WE’RE PREGNANT! Our journey from infertility, loss and back

We’re pregnant! We’re pregnant! YOU GUYS, WE’RE PREGNANT!

I just want to SHOUT it from the top of my lungs!!!! As I turn on my laptop this morning to write this, I immediately went and put on the song Imagine Dragons “On Top of the World”.  This was the song that I remember Peter playing continuously in the car while we were dating and after we got engaged in Colorado.  Two of my fondest memories and now this moment…these lyrics explains how we’re feeling, perfectly.

I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay

I’ve tried to cut these corners
Try to take the easy way out
I kept on falling short of something

I could have gave up then but
Then again I couldn’t have ’cause
I’ve traveled all this way for something

I wanted to share our story because it’s one worth reading and to show you miracles do really happen! God does have a plan for all of us. As some of our closest friends and family have known for awhile now, we’ve struggle long and hard with infertility. From the moment we started dating, we knew one day we wanted to have a big family. There was no doubt in our minds but sometime life doesn’t always go as plan.

(There’s a lot of TMI issues I will address & this is a LONG post. So if you don’t like or care about that, please exit.)

To begin this story, we would have to rewind this way back to July 20th, 2014; the day we got married. Just like other newlyweds, we started trying immediately. I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that doctors will tell you if you’re under 30 to try for 1 year before seeking fertility treatments and if you’re 30+ to seek it within 6 months of trying. I knew all the statistics going in and after trying for 6 months, my spirit was starting to get broken. Every period I got within those 6 months, my heart sank a little more. I finally broke in January 2015 and told Peter that I had a feeling that something is wrong. I just couldn’t come to grasp that I was 25 years old with a clean health history and here I was struggling to conceive while everyone at my age was popping babies out left and right.

So clueless as we were, we booked an appt with a local OB. She did blood work on both of us, said everything was fine and sent us on our way. I still wasn’t convince and told Peter that we had to seek a second opinion and that’s when we stumbled upon fertility clinic #1. We didn’t do much research because prior to all of this, we didn’t know anyone that struggle with infertility. We thought we were the only one. I think we pick the office cause it was convenient to where we lived. So off we went to our first appt, all I can remember from that visit was feeling really really defeated. It was 3+ hours long and I remember her breaking the news to us that I had a low ovarian reserve and that she suggested the strongest treatment for me: IVF. Basically, I don’t have enough eggs and they are aging faster than they should be. I remember Peter leaving the appt the last hour because he had a meeting with his client and the doctor taking me into the sonogram room to check my follicles. I remember driving home after the visit and crying…like someone has just died, crying.

We were optimistic though, we knew we were in good hands. We research more about the practice and found out they were one of the best fertility doctors in the metroplex. Between January-May 2015 , we would encounter several fail tries of getting my follicles to where it was good enough to retrieve. We also kept running into cysts, they would develop, rupture and redevelop. The doctor said that this wasn’t the ideal environment to do IVF so finally in May she was getting impatient and wanted to convert it into an IUI round and to start shots right away. Due to my severe diagnosis, she said I wouldn’t benefit from pills such as Clomid ( which is the cheapest route) so she suggested the strongest medicines so I can produce enough follicles (eggs).

By this time, we were EXHAUSTED from all the treatments and Peter and I wanted a vacation to just get away from everything. We went to Hong Kong in May, prayed and prayed. We even went to the Big Buddha in Hong Kong and I remember praying HARD while there, asking God to give us an opportunity to have this child. On the way home, we had a layover in Atlanta and the pharmacy called me. I remember the lady on the phone saying that if we wanted our shots to get there on time, that I had to give her our card info immediately so she can expedite the order. We thought insurance would cover our injectables, so we didn’t think much of it. Until she said, we owe her $5,000. My mouth dropped and I looked over at Peter in the airport and told him the bad news. He didn’t believe it and said that when we got back, he would call the insurance. Once we got home, he called and insurance wasn’t budging on the price at all. That was the price we had to pay and it wasn’t covered. Another blow.

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$5k, down the drain. I was put on the strongest and most expensive meds ever.

In May-June 2015 I would start injecting myself with everything. I couldn’t stand the sight of needles, so Peter had to learn all of this and he injected every single one of them into me during these two months. Greatest husband ever. In July, we had the green light to start IUI. So we did the procedure and waited the dreaded 2 weeks wait. I ate all the things people online suggested so the egg could fertilize. I ate pineapple cores, brazil nuts, drank tons of milk and only ate warm food.

