We celebrate #NIAW on April 18th-24th
This month, we will be highlighting Fertility Warriors! They are brave women who where willing to share their stories, in hopes of educating and encouraging other women.
Jessica / Fertility Warrior
My husband and I have been trying to conceive our first child since we got married in 2015. I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance at the age of 20, so I knew conceiving was going to be hard for me than most. I went to an OBGYN that specialized in patients with PCOS, however, I got the same song and dance…. “If you lost weight, you should be fine”. He put me on progesterone supplements, metformin, clomid…nothing worked. He did however catch my endometrial hyperplasia (overgrowth of the uterine lining) , so I suppose that was a small victory. He then sent us to a reproductive endocrinologist at a fertility clinic. Before any treatment could begin, I was asked if I had considered *insert name* diet or just weight loss surgery in general. After that conversation we did about 5 months of heavy dosing between clomid and letrozole, with a dash of steroid pills to stimulate my ovaries. In the fall of 2017, I took a HPT and saw that faint second line….I was so happy but cautious. When I went to the RE on October 2, the doctor said she saw something promising. She chucked the positive pregnancy test as just residual clomid in my system, however she loved how large my follicles looked. I suggested doing a blood test, but she said it was a moot point. I felt hurt, frustrated, and unheard. She was more focused on the follicle than the miracle that was in my womb. She then upped my clomid does to rush my follicles to grow. I felt cramping for the next couple of days. On October 4th during my follow-up ultrasound, both the large follicles and my miracle was gone. I had never felt so empty in my life. I decided that after a long break I would find another clinic. The last clinic I went to while in Seattle told me they wouldn’t treat me fully until I lose 30-50 lbs., I never went back. We moved to Texas in 2019 with the hope that a new location would give us a fresh start. So now that we are 30 years old, in careers we love, and somewhat settled more….We are gearing up for the second leg of this journey and we pray that the Lord sees that we are preparing for this blessing and are ready when He is ready.
Thank you for sharing Queen Jessica! #NIAW2021 #FertilityWarrior
Ansley / Fertility Warrior
My husband and I are in our 8th year of ttc. Our losses and this journey have tremendously tested our faith and strength, but we remain faithful that God will one day bless us with baby Perrin. It took us a while to find a doctor who would listen to us. We went through several, but thank God we were finally able to get some answers. I was diagnosed with PCOS, fibroids, and hyperthyroidism. Infertility has been super hard but we’re still believing for our miracle.
Thank you for sharing Queen Ansley! #NIAW2021 #FertilityWarrior
Jeaneatte / Fertility Warrior
For 10 years I and my husband has TTC. After 1 miscarriage and 3 ectopic pregnancies and uterine fibroids we were Finally able to try IVF.( I lost my Fallopian tubes in the last 2 ectopic pregnancies) So after 4 lost pregnancies and 4 surgeries we did ONE fresh round of IVF ( thanks to a clinical trial). We got pregnant! 3 days after delivering my baby whom I had a c section at 37 weeks because of preeclampsia and she spent her first night in NICU. Well after having my baby I suffered a MASSIVE heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, blood clots and the list goes on. After being resuscitated I unfortunately had to spend the first 3 weeks of our babies life in ICU. This broke my heart and made me wonder why God allowed such a thing to happen. The short answer…. God gives us what he know we can handle. Even thought it’s tough Gods given you this journey just like he’s done with other women( even in the BIBLE) , because he knows your strong enough to fight. God has considered you like he did Job! So rise up and slay this “ Goliath” called infertility .
Thank you for sharing Queen Jeaneatte! #NIAW2021 #FertilityWarrior
Marq Sha / Fertility Warrior
From the age of 17 into my late 20’s I suffered with fibroids. Horrible and heavy menstrual cycles were the norm.
At age 18, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I went through years of iodine and radiation treatments to ensure that my cancer didn’t return. I was told that my fertility may have been compromised due to the amount of radiation used. This factor in combo with my fibroids made me think that pregnancy may not be in my future.
At age 29 I questioned whether or not if I could actually conceive. I went to my GYN to discuss my outlook. Before any testing could be done, I found out that I was pregnant. The pregnancy was extremely challenging due to 7 large fibroids threatening a miscarriage. I was admitted several times for pain management due to the fibroids degenerating. Thankfully, I was able to deliver my son at 37 weeks with a c-section.
Age 34, I tried for over a year and a half before conceiving my 2nd pregnancy. I bled throughout the entire journey due to a SCH (Subchorionic Hematoma). I was put on strict bed rest and delivered at 38 weeks.
Age 37, I unexpectedly conceived! It was such a perfect and uneventful pregnancy until my 20th week. I went in for a routine scan and was told that my son’s heart stopped beating. That’s it. No cause. I had nothing else to go on. The devastation that rippled through my family and I was/is unimaginable, especially without a reason why.
For 2 years after our loss my husband and I tried to conceive. Month after month, test after test, prayer after prayer, I took countless pregnancy tests and came up empty. I even held up the tests to lights, squinted with one eye and forced myself to believe there was a faint line to indicate pregnancy. I went into a depressed state each time my period decided to show. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening for my husband and I this time around.
We finally agreed to do 1 round of IVF. If it didn’t work then we would walk away. I went through the injections, scans, and testing. We were able to retrieve 10 eggs that then dropped down to 8 and then 5 in terms of viability. Finally, we had 3 fertilized…but on the morning of the insemination, only 2 fertilized eggs remained. We (the doctor, husband and I) decided to go with both eggs at once to increase the odds of one of them sticking. After all, this was our one and only shot.
