Our love story starts later in life, and as they say, it was worth the wait to finally find each other.
Rob and I were newlyweds right before the pandemic, so we did not get a chance to travel as much as we wanted to in those first couple of years, but it also gave us some downtime to complete degrees on our bucket list. Before growing our family, we loved renting cabins and exploring Shenandoah National Park, going to the beach, and taking our Jeeps on trails. Rob plays hockey and does some amateur magic on the side, so we had fun going to hockey games and catching live magic shows when I visited friends in Pittsburgh. Rob has two children from a previous marriage who were in elementary school at the time, so we had fun taking them on vacations, hiking, and supporting their participation in Scouts.
We knew we wanted to “complete” our family with a child of our own. Shortly after our wedding, and in the middle of the pandemic, we had a devastating miscarriage and started to look to doctors for help.
After a few months, and knowing our age was starting to turn against us, we found Dr. Hsu at Shady Grove Fertility. Right away, we started on an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment plan that felt right for us. Along the way, Dr. Hsu made sure we were comfortable with everything we were doing.
We knew that with our insurance coverage and our savings, we would only be able to try two rounds of IVF, hoping for the best. Sadly, our first round ended without any embryos being strong enough to freeze. It was a tough time, especially after going through all the shots, but Dr. Hsu came back to us with another plan that, I believe, made all the difference.
During our fertility journey, while I learned how strong I could be when I wanted to focus on a goal that was greater than myself, I also saw that I was going on this journey with my partner, and he was by my side no matter what. For me, going through IVF was not just about shots. I wanted to be the best version of myself. I joined support groups on Facebook, listened to IVF podcasts, and I ate the fries! It would have been easy for IVF to only feel like “my thing,” but Rob was also going through a lot of changes – lifestyle, medication, and physical health. He was completely supportive of everything I was doing, anything I needed, and even when surprises came up – such as, not feeling well enough to complete a task. Rob took the mental load of figuring out all my shots, called in to my appointments when possible, and kept up with the books I was reading. A great support system can make all the difference, and I’m lucky I had that to lean on, knowing I was not alone.
Our second and final round of IVF produced fewer embryos, two of which were almost perfect quality! We could not believe we had two embryos to freeze! However, our fresh transfer with our first embryo was not successful, and we were crushed.
We knew we had one more chance at a transfer and threw all our energy into believing in this miracle.
Right before Thanksgiving, our frozen embryo transfer (FET) worked — I was pregnant! It was the most unbelievable news, but of course, still filled with trepidation. But every appointment we had during the pregnancy went smoothly, every ultrasound was perfect. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and we were so fortunate that it never happened. It was an incredible experience to go through. I appreciated every moment of this pregnancy since I did not know if it would ever happen to me.
Our miracle baby arrived in August, and our love for her is bigger than I could have ever imagined! Every day we are filled with joy, we love and cherish every moment with her, even those sleepless nights! We still talk about how lucky we are and cannot believe our beautiful daughter is here.
Merely saying thanks does not seem like enough, and we feel indebted to Dr. Hsu, our nurse Katherine, and our embryologist for our blessing. We have brought our daughter to see Dr. Hsu, Katherine, and the team at the Woodbridge office for visits several times and plan to keep that up as long as they let us! We want our daughter to know the amazing team who helped us, and what a miracle it is that she is here. Going through fertility treatment is hard, but Dr. Hsu never stopped believing in us, which kept our hope alive, too. We are so thankful for Shady Grove Fertility for giving our family its missing piece — we definitely feel complete now!
Something I would like to share with others who are pursuing parenthood would be to remain open to all possibilities of how to build your family. It seemed like at the beginning of our journey, when we were first married, I was a bit naïve about how things would all turn out and had no idea that the road would not be as easy as I had imagined. I did not see us moving to IVF right when we had our loss, but our smaller steps eventually led us there. However, during IVF, especially when we knew we were at the end of our second IVF cycle, we started discussing other ways to build our family, such as adoption and donor embryos in case our IVF cycle did not work out. While we stayed positive that our cycle would be successful, it was still important for us to consider these alternative options, and SGF had a lot of great resources, including support groups, which helped us decide if any of those options were right for our family.
Featured image by @photographybyamynicole