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From that point on, my husband and I began fertility testing, supplements, and hormone injections, all in hopes of getting pregnant again and having a baby. Given all our test results, our fertility doctor gave us a 1 to 2 percent chance of conceiving naturally and a 35 percent chance of getting pregnant with IVF. On top of those odds, I was diagnosed with a diminished ovarian reserve, which means I didn't have many eggs to start with.
It seemed the odds were against us. But we remained hopeful since we were able to get pregnant that one time before.
Then, about a year and a half later, there they were: two strong heartbeats on the ultrasound, confirming that we were pregnant with twins. You would think that might have put our minds at ease. But I worried at every single turn.
In between each OB appointment to confirm that our pregnancy was progressing normally, I Googled every possibility, and panicked prematurely over the wide array of devastating complications I might experience. Every pregnant mother worries that things may go wrong, but being pregnant and giving birth after infertility intensified my worries – at least until my twins were born.
Thankfully, we had a straightforward birth. Giving birth to my baby boys brought me a sense of calm and a sense of relief. After all that time spent panicking that I might never have kids, and worrying about their health and wellbeing during the pregnancy, giving birth was a pivotal moment. Once I heard my babies' healthy cries, I was confident I could handle the rest. That's what parenting is. And that's exactly what I had fought so hard to have.
Infertility has left a huge imprint on my life, and giving birth after that experience is 100 percent a miracle. But I think it's fair to say that infertility left me more sensitive to things that could go wrong as I journey along in my parenting. Infertility decided our fate as parents, giving us limited opportunity to continue to expand our family. While we are a beautiful family of four, and now almost seven years beyond infertility, I struggle knowing my babies are our first children and also our last.
As a mom of twins who won't have more children, each milestone my babies meet almost simultaneously – the first steps, first days of school, and first lost teeth – are also our last. There are times when that hits me hard. I feel this immense need to cherish every single moment. That in turn leads to profound pressure and guilt when my parenting game isn’t in tip-top shape. Which it often isn't.
These are my only children; I will never get the chance to do better the next time. After fighting so hard, I often felt like I should be head over heels in love with my new role as a mom. But during those first six to eight weeks, I wasn’t feeling that way at all. In all honesty, at one point before we left the hospital, I asked a nurse if I could give my babies back.
Here I was, a new mother who had battled infertility, and I wasn’t sure that I was cut out for the job. I felt so much guilt and shame for even thinking that way.
I still struggle to be honest about that fragile time. But I realize now that I wasn't alone or weird for feeling that way. I was struggling. And I sought help adjusting to new motherhood.
The lesson I've learned along the way after giving birth as an infertility survivor is that I'm resilient. I have incredible strength, determination, and perseverance that can be hard to rattle. While I do feel the unique challenges that come with parenting after infertility, I have also learned that there isn't anything I can't face. I will fight for my children; I will face anything for their health and well-being.
Being an infertility survivor will always be a part of my story. And although I have moved beyond infertility, I will never get over it. My strength that came from my struggle makes me one incredible parent.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.