going on dates, go live your life. I understand if you don't want to go to a baby shower, I understand if you don't want to do certain things like that, that's fine, but be intentional about, Hey, you know what, on Wednesday nights, we're going to dinner or on Saturday nights, we're going to dinner.

We're still married. We're still happily married and kind of like it almost like helped get our mind off of. The like stress for you, like stress of work and then like stress of trying to get. And then, but we always have really enjoyed going out and spending time together and sharing a meal. And that was something we continue to do.

And that might've been like the one thing from the week that got our mind off of it completely. But we are still together. It's a very like odd thing, how something so frustrating can bring you closer together. And I really feel like we experienced this. Like once we were actually going through IVF, like later in the process, but I think it's very important to.

Definitely like lean into your spouse during this journey and just know you're not alone. And you have somebody else. Who's feeling these feelings right there alongside with you. Yeah. A hundred percent. It's you have to go it as a team. If you try and bear all the responsibility, if you try and bear all the pain, whether it's the wife, the husband, whoever you have to.

Do it together. Cause you cannot hold the weight by yourself. So what did you think about after our first meeting with Dr. Hastie? When we like went to ACRM and we had our initial meeting, we kind of like gave her history and she kind of told us our options. Like, what were your initial thoughts after that?

Uh, so going in, you know, you're always told, like you go to a doctor, they tell you what's wrong. And prior to going to Dr. Hasties, we kept being told like, Hey, nothing's wrong with you? Nothing's wrong with Brittany? Like, just keep trying. Um, and then we go in, we meet with Dr. Hacey. She's like the nicest woman on the planet.

I have so much respect for those doctors because they bring so much joy to people. And she immediately came up with like a game plan of like, all right, we're going to start IUI. And like, I remember we hugged her at the end and it was finally like, all right, we have a plan in place now. And it was like, This may work.

It may not work, but at least we have steps in we're going in the right direction to take us to where we want to be. So the was definitely a sense of relief. It was definitely a little bit of stress as well. Cause it's like, I don't really understand all of it, uh, from a science perspective and like what's going to be happening, but I knew that at least we had a plan in place and that was a little bit of.

I think it was so interesting too, because I felt like we left that meeting and like weight was lifted off her shoulders. It was like this burden of not knowing a direction of, we can't get pregnant on our own. We don't know why it was unexplained. Well, we were no longer alone in the journey. We had help now get somebody else who was like helping to shoulder some of the burden, help us figure out what was going on and help us.

Get to wherever you want it to be. And I think. You know, part of me wishes after having that initial meeting several times, I thought that being like, why didn't I call and make this appointment sooner? And obviously that timeframe was just part of our story, but I guess maybe let this be your sign. If you are currently.

Battle and you are not getting pregnant and you haven't taken that leap to seek some more help. There is absolutely no harm in reaching out to a doctor and trying to get more answers. I felt so much more like encouragement and just like we had a direction, like I'm such a planner and I like to know what's coming.

Felt like we were stepping into like, here's some options, like it's going to be hard. It might not work, you know, but at least we knew what we were working towards. And so I, I felt like you and I had this like, different air about us because we had a direction to go in. Yeah. Kubota degree. It was nice to, I kinda mentioned earlier the hamster wheel, it was nice to get off that and be like, all right now, We're trying something different.

We're not doing the same thing every month. We're going to try this and we'll see where it takes us. So then it was also like unbelievable timing when we met with her for the first time, because they time everything out. So based off of like when my last period was, I had like a perfect amount of time to start a medicine.

And then within two weeks I was going to. Do the first round of IUI. And so she was like, it's actually amazing that you were able to get in at this point, because if not, we would have had to wait like another five weeks to start your first round. And, and so that was really cool, but so we do our first round and it was unsuccessful.

And I remember getting that phone call and it was like, I wanted it to work, but I didn't really know. If it would work. And I had, I had been so used to being like let down before, but like, do you remember what you felt like that when they said like that one didn't work, there was so much hope going into it.

I'm not gonna lie. It was crushing because I was like, I had put so much faith in all right. We're unexplained. This is going to work. Like she was so confident and I appreciated her confidence cause like she wanted us to feel. But then it was like, it was tough. Cause it was like, oh, I thought we had it. I thought this was going to be it.

