Wednesday, February 26, 2014

big news and the {very personal} story behind it

                                                                          photo courtesy of Lauren Rosenau Photography

I would be lying if I didn’t say that there was a time that I couldn’t look at Facebook. If I had to be faced with yet another happy birth announcement, pregnancy announcement or obligatory sonogram photo- I was going to scream. This is not to say that I was not happy for friends announcing and proudly sporting their new ‘bumps.’ However, to me, it felt like an emotional ‘hit and run’ scrolling through my newsfeed.

And this is exactly why I have decided to publicly share my story (I will apologize ahead of time for length). I did not want to be the reason why someone’s day was ruined by checking Facebook or worse yet, why they lost hope in their journey of infertility.

My story begins in February 2012.

My husband, Steve and I had recently purchased our first home together and decided that there was no time like the present to begin to fill the rooms in our new said home.

However, by September 2012 we were nowhere closer to filling our home. I was extremely frustrated and not to mention, had a growing pain in my left abdomen. After a few weeks of dealing with the sharp pain, I decided to make an appointment with my OBGYN. I was given an ultrasound and was told that I had a cyst on my right ovary, but that it would go away on its own within the month.

Less than two days later, I received a call from a different doctor in the practice (one that I had never met) telling me that my results had luckily passed her desk and that my cyst was in fact the size of a small melon and inside of my right ovary. I needed immediate surgery to remove the melon.

In mid October 2012, I went in for surgery to have the cyst removed. Because of its size and weight, my right fallopian tube was destroyed beyond repair and removed during the surgery. It was also discovered at that time that I had severe endometriosis (which happens to be the reason for the cyst) and most likely, the reason why I was unable to conceive. This was hard news to hear as I began to think the worst.

Immediately following my surgery, my doctor encouraged Steve and I to try and conceive naturally. Even with one fallopian tube and severe endometriosis, she felt that I still had a fighting chance.

However, by February 2013, I was beyond frustrated. Annoyed. Angry.
Nothing was working. I needed a new plan. That month I decided to make an appointment to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist. I was bringing in the big guns!

During the consultation, it was decided that due to my surgery, endometriosis and age (ekk!), IVF was the best course of action. There was no passing ‘go,’ no collecting $200, I was going straight to the most invasive and costly procedure one can have in the world of infertility.

In order to prepare for my round of IVF, I began taking daily pills and shots beginning in April 2013. I was If I was told to take a shot at 9pm—you better have believed that I took the shot at 9pm sharp!

After months of pills, self-inflicted shots and more raging hormones than a teenage girl at a Bieber concert, I went in for my retrieval on July 10.

Three days later, I had two little embryos transferred and went on five days of mandatory bed rest (this sounds a lot more glamorous than it really is!)

I was in high spirits and thinking positive thoughts when I received a call from my embryologist midway through my bed rest. None of the remaining embryos had survived (meaning that we were unable to freeze any of them for a possible second round). It was then that I began to think that the round was not going to be successful.

On July 24, my fears were confirmed that the round was in fact unsuccessful. I was not pregnant. This is a call like no other and one that I do not wish upon anyone. Months of preparing- emotionally, physically, financially…all for nothing. I was devastated. Steve was devastated.

To me, the story was ending here, at least the IVF story. I was done. Tired. Drained. I was ready to begin a new story and began thinking of adoption. However, Steve insisted that we try one more time. 

Exactly one week after the dreaded call, we found ourselves back at our endocrinologist’s office. I wanted a new plan of action. I remember looking at my doctor and saying, “This is it, so let’s make it work.” I had already decided that I wouldn’t go through this for a third round. I couldn’t.  He recommended changing my medication and putting me on a much stronger injection that essentially would put my body into pre-menopause. As you can imagine, I was a constant pleasure for the following months (I feel like I may owe some folks a public apology!). 

That same week I made an appointment with an infertility acupuncturist, Adrienne. She had mentioned to me that due to my endometriosis that I try to eliminate dairy from my diet. In fact, she had suggested trying and eliminating gluten and grains as well and going full paleo. As you can imagine- my initial thought was ‘Pre-menopause and a very limited diet…Christmas came early!’ But nonetheless, I decided to give it a try and (as many of you did actually know), went 100% paleo that very same day.