On August, 19, 2015, the 2 weeks wait was officially over and I couldn’t wait to get my hand on a pregnancy test. I had it all planned out in my head that if it was a positive, I would surprise Peter when he got home from work. So I woke up the morning of the 19th and while Peter was eating his breakfast I snuck into the bathroom and took one. Came back 3 minutes later and lo and behold…

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I was pregnant! I fell to my knees that morning and just thanked God.

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I surprise Peter that afternoon from work with this. We were going to take a little time away with a vacation in Florida so that’s why I wrote: ‘Florida, Here We Come!’

We were over the moon! The doctor called us the next day to confirm that I was indeed pregnant and that those pineapple cores worked! We were so excited! She told me not to get my hopes up (bummer) and that she’ll watch over me the next 2 months to see if everything is progressing well. So with that news, we went to Florida .

We wanted to do a beach pregnancy announcement, so we took advantage of our time in Florida to schedule a photoshoot with the sweetest girl ever, Bianca Valentim. She took some of the most AMAZING photos of my growing tummy and it made us SO happy. We didn’t know when we’ll ever be able to show people these photos, but I’m glad the day has come that these photos are no longer a secret. Fort Lauderdale will always hold a special place in our hearts because of this. Our angel baby, forever. 

You can view the rest of our announcement photos by clicking HERE

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We were planning to announce the baby in December 2015

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Sadly, I wish the outcome was not shitty. Sorry for the language, but it was. It wasn’t fair at all. We were sad, angry and completely shattered. I try not to re-live that moment in my head very much because nothing can prepare you for the pain that comes with losing a child. People will tell you that time will heal all, it’s a lie because it doesn’t. It’s been a year and my heart still has a huge hole in it. You force yourself to move on because it’s the right thing to do but it doesn’t make the pain any easier. I think about our baby all the time, especially when I’m alone.

We miscarried on October 11th, 2015. Just like that, it was over. We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of the lows. The doctor believe it was a chromosome abnormality and that if I wanted to I could send in the tissue to test for it. We declined because that would just open up wounds again and not accomplish anything. She also said if I didn’t miscarry naturally that she would give me pills or schedule me for a D&C. I decline once again and prayed that it would happen naturally and on the 11th it did. Our baby was gone and we just had to live with it like nothing had happen. I ask God during these times why he couldn’t just take my life and spare our baby. But I knew that wasn’t his plan and he had better things for us, I just had to trust.

Through the grace of God, he gave us some amazing friends and family that comforted us.

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I saved all the messages and cards people gave us because I knew one day I wanted to thank them for loving us in our darkest times.

From November-December 2015, we would try IUI once again. You see, Peter and I are both VERY stubborn and persistent people. A curse and a blessing but we weren’t just going to take no for an answer.  We told her that we trusted her with all of our hearts and if IUI worked last time, we would want to give it another shot. She agreed and put me back on the shots, which meant we would be out of another $5k again. This was around Christmas time, so all we wanted was to enjoy the holiday season but we couldn’t because here we were again. Emotional rollercoaster #2. Peter injected me with hormones again and my hormones rage all over again. We did IUI and waited the 2 weeks wait. The pregnancy test was scheduled after Christmas and being the person I am, tested before we went in. It was negative and I remember crying all over again and Peter reassuring me that the blood test is more accurate. So we went in the next day and the doctor would call us before New Years Eve to tell us it was negative and that she was so sorry.

At this point, Peter and I were very angry and believe that the fertility clinic wasn’t doing everything in their power to get us pregnant. We were already thinking about giving it another try and going with IVF but couldn’t give this doctor another chance. We started researching other fertility clinics in January and through the grace of God again, Peter talked to one of his client that was going through the same thing as us and he referred us to fertility clinic #2. He said he loved that clinic and that’s the reason why they’re pregnant. We went to see this new doctor mid-January 2016, we told her about my previous diagnosis and she agree that I did have low ovarian reserve. She said that my time was running out and the sooner we did IVF, the better of a chance I’ll have in achieving pregnancy. So we did, she said the whole process will take 3 months and in February 2016 we signed all the forms and paid our unborn child’s college tuition and ordered our 3rd round of $5k shots.

February 19th,2016, was the the long awaited moment of my egg retrieval. I was scared. I remember being wheel into the OR and completely losing it. They wouldn’t let Peter come into the OR, so he had to wait outside. I think it was because I saw all the operating lamps and knew what was about to happen. One of the anesthesiologist saw how nervous I was and reassured me that this will be all worth it at the end. The last thing he said to me was “Ok, let’s give her the happy stuff” and that was it. The doctor came in 30 mins later and said she retrieved 3 follicles but the 3rd one was still unclear.