And then it was like, all right, well, we've got to try again. And of course, going into this, they kind of give you a rundown of, you know, what fertility options you have and IUI is the first one. And they tell you, you know, we're going to do it a couple of times before we'll move on to the next one. So we knew we only had a couple chances at this, so I was really hoping, and that this was going to be one and done like.

And then it didn't work. I feel like we wanted to be optimistic to start because that kind of felt like maybe if we're a little bit more optimistic, it'll work, instead of being like this, isn't going to work. You get to the point in the process where it's like, okay, I have nothing to hold on to, except for like the optimism that like this could be our shot.

So then when it doesn't happen, it just kind of. Cracks a little piece of your heart off. Cause it's like, okay. I was trying to be really strong for that. And then the news was just terrible. So after the first one that was tough. And then the second time we go in and we're getting ready to do our second cycle and we go into like, well, your levels are really high.

I had produced like too many. It was, there were too high. The eggs were like the egg count. Too high. Cause you're on this medicine to like make you overproduce eggs. So they do an ultrasound the day before they do the like trigger and the ever remember, oh, it was like a Sunday and it was a different doctor than what I had normally seen.

And he was just like, okay, so we're not going to do the semination tomorrow because. You've got too many eggs that could accept, and you need to refrain from having sex for the next 10 days, or you could get pregnant with multiples and it wasn't multiples. It was six and it was, Hey, like this could be, this is not healthy.

This is not safe. Like, I know you want babies and this is a really good opportunity, but this is not a safe pregnancy. Like you. Basically talk you down. And it was such a weird feeling. So I was like, wait a second. Like, I can't get pregnant on my own. And now you're saying, if we get pregnant, it might be with six.

Like I remember coming home and being like talking to Chris and being like, should we just like try anyway? And he was like, absolutely not. We need to listen to the doctors. It was just so weird being the voice of reason was tough. It was just hard because you know, you got so excited for the first one and then it failed.

We're getting ready to go for number two, we get all psyched up again and then they're like, Hey. Yeah. So then it was like we had a wait like an another four weeks before we could try it again because your body has to go through the process and it's all timing related. It's actually like so wild after being going through this process and realizing how the specific the timing is to get pregnant each month and how so many people can just like get pregnant.

It's actually very crazy that that happens a lot. Um, But then we tried, we went in for like the third round or the second round, I guess, was technically ended up being the second round. And that was at the end of January when that one didn't work. And I remember within like two or three days of hearing the news that like we weren't pregnant, two of my best friends were pregnant and like told me, and.

They both knew what we were going through. And it was just so hard because you want to be happy for them, but it's like, it's so hard to be happy to win. And for people going through it, that's normal. It's okay to it's okay. To be upset. Like I felt bad, like, cause on one hand I'm like, I'm super happy for you guys, but on the other I'm so disappointed.

When it always seemed to be like the people who didn't have any trouble trying, or it was just like, we just got off birth control and looked at each other, you know? And like, then you're like, cool. Cause I've just been like over here wanting to have a baby for three years and it's not working, you know?

And, but that's not their fault and that's not our fault. It's just, it is what it is. So figuring out how to like, co-exist. Take care of yourself while at the same time. Yeah, a hundred percent. It's it's okay to be upset. It's also okay. To be happy for them, but just know that you're not alone. You had feelings of disappointment when friends tell you you're pregnant, because we both had a lot of our, your good friends and my good friends, all got pregnant while we were trying, while we were going through this.

And every time it was just like, you've gotta be kidding me. How is this not happening for us? We are trying, we're doing everything right. You know? It just wasn't working. So we go I've IUI trip number through two, technically trip three. And at this point I didn't have a ton of faith and it didn't work. I think it was, you know, I mean, she told us that she wanted to give it three tries before we switched to anything else, because there's lots of reasons.

Y might not be taking for some of the other times. And we changed some of the medicine. And, and so when the third time didn't work, I feel like I went into the third procedure. I remember like laying on the table and the nurse does the, she, like, we can like watch it kind of like go through my tubes. It was actually like, it's so fascinating.

