From the outside, everything seemed perfect! My husband, Kevin, and I met in 2012 on a blind date. We got engaged, married, and I went back to grad school in 2016. We spent the next several years studying, traveling, and dreaming of starting a family.

January of 2020 started with a classy 35th birthday celebration for me. A few days later, I had an appointment with my primary care doctor to discuss our inability to conceive after trying for 18 months. My doctor ordered some basic fertility testing for Kevin and me. I figured this would be a quick process and soon, I would be pregnant like we had planned.

It turns out I was wrong. I was WRONG on so many levels, it is almost comical looking back. Our lab work came back with several abnormalities, prompting additional testing and countless specialty appointments. We met with two fertility clinics and were given the news that we would need to pursue IVF to become parents.The emotions that came with these conversations were overwhelming. The thing that further complicated this process was the timing: it was April 2020.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t have prepared myself for the year that was unfolding. The world was locked down. My job as a nurse anesthetist was quickly changing. My husband was found to have testicular masses which prompted emergent surgery in the midst of a pandemic. My once eager desire to have a baby had faded. In fact, all IVF centers were closed indefinitely due to the pandemic. My mom recited the saying “Inch by inch life in a cinch, yard by yard life is hard” several hundred times. It forced me to truly take it second by second. And we did…days and months passed by and slowly things returned to a new “normal.

My job slowly turned into a more familiar routine. The IVF clinics were re-opening for new cycles. Speciality appointments were being scheduled. My husband’s surgery showed benign tumors that required future monitoring, but no cancer – the best possible outcome! I was hopeful we were at a point where we could move forward and become parents.

We completed three cycles of IVF at a local clinic in Michigan and a fourth in Colorado from December 2020 to February 2022. We started our first round December 24, 2020, and we had such high expectations and hopes. We ended up with ZERO viable embryos. Our second cycle was in May of 2021. We got TWO viable embryos and everything seemed worth it. We transferred our perfect embryo on July 16, 2021 and 10 days later our joy turned to pain when we learned the pregnancy did not take. Round three was in October 2021 and sadly ended with zero viable embryos – again. Round four was January 2022 and brought us one viable embryo.

I can truly say I have experienced every emotion throughout this journey. I was never prepared for the intense moments of sadness this process can bring. We are blessed to have frozen embryos and a chance to start our family in the future. We plan to bank embryos before we proceed forward with another transfer. We remain hopeful that our prayers will be fulfilled, and we will become parents, but we recognize there are no guarantees in the world of infertility.

This journey has forever changed me as a person, professional, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I am forever grateful for the support of my family and friends, as they were listening ears and shoulders of support when I thought it was impossible to give myself one more shot or meet with one more doctor. I have also met some of the strongest women going through fertility treatments, and I am thankful for their support and knowledge. It is so important to know you are not alone in this process!

I am eager for the chance to become a mother. I have learned to recognize the road to this title may look very different than I originally envisioned, and I strive to make this unique and challenging story as beautiful as I can, one step at a time. #WeCanAll take it one inch at a time to create our own unique and beautiful story.

Elizabeth C., MI

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