My story is a little different than most as my journey didn’t actually have a typical loss. I struggled with writing my story as I didn’t feel like I was worthy because my loss was a hard one to process. I did think it was important however to get my story out there to hopefully maybe make a difference in someone’s life especially with someone who may have a similar struggle.
I’ll start by saying I always knew I would struggle to conceive but didn’t think my road would be this hard. I started having cycle issues in my early 20’s and was always immediately dismissed by all medical professionals. I never gave too much thought to my reproductive health as I was young and figured it might be hard but I would eventually have my baby one day.
Jump to 24 and I was sexually assaulted by a “friend” and battled through all the difficulties that come with a sexual assault. I never thought anyone would want me let alone want to marry me but then I finally found my soulmate at the age of 27, was married by 31 and we immediately started trying for our family. We knew we wanted a baby and we were both ready to start the journey to baby Tavares! Happy ending right? Unfortunately this is where things started to get rocky.
I immediately knew something was wrong when we started trying for baby and scheduled a check-up with my primary. She sent me for testing and then I was sent for more testing and passed around from OB to OB until I was passed on to an angel who immediately confirmed I needed surgery to remove a cyst and to see if I had endometriosis. I did in fact have endometriosis but it wasn’t on any reproductive organs and was a lot lower then my doctor anticipated so she left it and got what she could.
We for sure thought this was the answer to our prayers and again after a few months of nothing but negatives our OB said she wanted us to try IUI’s. After four failed IUI’s and a few more cyst removal surgeries we moved on to IVF. We were excited for this next step and thought for sure after almost two years of battles we would be getting our rainbow after the storm!
We went to this clinic and instantly got a weird feeling, we didn’t feel listened to and our doctor treated me as if I were any other patient. He diagnosed me with unexplained infertility and started treatment. We ended up with four beautiful embryos and were excited to finally have our turn! Our first transfer with the best embryo grading wise ended up not sticking but we had three more and were hopeful! Again our next sweet baby decided not to stay and I had never felt more defeated in my entire life. We did one last transfer with our final two embryos and I just KNEW this would bring me our dream! I even ordered a shirt because I KNEW this was our turn. I didn’t test and waited till our blood draw and got that crushing call that my BETA was indeed negative and was given my options to start over again. I couldn’t even process the news and told my husband I was done.
I thought I just wasn’t meant to be a mom, that I would just be the “cool” auntie and have dogs and travel with my husband. About seven months into my break I saw a Youtube video of this couple who had tried for seven years and just finally was pregnant through IVF. I sobbed watching and was just so genuinely happy for this couple that I didn’t even know!
I text my husband as this was at the height of Covid and I was working from home and told him if he was willing we could try one last final round of IVF and see what happens. He was over the moon excited and my stipulation was to find a clinic closer to home and he agreed. We switched to Boston IVF and I for once just felt extremely hopeful. My new doctor discovered that I had PCOS and not unexplained she switched up my entire protocol. I just felt like even if this didn’t work out that I at least had some answers and wasn’t left wondering “what is wrong with me?!” We had 22 eggs retrieved and 12 mature and fertilized. I had never been so excited in this entire process, we decided to also add genetic testing this go around and were hopeful to have a few frozen for later!
I then got the most heart breaking phone call, only three made it to day 5 and they were sent for testing. I cried so hard and kept wondering why this kept happening. After what felt like a lifetime we got the genetic report back that two of the three were healthy and the other had multiple genetic issues and was discarded. I was so excited but all that hope I had in the beginning was just gone. We went for transfer and since Covid was still new my husband had to wait in the car. I never felt so alone. Everything went smooth and I walked back out to the car. We stopped and got McDonald’s French fries since that was what we heard helps and crossed our fingers and toes! After five days of pure torture my friend convinced me to test and to my utter and complete disbelief there was TWO LINES!!!
I confirmed my pregnancy through our blood test and sure enough POSITIVE! I have never been more excited and terrified in my whole life! I wish I could say my pregnancy was smooth and uneventful but after a subchoronic hematoma which led to a massive bleed twice I was placed on bed rest, quit my job and moved 17 hours away to be in the same state as my family.
The rest of my pregnancy was for the most part smooth and I delivered my beautiful, sweet and sassy little girl via C-section on September 21, 2021! It was the best day of my entire life. We are coming up on a year of pure exhaustion, love and lots of learning and I could not be more grateful for our little miracle, my rainbow after the storm.
We have decided that our last sweet little embryo we will transfer either in October or November pending a few tests and are very, very hopeful for a sibling for my sweet girl. I find myself having issues getting excited or hopeful because I very much know what our outcome could be. I could walk away with nothing to show for it but an arm full of pin pricks and lots of bruises from medication. I am trying my best to remain as hopeful as I can not only for my own sanity but for my daughter as well. She is my greatest motivation to keep going, keep the faith and trust that God has my best interest in this all (even though sometimes it feels like He does not!). As nervous as I am I am secretly counting down the days till I can go and see this new sweet little embryo and plan for their place in our family often!
I hope that my story helps restore even a little bit of hope to those walking similar journeys. The ones who have seen more sad than happy days, the ones who think it just isn’t meant to be. You are seen, you are loved and I am praying for you and your family. As scary as it was to share my story (I did my best to condense it otherwise you’d be reading for forever!) I am so grateful to share it and for those that are hurting or struggling to know they are valid and their losses are still a loss. I still think of my sweet embryos daily, I think about how old they might be, if they would look anything like their sister and so badly wish they would have stayed. I am still processing all that I have been through over the last five years and am so grateful for my husband cheering me on during it. Sending nothing but love, peace and happiness to everyone on their journey. May your story have the happiest of happy endings! If you would like to follow along and see if our other little miracle sticks around, feel free to follow me on my Instagram at jfinch85.
Photos taken by Bruna Firkins.
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