When I hear about someone going through infertility I automatically feel a little bit of guilt. My husband and I had no problems getting pregnant. In fact, we kinda had the opposite problem. Our first was unplanned – like, A LOT unplanned, but thats a story for a different day.
As an onlooker to a woman struggling to get pregnant, my heart just sinks. I truly cannot imagine the longing of wanting a child so badly and fighting so hard to have one. When I first stumbled across Halie’s story I was immediately drawn in to her journey and what she was going through, and it wasn’t because of the hardship she was enduring, but because of her amazingly positive attitude about it!
For months I watched her and her husband give updates on their journey of infertility and be completely transparent about what they were going through. I was blown away how they turned something that could have easily torn a couple apart (and often does) into an encouragement to all couples going through the same thing.
When I found out she was pregnant I silently cheered in my room with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t be happier to know that she was going to be a mama and one day have the honor of kissing her babe to bed at night. To wipe away the tears when he gets a boo boo. To pray over him and watch him grow with amazement, knowing that she created this wonderful human being.
Having to opportunity to do her maternity session was nothing short of magical. What an honor it was to be able to celebrate with her. She is a beautiful mama on the outside an in! I cannot wait for her sweet Lennon to get here and I know Halie can’t either!
In writing this blog post, I wanted Halie to tell her story with her own words. there is no amount of writing that I could do to make one understand what her journey is like – so I will let her tell you:
“When my husband and I decided that we were ready to start trying to grow our family, we thought it would be easy. And fun. A year after naturally trying and no positive pregnancy tests, we decided it was time to see if something was wrong so we went to the doctor. Looking back, I had no idea that one appointment would send us on a trail of 78 more appointments before we would conceive a child.
After lots of blood work, scans, ultrasounds, and samples dropped off, we learned that we face unexplained male factor infertility. The doctors say that my husband has a boring bill of health. He’s never had a major surgery, no illnesses (expect the occasional man cold), he eats well and is in good physical shape. They cannot find a reason why his reproductive system is the way it is or a way to fix it.
We were told fairly quickly we have a zero percent chance of getting pregnant naturally and our only option would be in vitro fertilization. I had heard of IVF before but I didn’t know too much about it. I hopped on YouTube and started looking for IVF videos and began following other families that had been or were going through IVF.
Our first IVF cycle failed. I remember getting that phone call like it was yesterday. Our embryos were in distress and did degenerate and we didn’t have any embryos to try to get pregnant with. I’ve learned a lot of people don’t consider an embryo a child. But to me, those were my babies. Those were my babies that we created and that we lost and it was absolutely a grieving process.
We jumped quickly into our second IVF cycle. We did choose to go through a different doctor this time. We loved our first doctor and our second doctor said she wouldn’t have done anything differently the first round. We chose to make this change because we liked her plan and were willing to try something a little different.
For our second IVF cycle, they increased my medication to the maximum amount that is safe to take. We had been documenting our journey on YouTube and our followers donated us all of their left over medicine they didn’t need. $20,000 worth of medicine that I used. Most insurance companies don’t cover IVF or the medication it requires because as I was told, “It is not medically necessary and you have a choice to just not have a baby.” While I find that very unfortunate, our village of followers pulled through for us and saved us that much money.
We began our second cycle and ran into a few bumps along the way. The goal of increasing my medicine was to make me produce more follicles, or eggs, to give us more chances with embryos. My husband had surgery this time to remove the sperm so they would go through less stress and come straight from the source. After six days of letting our embryos grow in the lab, we had one embryo that was a result of his surgery and one embryo that was a result of a frozen sample my husband provided from our first cycle.
We had genetic testing done on our two embryos. We found out that the embryo that was a product of his surgery was missing a chromosome six, thus, she would not be able to sustain life. That day we lost our sweet little girl. On June 9th, we transferred our one embryo that had the perfect 46 chromosomes to my body. 78 doctors appointments, 175 injections, 750 pills, and 3 surgeries later, we got our positive pregnancy test! It worked!
I never thought I’d learn so much about my reproductive system or my husbands when we decided to start trying. But by sharing our story, we received so much support that we needed going through the two IVF cycles. And along the way, I made many friends that I talk to almost daily whether we got pregnant around the same time, they just had a failed cycle and don’t know how to afford to try again, or someone who just got the news they have to go down this road. What I’ve said about our story is, “No mess, no message.”
There were many days I didn’t know what to say to God because I was speechless, angry, sad, grieving, or just confused. Our village stood in the gap when I couldn’t move. I never lost my faith but it was challenged.
We are now one month away from meeting our son and I couldn’t be more thankful. I am thankful for the all day sickness I had until I was 20 weeks pregnant. I’m thankful for the stretch marks that I know some women would die for. I’m thankful for the sleeplessness due to being uncomfortable because it reminds me that our son is growing big and strong in me. Really, I’m thankful for it all. There was a point where I didn’t know if we would get to experience any of this so I count my blessings every day and know that God has big plans for this little boy. I know he’s been called to do something extraordinary.” -Halie
I hope that Halie’s story has encouraged you! My hope is that if you are struggling to concieve or are going through IVF that you know you are not alone. I want to share with you Halie’s Youtube channel and other info so you can connect with her and maybe others going through the same thing. #nomomalone
you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/haliepowell/
Also check out https://resolve.org for infertility support
Till next time,