And I remember just like tears, softly, like rolling down my eyes in the. I was just like, what if this doesn't work again? And she was just like, there's a chance that it might not, you know, but we've just w that's why we're giving it a shot. And she could just see the tears just like rolling down as I'm laying on my back, just like wedding, everything happened.

And she brought me over a tissue and was just like, it's going to be okay. Like, if this isn't work, it's going to be okay. And I just, I'll never forget that interaction with. It gets hard to believe that'll happen. And I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling all the emotions that you feel around this, because there will be so many, especially, I mean, I'm sure.

Chris probably thought I was crazy at many different times because of all the different hormone levels that are being pumped through my body, that round didn't work. And so I think like that part of once we went back and decided, okay, IVF is the route to go. We kind of got that like glimmer of hope again, because it was like, okay, we've tried these things like the success rates, I'm a numbers guy.

And the success rates for IUI were always lower than I have. Yeah. It was just, it's the first option. It's the cheaper option of the two. So they always start you with IUI. And we knew that going in and it was a little bit cheaper, but we knew the chances weren't as good. But then going into the third round of IUI, I, at that point I had lost faith.

I was not, I didn't think it was going to work. I was like, let's just move on to the next one. But they won't, we did a third set. We get the news pretty quickly that it didn't work. And I was like, all right, let's go let's. And so we had our meeting with dark JC to talk about IVF. Immediately. It's like, we're going to start this.

It's going to be this, that, and the other is going to be a lot of things going on, but all goes well and we're able to harvest some eggs. You'll have we put one and you'll have a 65% chance of getting pregnant. If we put two and you'll have a 75% chance of getting pregnant and I'm like 304. Okay. We got, we got a chance.

So it kind of reinvigorated us, at least reinvigorated me and my hope that. I was fading on optimism standpoint. Um, after the third round of IUI with IUI, it was like, okay, like this month we could get pregnant, but then IVF started like a whole other long process because it was the end of February when we decided to do IVF and.

We were successful on the first time, but like that wasn't until the end of may. So we had three months in between that. It was like, okay, we need to harvest eggs. But it was like a longer process. Like all of a sudden it was like, oh, that was quick. Just starting out was like, okay, if we get pregnant on the first time, that's not even going to be for three or four more months.

Correct. And that just kind of felt like, okay, like, yeah. Yeah. It was also incredibly overwhelming because we left the meeting and I was given a bunch of needles and a minimal instruction. Uh, I'd never drawn blood or never used a needle before. Uh, Having to go home and basically become a nurse and give you multiple shots to get everything ready and the prep that you have to go through.

And, and that was a crazy process too. Like we had to go to this like compound pharmacy to get all this special medicine that was all super expensive. And they give you like the rundown of like, here's what you do. And we, you know, we're just. Trying to like, understand everything and we leave and we're both just kind of like, I don't even know what we just learned and then doing the shots every day.

I mean like somewhere in the stomach, there's so much to keep up with, like it trying to get pregnant and doing IVF is like a full-time job. Yeah. It was keeping the medicine in the fridge and then we'd pull it out and I would give you the shots. And then that. Incredibly hard for me to do it because I knew it hurt, but then it was even harder when I would still have to travel for work.

And I knew you were having to give yourself the shot. So that hurt me as well. Um, so that whole process leading up to may, you know, that three month kind of gap of. It was daily and I think it was multiple times a day. Um, and then, so I guess the first step, like the first like main thing was doing, they were like harvesting my eggs and then they were going to make the embryos.

And so we had that like little outpatient surgery to get all the eggs and then we received some good news, like they had, I think. We got like 20 eggs. And then we started off with 13 embryos from like the start. And then when they, I guess they like wait like a week or so. And then from that point, there were seven viable that were like strong that they were like of any of these seven would be like great candidates.

And then we opted to do the like freeze your embryos for. A small amount of time and that allowed like the body to have a break. And I think that's the doctor said like, for us, that was like the preferred option. You know, everybody has a different experience there because maybe there, we didn't have some other type of pre-existing condition or so it could be different for you.

For us, they suggested that. And which was tough because yeah. Worked for three, you know, a couple of months leading up to this, you're doing everything right. You're going through just going to call it. You're going through hell to get there. You finally get there. You get the good news that it's 20 and then it's all right.

