3.5 years / 1,277 days / 30,660 hours
“From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.” — RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
Our story began late in 2016 — a rare Tinder success story. I swiped right on a Marine that was temporarily stationed in Oklahoma. He swiped right on a southern belle living in Texas. We lived an hour away from each other at the time. On our first date, I asked him who the pictured baby was on his Tinder profile, assuming she was a niece or cousin of his. A little caught off guard and expecting me to bail, he mentioned she was his daughter. He was surprised as I excitedly pressed him for more details about his beautiful 7-month-old daughter, Paisley. Despite being 23 years of age and not even living in the same state as him, I was all for seeing where this match would go.
For me, 2019 was an eventful year; not only did Ian and I tie the knot, but I became a stepmother. Paisley has been and still is such a blessing. No one could ever ask for a better kid. She’s the most thoughtful girl around, well mannered, and so very smart. We have built such a wonderful relationship over the years. I have always loved being her stepmother. My immense love for Paisley struck a deep desire in my heart to become a mommy.
Additionally, 2019 was also the year we began trying for a baby. Ian and I thought having a baby would be easy, but it turned out, it was the absolute opposite for us. In the beginning months, I hid away an announcement onesie I had eagerly ordered for when the time came to surprise Ian. I just knew in my heart that it would be a couple months, and we’d have a baby on the way! Unfortunately, that onesie sat hidden away, collecting dust, for three and a half years.
The pain of dealing with infertility as a stepmother is one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Despite my stepdaughter being the best of the best, I still craved to be “mommy” and experience the immense joy of pregnancy and motherhood. I wanted to be the kind of mother that my own mother was to me. I wanted my biggest dream to come true, the one that I had since I was young.
At the time, life really didn’t seem fair; the crippling anxiety, depression, anger, jealousy, and loneliness were all too real.
Those 3.5 years were jam-packed with vitamins, “super-foods,” reading articles, obsessing, infertility Facebook groups, sprinkles of hope, tremendous let-downs, prayers, therapy, crying sessions, severe cystic acne due to stress, two fertility clinics, multiple fertility treatments, surgery, convincing people that I was fine, medications, and plenty of IVF shots.
After beginning fertility treatments with a different practice and undergoing three failed IUI’s, we heard about Shady Grove Fertility Colorado through some friends. We were intrigued by the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program and decided to give it a shot (literally!). We felt more secure spending our money through SGF Colorado knowing we’d be guaranteed a baby, or we’d have most of the money refunded back to us. Spending a large chunk of money on one round of IVF and possibly being out a baby and our hard-earned money did not seem ideal for us.
The IVF process was not as complicated as I figured it would be because Dr. Polotsky, my nurse Jessica, and the entire SGF Colorado team made me feel so confident, organized, and hopeful every step of the way. I’ve never been one for needles and shots, but I worked up the courage to not only have multiple injections a day for a span of time, but to also mix the medications and administer them myself (coming from someone who threw up and nearly passed out during a simple blood draw once upon a time).
Ian was also such a great help and would administer the injections for me when he could! It was a special process to go through together and brought us even closer. A high point of IVF was the hope that it provided. Every administered shot made me feel one step closer to our baby. Another high point was the excellent SGF Colorado staff members — I knew I was in good hands, and they had such positive spirits for our journey. Low points would include second guessing myself when it came to mixing medications and where to inject them — thus causing anxiety. However, if I can do it — you surely can too! Thankfully, the nurses are always just a phone call away for reassurance.
At this point, I’ve realized it’s incredible what one will put themselves through when they want something badly enough. We are beyond thankful we took a chance on Shady Grove Fertility. By far, working with their team has been one of the best decisions of our lives.
Though our infertility is still diagnosed as “unexplained,” the heart-wrenching journey was worth it because on September 5th, 2022, Dr. Polotsky called and greeted me with, “Hello, pregnant lady!”
Pregnancy was a dream. We had a couple of ER scares, but thankfully everything ended up being fine both times. I cherished being pregnant and constantly rubbed my belly; probably too much (because everyone seemed to ask me if I was okay when I did!). When I began feeling her little kicks, they lit up my world and I’d beam to everyone around me. We greatly enjoyed watching her grow through her ultrasound photos and my increasing belly size. No matter what pain or annoying pregnancy symptom I dealt with, I took it in stride because I was beyond grateful for our sweet miracle.
We ended up scheduling an induction five days before our due date. As the days grew nearer to the date, I hoped she’d make her own birthday instead of having a scheduled one. To our surprise, I was already in labor when we stepped through the hospital doors to check in on induction day. She came on her own terms, and she was certainly ready! Twelve hours later, our beautiful 6-pound, 6-ounce bundle of joy was placed in our arms.
The mere fact that we were fortunate enough to be able to give IVF a chance was our main line of hope, along with holding on tightly to our faith, even in the darkest of times. My amazing husband has been my saving Grace throughout it all, along with my sweet stepdaughter who prayed with us for years that we’d all be blessed with a little one.
Our baby girl is better than we could have ever imagined. The fact that she’s sleeping cradled in my left arm while I hunt and peck the keyboard with my right hand to type this is surreal. Every moment is surreal (even when it is 2:37 am and she won’t fall back asleep!). The way she grabs onto my fingers is surreal. Her eyes, her smile, her toes, her chubby cheeks – all of it is surreal. The immense love we have for her is indescribable and we couldn’t be happier to be her parents.
The trials of infertility have not been forgotten in the least, but they have transformed into an immense love for this little one that we are beyond thankful for. Our little girl is now 3 weeks old and growing strong.
To those currently muddling through the waves of infertility and starting treatment; it sounds cliché, but absolutely without a doubt, do not lose hope. There is always hope. I recommend doing all the things: buy fun IVF-themed gifts for yourself, eat Mcdonald’s fries after treatments, find the cutest announcement onesie to hide away, work on an IVF journal, find a therapist who has experienced infertility personally, find a friend who has experienced infertility personally (you are more than welcome to reach out to me!), treat yo’ self, and give yourself the grace to feel whatever you feel and know that it’s okay to not be okay.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much, Dr. Polotsky and the rest of the amazing SGF team. You all helped change our lives in the best way and we couldn’t be more thankful!