Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sharing "The Story Behind of Baby Nelson"

I struggled so much with whether or not I wanted to publicly share our IVF journey (with friends, family and coworkers). David was always for it. He wanted people to know that this baby was nothing short of a miracle. I finally came around and realized he was right, and we decided to share our "IVF story" today on social media, as it's the start of National Infertility Awareness Week. I posted a Note to my FB account and so far have been overwhelmed with the support and positive responses. Here's what it says:

Dear Friends and Family, 

By now you have probably heard the wonderful news that David and I are expecting our little Nelson Nugget at the end of July. What you may not know, however, is the incredible journey we embarked on to get to this place. When David and I decided we were ready to add to our family in September of 2015, we soon discovered that it would not be so easy. To make a long story short, we learned that the only way we could conceive would be through in vitro fertilization (IVF). After meeting with our doctor in December, we prayed long and hard over this decision and did much research before deciding we wanted to continue on this journey. So for the past year, whenever anyone has asked me when we're having kids, I've just smiled...even though deep down inside I would be crying. 

As soon as I was finished teaching my spring 2016 semester, I flew to Maryland to start the IVF process. And let me tell was not easy. I do not like needles, and IVF requires a lot of needles! I had my blood drawn every other day to the point that both my arms were black and blue. I had invasive ultrasounds done every other day. I learned to give myself subcutaneous injections--2 to 3 per day--and later my mom and David learned to give me nightly intramuscular injections. (In total, I have had ~108 injections.) All the while, we dealt with the emotional roller coaster that comes with IVF. There are so many hurdles you must get over before moving on to the next step, and if one fails, you have to start over. Our first transfer in July was unsuccessful; the embryo did not implant. I was devastated. I couldn't get out of bed. I didn't think I could go back to work in the fall. Yet somehow, by the grace of God, I picked myself up again. In November, I flew back to Maryland and transferred our last frozen embryo. This little miracle embryo implanted, and we are 26 weeks,1 day pregnant today. 

The reason I am sharing this is because I do not want people to think that this was an easy, planned, journey for us...because it wasn't. At the same time, we were blessed to find out about our need for IVF from the very beginning, and I am very thankful for that. I know several people who have experienced (and are experiencing) the hardships of infertility...and have experienced this for too long. My heart truly goes out to them as I can only share in some of the pain they feel. 

While I know most of you are happy for us, I know that some of you may also have some questions...and I am happy to try to answer them if you want to private message me. Please note that this is a very sensitive topic for us, so if for some reason, you are against our choice of doing IVF, please refrain from contacting me, as I do not wish to get into an argument or debate about one of the happiest moments in our lives. However, I will share that we did not have to worry about multiples, as our doctor practices elective single embryo transfer (eSET), so we only transferred 1 embryo at a time. And in our case, we are not worrying about extra, frozen embryos. We had 2 embryos and we transferred both of them. The first one did not implant, and the second one did. 

David and I just wanted to be honest and transparent about our journey. We got the good news the day before Thanksgiving and we were elated...but even then, we were not "out of the woods." I still had multiple blood tests and ultrasounds before my doctor would release me into the care of my OB/GYN. At 5 weeks, 6 days gestation, we had a scare and I ended up in the ER. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma (SCH) and was put on bed rest. The SCH was a scary diagnosis because it is linked to an elevated risk of miscarriage or pre-term labor. (As of the 3/10/17 anatomy scan, the SCH is no longer showing up on he U/S.) Beyond the medical side of things, there are also the the financial burdens associated with this. Unfortunately, our insurance does not cover fertility treatments, so we are paying for everything out of pocket. Some have asked if they could donate to our IVF fund, and the answer is yes, we would be so very grateful. We have an IVF GoFundMe account set up here if you are interested. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to our story. We hope this doesn't change how any of you feel about us, but we wanted our story to be heard. This week (April 23-29) is actually National Infertility Awareness Week, which felt like the perfect time to share our story with you. Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggle to build a family? "The CDC tells us that this is 15% of couples in America. Infertility does not discriminate based on race, religion, sexuality or economic status. You never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible." For more information, please visit 

Dorothy & David 

Post Note: We are overwhelmed with the positive responses we have received. To be honest, I never knew if I wanted to share this story with anyone. It’s something I’ve gone back and forth with for months. Part of me worried that we would be judged for the particular route we chose to expand our family, whether for moral, religious, or other reasons. Part of me just didn’t want the whole world to know after we’d kept this secret for so long. David is the one that encouraged me to share our story, and I’m glad he gave me that push. We’ve gotten to see Baby Nelson since she was just a small cluster of cells and it’s hard to believe that that tiny little miracle embryo is now kicking me as I write this. (She kicks even more when I eat pizza.) Thank you so much for your kind words and support. It truly means a lot. :)

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