From February-March 2016, we basically played the waiting game. The eggs would have to be fertilize in the lab and watched over two weeks to see if they were splitting correctly. This process tested us and we realize God was truly in control and that even given the best circumstances and environment, science can only go so far. We ended up transferring only one embryo that was a decent grade to be put back in me. The 2nd embryo didn’t fertilize correctly, so they discarded it in the lab (another blow). Initially, we wanted to do the frozen embryo transfer (FET) combined with our fresh IVF cycle because the doctor said that it’ll give me a higher chance of getting pregnant. But because of my low ovarian reserve, they couldn’t retrieve a good amount of eggs; therefore leading them to a very slim selection of embryos come transfer day.

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We were sad but HOPEFUL that we had at least one good one. This was our second angel baby.

We did the 2 weeks wait and waited till the 14th day to test. I tested early (of course) and it came out negative. I cried and flipped out badly that morning. Peter once again had to reassure me that it’s ok, maybe it was too early and the blood test was the only way to know. We went into the clinic and later that day the doctor would call us with the devastating news, IVF has failed. I wasn’t pregnant. She told me to take some time and call her office once I’m ready to discuss further fertility options. We never did.

This by far was the biggest blow to us. Peter and I cried and just held each other that whole day. We have run out of options and couldn’t keep shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for this anymore. We weren’t millionaires and didn’t have money just to burn. I wanted to die. I knew IVF was my last option and if it didn’t work, I was ready to throw in the towel. Peter was right there behind me. April 2016 was hard, we mourned another lost baby. Even though it was only an embryo when she inserted it in me. It was STILL LIFE, half of me and half of Peter’s. That was my baby that never had a chance at all.

I started talking to my parents about what had happened and my Mom just kept saying that I should try TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). My Mom struggled a total of 8 years trying to conceive both my sister and I and she said this was her saving grace. So I went online and researched the best TCM clinic there was and stumbled upon one in Dallas. At this point, both Peter and I had given up on trying and thought it wouldn’t hurt to just try some herbs. So I did, I took it consistently everyday and just didn’t think too much of it. I knew if it didn’t help me out fertility wise, at least I was doing my health a favor.

We decided that we needed to get away from all this mess once again. Starting to see a pattern? I feel like when we take vacations, it just refuels our souls and keep us connected to each other. Travel is good for the soul. We wanted to get away and always loved the Caribbean because that’s where we went for our honeymoon and those were the best memories ever! So we chose to do a Royal Caribbean cruise and had the best time ever! We laughed SO much and just had a blast with each other. Before I went, my best friend Sam called me and we chatted about what to expect on a cruise (cause she’s been before) and I joked that maybe we’ll conceive a baby on the cruise, ha! This was May 2016.

June 2016 rolls around and in mid-June I started to feel a little ‘off’. I didn’t know how to explain the feeling, it just felt like I was coming down with something. I had given up on the idea of getting pregnant and actually started to put a lot of ‘baby’ stuff we had up including the leftover shots we had and some maternity clothes I bought. I just chunked them away to the deepest darkest area of my closet. I was really fed up. Peter and I started to get back to the swing of things. We went fishing again. He took a Friday off work early and we took the boat out to the lake and fished till the sun set. It was awesome! I started getting back into my hobbies and just moved on.

June 25th, 2016, the day we will look back on and see that God was smiling from heaven at us.  As I got back into my hobbies again, redecorating the house was on the top of my list. I begged Peter that weekend to take me to the Nebraska Furniture store so I can look at some things. Before we left the house, I told him that we should stop by Panda Express to see Richard ( my sister’s boyfriend) and surprise him if he’s working. Sadly, he was at a conference that weekend but we still wanted to try out their food. We’ve never had it before!

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Our first picture as a family of…3?

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I think fortune cookies are silly, we always get the weirdest fortunes and just laugh it off. But on this day, it was different. We got a pretty good one…I didn’t know this but Peter folded it up and put it into his wallet! He never does this.

Fast forward 5 days later: June 30th, 2016, I woke up and realize I had missed my period by 2 days. My period is NEVER late, if not always early. I jokingly mention it to Peter before he left for work that maybe I’m pregnant. He brushed it off because I’ve said this to him 100 times before and every single time my period came. He told me to relax and it’ll happen eventually. Well to put my mind at ease, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the $1 pregnancy test. I drove home and immediately took the test in the bathroom and within 30 seconds there was a 2nd line.

