There is Hope

Jill Patterson Kilby and I have discussed sharing this story numerous times and we thought that now, National Infertility Awareness Week, was the best time to s...hare it with all of you. This story begins way back in September 2012 on the morning of my birthday. I was on my way out the door to work when I heard Jill yell from the bathroom for me, when I went in I got the best birthday present I had ever received, a positive pregnancy test sat on the edge of the sink. From the time we began planning our future together we knew that we wanted, more than anything, to be parents; so in that bathroom we hugged, laughed, and cried tears of joy we were so thankful to be blessed with a child. Our joy was short lived, less than a week later Jill had a miscarriage, our hearts were broken and where there was once, if even for a brief moment, a love the depth we had never known there was now an empty space. Eventually the pain passed and turned into hope; hope that we would once again, soon, feel the joy of that September morning.

Month after month we would sit and wait those three minutes together hoping for the pregnancy test to be positive, each month seeing only negative tests. We were never disappointed and we never lost our faith that when the time was right that God would bless us with the child that was right for us. We never even considered that infertility was an issue, I mean we had gotten pregnant before right?

Months turned into years, ovulation tests were positive, pregnancy tests were negative, our calendars were set to what days fertility was optimum, we no longer counted the months like everyone else, we marked time by cycle days. With each passing month it was obvious that our frustration was growing, never with each other, but with the situation as a whole. We were doing everything right, why no baby? We had to lean on our faith even more, at the time when it was the hardest, we had to trust that at the time that was right for us we would get pregnant.

As time continued to pass we were seeing countless friends and family members announce their pregnancies to the world, in some cases second pregnancies since we had been trying, and with each one of course we were genuinely happy; We, however, would be lying if we didn’t feel the slightest bit of jealousy and hurt with each one, wondering “why not us?”. Friends, family, and coworkers would ask when we were going to have children, we would have to politely smile, shrug our shoulders, and say “we’ll see”. We had to keep reminding ourselves that at the right time it would happen for us.

In 2014 we began seek medical advice, we had run out of ideas so it was time to see if a doctor could shed some light on the issue and hopefully give us some answers. Blood work, ultrasounds, and all other exams came back completely normal. Our last option was for Jill to have an exploratory surgery to examine whether or not there may have been a problem anatomically; surgery revealed nothing out of the ordinary. We were stuck with a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”, at the time this frustrated us to no end, how could something like this be “unexplained”?

At the beginning of 2015 we found Piedmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group (PREG), a group of physicians that specialize in infertility and its treatment. We learned that this “unexplained infertility” was not uncommon and that thousands of couples struggle with this same diagnosis. After one meeting with Dr. Holman we finally had a positive outlook on this diagnosis. The initial plan seemed so simple and promising, however after two months we were left with the same heartbreak, frustration, and questions. The next course of action was to undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI), another plan that seemed simple enough and left us with no doubt that it would be the answer to our problem. Three rounds of IUI later we were once again left with nothing but frustration. Why was nothing working? Why couldn’t we just have the baby that we so badly wanted? I blamed myself, and Jill blamed herself, but we never blamed each other, we simply continued to pray and have faith that when we were supposed to have a baby God would bless us with a child. After several months of prayer, discussions with the doctors, and late night discussions at home we decided that IVF was the next step we needed to take. There was a huge speedbump though, the cost, IVF is an expensive treatment that is not covered in any way by most insurance plans (ours included). One day, out of the blue Jill got a phone call from a travel nurse company telling her about the opportunities available in California. We had never considered Jill doing travel nursing, but after a couple hours punching numbers on a calculator we discovered that taking the travel assignment would mean that IVF would be paid for. This was the answer to our prayers, we had no idea which way to turn and God provided this opportunity for us.

Jill spent nine months of 2016 in California, working countless hours, and slowly but surely saving enough money for our IVF treatment. We would be lying if we told you that it was easy being apart from each other for those nine months, but we can honestly tell you that those nine months have made our marriage stronger, and in the moment knowing what the end result of those nine months would be did make it just a tiny bit easier at the time. In October 2016 we began the IVF process with PREG. A process that included near weekly doctor’s visits, nightly injections, and a countless number of daily pills. Then comes the retrieval day where as many mature eggs as possible were taken from Jill so that they could be fertilized and stored for 5 days until transfer day where the fertilized egg is placed directly into the uterus. After transfer day, we waited for two weeks until it was time to go back to the office and take the pregnancy test. I will never forget sitting in Ingle’s parking lot when the phone call came in that informed us that yes we were indeed pregnant. The joy and laughter filled the cab of my truck as we celebrated, just the three of us.

We wanted to share our story so that anyone else that might be struggling with infertility can know that there is hope. We understand that it is a private issue and it is difficult to share with people as you are going through it. We also wanted to thank several people, the entire staff at PREG for being so wonderful throughout the entire process. Our doctors at PREG for being supportive, encouraging, and helping us to understand that we were not alone in our diagnosis. Finally our families, the select few people who knew what we were going through from beginning to end, all of your love and support have meant the world to both of us and our son/daughter is blessed beyond measure to call you their family.