Chances are, you have heard of or know someone like me. Whether it be a sister, aunt, cousin, friend or co-worker, there is someone in your life that has struggled with infertility. To put it bluntly, infertility sucks. The innocent question asking me how many kids I have has become heartbreaking to answer since most women my age have already stopped having children. A couple of years ago, I would have not hesitated to simply answer that I don’t have any yet. The response to that question has now become deeply more complicated. The grief always surfaces as I hold back tears while delicately explaining I have lost 4 babies, and my husband and I are praying one day we will be blessed.
I sometimes blame myself for the possibility of not having a chance at motherhood. For most of my life, I have put my career and personal agenda ahead of the thought of having children. I even uttered the words, “I never want to have kids” after going through a divorce. But now, at the age of 35, I am married to a wonderful man and we want to start a family. Those motherly instincts that I thought were long gone are making a grand appearance.
Unfortunately, my body does not feel the same way.
In July of 2013, I was diagnosed with POF (Premature Ovarian Failure). My then 33 year old body had become one of a 50 year old going through menopause. The diagnosis meant I had less than a 1% chance of ever conceiving naturally. Going on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) was a must to avoid the hot flashes and sleepless nights I was experiencing daily. Our only option, at this point, was to find an egg donor and hope that I could carry the baby. We found a donor in December 2013 and received the “all clear” from the doctor to proceed, but something was holding me back on making the hefty deposit required to secure our donor’s eggs.
The holidays came and went, and in January 2014 my body started acting very strange. A nauseating feeling and complete exhaustion were more than a New Year’s hangover, considering I went to bed sober at 8:00 p.m. Four pregnancy tests later (only because I didn’t believe the first two), we confirmed that I was pregnant. How did this happen? Well, I know HOW it happened. My husband and I were beyond excited. We knew this was going to be our miracle baby. Hearing the heartbeat a couple of weeks later and getting to take home the ultrasound picture was what we had hoped and prayed for every day. What we weren’t prepared for was the devastating news, just a week later, that our baby’s heart had stopped beating.
Since my body had decided to do a 180, we quickly made an appointment with the fertility doctor to explore our options. There was no time to grieve. The doctor said our best chances were to start follicle stimulating shots immediately and to try natural conception. We got another BFP (Big Fat Positive) in March 2014, but again, suffered another loss.
I was on a mission.
My ovaries had proven my doctors wrong, and I was determined that we could get pregnant without their help. Learning a fertility vocabulary and acronyms (BFP, BFN, CM, BD, OPK, etc.), taking my BBT (Basal Body Temperature), peeing on sticks every morning, and using an app called Fertility Friend became a must and my normal routine. I learned more about my reproductive system than what I, or my husband, ever cared to know.
In July 2014, we had our BFP for the third time. This was it. I knew the third time would be a charm. 5 weeks and 5 days into my pregnancy, an overwhelming pain took over the right side of my abdomen. I knew when the pain became debilitating that it was an ectopic pregnancy. My husband drove us to the emergency room as I was screaming in agony. Within an hour, I was in and out of surgery. My right fallopian tube, and our third baby, was gone. As if the heartache was not enough, I was pregnant again in September and suffered another loss of our fourth baby.
2014 was a rough year, to say the least. The realization that I might never get to hear the word “mommy” crosses my mind every day, but I will continue to answer the uncomfortable questions. Not just for me, but for the thousands of other women who might not have the courage or strength to answer. 1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility, so yes, chances are there is someone in your life like me.
About Jennifer Delaune Richardson
Jennifer Delaune Richardson is a great example of a modern day “working woman.” She is an independent, hardworking, and successful wife and business woman who has never been known to back down from a challenge. Always one to give sound, reliable advice to those seeking it, it is hard not to want to better yourself by following the example she sets. As a former spin class instructor, exercise and nutrition also play an important role in her life. Jennifer is a loving mother to their family dog, Princess, who truly is the Queen of the house.