Words by Monique Farook  |  @infertilityandmepodcast | 

It’s 2012, and I am 29 years old, a homeowner in a well-respected neighborhood, owned multiple small businesses, married, and a fur momma. Some would say Omar Sr and I lived the ideal life and that we were in our prime. But what was lurking behind the shadows, I could never have predicted. Omar and I had been married for two-years and together as a couple for four years. A year before I met Omar, I ceased all birth control usage, specifically Depo Provera. Once the urge to pursue motherhood began and after a year of trying naturally, I knew that something was wrong. I thought maybe it was him. Infertility was not prevalent on either side of my family, except one Aunt. I never met Omar’s family. He is not close to them and spent time in the foster care system. After months of tensions, he agreed that I should at least get a diagnosis.

 

Off I went a few weeks later to have an HSG test to determine my reproductive organs’ health. I enter a large room with white walls and a cold metal table that I laid on. I stared intensely at the monitor that would display my future. The radiologist and her team were very precise, wasting no time to get started. The contrast material travels through my vaginal canal, cervix, uterus, and, lastly, my left fallopian tube. I feel pressure as the radiologist tests my right fallopian -tube again. My fate determined before I arrived. I was diagnosed with right tubal blockage. Devastated is an understatement to describe how I felt. As the radiologist techs left the room giggling, I could not help but wonder if they were laughing at me.

Omar and I agreed that we would try one cycle of IUI; from there, we were unsure. The day arrives for our IUI, and I am weirdly excited. In my thoughts and with the countless research articles I had read, I knew this would work. How naive of me. Once again, I am on my back, but this time the table was not cold. Omar standing to my right, and the RE is at my feet, with only the crown of her head visible. In goes the IUI Catheter, a slight pinch, much like during a pap smear. A few seconds later, my RE is sitting-up and explaining that I would remain there for an additional fifteen-minutes. The doctor is gone; Omar and I laugh nervously as we look into one another’s eyes. This cycle would be unsuccessful.

Omar was hell-bent on conceiving naturally and would not agree to revisit the RE do discuss the next steps. For him, I had one fallopian tube, a significant amount of eggs, and I was in the best shape of my life. We should just try; naturally, he said.

 

Four years go by, and we have not gotten pregnant. We were worn at this point by the countless letdowns, month after month, year after year. I located a new RE and made my consultation appointment. This time, the HSG test determined both of my tubes were open, a huge relief. I went for my second consult, and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and uterine polyps. In my mind, just another roadblock. Off I went to have the uterine polyps removed by my Ob/GYN and three-month plan to increase thyroid levels with a medication called Levothyroxine. Finally! July storms in, and I am cleared by my Ob/GYN to continue with the next steps in my path to momma-hood.

July 15th, 2016, I called my RE’s office to inform the Nurses it was the first day of my cycle. On egg retrieval day, July 24th, I was nervous, happy, and scared out of my wits. Hubby remained in the waiting room. The anesthesiologist and nurses prepped me, and once the doctor came in, asleep, I went. The procedure took about thirty minutes. I awakened to hubby standing by my side, rubbing my arm, and felt at peace. The nurse said I was free to eat and resume moderate physical activity once the anesthesia had dwindled. The next day, my doctor called me personally to tell me she was sorry, but the egg did not fertilize. My heart sank; feelings of disappointment were too hard to uncover. Although I love silver-linings, this day was not one of them.

August rolls in. I call to inform the nurse that my menstrual cycle has begun. I recall us eating at our favorite Mexican restaurant a few days before egg retrieval day. My cell phone alarm rings, reminding me to administer medication that would suppress ovulation. I stopped eating and made haste to the restroom. I giggled to myself, thinking about what I was willing to do to grow our family. Egg retrieval day was August 16th; I was much less fearful this go around and excited for the future that awaited us. As I often say, I had good vibes and decided to be present for every step of the way.

Omar did an excellent job tending to my needs after the egg retrieval. The next day a nurse called to inform me that our egg was fertilized and in the embryonic stage. I shouted, “Yes!” and we laughed excitedly together. Our fresh-embryo transfer was scheduled two days later, and I called hubby to give him the good news. On the morning of August 19th, we were thrilled because we were much closer to being pregnant. I was awake for the embryo transfer, which took only a few minutes. I closed my eyes and imagined our embryo finding a snug little spot to grow. Over the next two weeks, I did everything I could to keep busy around the house since I was no longer working with hubby at the restaurant. I remember watching funny movies, catching up with friends and family members close by. I envisioned our little embryo finding a safe, warm, cushiony spot within my womb. I left the picture given to us of our embryo downstairs, where I spent most of my time at home. I dreamed of our soon to be baby a few times over the years and called out to him or her in my sleep at night. In those times of dreaming, I would say, ” dear future baby, it’s safe to come to us, and we’re ready too.

I was to visit the doctor’s office very early in the morning on Friday, August 27th, to test for pregnancy hormone hCG and receive the bloodwork’s beta results by phone later that day. I took a nap and lounged around with our dog Sebastian most of the day, anxiously waiting for the nurse to call. Ahhhh!!! I wanted to scream. I could barely take one bite of food, I was so antsy. By 3 pm, the nurse called to tell me the beta results were 768, which meant we were PREGNANT!!! I remained calm and smilingly said, “Thank you so much!” On the inside, my heart was dancing. I returned to the clinic two days later to test again, and my beta results had nearly tripled. My first vaginal ultrasound would take place at six weeks pregnant.

My journey to motherhood was an adventure I never signed up for. But it is mine, and I own it. We cannot control nearly half of what happens to us in life, but we can damned sure control how we navigate it. We can connect with others online, seek counseling, take mini-vacations with our spouses, lead a healthy lifestyle, continue to excel in our work or businesses, and, most of all, thrive along the way.

Words by Monique farook
@infertilityandmepodcast

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