I remember watching the test happen live. I remember hearing the doctor speak to me. I remember my eyes welling up. I remember being escorted to the bathroom to change. I remember the piercing scream that came out of my mouth and collapsing on the floor. I remember the nurse rushing in to pick me up. I remember yelling for my husband. I remember Alex practically carrying me outside the hospital as anxiety attacked and I gasped for air. Like many conception stories, ours hasn’t been without its challenges.
Ashley’s battle with ulcerative colitis
It was at that moment our lives took a hard detour. Our backstory: At 18 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease of the digestive tract. In simple terms, ulcers grew in my colon and as they got too wide and too deep, they would burst causing excessive blood loss from the rectum. I had advanced and aggressive UC, and no amount of medication or treatments could get it into remission. After a 5 year battle, and at age 23, I was told it was urgent for me to have my entire large intestine/colon/rectum removed. I underwent multiple, major surgeries and am now colon free.
Trying to start a family
Fast forward to Alex and I trying to start a family. After trying for a long time the fun way with no luck, we knew we needed to seek help. In January 2018, I was diagnosed with infertility. We learned at that time:
- The inflammation from my UC spread into my fallopian tubes
- The scar tissue from my surgeries collapsed around both tubes causing 100% blockage
- I had developed severe Hydrosalpinx due to A and B.
We were told IVF is our only option to conceive on our own. I think I always knew something wasn’t right. I think I always knew becoming a mother wasn’t going to be an easy journey. What in my life has been? But to hear multiple doctors tell you getting pregnant naturally is not an option, that your body is too damaged from the past to form new life, that you have a 0% chance to conceive on your own; it was absolutely devastating. There has been grief, and guilt, and anger, and deep sorrow, and disappointment; all of these feelings at the same time, it’s overwhelming. There have been gut-wrenching tears, copious amounts of research and educating ourselves on IVF, and many difficult conversations. But our days have also been filled with an abundance of love, unwavering support, and a lot of hope.
Not all conception stories are easy – but Ashley & Alex are ready to fight
Since our diagnosis, we have gone through 3 IVF Cycles and have had 7 losses. Our fourth IVF cycle starts soon and we will be adding PGS testing, additional medications and steroids to our protocol, and completing a Hysteroscopy prior to our embryo transfer. Alex and I refuse to settle for a 0% chance; we will not allow this diagnosis to derail us from our dream of building a family. We have a lot of love to give and will turn every stone to find a way. Alex and I are ready to fight, we are embracing this hardship, and like so many conception stories, we are mixing love and science. Infertility better be ready for a battle.
We wish you loads of luck and are sending you tons of positive energy on your journey ahead.
You can follow their journey on Instagram: @some_assembly_required