In 2013, my husband, Clint, and I decided that the time was right for us to start trying to have a family. It took us over two years to get pregnant the first time. We were so excited! Sadly, that joyous feeling was short-lived when we experienced a miscarriage at seven weeks. We decided to try again and got pregnant right away. Unfortunately, that also ended in miscarriage. Two months after that, another pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Within a five-month period, we had experienced three miscarriages.

We took some time to regroup and decided to keep trying. Ten months later, I got pregnant again. During the first ultrasound, we found out that it wasn’t a viable pregnancy. Four miscarriages? What’s going on? It was extremely challenging for me. Why was my body unable to hold a pregnancy?

In 2017, we decided to move forward with IVF. It was during this time that we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility and unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. Unexplained? I had a very hard time coming to terms with these diagnoses. To essentially be told “We don’t know why” was very hard to process. Every test result that came back normal was frustrating. There had to be a reason… Why couldn’t they find it?

IVF did not provide us with the answers we were looking for. After a fifth miscarriage, we decided to take some time off. We were mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Four years into this process and we weren’t any closer to getting answers.

We decided to start trying again naturally. It only took me a few months before I realized that I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Infertility had finally taken its toll on me. I felt like it not only completely consumed my life, but it had completely consumed me. It took everything out me. I had nothing left to give.

We then moved on to gestational surrogacy. For us, it was the best decision we could have made. We knew that we would have a better chance of taking a pregnancy to full term if we used someone else’s body. And we were right. Our daughter, Kelowna, was born via gestational surrogate in January 2020.

After six years, five miscarriages, two rounds of IVF, and one gestational surrogate embryo transfer, our family is now complete. I often get asked about life after infertility. What most people fail to recognize is that we are still infertile. I am still unable to carry a child. Having a child does not erase the diagnosis of infertility or the emotions associated with it. The scars and battle wounds that we experienced during this journey will likely always be there.

Infertility will always be a part of us and a part of our family’s story. Sharing our journey has been a great way for us to give back to the infertility community. We share in the hopes of bringing comfort and solace to those in the trenches of their own infertility journey.

Melanie T., Washington