Even better news that they got 13, even better news that there's seven, like legit ones. You're hoping for like two or three to hear seven. We're so excited. Hey, we're going to freeze these and you gonna wait another six weeks or so before we do anything, cause we're going to give your body time to recover.

It's like, we are so close, just let us, but it was the right move. Um, because the amount of medication you're on while you're doing this, it's more than you can imagine. It's a lot and your body needs that recovery. At least we needed it. Others obviously be different, but I think of it like a marathon I'm at the 26 mile and I appoint to less.

All of a sudden you're telling me I have to stop it. It was like, oh, but it gave us something to look forward to. We also kind of were like, okay, this is so exciting. We're going to do this. Like we were back in that happy place again, we've got options. This is amazing. I can't wait. Like what could this be?

It kind of allowed us to sort of like open our mind up to start, like thinking what if we get pregnant. Read talking about like names again, bringing some of the happiness back into it. And that's, I feel like something we really needed to experience. So then we went in for the surgery, so we decided to put two in, cause like I said earlier, when he gave us, you put one in and they said a 65% chance.

You put two, when you have a 75% chance, you obviously open yourself up the twins or triplets. But at that point, You don't know what you don't know. So twin sound fine. Um, so he did. Yeah, it was kind of crazy. And I remember don't you remember like looking up on the monitor when we were in the, or, and there.

Putting the embryo, like you watched them like put the embryo in your uterus and you watch it, like go attached to the uterine wall. And that was so insane that we could see like our babies in there moving around. And it was obviously very microscopic. They had it blown up so we could see this, but I was like, that is so cool.

Like, I, I. I just thought that was awesome. And that gave me hope that something was sticking something like it was happening. And the 10 days in between that was so hard, we are pins and needles waiting. And then finally we have our appointment, call it on a Wednesday. I don't remember the exact date. So.

It's Tuesday night and we can't wait any longer. Well, I think we also wanted like a little bit of feeling like, can we take a pregnancy test and like see some good news without having to like, hear from a doctor first? I mean, I think they encourage you to not test yourself, but we were like, We are too anxious.

Yeah. And so we did, we took a pregnancy test the night before. Cause we were like, okay, surely if we're gonna, you know, we had all this like rationale behind it all. And none of it was correct, but you know, this point at that point. Exactly. So we take the. And we leave it sitting on the toilet seat for two minutes.

And I just remember being like too nervous to even look, you didn't want to look, I didn't want to look. Cause I was just like, maybe we shouldn't have like, what are, I don't want to be disappointed, but like, what if we are? And so I think you looked first and then it was just like, it was positive. I said, I didn't look.

I said, I would grab it and we could look together, but I took a peak. So you knew and. It was just like, it was such a crazy feeling to finally be pregnant. Like on one hand, obviously the joy was the greatest joy that you can imagine in this might sound bad and I don't want it to, but it was relief. It was the burden.

I mean, it feels like you have an elephant just sitting on your chest for the three years that it took us to get pregnant. And then we finally, it was just so nice to see that. I think we had the one that said pregnant on it, not the line. Uh, we bought the most expensive one cause I was like, I'm going to confirm that I want to look at, I don't wanna have to take a microscope out and look at lines.

It's going to say pregnant or not pregnant. Um, and to see pregnant, it was obviously so joyful, but also it was a sense of relief. It was like, wow, we can do this. We, we did it. And we had help and that's okay. But that was, yeah, that was a great night. So then the next day we, I went in for blood work and they called and confirmed.

And then you had to, we had to do blood work like every 48 hours for the next few days, just to make sure that they were continuing to grow. And one thing I didn't really realize was that we still took progesterone's shots from like until 10 weeks. So it was like every night, even when I found out like throughout being pregnant, we were still going through this process, but I remember a lot easier to give.

Yes. And those are a lot easier. Cause it was like, okay, we're doing this to like, keep our baby healthy pain with a purpose. And we knew the name at that point. So we were like, we're doing this for Collins. Yeah. Well we didn't know if it was a girl or a boy. Because we did the, we had a boy, we were calling it by boy or call-ins and, um, so it was just, I don't know.

