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The Trouble

Infertility

Tricia wants nothing more than to be a mom. She always has. But when she and her husband starting trying almost 10 years ago, it didn’t happen. One year passed. No baby. Two years passed. Still, no baby. Fast forward to today, and it seems like Tricia has faced every possible medical complication out there. From painful ovarian cysts to an “incompetent cervix” — it’s a real term — Tricia has faced her fair share of reproductive challenges. 

Now, Tricia is left with few options for conceiving a child. But she decides to go through with one last attempt: In-Vitro Fertilization. Her insurance covers just one cycle of IVF. 

Host Shannon Cason talks with Tricia about her unending desire for motherhood, the ups and downs of the last decade, and her final cycle of IVF, which she takes listeners through in real time. 

Listen to the entire episode on Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Here are some of the highlights. 

On her desire for motherhood

Tricia Hewson: I want to be a mom so bad. … I think I always wanted to be a mom. [When I was younger] I’d be like, oh I’d love to have two or three. Obviously before you realize what goes into being a parent. But when I was younger, I knew I was going to go to college, I was going to graduate college, and then I was going to be a mom and have a career, you know -- I was going to have it all.

On getting one of her ovaries removed at age 22

Hewson: Everybody has a story about a friend of a friend who had a similar thing done but went on to have six children on their own. And doctors, they will tell you, especially when you’re 22 years old, “Oh you’re young, you won’t have any issues. One ovary doesn’t mean anything, you can live off of one kidney for the rest of your life, you can do the same thing with an ovary.”

So, that was my truth at the time — I’m having an ovary removed because it needs to go. But that doesn’t mean that anything is really changing for me. 

On realizing that something might be wrong

Hewson: I say that I was blind to the term “infertility,” but I think without us being aware of it, it was always something in the back of our heads that this might be something. But I think we were denying ourselves that. 

We had been “not planning, not preventing” for a few years, not realizing that we should’ve sought treatment sooner. 

On coping with the ups and downs of fertility treatments

Hewson: Well, it took me a long time to actually figure out how to cope with it. You know, unfortunately, I think that there are a lot more downs than there are ups in this process because there’s no guarantee that the cycle you just went through is going to work. And honestly, the worst part of any fertility treatment is that two-week wait [the period of time between a pregnancy attempt and when you can take a pregnancy test]. 

Like, I will put needles in my butt if that meant there was a guarantee, but there isn’t. And when all is said and done, you have these two weeks where you don’t have anything to do. And so you’re sitting there, and you’re just like: What if this doesn’t work? What if we have to spend all that money again?

On finally getting pregnant

Hewson: I was at lunch at my office. I was sitting in the cafeteria, and I got a phone call. I wasn’t sitting with anyone, and I was like, I have to tell someone right now. And my husband was at a job where he didn’t have phone access, and I’m not going to leave a text message. So I ran to my boss and I was like, “OK, results are back. … I have to tell you, but you can’t tell anybody else. I can’t believe that you’re the first person I’m telling. My husband might be really mad at me, but I have to tell someone!” And so I told her, and it was super exciting, and then I immediately texted my husband, and was like, “Never mind. You need to answer your phone, I’m going to call you right now.”

And this was all in a span of 2 minutes. But it was so exciting. I remember coming home that night from work and meeting my husband and I think we both cried. We were so happy. So, so happy. 

On losing the baby

Hewson: I went to the bathroom. I was getting ready for bed, I washed my face, I brushed my teeth, peed and came back, and there was a lot of blood. I called my husband from the bathroom and I remember I was just holding the piece of toilet paper. Next thing we know, we were in the ER. And I was there for four days.

They basically told me that night that it was likely that I was going to lose the baby. Then I had an ultrasound with a maternal fetal health doctor, which is a high-risk pregnancy doctor, the next morning and he confirmed it — that it wasn’t going to happen. They didn’t have to do anything, I was able to naturally deliver, and so they basically induced me at 17 weeks.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I can remember almost every moment in that hospital in those four days. Time sort of stopped. 

On watching her friends and family have children

Hewson: At first, especially after the loss, it was hard for me to be around anyone who was pregnant or had newborns. There was one year — a couple years ago — where I knew like 18 women who had gotten pregnant that year. And it was like all of these Facebook posts or women I worked with, and I would keep a joking tally with a friend of mine, like, welp! There’s 18!

I had to deal with this jealousy I started to feel. And it wasn’t even their fault. It was just this idea of, when is it going to be my turn? Like, what did I do? And I’m not one to believe in fate as a construct of anything or “the universe embraces you” type of mentality, but it’s funny what your mind does when you go through a trauma. Like, obviously I did something to deserve all of these bad things that happened.

On wanting to give up

Shannon Cason: Was there ever a moment that you said, “let’s give up”?

Hewson: Yeah. Right after the miscarriage. I was like, “Nope. I can’t. There’s no way. What’s the point? I can’t put myself through that again. I can’t put my husband through that again.” And it goes back to: Was this a sign? Was this something that I should’ve been listening to all along? That I’m not supposed to be a mother, or I’m not supposed to be a mother in this direction. And I was like, maybe I’ll be okay with just being an aunt.

But there’s just something about being a parent. There’s just something about being a parent that I really, really want. And all of that sounds really selfish but … I just want to be able to have those experiences. I want to be a parent. I do. So we’ll take this road as far as it’ll take us.

On deciding to move forward with IVF

Hewson: I try not to think five or six steps ahead with fertility treatments anymore. So I think about this cycle and this time. So we’re going to go with IVF, and if this cycle doesn’t take, and I get a negative pregnancy test, then we’ll sit down and talk. And then we can decide: Do we want to take a break and try again? Do we want to just push towards adoption? Are we done with this part of our lives? Is this it? I have to take it step by step, one step at a time. 

On her perspective today

Hewson: I’m just waiting for another hurdle or bump in the road. As I’m apt to do ... Because it’s like the moment I get really excited about this process and the prospect of getting pregnant, something happens. Something inevitably happens, and I have to cancel the process, I have to stop, I have to wait. And I’m just sick of waiting. Why can’t I do the one thing my uterus is made to do — like why? Why do I have to jump through all these hoops? I feel like my body is failing me.

There’s a lot of sad in this process, but the outcome is so worth it. At least that’s what people tell me. 

These interview highlights have been edited for brevity and clarity by Candace Mittel Kahn.

Join the conversation on twitter @thetroublepod. Email thetroublepod@gmail.com if you have a trouble story of your own. And subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

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