THE END OF OUR IVF JOURNEY

This Mother's Day is bittersweet for me: after going through the struggles that we have for the past year, it's the first one where I get to witness my wife be honored for a "job" that she (and I) have been hoping to have, for many years. It also has allowed me to reflect on my own mother and all those who cared for me in motherly ways. Not that I ever took her for granted, but only now have been able to truly realize how much she sacrificed for my (and my sister's) benefit and taught us the true meaning of love

Those of you who are familiar with our story, know the struggles that we faced in our journey to parenthood. I shared our story in hopes of debunking and removing the false and negative light that is so often shed onto IVF and infertility. If you've haven't, click here to read first part of our journey.

I've received countless responses from people, telling how much our story helped them, how it was beneficial to hear about our struggle and how it helped people going through something similar or helped people that they love near them... how brave we were to be vulnerable and open ourselves up. It was humbling every time someone thanked us for sharing and made us realize how infertility struggles are more prevalent than we could have imagined... that parenthood isn't something to take for granted.

Many people have reached out asking for an update. When I last shared, we were at 18 weeks and the baby was doing great. We were planning the baby shower, the room, the registry and everything that goes along with it. Then, about a year ago, unexpectedly, my wife started noticing some troubling signs. We went to our doctor and after some tests, he assured us that everything was fine, but he wanted us to get a second opinion and see a specialist. We wanted to believe that everything was going to be fine, but we had an uneasy feeling in the back of our minds. All of these feelings were confirmed once we met with the specialist at his office and he ordered us to get to the hospital and have my wife admitted. Without getting into all of the details, the lining that was protecting the baby from the real world had worn away to the point that if she didn't get medical attention, she was likely to deliver at 26 wks.

After hours of unrelenting tears and questioning, we made our way to the hospital and admitted her. Immediately, we were consoled by the nursing staff, who assured us that we weren't alone. That long day turned into a long night and she needed to have an emergency procedure done to keep the baby in the womb and luckily, our doctor was one of the world's best at this procedure. I won't go into the details, but it's called a "cerclage" in case you want to Google it.

This night began the 1st of 14 that she spent at the hospital, hooked up to various machines administering drugs to suppress the contractions and heart monitors to listen to the baby. I spent time going back and forth between home and the hospital as we had stupidly started construction on our kitchen. We spent 2 weeks trying to continue to use medicine and science to keep the baby "cooking" for as long as we could. The list of drugs started reading like a recipe: 2 doses of Indocin, a teaspoon of Nifedipine, a cup of Carafate, a layer of Terbutaline, a drizzle of Progesterone, 3 cups of Magnesium Sulfate, etc... Every day was the same, watching her laying in bed with tubes coming out of her and hearing dopplar like movements of the baby on the monitor. All the while, being dosed and drugged to relax her... some many her feel ok, some made her feel terrible... all of them made me feel helpless. Thank goodness for the Amazon Fire Stick and Netflix or she would really have gone insane staying there.

After 2 weeks, she was released and able to come "home" which ended up being my in-laws house since she wasn't allowed to walk around and could not climb a staircase. So for 3 weeks, she spent time between a bed and a Lazy-Boy chair, continuing a regimen of drugs to reduce the contractions, but at least she wasn't at the hospital and hooked up to machines.

Things seemed to be going well and then around 32 wks, she was told to reduce the drugs and immediately, the contractions picked up. Once again, we were readmitted to the hospital and this time, it was going to be until the baby came. My wife continued on a chemical regimen to reduce contractions, while also making sure the baby would be given the best chance to develop. We were told that making it 32 wks gave us a great chance that she would develop normally and that every additionally week would give the baby a chance to add weight. Once again, the nurses did an unbelievable job of keeping our hopes and spirits up, providing a comfortable environment for my wife and keeping the baby healthy (not to mention Netflix).

We reached 35 wks and baby decided that she had had enough of her home and out she came. All the misery, all the pain, all the torture washed away when we heard those first wails. She came early, she was small, but she was strong. While our long road to parenthood had finally seen us cross the finish line, we knew that the next phase was just beginning.

Fast forward to today, the little one is now 9 mos. old and beginning to crawl around. Also, I don't think I realized that they developed opinions and free will, but she's got a mind on her and is not afraid to share her unintelligible thoughts.

I've sat on doing this update for quite some time as I've been uninterested in reliving my living nightmare from last year. And although the fruits of it all have been more than worth it, I didn;t want to subject myself to all the feelings from before.

This Mother's Day reminds me of how selfless mothers are, but in particular, how selfless my wife has been for the good of our family. Putting her body, soul, sanity and patience to the ultimate tests and through it all, she maintained a sense of calm and purpose. She went through the fire and came out stronger and has instilled that strength into our child.

So to all the mothers who have given us much and asked for so little, I salute you.