By: Danielle Bonin
Becoming a mother isn’t always black and white, and isn’t as easy as some may think it is. Some mothers have a few road blocks, and some have several. Even 14 months after delivery, I look back and often think about all the road blocks my husband and I had to get through to have a little one in our life. Thinking of these road blocks bring me back to so many dark days.
My name is Danielle and our road of infertility wasn’t and isn’t an easy one. Infertility wasn’t part of our plan for starting a family, but it still seems to be something that we think and talk about daily. It’s become part of our life, it’s almost like the new normal. Even after having a little guy, we still have to deal with infertility. It doesn’t just go away with a blink of an eye. It hurts. Every day. We’ve gone through infertility, loss through miscarriage, and emotional heart ache.
My husband and I started our journey, expecting that the results would show right away. I thought it was be easy, piece of cake, just like several others I knew… get married, get pregnant right away, and “be happy.” Little did I know, we were on the road to 1 in 8, something I thought we weren’t going to be. Months passed by and each month came disappointment when my monthly cycle started, and so many tears were shed. How could we not be parents, when we wanted something so bad? At my yearly physical, after 8 months of trying, I asked my physician what I could do and I was quickly turned away with her saying we needed to try for a full year, what was another 4 months?! Our first road block; my heart sank, but in my heart, I knew something was wrong. I went and saw another physician that immediately ordered labs to be completed because we both seemed to be healthy, finally someone that wanted to help and seemed to understand our desire to have a baby! After multiple test results, and one of those test results bringing us to many dark days going forward. We were referred to a clinic in Madison where our doctor quickly become what I would call “my best friend.” She answered the thousand questions we had, and referred us to another doctor that could help us find out if we would ever be able to have our own children, which resulted in my husband, Kevin, having a surgery. It didn’t come with an easy decision being made, it took multiple months to decide what was right and what financially would be best for us. Our second road block, how can a surgery cost over $10,000 and insurance not cover anything? Does this make sense for us? Should we do something else? We knew it was the right thing to do. We called this surgery the “gold package,” the blissful news of viable sperm being found.
Throughout our entire journey, we knew we still needed to enjoy our marriage. Before we started the IVF process we decided to go on a vacation to “reset” and enjoy each other’s company. After vacation we knew we would be very busy with shots, doctor appointments, etc. I remember thinking before we started the shots, oh that’s a breeze, I can do that…. Until the first day I took my first shot. I was so nervous, what if this hurt, what if it doesn’t do what its supposed to do? What if I am wasting all this money for my body not to react. It began daily shots, which were much easier after I got through the first day, I wasn’t so nervous, and they didn’t hurt too bad, actually! I took a trip to Madison every other day to see how my body with “stiming.” As a result, at egg retrieval, our doctor was able to retrieve 27 eggs, which then resulted in 6 great quality embryos that we would be able to use after I received my next cycle, which felt like forever to come! Back to the drawing board is what the 2 weeks felt like.
One month later, Kevin and I were sitting at the clinic waiting to transfer our first embryo when it hit me that this is a new beginning, a new refreshing start. The two week wait of finding out the embryo took was by far the longest two weeks of my life. We tried to stay positive, and continued to pray that the results would be in our favor. June 18, 2019, I was driving back from my HCG appointment to find out if we were pregnant when my phone rang from the clinic. My heart sunk, I instantly thought, the embryo didn’t take, but instead the results came of a surprise, we were pregnant. The words I had been waiting to hear for three very long years! We got to the 13 week mark, what I thought took forever and we were finally able to announce we were expecting! I woke up fearing every day we would lose this child that we prayed for but after 275 plus IVF shots, we had some joy in our life! We “forgot” about the long road we drove to get to this point, well sort of… we were able to enjoy pregnancy.
