positive.

3 days before my hCG blood work, I stood in the bathroom with an unopened and expired pregnancy test in my hands.
it was a sunday morning, and the official blood test would be on a wedneday. I was debating on whether or not to take this at home test.

some women, immediately after transfer begin to POAS (pee on a stick), and hope to see a pregnancy line come in and get darker day by day.
I didn’t do that.
I’ve seen dozens and dozens of stark white tests over these last 2 years, and the possibility of seeing one blank at any point- even if it was just too early, after everything we’ve been through with this IVF process, was too much of an emotional risk for me.

but here I was, on this sunday morning, terribly needing to pee, and holding expired test in my hand.

it was 9 days past the transfer, which in theory, is late enough in the game that if there was hCG in my system, it should show on this test.

and ultimately, my rationale became that I didn’t want to hear any type of results for the first time via a phone call, while my husband was at work. if I took this test this morning and it was negative, I would be able to go through those emotions with him home. and on the flip-side, if it was positive, we’d be able to celebrate together in person, and not via phone call.

so…. I took the test. and immediately turned it upside down and refused to look at it for several minutes.
I was shaking like a leaf, and my heart was racing and beating out of my chest.

eventually I turned it over, and for the first time ever in my life, I saw a second faint line. the elusive f*cking unicorn that is a positive pregnancy test!

I forgot to mention that my husband was soundly sleeping through all of this, and had no idea what I was doing.

so….what happens next? I come out of the bathroom, sobbing hysterically, shaking, and calling his name over and over again. I ran to the bed, to which he is being woken up by my cries, and he starts panicking.

“oh my god, what happened?! what’s wrong?!”
through my sobs, I muster out: “there’s….two…..lines!” and I hand him the test.

I fall into him, crying and crying and crying, and I believe he said something along the lines of, “I thought something terrible happened! don’t DO that!”

perfection. I couldn’t have imagined that situation going another way, other than totally scaring the crap out of him. it’s so us.

I’ve talked a lot about how this process is about celebrating the little victories, but knowing that there are many more hurdles to cross. this was a huge victory. a. huge. flipping. victory. this was a sign that things were heading in the direction that we wanted them to. but, as always, it wasn’t a guarantee. because the fact that I have had an ectopic pregnancy, I was at a higher risk (1 in 3 chance) of it happening again. this positive pregnancy test could be the result of a chemical pregnancy, which is an early loss after implantation happens. there are so many ways that this can go. but, for this moment in time, for that sunday morning, I was holding a positive pregnancy test in my hands for the first time ever in my life. and that was a victory.

three days later, I went to my clinic and took the official blood test. but more on that later.

beta.

on november 22, I went to my clinic for a blood test. it had been 12 days since we did the frozen embryo transfer, and had the embryo implanted I would have the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone in my blood. I would be pregnant.

a lot has happened since november 22nd until today. my husband and I so appreciate the space and privacy that you have given us to navigate what has been going for these last few weeks.

we’re ready to start sharing again, and I will be doing so in sequential order of what has been going on behind the scenes. I have been documenting and sharing every step of this journey, and I don’t want to jump right to the good news or bad news. every step is a part of the story- I want to honor what the process has been.

SO….on november 22, I had an hCG blood test. and we nervously waited for the results.

jonas / los angeles newborn lifestyle photography

jonas,
your parents met in middle school. many, many, many years later they were reunited at a friend’s destination wedding, and from that moment on they became inseparable. your mommy loves the story of how she met your daddy, of how they found each other and love later in life.

but I think the greatest part of their story now is how they created you.

you are 3.5 months old, and it’s almost hard to remember what life was like without you. how lucky your parents are that you chose them!

 

“just adopt”.

well it’s already been an action packed morning and it’s not even 8 am!

a few days ago I posted the image I took of my husband giving me the first ever intramuscular shot into my bottom on a rather large professional photography group on facebook. the comments ranged from sympathizing to empathizing, which always fuels my heart on so many different levels.

my kitty woke me up at 4:30 this morning, and much against my better judgement, after a few minutes of not being able to fall back asleep- I went on my phone. there was a new comment on the photo, to which a woman wrote: “adopt. there are so many kids that need a home and here [you] are struggling through pain and years of waiting just to make more kids, just for the sake of it. sad.”

thud. a deep pang right into the heart.

I’m used to the advice of “just relax”, “try this herb”, or even the simple question of “why don’t you just adopt?”. these kinds of remarks, while honestly not intrinsically helpful, always come from a place of good. this…..well, this just hurt. it was condescending and insensitive and cruel.

