Our TTC Story

I met my husband at a bar one night in college, before I was old enough to drink (legally anyway) back in 1997.  We have been together ever since. (It’s really a much more romantic story than it seems). We met young and we both had dreams so we were never really in a hurry to reach any of the usual milestones.  We waited 7 years before we married and another 5 before we started trying to conceive and start our family.  It had never been a question of “if”, just “when”. We both wanted (want) to have a family. We even picked out boy and girl names years before we even thought about TTC. I always dreamed of having three children, my husband wanted two. Whenever we talked about it, he would say “Let’s have two and then see how we feel…”.  These days it’s hard to think about, but I don’t know if I’ll ever reach my dream of 3 children… now I desperately hope for at least one.

It was the Fall of 2009 when we tossed the contraceptives and officially started trying to have a baby.  We made announcements to our families (some of whom had started to ask about the topic) that we were trying as we fully expected to have a baby within the year. I was 32, my husband 34. Who would have thought that we had possibly missed our chance because we weren’t “ready” for a family in our 20s.

After trying for six months with no success, we went to see a Dr. for some testing. We received a diagnosis of male factor infertility. Unfortunately, my husbands semen analysis results were dismal in each of the 3 categories they test. He was referred to a specialist and diagnosed with varicocele. A little over a year after we started trying for a baby, my husband underwent surgery (that’s right, surgery on his balls!) and had a bi-lateral varicocelectomy. Once he recovered from surgery, he had another semen analysis. His numbers had improved a bit, but not enough.  We were told that IVF was our best option. It’s been years since his surgery, he still has pain on a daily basis. 

In May of 2011 we did our first IVF cycle. It was a strange and stressful experience that did not result in a pregnancy. After taking a couple of months off to let my body recover a bit, we tried again. This time was better and our September 2011 cycle, IVF#2, resulted in a pregnancy. We were so happy. We soon learned that we were expecting twins (we knew it was possible, unlikely in that it-will-never-happen-to-me kind of way, but possible… we had transferred 2 embryos for both IVF cycles 1 and 2). My pregnancy was hard. I was terribly “morning” sick all day and ended up on medication to be able to function somewhat normally. But I was still happy, it was for a good cause.

At 16 weeks we learned that I was carrying 2 healthy looking boys. A few weeks later we had a great 20 week NT scan and aside from still having terrible nausea/vomiting everything was looking great. A few days later I was in the emergency room, in labor. One of the twins’ amniotic sac had somehow ruptured and was leaking fluid. We don’t know if the leak caused the labor or the labor caused the leak but we were told that even though the other baby’s sac was intact we were unfortunately going to lose them both.

This was devastating. To make it so far into that hard-won pregnancy and have everything looking so good… All of our tests were great. Going into sudden labor and having to deliver babies that I would never get to see or hold, babies that were too young to survive outside of my body. It was the worst day of my life.

After our heartbreaking loss, we waited the prescribed 3 months and then moved forward with cycle #3. This time we did a FET of one frozen blast, which resulted in a chemical pregnancy. A terrible term for what is actually a very early miscarriage. We waited another couple of months and then started cycle #4, IVF#3. My body did not want to cooperate (unpredictable ovulator, here) and we had to wait until the following month to get started. We only transferred one blast, as per Dr.’s orders, we could not risk the possibility of twins again. Our October 2012 cycle ended much like IVF#1, BFN.

After that disappointment, I felt like I needed to take a break from all the “trying”. I still fret a bit about the “fertility” I lose as each day passes and I grow ever older. But I have limited opportunities for IVF and even though I knew I could be wasting precious time, I was not quite ready psychologically or emotionally to try again. 

I ended up waiting almost a whole year before cycling again. When we finally made it through IVF #4, embryo transfer #5, we were so happy to get a long-awaited BFP! Everything started off good but then came crashing down again. At our 7 week appointment the baby had a heartbeat but was measuring small. The RE said it could go either way and gave us 50/50 odds of success. After an anxiety filled week our 8 week appointment showed the baby had a strong heartbeat and had grown a lot – catching up from the previous week. With the success of that appointment, I thought we had landed firmly in the positive 50% and that this baby would be our rainbow. Then at my 9 week appointment, the baby no longer had a heartbeat. Heartbroken again, I decided to wait for a natural miscarriage. It took almost 3 weeks, but thankfully, it happened naturally and no medical intervention was needed.

It ended up being another whole year before I was ready for cycle #6 and in the Fall of 2014 we did our second FET of one frozen blast. This was our only remaining frozen embryo. Out of 4 fresh IVF cycles we only ever had 2 frozen embryos and they were both from IVF#2 in which we got pregnant with the twins. Unfortunately, this FET ended exactly like the last with a chemical pregnancy.