My entire pregnancy was flawless- no major issues. I felt amazing, ran every morning for my work out until the day I went into labor, and felt happy again. Something I didn’t feel for the three prior years. Some weird hiccups came along through my pregnancy, but we got through them, and we were positive throughout, until February 25th when my doctor ordered an ultrasound to make sure things looked “okay” before baby came. The ultrasound technician seemed to be taking more photos than she did prior, but I blew it off as she was just trying to get all the best shots possible, little did I know she saw something that she didn’t think was normal. Around 8:00 p.m., my doctor called me and stated that they were diagnosing me with amniotic band syndrome, and that the baby had been suckling much more than they should. He said not to worry… ha, not so much! I instantly worried, I was over 40 weeks pregnant, felt amazing all along and then this. My heart hurt, badly. I really enjoyed being pregnant, and now I just wanted it to be done. All I wanted to know was if my baby was fine!
February 26,2019 at 1:00 a.m. rolled around quickly, after two hours of sleep, I started having contractions. Baby was ready, we were ready! I had the birth plan in the back of my mind, I am going to try and do this with no drugs. Things weren’t moving along as expected, after three hours of bearable labor and five hours of unbearable, I was still wasn’t dilated. Up and down halls I walked, patocin was started, and got to a whopping 3 centimeters. Strong contractions, doubling me down, but again another let down. Why was I not progressing like I should? I thought for sure I would be in hard labor and we would have baby in 8-10 hours, just like the TV shows make it up to be. I knew that there was a different calling, and there was probably as reason for things to be going so slow. I knew that as long as baby was okay, I could try and get through it.
After an epidural, my doctor stopped in and wanted to talk options of having a c section. He firmly believed that I wouldn’t get much further and recommended a c-section because I had already been in labor 15 hours. I felt like I was giving up if I went through a c-section. What mother doesn’t want to birth their child, but little did I know, the c-section wasn’t a cake walk either. Our son, Kash, was born was 7:09 p.m. and the reason why we were stuck at 3 centimeteres was because he was coming in at an angle. We were overjoyed, he was healthy, that’s what mattered! I was doing fine post-surgery, until 10:00 p.m. when I began to hemorrhage. I honestly thought I was dying… at one point I said to my nurse that I felt like I just lost the Mississippi River! I was scared. How can I go through 40 weeks of pregnancy, a last-minute scare, to finally being happy and now this! I kept my composure the entire time and so did Kevin, but inside I was breaking, fast. The longer the hemorrhaging happened the more scared I got. I remember Kevin telling me he was scared, and I knew that I needed to be strong for us to get through it together.
My doctor had gone home for the night, because in his words, “You’re c-section was an easy one.” After an hour of trying to get the bleeding to stop, they called my doctor to come back to see if he could do anything to stop the bleeding. After 45 minutes, he walked in and said lets try one more thing, and if the bleeding doesn’t stop, we unfortunately will have to take you back into the OR. Thirty minutes later, the bleeding stopped. My doctor looked me straight in the eyes and said “The last place I wanted to take you was the OR, we would have had to possibly remove your uterus and knowing you were an IVF patient that’s not what I wanted to do.”
Four days later, we were sent home. Our new journey, and life began. The road blocks that were handed to us weren’t easy, and they still seem to be handed over to us. I’ve carried a different type of pain throughout our entire journey, but the joy I have when I see Kash is indescribable. With each road block comes an opportunity to fight and find joy through them. We keep fighting today. After Kash, we have had to go through some of the same road blocks, adding miscarriage to our journey. Infertility isn’t something anyone dreams for, honestly, I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. It hurts, and it tears you up and eats away at you. I remember many dark days, and asking why us? What did we deserve to get this thrown at us? I’ve had people say to me that they wanted the “old Danielle back.” There isn’t such thing anymore, and I don’t know if there ever will be.
We are 1 in 8, but I am damn proud of it! Its made me and my husband strong people, has made our relationship stronger, and we now can appreciate the smaller stuff. Through the road blocks, I found that reaching out to people that have struggled with infertility helped me and as time goes on, being able to share our story and being a resource for others helps even more! There are so many people affected by infertility, miscarriage, or loss, we aren’t alone, and remember, when the going gets tough, keep going! Don’t give up. Being able to share our story has allowed me the opportunity to be a resource with so many other mom’s-to-be, something that a few of my friends were able to do for me. They helped me get through our journey. Each journey isn’t the same, but any help or support someone can provide is better than nothing.