When Bryan and I got married in July 2013, we were really excited at the thought of starting a family. We agreed to wait at least a year, though – we wanted time to enjoy being newlyweds before it was no longer ‘just us’. We never even considered we might have struggles with infertility.
We began trying for a baby in March 2014. Each month we’d hope this was it; each month, we were disappointed. After a year, we agreed it was time to see a doctor.
The doctor put me on Clomid, a fertility drug. I also had to track my basal body temperature (BBT), so we could watch my cycle. After a couple of months or so, I became very depressed. I didn’t want to be around anyone, which was totally unlike me, and Bryan and I were struggling with our marriage.
Depression can be a side-effect of Clomid, so I came off that straight away. Then in the August, after my body got back to normal, we made an appointment at an infertility clinic in Colorado. The doctor there put me on letrozole; I continued to track my cycle.
The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with either Bryan or me. So why couldn’t we get pregnant?
After another six months, still nothing had happened. We agreed we needed to try something else. My obstetrician back in Wyoming decided I should stay on letrozole but would also start IUI – intrauterine insemination. This involved placing Bryan’s sperm directly into my uterus, making it easier for them to reach the eggs.
We felt hopeful. But, after seven attempts without success, we decided to see a urologist who suggested we try IVF. We were all at a loss – the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with either Bryan or me. So why couldn’t we get pregnant?
Infertility procedures aren’t covered by medical insurance, though, and we didn’t have the money ourselves. We were grateful when my best friend’s stepfather, an obstetrician, asked to see us. He referred us to a doctor at an IVF clinic in Utah he thought we would ‘click’ with.
We did all we could to keep our spirits up, telling ourselves this would be the answer to our prayers
We met Dr. Gilliand in March 2017. He talked us through the IVF process, the choices we’d have to make, and the options for covering the (enormous) costs.
Nothing else had worked, so Bryan and I immediately agreed this was the route we would take. I committed to being part of a group Dr Gilliand would work with in June, and we spent 13 days in Salt Lake. I was monitored by a doctor every other day, took my shots, and did as I was told. We did all we could to keep our spirits up, telling ourselves this would be the answer to our prayers.
Out of 18 eggs that were harvested, 17 of them fertilized. Then we had to wait five days to find out if the embryos would grow. We were disheartened to learn, out of seven that did, just four had a high rating. After many tears, we decided two embryos should be transferred into my body, and hopefully one would take.
There were two sacs; we were told one wouldn’t grow anymore as it was so smal
Then followed ten long days while we waited to see what would happen before a blood test gave us the amazing news – we were pregnant!
Two weeks later we had our first ultrasound. While there were two sacs, we were told one wouldn’t grow anymore as it was so small. I felt so many conflicting emotions. My heart was joyful – after all, we’d wanted a baby, and now we were getting one, right? But a part of it broke, too. The journey had been so difficult, we’d worked so hard to get these embryos, and now we would lose one. It made me so sad; I cried for the whole of the eight-hour car ride home.
A week later, we had another ultrasound. I can’t describe the excitement when the nurse said there were two heartbeats – not just one! It was time to share the news with our family and then, once I’d got to 13 weeks’ pregnant, with our friends. We were surrounded by love, and I had a wonderful pregnancy. We couldn’t wait to meet them – delivery was planned for when I was 36 weeks into the pregnancy.
I knew there was a problem. I saw the doctor, and learned I was having contractions every three minutes
My progress was being monitored closely and, at 26 weeks, my doctor said he wanted to play it safe. He was going to give me a steroid shot to help the twins’ lungs mature, just in case something happened.
The day after Christmas 2017, I didn’t feel right. I just knew there was a problem. I went to see the doctor and learned I was having contractions every three minutes. They managed to stop them, but I was put on strict bed rest. I went home and took a nap.
Four hours later, I got up to use the bathroom. I felt a gush of fluid and thought my waters had broken – only to find when I checked, that my hand was covered in blood. I panicked. There was something seriously wrong. I was terrified I was going to lose my babies.
After being rushed to the local hospital, I was flown to Denver, where there’s a NICU. The only reason I didn’t totally lose my mind was because the twins never stopped moving – it meant they were ok.
The team at St Luke’s Children’s Hospital determined Baby A had broken his sac due to an infection, so they tested Baby B’s amniotic fluid to see if he had it too. Three days later, before the results could come back, I went into labor – and our miracle babies arrived 24 hours after that.
We’d waited so long for our boys, and for them to arrive at 27 weeks was terrifying.
We’d waited so long for our boys, and for them to arrive at 27 weeks was terrifying. There was so much that could go wrong. We named them Maddox and Beckett, and they weighed 2.1lbs and 2.5lbs respectively. They were rushed to the NICU, and Bryan was with them. I needed to recover before I could see them.
They were perfect, both of them. I felt sure God wouldn’t have given us this opportunity to become parents only to snatch our angels away from us.
The boys stayed in the NICU for 77 days. We watched them grow, we experienced so many scary moments, and we learned what every alarm meant. It was difficult, frustrating, and draining – emotionally and physically. The NICU nurses were incredible, and we learned to rely on them.
To say it’s been a wild ride so far is an understatement
Once Maddox and Beckett reached 38 weeks’ gestational age, we were able to go home – a bittersweet day, as the NICU staff had become like family. But, of course, we were thankful to be leaving with our boys. We couldn’t wait to start the adventure of being parents – the life we’d dreamed of.
To say it’s been a wild ride so far is an understatement. I took a leave of absence from work – I’m a teacher – and didn’t go back until the new school year in August. I was able to really bond with the boys at home and share them with all the friends and family who’d waited for them with us over the years.
They’re ten months old now, and we’re beyond blessed that there are no complications from them being born so early. They’re both sitting up and trying to crawl. They have the most adorable smiles and laughs. I truly believe God picked them especially for us, and they were sent for a reason. They make our family complete.
We’ve learned that sometimes we need help and that asking for it is ok
Parenthood is everything we’d dreamed of and more. Bryan told me a few weeks ago he’d settled in his mind that he’d be ok with not having children if it wasn’t meant to be. That made me a little sad. Then he said: “But having them here, I wouldn’t trade it for the world and couldn’t imagine not having them.”
No, it’s not perfect. We’re often exhausted. When one gets sick, the other does too. They feed off each other’s emotions, so if one becomes upset then so does the other. Coping with two screaming babies is difficult!
But the good times outweigh the bad by so much. Bryan and I have grown and strengthened as a couple. We work together even better than before. We’ve learned that sometimes we need help and that asking for it is ok. We strive to be the best husband and wife to each other and parents to our boys that we can be, every single day.
By sharing our story, we hope to inspire and give hope to others struggling with infertility. It’s stressful, it’s heart-breaking and it’s ok to say so. We’ve been there, being happy for friends who announce they’re pregnant while desperately wishing it was us. We went through everything we could, did all we could do to get the baby we wanted – and ended up with two!
Please, if this is you, don’t give up. Trust in God’s plan for your life. We wouldn’t be the parents we are if we hadn’t been through such a struggle to get our boys. God sent us on this journey for a reason; then he placed Maddox and Beckett in our lives. We’re forever grateful for that.