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My Story: Pregnancy After Infertility

Embryo Transfer Fertility

By Claire Andrade, postpartum doula

Three years ago, my husband and I decided that we were ready to grow our family and become parents. Being “young and healthy” from a medical standpoint, we believed this would be a pretty straightforward process. As someone who likes to have a solid plan, we even talked about the ideal time of year to welcome our first child, believing we would be able to have control over this.

We slowly learned that this would not be our story. Instead, after a year of trying, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

Approximately 1 in 8 couples in the US are diagnosed with infertility, though many studies estimate this number is even higher. Despite how common infertility is, there is a societal stigma that this is something that should be kept private to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable. Research has found that women with infertility can have anxiety and depression levels similar to those with cancer, heart disease, and HIV. Knowing this, I yearned for a community of people who understood the physical, emotional, and financial toll of infertility. I found this community in books, podcasts (like this), and through the stories of infertility accounts on social media. Having a community of resources to turn to for support was vital for us as we worked through our new plan for growing our family.

After several failed medicated cycles, an IVF retrieval, a failed embryo transfer, and a devastating miscarriage, our third embryo transfer was successful and led us to the baby boy we are eagerly waiting to meet this August. While we were elated that our perseverance had finally paid off, we were reminded that infertility doesn’t leave you once you become pregnant.

Pregnancy after infertility is a complex web of emotions. I find myself repeatedly holding my breath, waiting to hear bad news as has so often been our experience. I keep setting milestones in which things will feel safe, but find that this mental “safe zone” keeps moving further and further out. After years of feeling like my body has failed me, I am slowly learning to trust my body and its ability to support this pregnancy.

Despite everything that infertility has taken from us, it has also made this pregnancy more beautiful than I could have imagined. We are grateful for each uneventful day that passes and rejoice when we reach significant milestones (recently splurging on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream to celebrate reaching 20 weeks). Infertility has also taught us the importance of patience and flexibility—traits I know will come in handy as we enter parenthood. Finally, it serves as a reminder of how hard we have fought to get here and has made me a better advocate for myself and others.

As I look at another National Infertility Awareness Week, memories of the past three years resurface. I am met with the usual feelings of sadness and loss. However, this year as I feel the little kicks of a baby growing inside me, I am reminded that we are beginning a new chapter of our journey. I can’t wait to see where it leads.

For more reading about infertility and pregnancy after infertility, check out these resources:

infertility Journey

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