It seems unimaginable that one journey could span over nine years and encapsulate so much – so much change, so much loss, so much energy and time and money -- and still be unresolved.
But it can.
And that’s our story.
My husband and I began trying to build our family in February of 2008.
My parents struggled with infertility, their own journey inclusive of two confirmed miscarriages, starting the adoption process, my sister, Amanda, who was stillborn in 1981, and then finally me in 1984.
So while disappointed, I wasn’t shocked when nine months went by without success, despite the fact we were only 24 years old.
I was diagnosed with atypical PCOS and prescribed Metformin but could not tolerate the necessary dosage.
We tried several medicated IUI cycles in 2009 but the closest we got was a chemical pregnancy in June.
And then, the unexpected: my diagnosed-at-birth congenital heart condition that had never posed a problem, suddenly was problematic.
While taking the fertility meds, I began experiencing heart palpitations but we thought it was just a reaction to the medication and something we could easily remedy.
To be safe, my local cardiologist referred me to a specialist at UCLA and we were hit with news few are prepared for, especially at age 25: I needed open heart surgery and soon.
The three weeks that followed were a blur of appointments and insurance clearances and readying our life for something we felt absolutely unprepared for.
But somehow, we did it and I underwent surgery on October 29, 2009 to correct my VSD gone rogue.
Several months later, I had a pacemaker implanted due to the development of bradycardia.
Overcoming the hardship of this major surgery at a young age felt like a grueling battle within an already grueling battle against infertility and we were so discouraged.
But we just kept putting one foot in front of the other and in late 2010 (after moving to a new city for my husband’s master’s degree), I was deemed healthy once again and given medical clearance to resume trying to conceive.
The move to a new city also meant a new fertility clinic.
Though we had been told that IVF may be in our future, we weren’t ready to take that path. So, we tried IUI again and finally, in September of 2011, we conceived.
Sadly, the excitement was short lived, as I miscarried in mid-October.
Fast forward another few IUIs, a move across the country for my husband to pursue his doctorate, and yet another clinic.
In 2015, we decided it was time to take the plunge and move on to IVF, and on our 4th and final cycle, we were blessed with another pregnancy.
After eight long years, our pregnancy felt miraculous.
The joy we felt was absolute, and this time, we got to hear the heartbeat.
We passed through the first trimester and sailed in to the second.
It truly didn’t feel real.
I was healthy, our baby girl was healthy; we chose a name and set up our registry.
We planned my shower and decorated her nursery.
And then, the bottom fell out of our world.
From the massive hemorrhaging and the sudden onset of labor, it was determined I had suffered a spontaneous complete placental abruption.
Our tiny warrior fought for 8 hours and 43 minutes but ultimately passed away in her daddy’s arms at 5:05am the following morning.
We will never be the same.
Somehow, we must find the strength and courage to carry on, with our daughter in our hearts instead of in our arms where she belongs.
Evie is our inspiration, each and every day, to be better, do better, and love harder.
With her help, and with a lot of time, patience, love and support, we will find a path forward.
One day, one moment, one step at a time.
Melissa N. of Bloomington, Indiana, is an Unexplained Infertility Warrior. She honors her daughter and blogs about surviving the hardships of building a family HERE.
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