This week my husband and i get to celebrate the sweetest wedding anniversary of all. After nearly 8 years of desperately trying to start our family, countless months of heartbreak, and failed fertility treatments, we are completely overwhelmed with joy to share the biggest news of our lives. Our first child will finally be joining our family in January 2017! 

 

I'm going to share a little bit about our journey, which has some measurable heartache but has brought us to the most joyful time in our lives. I'm also sharing a few sneak peeks from our special announcement/early maternity shoot that the ever talented Bethany Snyder did with us last week - I will share more from this shoot in a separate post shortly. Feel free to skip past the heartache (THEN) and head straight to the joyfulness (NOW) if you'd like. Don't worry, you won't hurt our feelings if you do. We thought long and hard about sharing this news with you all and finally came to the conclusion that, after keeping our struggles quiet for nearly 8 years, it was about time to share our story and exciting news with others. xoxo

THEN

Eight years ago, I married my best friend and high school sweetheart. We always knew we wanted a family right away and wasted no time in trying to start. After a year of trying, we knew something might be wrong but our friends urged us to relax and keep trying. Another year went by and we finally saw a faint second line on that home pregnancy test. Sadly, it was a short lived moment of happiness as we experienced our first (very early) loss. Fast forward to 2 years later when we finally made the step in seeking out professional medical advice. We went through incredibly lengthy and invasive testing over a 6 month period and walked away with a final diagnosis of Infertility. To say it was a hard hit to the heart to see in writing "Diagnosis: Infertility" is putting it lightly. As for most couples experiencing infertility, we were constantly aware of everything baby related that our day to day life puts in front of us (there's so much of it out there!). From baby commercials and magazine ads, families walking down the street, friends sharing stories of their babies who you love dearly, and of course the dreaded question of "when are you going to have kids?"...everywhere we turned was a constant reminder of what we so desperately wanted but couldn't have. Anthony and I both kept our feelings about everything to ourselves over the years for the most part. It can sometimes be a taboo or easily misunderstood subject, and the heartache is something we would never wish on anyone.

Fast forward 2 more years, Anthony received an amazing opportunity with his company to move to Charlottesville, VA. This fresh start to our life seemed like the perfect next step in finding the right fertility clinic for us. Enter Dr. Laura Smith with Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Center. For the first time ever, we were given real hope that we would be able to start our family. It would take time, tests, and treatment but she was very optimistic about our family future. A new round of testing began for both of us and we had more conclusive answers of what it would take to make this happen. I began being treated for my hypothyroid, that had been left untreated for years, and was fully prepped that when I did get pregnant I would need to give myself blood thinner shots every day due to a blood clotting disorder I have. Anthony and I both underwent fertility related surgeries that first year we were in Charlottesville, and about 6 months after his surgery was completed we had our first official IUI fertility treatment. I will spare you the not so pretty details, but will share that hormones are AWFUL and that our first, second, and third treatments all failed. And we were heartbroken, yet again. 

NOW

Then came our fourth, and little did we know final treatment on May 5th, 2016. Things were different this time and we were both incredibly hopeful for the first time in a while! With every IUI treatment there is something known as the "dreaded two week wait". We tried our best to distract ourselves like we had before - my wedding season had just begun and I thankfully was booked solid those two weeks. 

Towards the end of those two weeks, while Anthony was at work I did what I did every month for as long as I can remember - I took a test on my own to mentally prepare myself for the negative I would see, so I could get my sobbing out of the way and not meltdown when we saw the negative together the next day. I took the test, thought to myself "Ugh, it's just going to be negative again" and walked away to make myself lunch. When I walked back into the room, I could see the solid second line from across the room and froze. Shaking, I called our doctor and our nurse, Brittany, had me come in right away for a Beta/HCG test. I had never been more excited and terrified to be poked by a needle again in my life. Brittany quickly called and confirmed that I was in fact pregnant! I paced back in forth in our bedroom while crying/laughing out pure joy for a good hour. Then came the moment I had been waiting for since Anthony and I got married. I got to surprise him with the news that he was going to be a Dad. I videotaped the surprise, which can be found below. For clarification purposes, he thought he was getting a FitBit, but inside the bag were two positive pregnancy tests and a card congratulating him on becoming a Dad....and the voicemail you hear is from our nurse Brittany who helped me in calling back and leaving that message so I could do this video. 

Our story is far from over and we are beyond grateful for every day that comes with this pregnancy. We are SO excited and thrilled to share that after 8 long years of trying, Baby B will be joining our family in January 2017. Our sweet baby is growing strong and I've just started to feel his/her first little kicks. And for the record, we are not finding out what we're having...because after nearly 8 years of trying, what's a handful more months of waiting to find out if our first born will be a little girl or boy! 

A special thanks and an overflowing "We love you" to our family and friends who have kept their lips sealed these past 19 weeks...we know it wasn't easy to keep quiet but you can breathe now, the secret is out ;)

We really do love science. 

INFERTILITY

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive naturally after 1 year of unprotected sex or the inability to carry pregnancy to a live birth. 1 in 8 couples in the US experience infertility. Over 7 million women struggle with conceiving their first child and over 3 million struggle to conceive their second child (known as secondary infertility). Approximately 1/3 of infertility is female related, 1/3 is male related, and 1/3 is related to both male & female issues.

Chances are, you know someone who has or is struggling with the heartbreak of infertility or secondary infertility. The best way to support those who are facing this diagnosis is to be mindful, understanding, and supportive, without being intrusive (i.e. they will talk about it when they are able, don't push the subject). Let them know you love them, that it isn't fair what they are going through, they are not alone, and that it isn't their fault. Infertility is incredibly lonely and can cause those with this diagnosis to fall into depression and/or seclusion. Surrounding those with love goes further than you can ever imagine.

The photos below are just a few sneak peeks from the lovely Bethany Snyder who captured our special announcement/early maternity shoot. I will be sharing more about this shoot in a separate post shortly! 

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