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  • Tara Brandner

Surviving the Unimaginable

I never thought in a million years that I would have a “fertility journey” to share. I want to share the short version of the journey. So, long story short, I started with my infertility journey in 2013, when my husband and I were not getting pregnant. We lived in Beach, ND then, and would have to drive to Williston (100 miles one way) to meet with my amazing doctor (Dr. Beverly Tong) at the fertility clinic there. She started me off with some tests. After those, she decided to start me on Clomid. She was going to try this for 3 months but, unfortunately, my husband passed away on our second month of being on Clomid. I was devastated and torn to whether wanting to be pregnant and having a piece of him with me but, also having to raise a child alone. I ended up not being pregnant, unfortunately.

Fast forward, I needed to get away from everything that happened so, I applied for a job and was moved to Ashley, ND. After being in Ashley for a little bit, I ended up pregnant, with my now husband, Barrett Herr. This was a complete shock to us. I honestly didn’t think I could get pregnant but, that is something that after trying for so long, you start telling yourself.

About 1 year after he was born, we surprisingly ended up pregnant again. I was shocked and had a lot of hormonal thoughts going on in my head. Our little guy ended up in the NICU at about 4 days old. He didn’t sleep through the night and we were going through some health issues with him: lots of ear infections, on a nebulizer from the start of 5 months old, etc. I cried when I found out we were pregnant again. I didn’t know how we would handle another child. I started bleeding around 7 weeks and even though we heard the heartbeat, I did miscarry. Every day since, I’ve regretted being so sour about becoming pregnant again. If you have experienced a miscarriage, you know the horrible feeling of birthdays, due date, seeing other little kids run around that are the same age that yours would have been. It is truly horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Fast forward to now, we haven’t been pregnant since. We have tried and tried. We wanted to be proactive and realize that since I already had issues prior, that we wanted to get to the bottom of the cause of the infertility. Since we live in Wishek now, the closest fertility clinic is Fargo, ND (178 miles one way). We started seeing them and since, have done medicated timed cycles and IUIs, all failing. Our official diagnosis is “unexplained secondary infertility.” Our next step was IVF. We had no intention of doing IVF when we started. We said, if it gets to that point, we will just adopt instead. We had many deep, in-depth conversations about if we should or shouldn’t do IVF. From the beginning, we knew our insurance would cover NOTHING since, it hadn’t covered anything since we started. The cost is huge and that was part of the reason we said we’d rather put that money into adoption, especially when IVF is not guaranteed.

We decided we would give IVF a shot. If this didn’t work, we would then adopt. We wanted to make sure we explored all options before “giving up.” We did end up with 6 embryos, that were genetically tested. The genetic testing was an extra cost of around $4-5,000. However, we knew it was important to do and we decided to go ahead with that testing. We do know, based on genetic testing, that we have 4 boys and 2 girls. If all goes as we hope, we will eventually donate our remaining embryos. We want to be able to give the gift of being a parent to all who hope to.

Our transfer date was set for April 9th but, with the corona virus pandemic, it has been postponed. We don’t have a date of when it “could be.” We were discouraged by this news at first but, we are trying to strive in life to control what we can, positively. The only way we can control anything with this pandemic is to strive to work on our mental and physical health so, that when we can transfer, we are prepared. Our embryos are frozen and safe, right where they need to be. We know we will be ready, whenever the pandemic is over.

-Patti and Barrett Herr

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