“I am thankful for my struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength”
A while back my step dad shared an article from the newspaper with me. The article was about the death of Dr. Howard Jones at the age of 104. This doctor had opened the first In vitro Fertilization Clinic. For some reason I could not stop thinking about how much I owe this family. This amazing man and his wife began the first IVF clinic and the first baby was born through In vitro fertilization through their clinic. Without this man and his intelligence I would not have the growing family I have today.
In December 2011, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and blocked Fallopian tubes. The way I had stumbled across this was I had started the invasive infertility tests. When I stopped my birth control I was not getting my period at all and kept thinking I was pregnant. That was completely incorrect and they told me they are not sure so I need to go to a fertility specialist. When they found the Fallopian tubes blocked it was during the HSG test. I will never forget this test. It was dye injected into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. The reason the test hurt for me is because my Fallopian tubes were blocked. The dye should have spilled into my abdomen but it did not. The words I will never forget from the insensitive doctor I had never met was “this is why you will never get pregnant.” I cried the whole way home in the car with my husband. He had no idea what to say and I think felt the same emptiness I felt.
The emptiness I felt came from the feeling I had my whole life about raising a family one day. I thought it had been taken away from me in one 15 minute test. I remember the feeling I had when I held my nephew for the first time. I could imagine being a mother one day. I was the youngest of 4 kids so I was 10 when my nephew was born and I loved the idea of this little baby growing up right in front of me!
So my husband and I discussed a few options before I had my surgery. After my surgery, where they removed both Fallopian tubes and I lost the ability to conceive a baby naturally, I wanted to start the IVF process. My fertility doctor sat with me and informed me that my chances were high to get pregnant through IVF. He said he is not sure the amount of tries or how much it would cost but we should get started. I trusted my IVF doctor, although he was unable to prepare me for the emotional roller coaster and financial drain, I was ready to try. My husband was behind me no matter what my decision was and supported me through this intrusive process.
I am writing this story because I have never felt such a connection to the couples or women/men that hope for a child of their own or to grow their family. Even if you never want to have children you can relate to this longing for something you are told you can’t have. We need to be more empowering to one another and cheer each other on. Because with our differences and similarities we are all struggling to make our lives our own and feel good about it.
As I write this, I have two beautiful children running around playing with dinosaurs and singing along to the tv. All of this happened with 1 failed IVF cycle and 2 successful IVF cycles. I sit back and I am grateful to a couple that I have never met because without their intelligence and motivation this experience would not have been able to happen.
Dr. Howard Jones thank you for being a pioneer and an extraordinary doctor. I can only hope my generation can make a huge difference in medicine and help others like you did. Making a difference in people’s lives is one of the most rewarding experiences. I can honestly say this stranger has made a huge impact on my life. I believe everyone deserves happiness and to live life to the fullest.
Look out for my first podcast discussing the IVF journey further.