Well, both eggs stuck and one of the eggs split. Fast forward to present day I am overjoyed share that I just delivered my triplets this past January. The pregnancy was challenging due to my age (40), medical history, and constant sugar and thyroid level fluctuations. I thank God for seeing us through, especially during a complicated delivery.
Infertility affects us all differently but one factor is for sure, never blame yourself or your body for doing or not doing what you expect it to. The amount of stress and expectation I placed on myself simply wasn’t fair. In hindsight, I realize how I could have been more attentive to my mental health. I suffered alone and didn’t outwardly show my heartache. I pushed through each day all while knowing that I struggled with losing my son.
I pray that whoever reads this knows that they are not alone in their thoughts. It is ok to feel various emotions during your journey. Please continue to love on yourself. Be gentle with your thoughts and know that you have a sisterhood within this group to help you through. 💞
Thank you for sharing Queen Marq Sha! #NIAW2021 #FertilityWarrior
Shervonne Coney / Fertility Warrior
In October of 1997, my husband and I met through a mutual friend. Five years later we became husband and wife on November 28, 2002 (Thanksgiving Day). It was held at our local church in front a congregation filled with family and friends alike and it was a beautiful Thanksgiving wedding.
After getting married, like most people we thought having children would happen quickly, we learned that this would not be the case for us.
At age 32 my primary care physician asked me “if my husband and I wanted children”? I told her we did but “It just hadn’t happened for us yet”. I told her, “I guess God had not seen fit for us yet.” Looking back, I was unsure of what was available to us in building a family. After answering my primary care physician’s questions, she suggested that my husband and I see a reproductive endocrinologist right away.
Our consultation with the reproductive endocrinologist was straight forward including labs and a semen analysis. Once our labs came back, he suggested that we try first an IUI (Intrauterine insemination). So, we tried it and it had failed. He then suggested a second IUI. Like the first IUI this too was a failure. We were overcome with devastation! How could this not work!? Unable to deal with the anguish of two failed attempt at starting our family, we decided that maybe we should take some time off.
Three years later, we decided it was time to try again, but this time with IVF. I remember going to the appointment and being a ball of nerves. However, we were determined to keep going. My reproductive endocrinologist affirmed pursuing IVF because of my age and suspected PCOS. I agreed with the doctor but I did not have a good experience at this appointment. It was horrible. I did not feel as if I was seen or heard. However, I did not say anything. I was numb and I did not vocalize it. I was somewhere between statements like “You’re not getting any younger, you’ve got some facial hair, and this is probable the only way”.
I recall driving home from the appointment and thinking “What just happened to me”? Instead of feeling empowered in moving forth, I felt discouraged. I felt even more discouraged that I did not assert myself more, yet I lost my voice, the one tool that could have changed the dynamic of how that appointment went. I left the appointment with having so many unsaid questions and emotions, but I was overtaken by numbness and in shock. I came home and told my husband what had happened. He was empathetic but I do not think I communicated to him that I had completely shut down and what I was telling him was the bare facts. I sat down on my couch and I said to myself “God, I have to talk to someone, I have to find someone to talk to about what just happened to me”. It was not that I did not have family and friends but none of them had ever experienced infertility. Even more, I did not share with my family how much we were struggling physically, mentally, and emotionally to conceive.
Surprisingly, I went to Facebook and looked for a group that I could share my story in, but I could not find one. I mean, I found groups but none of them had women who looked like me, or who expressed themselves the way I do. The women in these groups seemed so knowledgeable about infertility and its jargon. They asked the right questions and had all the right answers. I felt just like I felt in the doctor’s office, unseen, unheard and unprepared for what lied ahead. I said softly to myself “Lord, I need to find a group that I can share my story in”. Then I heard God say “Create It”. Stunned, I doubted that I had heard it right or could it be that I had made it up, but I heard it again “Create a group”. I was in awe at hearing this, but moreover excited to be obedient. It was like the answer to my prayer was in creating this group.
In obedience, I created Black Women and Infertility on March 12, 2015. The group started with 1 member. A woman who I would message every now and again to 1400 members as of today. Who knew but God, that I was not the only one. He knew that there were thousands of women just like me, needing someone to talk to and to share their story with.
Creating Black Women and Infertility had become my birthing experience. I would often say “God did not give me a physical baby but he allowed me to birth this group”. I have received so much love and fulfillment from locking arms with women around the world in love, support and encouragement. This work had become so fulfilling that I had resolved to living child free. Yes, my husband and I thought “If we never have children, we are good”, “We will go on and live our best-life”. My husband and I lived resolved for three years, until we naturally conceived in November of 2020.
Talk about shock, we could hardly believe our eyes. The pregnancy test read “2 pink lines”. Still in shock and disbelief, the second pregnancy test read “Pregnant”. Still not quite sure, the third pregnancy test read “2 pink lines”. We felt like “Finally” God had remembered us. After 20+ years, we would have a baby.
Sadly, I miscarried on January 16, 2021. The pain and grief we both felt that day is indescribable. You cannot know what it feels like to lose a baby unless you have experienced it. As you can imagine from reading this, it is still new. I am still working through my healing process.
One thing is for sure, the loss of our baby has renewed our faith and our fight to grow our family. Once again, my husband and I dream of giving birth to our babies. I believe that God will give us double for our trouble (Isaiah 61.7). I believe that this is not the end of our story and God is not done with us yet.
So, Stay Tuned!