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Dear Embryo #18…

I never imagined there would be five people in the room when I got knocked up, but to be honest, there were dozens more; figuratively speaking, waiting in the wings.

This may sound crazy and entirely unconventional, but to Ryan and me this is something that we are not alone in experiencing. You see, we are announcing our tremendous blessing because of a lot of great people who made it a possibility.

We are announcing because of IVF.

I share our story with you because I so desperately want the world to know I am not alone. I’ve encountered dozens of friends who experienced the same and have met hundreds of women who will get knocked up with more than just their husband in the room.

You probably know us. You’ve probably passed us on the streets. We often sit in silence. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is fear of embarrassment. Maybe its fear to share our struggle. Perhaps it’s because we are sad and don’t want you to feel bad for us.

Why do I share this you ask?

Well, because what I’ve experienced behind these closed doors is something beautiful. A private community that deserves thanks. That deserves to be known.

Our journey began on April 16th, 2015. It was our one-day anniversary. Freshly married, bright-eyed and desirously full of love.  Six months later we were still drunk on love but no baby in sight.

Not uncommon, I know. 

So why was I worried? I’m what you classified as part of the GMC. Otherwise known as the Geriatric Mom Club. For the record, I’m was not ancient. I just wasn’t 25, 28 or even 32.

Back to the story.

For the next six months, we were in a doctor’s office getting lots of testing. The result – “you will never conceive on your own.” Basically, we both broke! At least as a pair.

After that sh*tty news – over the next six months we met with various fertility doctors. Finally, settling on Dr. Ahlering out of St. Louis. We signed the paperwork and got on the rotation six months later.

Why wait even longer?

Well, IVF is not cheap folks. To sum it up – we’ve paid for college for a kid who wasn’t even here yet. Nor ever guaranteed to get here.

So we needed time to save.

The time finally came.

We began the shots. ALL.THE.SHOTS. I have been poked and prodded more than I care to know. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  After all that poking we did our egg retrieval. To our surprise, we got 39 eggs! What the H.E. Double Hockey Sticks!

Out of those 39, 27 were mature, 21 fertilized, and 12 made it to the crucial day 6.

From there we had genetic testing done. This was to help increase our odds of a full-term pregnancy. Of those 12 embryos, 3 came back as viable.

If that doesn’t say how much a freaking miracle getting pregnant is, then I don’t know what will!

Two months later, we started prepping my body for the transfer. Guess what that means, more shots! Lots of them. Bigger ones. Two-inch-long ones right in the butt! Yay, fun! ?

We decided only to transfer one at a time.

And first up, embryo #17.

Boy was she beautiful! Yes, a she – we knew every inch of every embryo we had in stock. We were so confident and so in love.  What we did not know was the kind of pain only parents can know.

Embryo #17 did not survive. A month later, I miscarried.

However, something beautiful happened. As I laid in my husband’s arms falling apart, I felt a love more powerful than I ever felt. The kind of love where your heart breaks in two and expands all at once.

I knew at that moment, no matter what, I was not alone. In flesh and spirit.

Being the determined woman I am, I decided to get right back on the saddle. This time though I was cutting a lot of crap out of my life. I went 100% vegan. Only drank water. Got acupuncture. Floated. Focused on rest and meditation.

And guess what…

My body was responding great! And I was finally ready for another transfer. Up next, Embryo #18.

Let me pause here for a moment though.

During this entire process, I was loved by so many amazing people. Family, Friends, Colleagues, Doctors, Nurses, Strangers. People a part of this quiet community we came to know. During a time that seemed like a never-ending roller coaster, we became a family. Ryan and I formed our village! Though not always easy for everyone at times. Each and every unit made a real difference in our lives.

I’m better for it. My husband is better for it. Our love is stronger because of it.

To those of you who have walked with others in similar situations as ours. Who have sat with them. Encouraged them. Educated them. Poured love into their lives. Have cried, held and listened to them when the world was falling apart. Thank you!!

For those of you still fighting for your family – we pray for you and stand beside you!

We welcomed our little girl, Francis Elizabeth Grimm on December 3rd, 2019.  She was a long, hard, fought, patient blessing.  It took a village to get her here, and I hope she knows this one thing her entire life.

Dear embryo #18, you are so loved!

P.S. If you are fighting through IVF and need support. I’m Here. If you are going through IVF or might be considering it and have questions. I’m Here. I’ve created a special space in my heart for women and families just like ours. I will do whatever is in my power to help make this journey a lot less stressful and sh*tty.  I’ve got you girl!

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