On August 29th 2018, I went to get my blood drawn and received a phone call later that day that I got a positive test result! They like to see the hcg level between 80-100 and mine was 181 so it was a very strong positive. Finally, a piece of good news, the BEST news I’d EVER heard! I was FINALLY pregnant! My strong, little first embryo baby took and was off to the races with it’s hcg level just killing it! I had never worked so hard for something or wanted something so badly and after hearing that news, I had never been so happy in my entire life. I knew my whole world was about to change for the better. I had been praying, thinking and planning for this little baby for years. My prayers were finally answered. I still didn’t know the sex of it. I wanted at least one part of this process to be a surprise so I waited until the first 12 weeks had passed, flew to NC where my two childhood besties lived (GO LLN!) and we had a gender reveal celebration. We had blue and red food coloring and a bottle of champagne to pop and one of my friends read the sex of the baby from an envelope I had been holding onto for weeks. It was a girl! A sweet, sassy, adorable and super smart little baby Isla James was just growing away and I couldn’t have been more grateful, elated, excited, etc. I was ALL the things and emotions and feelings!
Once I was past the first trimester, I felt ready to get the indeterminate embryo tested. When you pay for the PGS testing, you pay for 8 embryos and I had only tested 6 so far and one that came back indeterminate. I knew I wasn’t doing IVF again so I still had 2 more embryos I could test that we had already paid for. That one got sent off again and came back normal/compatible with life! I also knew at this point, since the first embryo was female, the second one was also a girl in addition to this indeterminate one (now normal) and the XXX so I had 4 female embryos and 2 male embryos! I somehow ended up with a total of 6 healthy/compatible with life embryos. Don’t get me wrong, I had to suffer through IVF 5 times, multiple IUI’s, and a painful uterus surgery to get them but none of that mattered anymore. I was done. I had done it. I was pregnant with my first of many children and I was going to have the big family I had always dreamed of. God had definitely blessed Doug and I being that we were originally told we had a 1% chance of having our own children. Life couldn’t have been better at that moment.
Isla is now 1 year old today! She was born on May 4, 2019 and it was one of the hardest but best days of my life. I say hardest because I was in labor for 3 days leading up to that day but that is a story for another time. As stated previously, I am separated from the man I have the other 5 embryos with, which is tragic and leaves me very confused and sad about the other embryos but that is also another long story for another time. I just want anyone who is going through this to know you are NOT alone. Doing IVF can be such a lonely, sad, hopeless and difficult process but just know that you have people who have been there and there are a ton of support groups out there. This shit is hard and it’s okay to feel all of the feelings. I did some math and calculated that I did roughly 260 shots on myself in my belly over all of the IVF cycles. This does not include the blood draws which are often and annoying.
Believe me when I tell you that ALL of my close friends got pregnant over the couple of years that I was doing IVF and IUI’s. I know all too well how hard it is because you are of course SO freaking excited and happy for your friend who “wasn’t even trying” and was blessed with a baby but you can’t help but also be devastated for yourself when you’re doing every single thing you possibly can and it’s still not happening. It’s okay to feel that. I had at least 10 different pregnancies happen amongst close friends during that time, baby shower after baby shower, announcement after announcement. You are always hoping it will be your turn someday to share news with your loved ones that you are finally bringing your own little angel into the world. All I can tell you is do whatever you can and are comfortable with. I prayed A LOT, did IVF, did IUI’s and had uterus surgery. I mean it took everything for me to have this little girl. I would not take any of it back because it led her to me in the end. Isla is by far the BEST thing that has ever happened to me. But it also could have gone a very different way and I could have never gotten pregnant.
Make sure you have a great doctor who you can talk to and trust and who you feel is on your team. Make sure you have an honest and 100% “in it” partner who will support you through the IVF and the pregnancy. Also know that if IVF isn’t for you (because I totally get it, I wasn’t all about it either) then there are other ways to be a mother. There is always a way. So find your way and stay strong. Stay focused. Try not to listen to the negative self talk or let other people’s experiences affect your own personal journey. Also, to the ladies who have an easy time getting pregnant, please don’t tell your friend who is going through hell how easy it was for you. This only adds to the disappointment they feel over and over again. I think everyone should try to be more aware and a little more sensitive when it comes to the topic of fertility and infertility. I feel like I could go on and on about this journey but I also don’t want to make this so long that you don’t want to read it.
I remember thinking while I was “in it” if my journey would ever end with a baby. The unknown is SO hard and SO scary. All I can say about that is to have faith. Have faith in your dream, your future, your God, your life. I had faith, even when I thought it was hopeless and was told that it was damn near impossible. Nothing is ever hopeless, especially something as amazing as being a mother. Trust me when I say that whenever it does happen for you, you will LOVE that baby more than you ever thought imaginable. It will all be worth it. When you look at their little eyes and perfect face, every single hardship that was thrown your way, all of the pain, sadness and uncertainty will all fade into the background and it will all have been worth it.
Personally, I am so grateful for my journey and how it ended, with an amazing 7lb 13 oz and 20 inch long beautiful baby girl we call Isla James Odom. She is now 1 year old. I truly have NO clue how that happened so fast but it’s made me realize I need to now, more than ever, live in the moment and soak ALL of it up as much as I can, even the hard ones. Each day she changes and becomes more of an incredible and hilarious little person and I am so in love with her. I believe in doing whatever it takes to make your dreams come true and my dream was to be a mother. Don’t give up ladies. Dreams do come true, sometimes they just take some work! <3
Happy 1st Birthday Sweet Girl!