This is Jaeda’s honest story about the grief that comes with infertility. And the joy that she experienced when she was able to give birth to her twins Fiona and Porter. She holds nothing back as she shares her emotional experience undergoing IVF while she watched her friends get pregnant around her. She showed such courage in sharing her true feelings and we are honored to get to listen in to her story and learn something from it. Isn’t it interesting how motherhood opens our eyes to deeper emotions we never knew were under the surface?
What does “motherhood” mean to you?
It means abandoning a level of selfishness that I never knew I had. It’s the most important job you will ever have in your entire life. It’s finding and immersing yourself in new levels of love, anger, joy, patience, loneliness, and all the emotions in between.
Was there anything unexpected, traumatic or significant for you in the process of becoming a mother?
Like most people, I thought I would become a mom much quicker and easier than I did. Dealing with “unexplained fertility” was so utterly frustrating because there is nothing to pinpoint and say “Ok. We fix this and we will get pregnant.” I was not prepared for the emotional toll and lonely journey of infertility. As a woman, you can’t help but feel like your body is failing you, even if that’s not the situation. We are built to create life, but mine wasn’t doing that. We tried the good old fashion way for about a year before we started seeking professional help. It was the typical testing for both of us (HSG test, HSG test, semen analysis, bloodwork) and all looked fantastic. Next it was four different rounds of IUI, with no success. We took a medical break for a little over a year since fertility treatments were not covered. I had tracked my cycle in every single way possible, peed on strips and sticks, charted, drank and ate “fertility friendly” foods, rested in some cirque du soleil poses for optimal sperm flow. We decided to start looking into adoption, and something made me check our insurance again (it updated yearly through my husband’s employer) and shockingly, we now had enough to cover ONE round of IVF.
They retrieved 22 eggs which turned into six mature eggs which turned into six fertilized. We knew we wanted to do two, so the doc grabbed two five-day blastocysts and they stuck. I took a pregnancy test two days before my blood test, and seeing “pregnant” for the first time was the most surreal thing. When my blood tests kept coming back with stellar results, I had a feeling they were both in there. At six weeks I saw them on the ultrasound for the first time.
Seeing “pregnant” for the first time was the most surreal thing.
We had four embryos frozen. In March of 2018 when the twins were 10 months old, we got the news that our embryos were no longer viable due to a MASSIVE hospital disaster with a freezer tank. Although they would cover another round of IVF, I couldn’t see going through that entire process again with two toddlers and my now “geriatic” eggs. I think about those embryos every single day. There is no doubt in my mind I would have had one more transferred by now.
Infertility never really goes away. Even though we have our family, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I still get jealous of people who can try for a baby and make one just like that.
What was it like to open up about your infertility to others? Good experiences and bad experiences?
Luckily, it was mostly good! I slowly opened up to friends and found a couple others struggling. It wasn’t until I opened up on Instagram that I discovered a whole community of people on the same journey as me. I even had a group text with two other women from high school since we were all struggling. I had another friend pass a Giving Key on to me that said “HOPE”. I wore that every day until the twins were born. After, I felt it was time to pass it on to the last of high school friends from the group who had yet to conceive. (She too wore it every day and finally had her IVF miracle baby two months ago!)
The bad part was related to other moms who were super fertile. I didn’t want them to feel my jealousy, but I felt a mix of joy and devastation when another pregnancy was announced. It was sometimes difficult to hide.
How did you cope struggling with infertility? I had to to learn to let go of what I couldn’t control and started seeking things I could control in regards to becoming a mother (adoption). One of the hardest things was trying to “not try”. That’s what the generic advice is: “If you just stop trying it will happen. That’s what happened to ‘so-and-so’!” It didn’t matter if I wasn’t checking my basal body temperature or peeing on an ovulation stick, I KNEW when that hot window was each month and there was no ignoring it. All you could really do is focus on making your life and environment as “family friendly” as possible. If you’re unhappy in your career, leave. If you’re unhappy with your health, make dietary and fitness changes. Find new ways to restore positive energy in your body.
How did you change in the process of your experience? I found a level of emptiness I didn’t know I had. I felt so alone on the journey and constantly felt inadequate. It led me to taking charge and finding more spiritual ways to deal with finding patience.
Describe these spiritual ways: I did more yoga. Learned how to meditate. Picked up running again and trained for my second half marathon. I tried surrounding myself with more spiritual people and had more conversations around that. I also started getting Reiki to help balance my energy.
I knew that one day I would look at a child and know exactly why it took that long to get them. I just had to find a way to accept that it may take longer than I wanted it to.
Were there any mantras/affirmations or ways of thinking that helped you move through your experience?
I was gifted a beautiful, handmade set of mala beads and used them as a point of centering. I remember making the drive across town for work, and rolling my fingers over each bead on the way repeating the same thing to myself over and over:
I am strong. I am patient. I am fertile.
What would you say to women facing infertility? If you feel alone, try to find the strength to open up about it. The fertility community is much larger than you may think.
These women are your friends. These women are your tribe. These women are your strength on the days you need it most. They will be there to lift you up in ways no one else can. Motherhood is generally the same for everyone, but the journey is different and unique. Yours will make sense to you one day. And while you’re in the middle of the shitshow, and you feel like you cannot take another crushing month of trying,
Remember that you are not alone.