KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Infertility is a disease that affects one in eight couples, according to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
Kate and Aaron Ide are part of that statistic. They're sharing their story as part of National Infertility Awareness Week April 24–30.
For just over five years, they've been trying to build their family with no success.
"It feels very unfair," said Aaron. "You know, your whole life you're taught this is what it's gonna be and then all of a sudden, it's not ... there's a lot of surprise and a lot of, 'What is happening? Why? Why us?'"
The couple met in high school and were married in 2012.
"We waited a few years before we started even trying," recalled Aaron. "One of those, you know, we went back and forth. Are we ready? Are we not ready? When do we start? Finally we kind of agreed that, 'Okay, we're ready to try this.'"
Time passed and the couple realized they weren't getting pregnant for some reason.
"Took a year until we actually sought help, just from our OB, but yeah, I'd say after even just a few months, we were like, 'Yeah, what's going on?'" Kate told FOX 17 News. "I tried Clomid and metformin, and neither of those were working. So after that, [our doctor] referred us to The Fertility Center."
Two years into their journey, the couple started taking the next steps at The Fertility Center in 2019.
"I was terrified," said Kate. "I was very nervous, because all I thought of was all the needles and shots. ... And yeah, I didn't want to do that."
Kate would soon learn she suffered from stage four endometriosis. She would have to undergo surgery for the condition before beginning in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
She underwent an egg retrieval and two embryo transfers with no success.
"Even not being overly hopeful, it's still devastating. And I did have a miscarriage in 2019, and the loss of the embryos brought up the same emotions as the miscarriage did," said Kate.
With the costs of treatment adding up, the couple decided to enter The Fertility Center's "Fertility Diaries" contest.
They were shocked to learn they won, receiving $5,000 to help with future IVF treatments.
They are hopeful that they are one step closer to building their family and want others in their shoes to know they are not alone.
"Even if our story can help one other person, just feel less alone, because I know how lonely it is. And some people aren't comfortable talking about it," said Kate.
Aaron added, "It's one of those things that you got to have people around you to go through it with or it'll tear you up on the inside. So just to be able to talk about it and help other people, it's such a relief."
Read Kate's submission to the Fertility Diaries contest below:
"I have always dreamed about being a mom. Ever since I was a little girl, I had it all figured out as to what my life would look like. I would find the perfect guy, get married, buy a house, get a dog, and start a family. I wanted two kids, one boy and one girl, and I wanted them to be about 2 years apart. Seemed like an easy plan, nothing too crazy, or so I thought.
Fast forward to March 2017. My husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. We had been married for 5 years and it felt like the perfect time to start trying. I remember being so excited, after all this was the “fun part” of starting a family. I figured we would try for a couple months and that’s all it would take to get pregnant. I started planning what the nursery would look like, got out the list of baby names that I’ve gradually added to over the years, and bought my first ever box of pregnancy tests. We would go to Target and look at cribs and try out the rockers for fun. I’d look at all the cute baby clothes and other items. I had a mental list of what I would buy once we found out the sex of the baby. But one month of trying turned into two, which turned into three, four, five and after months of negative tests and heartbreak, we hit the one-year mark of trying. So, we decided to call my OB and see if she could help.
In the waiting room at the OB’s office, I was surrounded by pregnant women who looked like they were ready to pop. While sitting in the room waiting for the doctor to come in, I can hear the heartbeat of someone’s baby coming from the room next to me. I tried so hard to fight the tears, but as soon as my doctor came in and started asking me questions, I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. I was so ashamed that my body couldn’t do what it was made to do, but she was determined to get me my baby. I was put on one med to try for a few months and then after that didn’t work, she had me try another med. But nothing seemed to be working. After yet another long, heartbreaking, unsuccessful year, she referred us to The Fertility Center.
Walking into The Fertility Center for the first time, I was terrified. Terrified not only of what was to come, but also that they wouldn’t be able to help me either. After trying a couple different medications, November 2019 I found out I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. Finally, my prayers were answered, and I was finally able to make my husband a dad. This happiness was unfortunately short lived when we found out that I had miscarried at almost 7 weeks. The pain I felt from this miscarriage completely changed me. And the bad news didn’t end there.
In the months to come, I found out I have stage 4 endometriosis, which caused enough damage to my fallopian tubes that they would need to be removed. I had to have surgery to remove my tubes as well as much of the endometriosis that they safely could. The morning of my surgery, my dad said, “I hope they only take away your pain, and not your dreams.” But my dreams still seemed so far out of reach, especially with this setback. Our next option was to move onto IVF.
My journey thus far with IVF hasn’t gone the way I had hoped it would. So far, I have done one egg retrieval, one fresh transfer, and one frozen transfer resulting in the loss of all 5of my embryos. Having to grieve the loss of the embryos brought back the same emotions that my miscarriage did. Those embryos were just as much my babies as my angel baby was and its just as heartbreaking of a loss.
We are currently preparing for our second egg retrieval and second fresh transfer. To say I’m scared would be an understatement. I’m terrified of not getting enough good quality eggs. I’m terrified of not getting any embryos. I’m terrified of it not working. I’m terrified of it working, but not lasting. So much anxiety comes along with this journey, and it seems impossible to process it all.
The last five years have completely changed me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about infertility. I can’t walk by the baby aisles like I once did or sit in the rocking chairs anymore. I have a hard time walking into “the room” in my house that is supposed to be the nursery. Every birthday, holiday, family get together gets harder year after year. I never imagined this is how my journey to start our family would be, but I am thankful for a husband who not only is my rock, but also reminds me daily that I am not alone. I will never be the woman I was before infertility, but the strength I have found from becoming who I am today will make me an even better mom, someday."