Finding Joy in the Journey

 

Find Joy in the Journey

 

By: Katelyn Kelly
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. But for some of us it’s not that easy…
Everyone knows that once you’re married the famous question to ask is, “When are you having kids?”To the asker this is a completely harmless question but to those suffering with infertility it is another stab. A sense of failure you have put on yourself and now you wonder if others see you the same way that you have begun to see yourself. Many times you want to tell them the truth but you were too embarrassed and upset to open up.
    I know your story all too well.
 It began with what seemed to be a simple desire to grow your family. Month after month you spend all your energy on making sure you eat right, taking your vitamins, and mapping your ovulation so you can time sex perfectly. You’re so confident that this is “the month” because you have done everything better than the last. So you wait anxiously through those two weeks and finally the day is here to test! Your excitement and anxiety literally have you running to the bathroom. After you sit the test down, you wait the longest three minutes of your life. And then, just like the previous months, those feelings of heartbreak, pain, discouragement, and brokenness hit you in the face again. Sometimes you shrug it off and take multiple tests because you just know that that one wasn’t accurate. You have to be pregnant because all the symptoms are there. But after each test you feel more defeated than the last. Finally you accept it, to the best of your ability, and move forward. You begin to over analyze what “you did wrong” and become even more obsessed the next month until it consumes your life and your complete being.
My husband, Andrew, and I were like any other couple-high school sweethearts who started dating at
seventeen and married at twenty. Two and a half years after we were married we began trying to conceive. After an early miscarriage, in October of 2014, Andrew was referred to an urologist where he was diagnosed with varicoceles (varicose veins in the scrotum increasing the testicular temperature causing the sperm to die). Six months of taking clomid with little improvement we decided to seek further medical advice.
Though we had decided not to tell others that we were trying to conceive I had privately reached out to a few friends who had been open about their infertility struggles. Several of these friends highly recommended Dr. Raymond Ke at The Fertility Associates of Memphis. After a thorough consult consisting of more labs and ultrasounds I was diagnosed with low ovarian reserve meaning I had a decreased number and quality of eggs left in my ovaries. Our chances of becoming pregnant was less than 5%.
Since we had male factor infertility as well as female factor infertility our best option was in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This is a costly procedure as well as a lengthy process. It involves taking fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce several mature eggs at one time. Once there are several mature eggs, egg retrieval is performed by a needle that is inserted in the vagina to retrieve the mature eggs. The eggs are then individually injected with sperm in a laboratory dish and watched for about 5 days.
IVF with ICSI costs approximately $20,000 for one cycle but increased our chances of conceiving from less than 5% to 40-60%. We knew that this is what we must do if we wanted our dream to become a reality. We only had three embryos make it to day five and transferred our highest grade embryo on April 14, 2017. A week later we found out we were finally pregnant! We were very fortunate to have conceived on the first frozen embryo transfer (FET) as many couples have to endure years of failed transfers, not to mention the excess of emotional and financial strain.
 We were blessed with our precious miracle son, John Michael Kelly on December 6, 2017. His beautiful blue eyes and adorable little features were worth every penny, lab draw, early morning trip to Memphis, needle stick, and tear. We would not hesitate to do it again in a hearbeat. Infertility tested my faith. I would love to say that I remained strong through the years of trying to conceive but the truth is I didn’ t. I was completely broken, in a valley that only God could pull me out of. Many of days
I would cry out to Him; begging Him to bless us with a baby, asking Him why others who were unable to care for their children continued to get pregnant, and wondering what we had done to be punished in this way. Bitterness had overtaken my life and once I became aware that it had consumed my being I had a very difficult time giving it up. Never did I question His existence but did wonder where He was in the middle of my grief and turmoil. If He was such a loving and graceful Father why would He allow His children to carry such a heavy burden? This burning desire of motherhood.
 I had hit the bottom of my valley. I finally cried out to Him, laying everything in His hands. He is the Master of my life and I should’ve treated Him as such since the beginning. He never intended for us to carry our burdens and when I finally released mine to Him I was at peace. I knew then that no matter the outcome He would be right there beside me through it all. I began looking at our infertility as a journey and found joy along the way.
 No one chooses to endure the hardship of infertility but look where it has led us. We have grown stronger as a couple, closer to God, and have been blessed with our miracle son. We’re able to share the testimony of God’s love and faithfulness in hopes that someone finds encouragement, hope, and comfort. No matter how God chooses to redeem you, open your heart and allow Him to. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

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