I mean, and they told us that the numbers were really high and so they like thought it was twins throughout. And then we were going to confirm that at the six week ultrasound, When they do the heartbeat or I think maybe it was four weeks because I remember like the timing from when we were traveling, that was the first time they could actually hear the heartbeat.

And when you go through IVF, you go to a million like ultrasounds throughout the process we declared like, almost like an at-risk pregnancy. Yeah, hold the bonuses, but we get to do a lot of ultrasounds, which is awesome, which was so nice having to go through this. And I remember she looks at everything and she's like, I see one heartbeat.

Like, this is amazing. It worked you're pregnant. And I just like, I was so excited, but then I was like, wait, where's the other don't. Two. And she was like, well, you know, this is a risk you take. And somewhere along the way, the one of them didn't make it. And I just, I feel like we were just so overjoyed that we were even pregnant.

We had gone through so much to get where we were. And again, I don't wish this on anyone. Um, but if you are going through it, like, know that there is happy endings, like the happiness we had for each other. Going to that first ultrasound and like seeing and hearing the heartbeat and then go into the, like the first one where they can actually like, see the baby.

And it's just, I will charge those forever knowing what it took to get there. Um, and how hard it was, just everything it took and everything it put on our marriage to get there. I will cherish those moments of, you know, seeing, you know, her little hand the first time and, you know, seeing her move around for the first time and just.

You know how lucky we are, because you know, a lot of people that, you know, you know, go through this journey, they'll do the IUI, then they'll do IVF. And, you know, we were lucky we got it on the first try and know, like I said, it's, you know, we had a 75% success rate, but there's still 25% that it's not gonna work for.

So just that sense of joy and appreciation we had, uh, I think it was very strong in those early moments. So fast forward. I remember when we announced we were printing. I was much more like apt to be like, let's share our story. Like people weren't really talking about IVF a lot at this point or having any type of struggle.

And I had this like social media platform. I was like, I feel like we could probably like touch somebody whose lives. I would love to tell people we went through this and Chris is much more private and wasn't fully on board to share right away. We had multiple friends. Who else had got pregnant along while we were on our journey, but we also had multiple friends who also were going to the same clinic we were going to.

And while we didn't necessarily all know that at the same time, we all kind of figured it out and, you know, kind of talk through it, um, during it, and it was more of a, yes, I wasn't keen to sharing it. But then as I started thinking about it a little bit more it's it's not talked about a lot. It's not.

It's not national news, but at the same time, a lot of people go through this and I feel like especially our generation, they're going through it a lot more. Um, and I finally caved in and said, we could talk about it. So I'm pretty wrote a nice blog about it that you can search the archives for. Um, but I, I wanted to risk, like we had just gone through this whole thing and years of trying to get pregnant.

And while I wanted to share and talk about. Chris wasn't at that point yet. And so I had to check myself and respect that he wasn't quite ready to have those conversations and let, let's just be in the moment of us being pregnant and, you know, announcing our pregnancy. And then I think it was maybe like a few weeks later, I.

Remember, we were on vacation and I like did a post, just like my pregnant belly. And it was wrote out that our journey, wasn't just like an easy thing. And that was the first time I shared that we had gone through IVF and I think immediately we realized the impact that just being open about our journey.

Even from one post of like how grateful we were that we were now pregnant, but it, it wasn't just like an easy road. It was unbelievable how many people were told us. They were encouraged by that how many people told us they were going through the same thing and that this post gave them hope. And so I feel like, I mean, and maybe like, if you could tell us a little bit about kind of what you felt like after you knew that this was helping people.

Yeah. So I first I was. Keen to sharing our story because I thought it was our story. It's what we had to do. And I thought that was for us. I held onto that for a while. I then finally at least opened up to the ideas that are, yeah, you can mention it in a post, but nothing like don't go into too many details, but then seeing the outpour of people that it impacted in the amount of responses we got that it's like, Hey, you know, we're going through this now and we're not getting pregnant.

You know, we're actually starting our second round of IVF. We're doing, you know, we're getting ready to start IUI or people that reply saying, yeah, I had an IVF baby and you know, all these different replies that were just showing the amount of people that impacted, especially the ones who were like, Hey, we're going through it.