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I was confused at first but then I kept telling myself that this can’t be, there’s a second line…I think I’m pregnant. I’ve done these tests so many times and never had a second line. I called Peter at work and ask him “Guess what?” he answer me confused and said “What?” and I told him, I’m pregnant! Now there’s only been 2-3 times that I’ve heard Peter voice drop in our entire relationship, the first time was when he asked me to be his girlfriend and the second time he asked me to marry him. I heard his voice dropped and he responded with “Na-uh”. I knew from his voice that he was in complete shock, he just kept asking me if I was looking at it right, lol! We hung up the phone cause he had an appointment with a client and I ran back to Wal-Mart to get the Clearblue and First Response’s test.

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YEP! Clear as day and Clearblue confirmed! I WAS PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I texted Peter this picture and I remember pacing around the house in disbelief and crying so hard. I couldn’t believe it. We went through 3 hard rounds of fertility treatment and just out of no where, I’m pregnant?!!!

That is right, We’re SO HAPPY to announce that we’re out of our 1st trimester and now are in the 2nd trimester!

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We had a scan at 7 weeks and the doctor said he/she is healthy and has a great strong heartbeat! Yeah!!!

Miracles do happen, I never really believe in it but through this journey it has tested us and made us realize our faith in God is the strongest power of it all. It took a whole village to get us here and that is something I will NEVER discredit. We only told a handful of our close friends and family what we were going through. And let me tell you, these wonderful and loving people prayed long and hard for us. I know they did and I’m so incredibly thankful for everyone. To Peter’s wonderful work family at Capital One and to our friends and family, you guys were our ROCK. We confided in you in our darkest times, hoping for nothing in return but you gave us strength and hope. Through your countless amount of loving prayers, we got here! WE DID IT!

In a retrospect, do I regret going through fertility treatments? The answer is a definite no. I feel this was all written into our grand plan, that we had to go through all the treatments to understand the gift at the end. Whether IVF help push me in the direction of getting pregnant naturally or the herbs really worked, we will never know! Peter and I believe that the reason why I got pregnant was through TCM. So, maybe there’s something that TCM can do that Western medicine still hasn’t caught up with yet. At the end of the day, Peter and I have the greatest blessing in my tummy right now.

Fertility treatments isn’t for everyone. I know. There’s a lot of financial burden and the cost is something that I know many couples can’t afford. We’re incredibly blessed in our lives that we can afford it and that’s something I will never ever take for granted. My advice for anyone that is going through infertility and is seeking treatment, is to ask around and compare prices. That’s something we never did but I know prices fluctuate depending on the IVF success rates. Ask for donor medicines, that will help you cut cost and don’t ever be afraid to ask for a second opinion. That is very crucial especially with something this sensitive.

We gained a lot from this experience, we got to meet and become closer to the handful of friends and family we told in the process. But in turn, we also lost some friends and family because not everyone understands and can empathize with the whole fertility process. Which is ok! My advice to people going through it is that this is YOUR journey, there’s going to be people who wants on and off your wagon.  Is your choice to choose what is best for you and your family and what will make you happy at the end!

Last but not least, it will also test your marriage, something I wasn’t expecting because all the hormones will make you go CRAZY (that’s to put it lightly). But Peter couldn’t have been more loving and supportive. He went to ALL of our doctor appointments which is more than 50+ and gave me all of my shots. I love him so much and I know he’s going to be an even better father! I joke with my friends to put themselves through fertility treatments and you’ll see how strong or weak your marriage is. When I first started dating Peter, I knew from day one I wanted to be with him but going through this made me never want to lose him. He’s the most patient, loving and most trustworthy person I’ve ever met. I’m incredibly blessed that God led me to him because I couldn’t imagine my life without Peter. The epitome of what a great husband should be, that is him!

Infertility isn’t a death sentence and you don’t have to treat it like it’s a cancer. There IS hope! I thought in my case, I would have to come to terms with it just being Peter and I for the rest of our lives and we were eventually ok with that at the end. But miracles happen everyday and God is SO good. Surround yourself in a good loving group of people that will lift you up, pray with you and watch what he can do.

Even though we beat infertility, my heart has a special place for anyone that is going through it. I pray that you can find healing in God and trust that when he is ready, he’ll make your dream a reality.

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Our baby was a miracle, so we thought it would only be fitting to the Incredibles theme. It was an incredible journey and definitely incredible to find out we’re expecting! Mommy and Daddy loves you to heaven and back!!!

Photo credit: My sister Connie took these for us! Thanks sissy!!! How beautiful did they turn out?!

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A Fort Worth officer wanted a picture with us :)

Susan Ho

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