So here we are in 2015 it’s been over 5 years since we started this journey. I never imagined that it would take 7 (or more) cycles to achieve our dreams of a family. I really hope the next cycle works. I can’t imagine giving up but I also don’t know how much more heartbreak I can take. On top of that other things in life are changing and I will not have insurance coverage after cycle #7 so this is kind of my last shot. My swan song, if you will. Keep your fingers crossed for Lucky #7 to bring the dream home.

Updated to add: Lucky #7 was indeed lucky. That cycle brought our daughter into this world. It is a miracle that I am grateful for everyday. 

43 thoughts on “Our TTC Story”

  1. You have been on such a tough journey, and I am so sorry for the loss of your dear little boys. I am also glad (not the right word at all) to have found you, as our stories have many parallels. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I’ll be following along and rooting for you.

    • Thank you Sadie. I know what you mean… finding you and other people who are struggling with these same issues makes me feel less hopeless and alone. I hope both our journeys get better this year.

  2. I am so glad that I read this summery of your journey so far. I am incredibly sorry for you loss. I recently had a miscarriage myself at just 9 weeks, 5 days but I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that was to lose your boys and I am so so sorry for the rough journey you have been on.

    It’s nice to meet you! Although I do wish it could have been under better circumstances 🙂

  3. teachmetobraid said:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your boys. My heart breaks for you.

  4. While I know it is still incredibly difficult and raw, thank you for sharing your story. I hate that people that have to go to incredible lengths to conceive still have to deal with loss further down the line. (Not that anyone deserves that, but I”m sure you understand what I mean). While it is emotionally and financially hard, I sure hope that your likely upcoming IVF brings you your miracle.

  5. Hi, I found your blog through ICLW. I just wanted to say how unfair infertility and loss is. It is just so hard to keep going through such heartache. I lost twin girls when I was sixteen weeks and five days pregnant, after my first IVF cycle and I have just completed a failed FET cycle. I am so sorry for your loss and I truly wish that your journey gets a little easier and has a wonderfully happy ending.

  6. Oh, I hope this one works for you.

  7. I am very sorry for your loss… I can only imagine what you must be going through. But Thank you for sharing your story! I too have been on the TTC journey for the past 2 years (since I was 33), and I have been searching the internet for forums and blogs about infertility… It gives me hope and makes me feel less alone and not judged by my decision to start TTC in my 30s. Because sometimes I feel that even though we are all strangers, we understand each other much better. I want to believe that it is not a matter of if, but of when…

  8. Brittany said:

    My husband and I are about 2 years into TTC now. We’ve been told his sperm count is low, but he doesn’t have a varicocele. At this point I’m at the cry-your-eyes-out-every-time-someone-talks-about-it phase. We’re only 24 and 25, so I guess we have “time.”

    I digress. Anyway, I wanted you to know that I’m reading, and thankful for someone’s insight who is farther down the road than we are, and able to glean some insight and inspiration from.

    • Thank you for this comment. I found it really touching. You are very young but that doesn’t make your pain and suffering any less real. It does mean however, that you have a lot of opportunity. I wish we were your age when we started trying. Please do some research on diet and stress and how these things can affect reproductive health. Finding ways to be proactive instead of just sad and infertile are helpful for me mentally. Get your hubby taking some supplements and eating healthy and then test again in 3-4 months to see if it helps. These past 4 years have been so hard on us but I’m glad that documenting my experience can be helpful for others out there. Good luck.

      • Hi,

        Your story is so like mine…
        We have been trying to conceive since January 2009. After (almost) two dreadful long years, I got pregnant (naturally) in November 2010 with identical twin daughters that I lost at 23 weeks in April 2011. Both healthy and born alive but lived an hour. I also chose not to see them. 6 month later,I got pregnant again (much faster,on second try),but it was ectopic in my right tube. Had keyhole surgery to remove the baby (who had a heartbeat),but they kept the tube. That was November 2011.After an extensive break we deliberately chose after one premature birth and an ectopic the same year,we started TTC again in July 2013, with no luck so far.Since we haven’t discovered any infertility issues with any of us after years of medical testing,we’re still trying on our own until the end of 2014.I’ll be 33 soon and was 27 when I first tried to become pregnant,so age is not always a guarantee.We will sure go down the IVF path if nothing happens naturally. I really hope you get pregnant again and have a take-home healthy baby! Kris (from South-Eastern Europe)

  9. You’re a strong woman. Thanks for blogging your experience.

  10. I can’t help but cry as I read your page. Thank you for your incredible story, strength and determination. My DH and I met in South Africa in 2009 and got married in 2010 in the USA. We just knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I relocated to the States and we wanted to start our family in 2011. Boy were we in for a rude awakening! Long story short, my DH was diagnosed in 2011 with a pituitary tumor which caused an imbalance in his hormones thus male infertility. In 2012 we went to see a fertility specialist who abruptly told us that ivf was our only option. It kinda freaked me out but I didn’t know much about ivf back then. We’re now 32 and DH 35 & have now taken steps to go for treatment. I wish u ‘baby’ success for 2014. – “Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.”