You know, this gives me hope. That's when I kind of turned the corner a little bit and said, you know, we should probably take this a little bit further because if we can just make it easier for one person or give them one couple hope or give one couple. Give them some success story, give them a success story that they can draw hope from.

It makes it worth it because you know, it is a lot more common than you think. I think I also felt like not as alone. You know, it was like, I started seeing these people being like, oh, we did IVF too. Or w you know, and immediately I was like, oh my gosh, there's other people who've been on this journey who are here following along.

And we have something in common and we can relate to each other now. And it kind of like gave me hope again, that it was okay. Other people were also having to go through this. And it doesn't mean I'm less of a person. So fast forward to when Collins was born. Sweet a little angel and, and we want to get into the story of how she was born with you going into labor, screaming at me.

Um, so my water broke. We can tell the story we had been, we'd done like a lot of errands on a Sunday and Chris in a week. Yes. And I was like, okay, I'm done being pregnant. Made this like nasty concoction of tea and all this stuff and drink it. And it was like this natural, like a labor inducing drink. And I went upstairs to like lay down and we had ordered, Chipola try your request.

You said, Hey, can you go get me a Chipotle I for lunch. So I said, yeah, Let's do it go get you pulled away from my wife also like thinking back now and like interesting, like terrible choice. You're about to go into labor, how that craving came about, why you pick that after drinking the concoction. So I go and I go get your Chipola.

I put it on and you're like, I'm going to go upstairs. I'm like, all right, cool. I went upstairs, like lay down. I didn't realize she was going to lay down. I just thought she was going upstairs. So I put her supposedly on the. I take my Chipola. I go sit on the couch. I start watching TV and eating my Chipola.

So two hours go by and cause I've been upstairs resting. I like had gone to the bathroom. Like you'd kind of, don't feel good after you take this because it's like starting the contractions. And um, I came downstairs and I saw my Chipotle. That had been home for two hours sitting on the table. And I like look over at him and I have like one of the doors to the fridge open and I'm standing next to the island next to the fridge.

And I'm like, why wouldn't you put my Chipola in the frigerator? And then all of a sudden, I just felt this like gush, her body immediately said we're done. And her water broke right there on this. And I remember being like, I think my water just broke in kind of like waddling over into the half bath. And like then like more of the water breaking process is happening.

And I'm like, I think it's like, this is it. And Chris is like, I feel like we both blacked out. We were like, what do we do now? So then we got the bags and called the doctors and got on the way to the hospital and, you know, but he likes to tell everybody that the, uh, Yelling at him was the reason that started the labor.

Um, so, you know, we, you know, go through the laboring, she's born at three 15 in the morning and just like having her finally here and holding her, I think that would, I mean, that was such an emotional and special time. Yeah. I'm so beyond thankful we had a birth photographer and videographer in the room with us, and it was absolutely unbelievable to have her capture the images and us to be able to see some of the, just like raw emotion of just like we have tried so hard and we waited so long to get this beautiful baby here.

And it was, it's so fun to look back and watch that video. And just see how proud we are and the relief you have when you first get the news that you're pregnant. And then you go through pregnancy. The beginning was tough. It's still still in the shots. And then just being pregnant all summer, which is tough for anybody.

And then she's born and you hold it for the first time and it makes all, I wasn't the one taking the shots, but it made all the giving of the shots worth it. It made the whole journey worth it. It was just. It was perfect and she is perfect and we had some things going on, but we had to wait a little bit to see her, um, Britney spiked a fever.

So we had to wait a little bit to be able to go back and hold her again a little bit longer. Um, but just getting to hold her for the first time I changed her first diaper. Shout out me, um, shout out to me and it was. Well, one of the first I'm pretty sure that was like the first Nightbreed ever changed, probably close, but she's been able to hold her and have her here and have her be healthy, was everything we could ever want.

And more, like I said, it made it all worth it. In the last episode, I kind of gave a few like tips to those who are maybe going through it. But that was all from my point of view. As we wrap this episode up, do you have any last minute pointers or tips that maybe. You could share for it'll be opposite spouse going through this, um, and kind of like what your recommendations would be.

Sure. So all start, uh, like I said, I didn't want to share our story. I was very much against it at the beginning. I, I kind of wanted it to just stay with us because I thought that was private. But then, you know, like I said, when I saw the positive impact, it had, I was much more open to sharing it. So Collins was born in 2019.

