When my wife, K, and I met in 2018, we both felt confident that motherhood was in our future. K was pondering becoming a single mom by choice, and I was hoping that marriage and parenthood were the next seasons of my life. We fell in love quickly, moved in together soon after, and married in 2020.
As COVID newlyweds with no known fertility issues, we assumed we could get pregnant quickly and decided to wait a year to try.
In 2021, we excitedly chose our sperm donor from the online sperm bank database. The donor had adorable childhood photos, interests similar to the men in our own families, and no genetic anomalies that matched our own. We decided that, since I took many medications for my chronic migraines and K was four years older, it made sense for K to carry the baby. Knowing very little about the challenges that could be down the road for us, we met with a local reproductive endocrinologist and planned our first unmedicated intrauterine insemination (IUI).
In the following eight months, K went through five IUI cycles with increasing medical interventions to try to achieve a successful pregnancy.
In total, we had one canceled cycle, three unsuccessful cycles, and one miscarriage at nine weeks of pregnancy. We thought we would end 2021 by announcing K’s pregnancy to friends and family, but instead, we ended the year devastated, broken-hearted, and deeply lost.
By the spring of 2022, we had lost confidence that we could have a live birth from IUI. I felt hopeless and often circled back to the question haunting me: Who am I if motherhood is not meant to be part of my identity? Refusing to give in to this fear too soon, we got a second opinion from a friend’s fertility clinic.
We both ended the consultation feeling confident that it was time for me to try getting pregnant–and that it was time to try in vitro fertilization (IVF).
After a physically challenging IVF egg retrieval, we transferred the first “perfect” frozen embryo in a “perfect” transfer in August. Over the next ten days, my home tests were always negative, ruining my day every day. I was surprised when my doctor called with my bloodwork results: my HCG number showed that I was pregnant, but only barely. Subsequent bloodwork showed this number quickly dropping off to zero. At four weeks pregnant, I had had a chemical pregnancy–another loss. Deeply disappointed and surprised (Aren’t the success rates for IVF way, way higher than IUI? Isn’t that why we switched?), I spent the next month doing additional testing, adjustments, and preparation to try again.
At the end of October, I had my second embryo transfer, feeling at peace knowing that I had done everything in my power to make this successful. Now all I could do was wait.
The night before my blood work, I got a very faint positive home test–way too faint–and braced myself for more bad news. Instead, I was shocked when the nurse called the following day to tell me that I was definitely pregnant! My bloodwork numbers looked great. My due date? The exact same day as the due date of the baby K had miscarried: July 14. A beautiful blessing from that baby to this one.