Let me tell you. You will pray. You will cry. You will get angry when you see others doing it, seemingly effortlessly. Not angry at them; just angry that it will not happen for you. You will envy. You will avoid. Avoid the family gatherings, the baby showers, the children's birthday parties. You will leave Christmas cards unopened, for fear that they contain a beautiful family photo. You will deflect the seemingly innocuous (but oh so painful) questions of "So when are you going to have a baby?" You will pray some more. You will cry, sometimes crying yourself to sleep.
After marrying the man of my dreams at the ripe old age of 34, I very quickly became what I only knew about from being the best friend of Camille Hammond - a woman unable to conceive. Month after month we did not get pregnant. Month after month my cycles became less regular. Month after month money was spent on pregnancy tests and ovulation predictor tests to no avail. I wondered how this could happen? I wondered what was wrong with me? What was wrong with my husband? Why was God forsaking us?
My husband and I began infertility testing at Shady Grove. Ultimately I was diagnosed as having Premature Ovarian Failure. Early menopause with no known cause.
Being a physician did not at all prepare me for the road that we would have to navigate as a married couple who wanted a baby. Maryland mandate statutes about what insurances companies are required to cover. Financial disclosure forms. Finance packages. Legal forms to be signed.
Let us fast forward. We had completed 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts. We had spent upwards of $50,000 of our own money. Please understand that we did not have that money laying around, just waiting to spend on IVF. We did things that I, in my business mind, knew went against everything a financial advisor would have told us to do.
But my God is faithful. He heard our cries.
In between those 4 unsuccessful attempts were two miscarriages. One was a blighted ovum. Basically an empty sac that never stood a chance of being anything but a cruel prank. The second was a genetically healthy baby boy who I happily thought I was going to see at a high risk OB appointment one day, only to find out while on the table being ultrasounded that there was no heartbeat. You talk about devastation? What I distinctly remember was trying to fix my face and hide my horror as I walked out to the front desk to pay the copay for the visit. Neither miscarriage ended on its own. So in an even crueler twist of fate, I had to go to the operating room for D&C's for both those pregnancies.
On the 5th IVF attempt with only one three day old severely fragmented embryo, our amazing Shady Grove reproductive endocrinologist took us to embryo transfer.
That embryo will be 4 years old on August 12, 2015.
So please, I implore you; Never ever give up hope. It may take a lot longer to have the child you so deeply desire. Being a mommy or daddy may cost everything you have, sometimes even your sanity. But if you want to be a parent, you can - somehow and some way. Tell yourself "Yes" when everything around you is saying no.
Last week I thanked Alexandra for looking down from Heaven and choosing us to be her parents.
All the Best,
Michele Henley Williams
(Michele Henley, M.D.)