And according to the American society for reproductive medicine, they have all the data for 2019. Uh, there was 302,998 cycles of assisted reproductive technology. You'd like cycles done. Uh, so that's IUI, IVF, you know, a variety of things. Uh, there was 77,256 births. Uh, so for my math whizzes out there, that's a 25% success rate.

So one. We did three rounds of IUI in one round of IVF. So we hit 25% because we went through four. But if you are going through this, I mean 77,000 bursts in a year, clearly you're not alone. Draw strength in your relationship with your partner early on in the process, even before you get to the IUI, the IVF in your, you know, starting to track cycle is starting to track, you know, when to do things still try and find the joy in it.

One of the things that I regret is I guess, Into the minutia of the details that it was almost like, I almost felt like a cow going out to stud, uh, and during certain months in certain situations and you kind of, you lose that joy and you lose the happiness. Um, so do whatever you can to try and fight that urge, but it continue.

Like we talked about earlier, continue to date your spouse, continue to, you know, draw off strengthen each other and don't let this be the defining aspect of your marriage. Um, because. You know, you're not alone. I see you. I hear you. I pray for you that it is going to work, but always come out of it as a team.

Cause I will say in, you know, we definitely had our ups and downs on this. We, you know, there was definitely stress on both sides. Like there were times when we would get snippy with each other that, you know, it was just because we were stressed and we were just because we were going through this. And um, but at the end of the day, we, you know, for all those like little, little times, and one-offs, you know, Came back to each other and supported each other and, uh, we're there for each other.

So, uh, definitely know that for everyone else. One of the hardest parts of this, especially at the beginning is, you know, if you're in that range where friends are having babies, you know, you're in your twenties, thirties, forties, whatever it is, try to refrain from asking couples, Hey, when are you going to have kids?

If a friend, you know, you go to a baby shower and it's, you know, say it's Brittany and I, and we're going to a baby shower for a couple of friends and people come up to us and ask us, you know, when are you guys going to have kids? You don't know what they're going through. You don't know if they're in this process.

You don't know what part of the journey that you're on. Just try not to ask that it's going to those showers being there to be happy for friends. Like we did that and I love my friends. I love my friend's kids. And I'm so happy. But on that, like, while we were there, like we were going through very hard trying times.

So you don't know. And when people would come up to us and be like, oh, you know, when are you guys going to have kids? You guys should have kids soon, too. Like, you don't know what they're going through. And like that hurts. You know, obviously the moms, they crushes them. Uh, but it hurts the dads too. Cause we don't know what we don't know.

We don't know, you know, why and seeing the amount of just people that I've worked with that I'm friends with, that I know through mutual friends that have gone through any form of reproductive medicine. It's a bigger number than I ever thought. I wouldn't know because it is something that's not talked about.

Like it, it is something that is not, you know, widely discussed because it is a personal journey, but know that it's going to be okay. Yeah. All very true. I mean, it was, I just, there are several the situations where people don't mean harm when they come at you and say, what are you guys doing? So many times I wanted to just yell back, like I'm trying to get pregnant, like, but you have to be nice.

So it's, it's hard. It's just, I don't know. I think at the end of the day, giving grace on yourself, on your marriage to those around you, like that is such like an important thing to remember that you're going to make it through. So, yeah. Um, I feel like what's of good info here. I appreciate you opening up and sharing a little bit more.

I know. From somebody who does want to keep things a little bit more private, this is a big step to hearing you share your side of the story. And so I just appreciate that you feel comfortable sharing with our listeners because I know that this is going to help somebody get through this hard time. So yeah, at the end of the day, thank you for having me on, but at the end of the day, One person hears this and understands that they're not alone.

Other people have gone through this. We're praying for you and it's okay. So, you know, to have good days and bad days, for sure. Um, so anyway, wrapping up this episode, we truly appreciate you guys being here. We would love for you to subscribe to the podcast and if you haven't had a chance yet, we would also love for you to leave a review.

We appreciate you guys so much, and we will talk on the next episode of life with levelly. Thanks for listening to today's episode. I can't wait to continue these conversations with you over on Instagram, at life with cleverly until next time.

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