I remember the exact moment when my husband and I decided we were ready to start our family. It was February 2008. We were in our second year of marriage, both had great jobs and were vacationing in the Dominican Republic. I was 28 years old and was sure we had plenty of time to try.
A year went by, and we figured maybe our timing was off. I wasn't worried though hey, I was only 29 years old. We had several friends in our age group, and even older, who were conceiving children with no problems.
"It just wasn't our time yet."
Another year went by and a bit of concern started to creep in -- but so did denial, and I refused to believe that there might be something wrong. Something wrong with me. Something wrong with him. Something wrong with the both of us.
After three years, it was time to get things checked out. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN and she agreed it was time for both of us to get some fertility testing done. I thought that maybe we had some minor issues that would have an easy fix. Maybe we just needed a little help.
It turns out we needed a lot more than just a little help. My husband was diagnosed with a condition that does not completely wipe out the possibility of fathering a biological child, but the odds were certainly not in our favor. I'll never forget the look on his face when we found out this news. It is something that I cannot put into words and it is something that only those couples who have actually received those words can completely understand.
The doctor then informed me that my test results were concerning. My FSH level was elevated, meaning there was a possibility I had issues with my egg quality and quantity. Again, I refused to believe there could be any truth to that. I was only 31 years old.
We attempted our first IVF cycle in July 2011 using my eggs and sperm retrieved from my husband via testicular biopsy. We retrieved four eggs during that cycle. Those with experience in the IVF world know that this was not a great number. The doctors and staff were shocked when all four eggs fertilized and we ended up with four decent embryos.
I thought to myself, 'This is it! We're going to get lucky on our first try.''
We soon received word that our pregnancy test results were in and they were negative. I was devastated. We were both devastated. All that work, all those injections, and most importantly, all that hope, was just gone. We were back to square one.
We picked ourselves up and tried again, switching clinics after our second unsuccessful attempt. We were thrilled with our new doctor, who had a very established reputation working with people facing severe fertility issues. He was very honest and direct, which is something we needed on this journey. He referred to us as the "Perfect Storm." I liked that.
Our chances for success were challenging, but I was confident he would do everything he could to help us. And he did. We completed two more cycles, and although my response to the new medication protocol was much better, we still did not have our little baby. We made the difficult decision to try and conceive using a sperm donor and my eggs. But once again, when we did not get our little baby after two attempts using donor sperm, our newfound hope quickly came to an end. At this point (six unsuccessful IVF cycles) I knew in my heart that it was time to consider other options. It was 2013, I was 33 years old, and I was tired.
"We wanted a child. A child to love, to nurture and to raise together with our values. Genetics did not matter."
I accepted the fact that we would not have a biological child. There is a grieving process for this that I cannot explain. It was always fun to dream about our baby having my blue eyes or my husband's beautiful smile. This was not going to happen. It took time, but eventually this became okay. We discussed adoption several times, which is a beautiful thing for so many children and parents. However, as a woman, I had a very strong desire to experience pregnancy. I wanted to experience the morning sickness and the weight gain. I wanted to go to ultrasounds with my husband, and I wanted to experience delivery and birth with him.
Then our doctor introduced us to DEB USA.
Using both frozen donor eggs and donor sperm, it was still possible for me to carry a child. We began the process of applying for the Assured Refund Program in September 2013.
"Frozen donor eggs brought us new hope and another new beginning."
We completed three more cycles between November 2013 and September 2014, but we still did not have our little baby. I came to understand that my body was not responding the way it should.
I understood that we could not conceive a child. I came to terms with that a long time ago. Now I was worried that I would not even be able to carry one.
Our fourth attempt happened in March 2015. We had not given up, but hope was hard to hold onto at that point. We were numb. The process became so routine that it did not really faze either of us. But on May 7, 2015, we received the news that we waited for over 7 years to hear.
Our little baby was finally on her way.Evelina Jean was born on January 19, 2016. She is the most beautiful gift we ever could've wished for and we are so thankful for those who selflessly donate to help struggling couples fulfill their dreams of having children. All of the frustration, disappointment and pain that we experienced just trying to have her became a distant memory the moment she was born. And we would do it all over again, just knowing that it would eventually lead us to her. The fact that she is not our biological child never even crosses my mind. She is our baby. We are her parents -- her Mommy and Daddy.