Pop, fizz, clink. That was the joyful sound my husband and I heard as we toasted to the completed paperwork for our first IVF treatment. I vividly remember feeling so hopeful and confident that surely our first round would be a success and we’d be sitting in the same spot the following year with our bundle of baby joy next to us. Boy was I wrong.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it took an entire village just to give us one. Over the course of five lengthy years, we underwent multiple IVF treatments which spanned across three different doctors in two separate states. As is if that wasn’t enough of an unexpected journey, we jumped into the world of surrogacy to bring our son into our life with an incredibly selfless gestational carrier who has now become like family to us.

As I sat and started to tally how many hormone-filled injections went into my stomach and hips during our multiple IVF treatments, I decided to stop at the 500th needle. I stopped because beyond the physical pain that each needle painstakingly caused, there was also emotional pain. The kind of pain that came with the uncertainty if any of the daunting injections would even work. The pain that came from failed egg retrievals, embryo transfers and one heartbreaking miscarriage. The pain that came from temporarily leaving our home in Florida to undergo IVF treatments at a clinic in another state that seemed so hopeful but ultimately was hopeless. The pain that came from leaving a job I felt very valued and successful at in favor of IVF rounds that left me feeling the complete opposite way. The pain that came from distancing myself from friendships with no explanation. Most importantly, the pain that came from coming to terms that I wouldn’t be the woman carrying our child. I wouldn’t be the one feeling the first kicks or even giving birth to him.

Through all the pain and heartache we experienced, we feel so relieved that we never gave up. We forged through IVF treatments and I personally swallowed my pride to allow a surrogate into our lives to give us the ultimate gift of life.

While there certainly was a tremendous amount of hardship and heartbreak during our journey, the one thing that remained constant was the support and love my relationship with my husband (and biggest cheerleader!) provided. We couldn’t have done this without each other or our devoted families who provided their limitless care and support.

It is our wish that by sharing our journey that we can bring those struggling to start a family of their own hope with our story. I don’t think many couples go into IVF with the thought that it will take multiple treatments to work, let alone years. For us, it did, and we’ll be here with open arms and hearts to support anyone we can.

Melissa F