  11. Hi there. I just read your TTC timeline and am so… Moved and angry and amazed all at the same time. I’ve had my own TTC struggles for the last going on four years now (ugh) but have never been pregnant. Even after donor eggs and all that jazz. But reading about your losses makes me realize how much people go through and how determined and strong you are. I have so much respect for you and hope 2014 is your year! Sending much love.

  12. Prudence507 said:

    You have no idea how helpful your story is. I’ve been off the pill for over a year with the expectation that it wouldn’t be so hard to get pregnant. I’m 29 and will be 30 soon. I tried to tell my doctor about my irregular cycles (too long, not ovulating), but she wanted me to wait and see. I’m going back on Monday to get a referral to a gynecologist (I have an HMO) and I will go from there. I don’t even know what my husband’s situation is, but I know that a good first step would be for me to ovulate regularly. Just thinking about it is stressful, but your strength gives me strength. Thank you for your honesty and your insight. I will check back here often just to see where you are on your journey.

  13. So sorry to hear the hard journey you have been on. Please continue to have hope. My husband and I also have been through our own TTC roller coaster. I want to give you hope though. After three miscarriages (a set of twins as well), two cycles of iui, two cycles of IVF, and a donor egg IVF cycle I became pregnant naturally. We now have a healthy 14 month old son! He is truly a miracle we didn’t think we’d ever have. It is a hard, emotionally taxing journey. I was unable to relax at all through my pregnancy after what we had been through but we made it. I am praying and hoping you will get there too! All the best!

  14. What an amazing story to share. You are clearly an extremely strong woman and I’m so sorry for your loss. I ended up on your blog whilst surfing on google for reasons to why I’m not getting pregnant when all my tests and my husbands tests are normal… And here I am depressed and feeling sorry for myself when you are so strong. I really hope you will get your happy ending. Your story is inspiring.

  15. Your story is powerful and heartbreaking. You and your husband have so much courage to return to each cycle. This process is difficult and sad, and as you stated, it’s so far from couples who can have a heathy sex life that results in a baby:( my thought and prayers are with you. You will have your baby one day.

  16. Wow, you have been through so much. I’m so sorry for your losses. My heart was skipping beats and breaking as I was reading your story. Thank you so much for sharing, and hoping and praying you get your baby soon (and then 2 more!). ❤

  17. I wanted to stop by and say that I’m following you. Hoping that 2014 is the year for you.

  18. I just found your blog and I enjoyed reading this post. Of course not because of the sad parts of it, but because I can tell from reading this that you are a very strong woman and I think you will get your bfp soon.
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  19. I have just found your blog, and just read your story, i feel for you so much how heartbreaking. I can see how strong your being, and have all my fingers crossed for your BFP very soon! Ill keep coming to read your blog. and good luck
    lauren x

  20. Heather said:

    Thank you for sharing your story, which is powerful and heartbreaking. Sometimes I feel like my husband and I are alone in this journey. I’m so thankful for others that share their story and reading words of encouragement from other people dealing with the similar struggles. Our stories are similar, we waited until we were married 10 years before we really starting TTC. We have been trying to get pregnant for over 4 years and started seeing our 2nd RE last year after numerous unsuccessful IUI’s and failed IVF’s with our previous RE. Our previous RE didn’t know what my issue was because some months I would respond positively to treatment, but didn’t result in a pregnancy and other months I wouldn’t respond at all and the cycle would be cancelled. Finally, the 2nd RE tried a different course of treatment and figured out exactly what was wrong with me. We have a triple whammy, I have a rare case in which my hormones were so out of whack my body ovulates 5-6 days later than the average person, which explains why we were never able to get pregnant naturally. Whammy #2 due to my age I didn’t have the healthiest eggs and third whammy my husband semen analysis shows high sperm count but low count of good motility. After several conversations with my RE, I’ve decided to changed up my diet, exercise and daily supplements to help balance out my hormones and cycle. I still have to wait a few more months before we to try another IVF. Since I’ve started these changes, I can see the changes to my body, cycle and my ovulation predictor tests shows a LH surge earlier in my cycle. I wish you all the best with your next round of IVF, thinking positive thoughts for you and hubby, and will continue to follow your journey on your blog.

