April is Infertility Awareness month. I chose four amazing women to share their infertility story each Friday on the blog this month. This is for all of you who know what it’s like to struggle for something that comes so naturally to most. We wish, we hope, and we power through for the dream of creating a family. Sometimes the world seems so against us. But one thing I know for sure is… you are not alone.
Meet Beckie & Eric
Beckie is 31 years old with the diagnosis of… unexplained infertility and pregnancy loss. Her story is unique because she actually spent a few years in her 20’s donating her eggs. She donated her eggs the max FDA allowed amount… 6 times. #HolyCrap Just out of the goodness of her beautiful soul.
Mallory: Where are you from?
Beckie: Currently living in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI
Mallory: How and when did you meet your spouse?
Beckie: I like to say we have a modern love story because we met on Match.com. The best $120 I’ve ever spent!
Mallory: What do you and your spouse do for a living?
Beckie: I’m a Care Coordinator for a Fetal Center at a Children’s Hospital and Eric is a third shift Police Officer.
Mallory: What is one thing we should know about you?
Beckie: Since I was young I knew I wanted to be two things in life, a wife and a mother. I’ve never really felt so strongly about anything else.
Mallory: Let’s start from the beginning when you donated your egg. What made you want to donate?
Becky: I was single when I first started donating and didn’t plan on having children any time soon. I remember thinking “If I didn’t have the means to have my own children, I pray someone could help me like this.”
Beckie: I felt really positive about what I was doing each cycle. I didn’t think about the risks in depth at the time because I was so happy to please the recipient couple. They were counting on me. In retrospect, I feel like egg donation gave me a false sense of confidence in my fertility, so when I got married and started trying to conceive, I was absolutely devastated when it wasn’t happening.
Beckie: I was 27 when I donated. I was actually in my first donor cycle when I met my husband. He continued to support me donating while we dated, were engaged and I had my last cycle just months before our wedding.
Beckie: I’ll never regret donating my eggs. I’m on the other side of the fence now and am close to so many women who use donor eggs. During this journey our goals change and in the end we all just want to be parents. I was an anonymous donor so I will never know the outcomes of my donations, but I pray I was able to give someone else the opportunity to get the family I now know how badly they must have wanted. I’ll always wonder deep down inside if egg donation impacted my ability to have children somehow.
Beckie: Eric and I were always on the same page when we were dating and it was always our plan that we’d start trying as soon as we were married.
Beckie: We got pregnant the first month we tried, but miscarried early on. A fluke, we thought. But as we tried again and again, we were having either a chemical pregnancy or weren’t getting pregnant at all. I knew after a few losses in a row that something was definitely not right.
Beckie: Most couples get diagnosed with infertility after 12 months of trying and not conceiving, but we were diagnosed fairly early on. Having recurrent losses, then not getting pregnant at all for many months, we knew something was not right.
Beckie: I had been seeing an OB who was willing to help in any way he could, but one day his nurse called me and basically said he was breaking up with me, he could no longer help me and I needed to be referred to a RE.
Beckie: When we were referred to an RE I went to the same provider I had seen years prior when I was an egg donor. We had history. He has great bedside manner and takes the time to engage and answer all your questions. We had high hopes. We started with lots of testing which all came back normal.
Beckie: We did 5 medicated cycles with Letrozole or Clomid, 1 IUI and we’re currently doing our second IVF.
Beckie: We’ve never truly stopped trying to conceive since we started 2.5 years ago. The months we were in between treatment and doing tests we were also trying naturally.
Beckie: Our decision to do IVF happened very abruptly. We were impatient after over a year of trying with the same results and wanted to give having a baby our best chance.
Beckie: The hardest part of IVF has definitely been staying positive and regaining hope after each disappointment. I always pray that my husband can be strong when I’m weak and for strength when I can tell he is struggling. This journey is not just about one devastating event, it’s grieving a loss each cycle that doesn’t work.
Beckie: I never expected to find an incredible community of women to go through this journey with. I connected with an online community back when we first saw our RE and they’ve been by my side rooting for me ever since. I truly believe I could not have gotten through some really dark moments without all their support. One of my favorite quotes has come to be “Surround yourself with people who get it.”
Beckie: We’ve been fairly private about our journey until more recently. We told our families, a few select friends and coworkers early on because we had been so vocal about trying for a baby after we got married that people started to inquire when we weren’t sharing any news. I’ve learned that not everyone has to understand your journey and the choices you make because it’s not theirs to make sense of. I’ve endured a few too many insensitive and hurtful comments, sometimes from people who have the best of intentions and sometimes from people that don’t. I’ve been a lot more open about our journey recently because I’ve been so inspired by others that have shared their stories and the strength it has given me.
Beckie: I praise God that I have been given the best partner in life to go through this hard journey with. Our entire marriage has revolved around this struggle for 2.5 years and I have to continually remind myself how many blessings we have in life and not focus on the one thing we want and don’t have.
Beckie: It’s hard to say as I’ve make an effort to not look back. There will always be so many what ifs that could consume my thoughts and I think at a certain point you just have to let those thoughts go and simply be present.
Beckie: This process is all about patience and waiting. Try to keep yourself as busy as possible, stay as positive as you can and be your own advocate.
Beckie: Our infertility and losses have changed us and the relationships we have in so many different ways. This has made us so strong, as individuals and in our relationship. In the first 2.5 years of marriage we have already gone through so much, I know we can take on whatever life throws at us the rest of our lives if we’ve gotten through this. ♦