Adrienne was convinced that it would help. I remember leaving on my first day of acupuncture and she saying to me, “It’s going to work. I just know it.” I got in my car and heard Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ for the first time that day. I blasted the radio to the point that the car was shaking. I had decided that that was my new mantra going into the second round of IVF.  It was going to work.

After what seemed like a lifetime of blood tests, doctor’s visits, shots, pills, paleo and acupuncture, I went back in for my second round of IVF on December 3.

This time, my college friend drove down from Pennsylvania to help me with my five days of mandatory bed rest. It was one of the best memories that I have to date. We snuggled in bed like two little girls, laughed about old times, watched Christmas movies and sought promise in what was to (hopefully) come.

On the morning of December 17, I went in to my doctor’s office to give blood work.  This was it. Results day. I had given directions to the nurse to call Steve at work and then Steve was to call me directly afterwards.

I had come home from the doctor’s office and decided to sit by the Christmas tree and to listen to Christmas music. It is not secret that I love the holiday season, so I wanted to soak it all in that day in case my Christmas miracle did not come through. It was then that the garage door went up. My heart sank. This was not a part of the plan. Steve was supposed to call me. My head was spinning when Steve appeared at the front door with a biggest smile that I had truly ever seen on his face and two thumbs high in the air. “You did it!” he shouted. “We’re pregnant!”

 As you can imagine, we are beyond ecstatic (it’s been soooo hard keeping this secret for so long) and ready for the next chapter in our life. But I am oddly grateful for the journey that has been given to me. I never thought this would be my story, but it is and it’s mine to share. It has taught me so much about myself. I learned that I am much stronger than I ever could have imagined. My relationship with Steve is stronger. My faith in God is stronger. For all of this, I am grateful.

If you know of someone who is struggling with infertility, the best advice that I can give is to respect the amount of information that they choose to share with you. This is an extremely personal journey and not everyone wants to share minute-to-minute details. When they are ready to share, they will.  Additionally, I would highly recommend paleo and acupuncture as part of anyone’s infertility treatment. While my doctor was ah-mazing, I truly believe that the paleo and acupuncture were the icing on my gluten/dairy-free cake.

Lastly, I pray that if this story is all too similar to yours, that you too, one day, will get your Christmas miracle.  Just like my acupuncturist once told me, “It’s going to work. I just know it.”


  1. Anne thanks for sharing your story. It's amazing how what we eat can contribute to quality of life in so many ways. I just heard about another person suffering from endometriosis and drastically changing her diet and getting amazing results. Awesome that you could be so dedicated to something that can be very challenging. And how great it is to have the support of family and good friends :)

  2. Anne! God is so good. I'm so happy for you and Steve. You're going to make wonderful parents :)

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story...I cannot even fathom how hard the past two years have been for you and Steve, but am so thrilled that you both have gotten the miracle you have been waiting for. I already feel so close to Baby Markey as he/she will be accompanying us on all our wedding planning dates!! And will be almost ready to pop on my actual wedding night! ha :) Just so excited for you and cannot wait to watch that little baby bump start to grow on your tiny little adorable self! love you!

  4. Congratulations! This is so wonderful! God is good!

  5. I am beyond thrilled for you and Steve! I know it's been a struggle and am so glad you had an amazing team of doctors and supporters to help you on your journey. You are an inspiration to me. xoxo

  6. So so so so excited for you & your new adventures! You are going to be a GREAT mama! xoxo

  7. So excited for you :) I know this was a difficult journey but a blessed one and I can't wait to meet the new addition. Congrats girlie!

  8. That is excited for you! Congratulations to you both!!!

  9. Anne -- YAYY!!! I am so, so excited for you! Shocked to hear that you were in such pain the month that Corey and I got married -- shows what a true professional you are because you never once let that show. Congrats to you and Steve! You are going to be the cutest pregnant mama ever!! :) Love from me and Corey!