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remember getting the email from our fertility clinic that everything had come back normal from our genetic testing. Alan anod I had been carriers of some genes, but none that were the same, (I was told they had to be the same in order for our child to carry the disease.) I remember immediately texting my cousin saying we were in the clear. I knew deep down that everything would be okay and we didn’t have anything to worry about, but that email was the biggest relief. I remember the chair I was sitting in and my whole body just relaxing. I wondered which genetic disorders we had, so interested now to see what they were. Crazy to think we could have passed them down to our kids I thought. I had lunch with my sister that day and we went and picked lavender in this beautiful field and took Polaroids and drank lavender lemonade. I spent some time with my grandmother who was ill, and drove home to Richmond that night about an hour away. We had a meeting with a genetic counselor from Sema4 who did our genetic screening. From what I understood, it was all going to be quick and painless. She would tell us the disorders we each carried and knowing we had different ones and could not pass them along, we would get this information and move on in our fertility journey, which at this point we were told was going to be a quick pill for a few days to help with ovulation and voila - we would be good! My doctor described it as a “quick fix.” I got home and had the virtual appointment set for 6:00 pm. I made a cocktail with my new lavender syrup and hoped this meeting would fly by so I could sit on my deck with Alan and enjoy being home in the beautiful spring weather. It was May and just starting to get that nice breeze in Virginia. We sat down with the counselor and she started to go over our disorders. She started with Alan. He had a few minor ones that wouldn’t be life threatening to a child even if we both carried them. We sat and listened until she got to my page. I only had one - ATRX syndrome. The color of the disorder was different, bright blue and was called x-linked. Now when we started this call, she asked if we had been told about our results. I said yes and that they told us we would not pass these genes because we both weren’t carriers. I vividly remember her face and all I can assume she was thinking is I am about to completely shatter this girls heart. I mean I was in a good mood, home with my husband warm weather, good cocktail. what’s not to love? She went on to explain ATRX to me. At some point in the conversation I remember hearing the 50%, boy that percentage stuck out to me. Somewhere after that I realized something was off, she was explaining it in detail differently than Alans and had more of a serious demeanor to her. At some point she explained that Alan didn’t need to be a carrier - that it was just me who had to have it. Just my body that could give our child a disorder that would be life altering, if not life threatening at any point of their lives. I still to this day remember this conversation as so confusing, I didn’t understand what she meant. This was wrong, I had just been told that we were fine. No same disorders, no threat to our future children. We started to ask about options - at this point I was still very confused, Alan probably more so, but I had this - I was strong and in control and could fix this. I started to tear up realizing this call was so different than I had been anticipating. I told them I needed a moment and got up to get a tissue, but then proceeded to ask more questions. I could do this - I was able to fix anything that came my way. All I remember next is hearing “donor eggs.” I stopped. I looked at her, looked at Alan, and told them I needed to reschedule this phone call. I realized I could not continue. All of her words were blurry and the only ones I could hear were the most shocking. IVF, termination, donor eggs. None of this made sense, why the hell would I need donor eggs? We both don’t have the same disorder, remember? She was confused. I got off the call pacing, sobbing so much I thought my head would explode. I looked up at Alan. A face I will never forget. I remember him seeming so helpless. My strong, tall, fixer of a husband, he seemed lost. Like all he could do was stare at me. Not knowing how to console me, not even consoling himself. He teared up and that was the ultimate heartbreaker. Knowing that all he wanted to do was fix this for me, and knowing there was nothing he could do. When I realized he was tearing up I told him I had to walk away. I told him I needed to take a hot shower to think. I sat in the shower sobbing so loud our neighbors from down the road could probably hear us. How could this be happening to us? All of our dreams, all of our hopes we had, they’re gone. Whatever idea of a family we longed so much for - that is gone. Everything changed in that moment and I knew it wasn’t ever going to go back. This would be our new norm - and we would have to figure it out. We went through hurdles, so many exhausting hurdles that I thought would break us. Individually and as a unit. They didn’t. We got through it. Through my journey I could never find any kind of book, Manuel, anything that seemed to be specific to our situation. So much about infertility specifically, but what happens when you “can” get pregnant on your own, but you “shouldn’t.” Would women who couldn’t get pregnant naturally shun me because I could, but won’t because I want a healthy child? Does this make me selfish? Where do I belong? Stop telling me what vitamins to take, food to eat, workouts to do to get pregnant naturally, I am not trying to get away from the one thing that always seemed so natural to me. What does that do to your marriage, your intimacy, your self worth? Is this all my fault, it is just my body that is causing this for us? Does this mean I shouldn’t be a mother, would I be horrible at it? When you go through the infertility journey it can break your soul, and it probably will a few times leaving you to clean up the mess, but I will tell you how I cleaned up mine. My own research in this field, long nights researching every bit, and here is our story on how we got through it.