I have a general rule with interactions on the internet of ‘don’t feed the trolls’; I didn’t want to fuel a fire even though I saw this as an opportunity to educate. so instead, I posted what happened in a secret infertility group I’m part of on facebook. I wanted input on what I should say, or if I should say anything at all.

my goodness, I love these women. you’ll never hear me stop saying how incredibly beautiful and powerful and amazing it is to be part of this community. my fellow infertility warrior sisters. it’s a bond like no other. here I was, lying in bed, in the dark, at 5am, having very deep and personal conversations with women I’m probably never going to meet in person, about how those words made us feel.

ultimately, I decided to private message the commenter. I took bits and pieces of the conversations I had within my support group, and did my best to try to let her know the impact of what she wrote to me.

this is what I said:

“I wanted to personally message you about the comment you made on my photo that I posted in lookslikefilm.

I have been documenting and sharing my husband and my journey for nearly a year. I have connected with hundreds, if not thousands of people, who have supported, encouraged, offered advice, or thanked me for making them feel less alone. your comment was by far the most hurtful and condescending remark I have ever received. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but as an advocate for breaking the taboo of infertility- I cannot let you not know how much your words deeply hurt me.

the desire to be a mother and for wanting a child isn’t “for the sake of it”. it’s not a superficial want, but a biological need. I have wanted to be a mother my whole life. I have worked in early childhood education, as an infant caregiver for many years, helping foster and nurture over 80 infants. my photography work centers around capturing the authenticity of children and babies.

you know what is “sad”? my tears every month for the last 2+ years. my feelings of my body failing me. me feeling like “less than” a woman. me going through injections and medications and hormones and debt because I ache for a little person of my own. THAT is sad. and you’re right. I am sad. but I’m also determined and hopeful.

I married into a family of adoptive siblings. my husband is 1 of 7 kids. 5 of which are adopted. the adoptive process isn’t a quick fix to not being able to get pregnant right away on your own. it is just as painful, emotional, and expensive. it is unfair to place the responsibility of adopting on women struggling with infertility. would you say the same thing to fertile couples?

I will never, ever wish this journey on anyone. and if there comes a day you decide you want a family of your own, I hope you never feel the absolute pain and loss that comes with this world and this fight. and if you have children of your own, I hope you cherish them- for they are true miracles.

I’ve found a new purpose in my life of helping other women feel less alone. I’ve connected and made lifelong friendships with others who are fighting the same fight I am. there is a selflessness, sensitivity, and force within this infertility community that is beautiful and incredible, and I am so grateful for it. this fight is so much greater than just “wanting a baby”, and while I recognize that you may not relate or understand or even sympathize- I urge you to be sensitive to those who are struggling. You have no idea how hurtful those words were, and I beg you to never say anything like that to anyone again.”

 

 

I was able to see that she saw my message. and a few minutes later, her comment was deleted from the image. she never responded back, and I don’t think she will. but I’m proud for what I did. I stood up for myself and my community. as much as I didn’t want to confront her (I’m super non-confrontational), I couldn’t let her think those words were okay. I couldn’t let her ever have the opportunity to say something like that to someone else and not think about the emotional consequences.

nothing about this journey offers a quick fix. there are lots of alternatives and options, and every couple chooses how to navigate what they are willing to consider and when. from adoption, to surrogacy, to purchasing donor eggs or sperm, to IVF- it is a deeply, deeply personal choice between a couple. there is no right or wrong answer, ever. and I’ll be damned if anyone, ANYONE, makes another infertility warrior feel bad for how they are choosing to fight their fight to parenthood.

 

 

next.

if you’ve been following our IVF journey, please take a moment to read this all the way through!

first off, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has reached out to me or my husband since our frozen embryo transfer on friday morning. being able to share our story, to be cheered on by so many people, is truly, truly incredible.

I’ve been asked now, “so what happens next?”
in a perfect world, once an embryo is placed inside the uterus, it will implant and grow. a few weeks from now, I will return to my clinic and take a blood test to hopefully confirm that an actual pregnancy has taken place.

this ultrasound isn’t a picture of a baby. it’s a picture of a possibility, of an opportunity. this isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a step closer than we’ve ever been before. and now, though this feels awkward to have to write, my husband and I have a request. we would like to ask for privacy during this waiting period and the time to follow. be it that we get good news or bad news in the following weeks, we would greatly appreciate the space to process on our own and share whatever may come when we are ready.

it’s a hard thing to navigate, loving being so open about our story, to a place where we really would like to pretend no one knows what’s going on. there are so many people that are invested and excited for us, and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that feels. but please don’t ask us for updates, or if we have any news, or “are you pregnant?!” if you haven’t heard anything from us directly. in the meantime, a simple “thinking of you”, is all that needs to be said, if even anything at all, if you see us in person or interact with us in someway and want us to know you’re excited for an update.

I promise you, when we’re ready to share, we will! I can’t imagine doing this without all the support we’ve received so far. no words can describe how full my heart feels. thank you for giving us the space and time now to navigate and process what may come next. I hope more than anything that my next IVF related update will be the most grandest and most happiest update of our lives!

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