I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a different word for infertile. I even googled its synonyms: barren, unfruitful, impotent, sterile, depleted. They all cut the same. I’ve only recently acquired this label, and at this point, I’m not sure I’ll ever really be at peace with that word, or any of its meanings for that matter. 

My husband Matt and I got married in 2018, and like most healthy couples, we thought that starting a family would be easy. We were eager, excited and hopeful.

infertility warrior melissa pomish with her husband

After about 6 months of trying, I started taking a more aggressive approach. I took ovulation tests, I ate pineapple core, I did castor oil packs with a heating pad over my uterus. Basically any method I could find, no matter how crazy, I tried it.

Finally, after a year, I scheduled a consultation with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. After all of our tests came back normal, our RE told us it was unexplained infertility.

I was put on 50mg of Clomid for a period of six months. Although I was already ovulating on my own, this is commonly prescribed for unexplained patients. The goal was to make me “superovulate” and give us a better chance of conceiving. By month five, I was exhausted, sad, lost, and quite honestly desperate. 

What I did next haunts me to this day, and I will forever live with the consequences. Month six was going to be the month where we did our first IUI. For this specific cycle, I asked my doctor to increase my Clomid dosage to 100mg. She said it was too risky, and advised me to stay at the prescribed 50mg.

Despite the warning from my RE, I took 2x the prescribed dosage for our IUI cycle. Not only did our IUI fail, but I ended up having a cyst rupture inside my fallopian tube. I woke up in excruciating pain, and my husband took me to the hospital where I was rushed into emergency surgery. When I woke up, I was told they had to remove my left fallopian tube. They also discovered that I had stage 1-2 endometriosis.

infertility warrior melissa pomish at the fertility clinic for an iui

The next few months were a very dark time for me. I was angry with God, I was angry with myself,  and I was trying to come to terms with the possibility that I would never become a mom. I felt like less of a woman, and I felt like I had let my husband down. I felt unworthy of his love and unworthy of God’s love.

I can’t even count the times that I crumbled into my husband’s arms crying hysterically that I had failed him, the times I yelled at God, or the times I grabbed yesterday’s pregnancy test out of the garbage to see if maybe I had missed the second line. As I watched everyone around me get pregnant and give birth, I couldn’t help but feel like the universe had forgotten about me. 

Up until this point, my husband and I had been very private about what we were going through. It was then, when I felt the most alone and vulnerable, that we made the choice to go public with our infertility journey. The support I received was incredible, and I found a community of women who understood what I was going through, helped me, and continue to help me navigate these very scary waters. 

In November of 2019, we started our IVF journey. One of the tests I had to do before we started the injections was a Hysteroscopy, which is an inspection of the uterine cavity to check for fibroids or any abnormalities. Hearing the doctor say “you’re ready to carry” was one of the best things I have ever heard. We were officially ready to begin IVF.

infertility warrior melissa pomish holding a sign that reads "the one where we start ivf"

But IVF is a hard process, to say the least. The daily injections, the emotions, and the weekly ultrasounds to check for follicle growth are exhausting. Although it has taken a toll on me physically and emotionally, it is also such an exciting time.

My nerves before egg retrieval were sky-high. It was, surprisingly, a pretty painless procedure, considering everything else I had gone through physically. We retrieved 21 eggs! I was over the moon, but we still had to wait for the embryologist’s report the next day to see how many eggs had fertilized.

The wait was agonizing, but finally, we got the email from our clinic letting us know that out of 21 eggs, 16 were mature, but only 5 had successfully fertilized through ICSI. I was terrified. We got that email on Monday, and we wouldn’t hear again until Friday about how many embryos had made it.

The next five days were, by far, the longest of my life. I went through every possible negative scenario in my mind. I knew we couldn’t afford another round of IVF and that this was our only shot. I begged God and tried reasoning with him: “Please, just give me one baby, and I swear I’ll be a better person. I’ll do anything.” I prayed the hardest I had ever prayed in my life. It consumed me.

infertility warrior melissa pomish with an egg covering one eye

Finally, on day 5, my husband called me to tell me that we had 3 healthy, high-grade day 5 and 6 frozen embryos. When he called, I was checking out at a store and broke down in tears. I just couldn’t contain myself.

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I knew, from that point on, that no matter what comes of this journey, we made life together. No matter how small, there were 3 living bundles of cells, that were half me and half Matthew, frozen until the time comes to meet them.

That was two months ago. As I write this, it’s January 2020 and I’m gearing up for our first frozen embryo transfer this month. Most days, I’m filled with anxiety and fear. I try my best, instead of trying to combat these emotions, to sit with them and really think of the “why” behind then. “Why am I feeling this way? What can I do to feel better? Is this a realistic fear?”

One of my favorite quotes is the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

I cannot quite grasp the gravity of what this next month will hold for our future and how much is truly at stake. And as much as I wish I could say that we never gave up, we did. I gave up countless times, and I used to hate myself for it.

One of the first things our RE told us, was “come hell or high water, you will have children.” Little did I know the true hell and high water that we were about to endure.

For now, all I can do is pray and hope that the waters calm and this seemingly endless storm subsides. If you are reading this, you or someone you know is likely navigating the waters of infertility. Whether you are public or private about your journey, know that you are not alone and the universe has not forgotten about you.

infertility warrior melissa pomish with her husband and a sign that reads "parents to three embryos"

Melissa Pomish is an infertility warrior, daycare owner, and dog mom to three Labradors. She just found out she is pregnant following a frozen embryo transfer from her first IVF cycle!