Making it to Motherhood : Tia on IVF

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There are so many beautiful ways to become a mother; each having its own unique set of challenges. We explore one of those paths in this debut interview, a talk with my good friend and Soror Tia, who shares her Middle: The road to motherhood through in vitro fertilization.

VERDE AND VALOR: What do you remember feeling when you found out you were pregnant? I know there were a lot of obstacles to get here.

TIA: So if I recall, we had to go to Akron to get our results. They did blood work one day and then called us back there at seven in the morning. So I was driving to Akron with [my husband] and I remember crying the whole way. I was so nervous wondering ‘what if [the embryo transfer] didn't work’ , ‘what if we have to do this again’. I just kept thinking about all of the what if’s. What did I do wrong… “did I take a hot shower?”, “Did I wash my hair too long?” because those are some of the things they tell you not to do. I remember feeling panicked. I was concerned and crying, and the whole ride up there we just prayed. We cried and we prayed - both of us. The only thing I really had to hold on to, was my husband and my faith. When we got there they told us that we were pregnant and we were good.

VV: I didn't even know you couldn't take a hot shower [following embryo transfer].

TIA: One of the things you can't do is take hot showers. [Also, you] can't wash your hair, you can't blow dry your hair. Nothing to overheat your body in any way possible because that could have an affect on the baby, or the embryo at that point. I remember washing my hair because I was trying to think like, ‘why am I bleeding - what did I do?’ Those are the thoughts that were going on in my mind.

VV: That's a lot of pressure, I didn’t even realize. Your mind had to be in a so many different places and feeling like you’re walking on egg shells. This stage must be a relief.

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TIA: Yes, quite a relief. They do the fertilization, implant embryos, and then tell you how many survive. It all happened within a week - not even that. They give you five days that you're supposed to have [the fertilized egg] in the incubator within the facility. Mine didn't last that long. They only lasted a day, so they had to do an early transfer. They took 11 eggs from me and of the fertilized eggs, only seven survived. So we had seven viable eggs, and then only one day afterwards, only two survived. It was an emergency situation and a big rush for us to get [back to the hospital]. That’s why I was crying because I was praying that when we got there, that at least they had both survived. I swear that I lived in Akron for the first two months. We had to go every week for the first three months. It’s been crazy. The doctor said my uterus was the best place for them, so we're just going to transfer them there. We didn't get to do genetic testing, or anything like that because typically, they last at least five days. Mine only survived one night.

VV: This [stage] is truly a blessing. So, what does care look like for you at this point? Are there still no hot showers until you get to a certain date?

 TIA: It’s basically for the first whole trimester. I had to take pegestrone injections. [My husband] had to give me my injections in my butt every night.

VV: That’s a whole new level of intimacy!

TIA: Girl! You have no idea! What made it worse, is he had to massage the area afterwards because the injection was oil-based [so not only did] he had to inject it, but if he didn't massage it, or massage it long enough, a lump would form under my skin. It was horrible; The spot is actually still pretty sore.

VV: That's the original Botox right there! Those nodules gave you a little booty lift! That’s hilarious. Well it's not really hilarious, that had to feel horrible but…

TIA: [haha] We have laugh to get through it. In the very beginning when we were doing the fertility injections, all of the shots had to go in my belly. There was one needle and it was super long. We found out we were using the wrong needle to do the injections! We went in to the doctor’s, and I had a question about it. The nurse asked what needle I was using and I told her the 22 gauge. She said, ‘you're putting that in your belly?!?!??’ and I was like yeah. She said no, no you're using the wrong needle! So she gave me a whole pack of the right needles. We were like just trying to get through the process! There was a point where I was getting five stomach injections daily. It was a lot, but we got through it and the baby’s growing.

VV: That’s what it’s all about - That’s what’s important. And it probably brought you [and your husband] to a whole other level of closeness.

TIA: It definitely has.

VV: In a way, you both staying faithful and prayerful together probably helped strengthen your faith. We don't often times thinking about it like that, but even your relationship through your support of one another. I’m sure he was trying to be strong for you, but it had to be an emotional thing for him too.

So how has this pregnancy may have changed the way you see yourself or see other people? I know I heard ,as I'm sure you've received, the opinions, comments, and unsolicited advice from other people.

TIA: I have, but I take it with a grain of salt. Good advice you know you can recognize. But I haven't had too many negative opinions. Sometime I hear ‘oh your too old’ or ‘How old are you?’. You know you get those comments, but I haven't really got that a lot. People generally seem to be happy for me. My sister is pregnant also, and we talk a lot and share stuff. It has definitely made me more aware of my body for sure and the changes that are happening. I try remind myself that my body can handle this. This is what it's built for. That I’m not old; I'm still young at heart [lol]. I'm definitely learning a lot about myself. Things I didn't think I can handle, I've been handling pretty well. It's been pretty, well I don't want to say easy so far, but I've heard horror stories about the first trimester and it wasn't horrible [for me].

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VV: What are some qualities that you hope baby boy possesses?

TIA: I want him to be intelligent. I want him to be supersmart. I want him to have a good heart. I want him to be like his father.

VV: What would you like your children to know? You're a mother of not just this baby, but to your bonus children. What would you what them to know about life that has been valuable or instrumental to your personal growth, that you would want them to take away?

TIA: I really want all three of them to just be good people, and whatever they do to give it 100%. I want them to know that it's okay to not always follow the crowd. Find out who you are and be genuine to that. I feel like I have grown in many ways, but I've always stayed true to who I was as a person. I still have so many good friends from high school and childhood because I'm still Tia. I have never changed. And I want that for them. I want them to stand up for themselves; to know that it's okay to go against the crowd. People respect you, and you respect yourself more, when you're genuine with yourself. I just want them to be good people and productive humans and society.

VV: If you don't have one don't feel compelled to answer, but if there's something about this space, this moment, that hasn't been necessarily enjoyable, what is it?

TIA: I don't want to say it hasn't been enjoyable. There has been some uncomfortable moments but I feel like that just comes with pregnancy. I feel like this is my normal and I'm appreciative for it. I'm thankful for it because of everything we went through to get through to this point. So there's nothing that I can say that I'm not enjoying. I'm just blessed that we were able to come this far.

VV:  I love that you looked at it from a place of gratitude because sometimes it's easy to be clouded. I think the lesson of gratitude a message to you can carry on [not just in this pregnancy but] in life. You can't control your environment. I mean sometimes you can. However, most times, even when you plan things out, things happen and can alter what that space looks like but you can continue to have an attitude of gratitude. 

What are two things that you love about being in this moment?

TIA: Now that the baby starting to move… I mean I knew that this was real, but he's moving! It just feels pretty awesome to know that I am growing a human. I'm an incubator and he moves quite frequently now. I’ve just now been able to feel him move on the outside. I could feel him on the inside but now [my husband] is be able to feel him on the outside and that's pretty exciting. That's something that I love and then to know that my life is about change forever.

update: interview was conducted March 2018. Tia, Baby Boy, and family are doing well.