    • Thanks for the comment and the warm thoughts. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all that but glad you found a DR that is helping now. I think the diet and lifestyle stuff is REALLY important and most doctors totally discount it. I’m not religious but I’ve also found that spiritual exploration and growth has been really helpful for me emotionally/mentally in case you’re interested. Best wishes in your continued journey.

  21. I just found your blog, and I am so so sorry for all the heartache you’ve been through. Long story short, we got pregnant naturally the first time but lost our son 10 hours after he was born due to complications with the birth. Couldn’t get pregnant for 2 years after that, did 3 IVF cycles (1 FET), and after the 3rd try, had our beautiful rainbow baby who is now 3 1/2. been trying again for a few years now, and i’m about to do another FET with 2 of our frozen embryos from that 3rd cycle. I will be 44 in a week. I’m terrified of twins and everything else at this age. But we have our rainbow baby- I feel blessed beyond belief.

    I understand your pain and am going to send so much love and thoughts that this is the one. xo

  22. Hi and congratulations on your current pregnancy! My husband and I have been trying for a year and even though I can get pregnant, I don’t stay that way. I’ve had 3 miscarriages at 5 weeks and 1 at 12. My doctor has given up on me and says I just have to keep trying until one “sticks.” My husband just went to see a urologist a few weeks ago and they think he may have 1 or possibly 2 varicoceles. I have read a lot of contradictory anecdotes on the efficacy of surgery but yours was the first that mentioned chronic pain following surgery. I was wondering if you would mind elaborating on your husband’s experience? Do you feel the surgery was a mistake? I would love it if a varicocelectomy solved our problems but I don’t want my husband to be in pain for the rest of his life either…We are still waiting on the results of his SA to even see if that is definitely the issue but if it is I am not clear on what the right thing to do is. The surgery doesn’t seem to work for everybody and now it sounds like there can be negative side effects on top of that. Thank you for your time.

    • Thanks for the comment and I’m sorry for your losses. I took a look at your blog, you’ve been through a lot. Based on the fact that you’ve gotten pregnant naturally 4 times in a year makes me think that your husbands SA will be OK and that the varicoceles are not the cause of your issues at this time. My initial thought is that fixing the varicoceles will not fix the problem. This doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t fix it. They could be affecting the health of his sperm’s DNA if not the count. My husband says in your situation he wouldn’t have the surgery now. But we are not doctors and we are not you. You have to do what you think is right. I would keep looking for other issues. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to get different tests and find out what might be causing your losses. Have you looked into the MTHFR gene mutation? I started getting into alternative health and functional medicine during my struggles to get and stay pregnant. One online health personality I respect Chris Kresser. I think he provides good evidence based information. I think what we eat and how we live influences these outcomes more than we realize. Keep searching. I know there are lots of bloggers around who have complicated medical histories like you. Some I know have had good luck with reproductive immunology. I saw you asked your RE about it but just because one RE doesn’t agree don’t mean it’s not an issue. Please let me know if you want to talk more, I can email you.

      • Thank you so much for your reply! We get the results of the hubby’s SA on Tuesday and, like you said, based on the fact that I get pregnant within 2 cycles of trying every time I am preparing myself to hear that it is not the issue. My RE refused to test me for the MTHFR gene mutation because he said it doesn’t fit with how early my losses usually are. If the urologist is a dead end I am going to switch to a new RE in Austin (about an hour away) and see what he says. I do think Reproductive Immunology may hold some answers for me but at this point it is outside of our budget so I haven’t bothered to get started with it since I can’t afford the treatment even if that is the problem. I will look into Chris Kresser. Thanks again for taking the time to get back to me!

  23. Wow I just read this with a heavy heart, but then looked across on the right and realised that this is an old post, as saw the title ‘my baby is crawling!’ How amazing! This gives me some hope, me and my husband have been TTC for almost 3 years, I have not long finished a failed cycle of ICSI, am feeling a little lost and have just written my first blog, and starting to read some others hoping to find some hope!

    • Thanks for commenting. I’m so sorry for your struggles. I know how hard it is. My wishes finally came true when my little miracle was born 7 years after we started trying. This journey is hard. I’m not the same person I was when we started but I believe I am a better person and a better mother because of my journey. I’m sorry you’re feeling lost. I started my blog during one of the toughest parts of my fertility story. I found my blog and this community very comforting. I hope yours will do the same for you. The one piece of advice I’ll give you is make sure your physical health, stress levels and nutrition are in good shape but also explore some emotional and spiritual support/healing. This is what I feel made the most difference for me. In the end, every hard day was worth it for the joy my daughter inspires in my heart.
      Honor your emotions and keep your heart and options open. Things don’t always happen when or how we want them too but don’t give up hope.

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