The heart wants what the heat wants is a book about the very raw and real journey of infertility that one woman went through over nine years. Here, the author, Breanna Chud gives us a small insight in to her story.
The tears started to roll down my face before I could stop them. My period had just started meaning our first attempt at ICSI hadn’t worked. The toilet seemed to be spinning and my emotions began bubbling. This isn’t happening, is it?
I was at work. My husband and more importantly, my rock of steadfast support, was gone on a ski holiday. The trip had been planned ages before the treatment had begun. Innocently and naively, I think we both secretly expected to get pregnant the first time.
We had been trying to get pregnant for five years already. Early on we had been told by an infertility specialist that we most likely would not achieve pregnancy on our own. However, I am quite stubborn and did not connect with this specialist. The combination of those two factors made what she said more difficult for me to hear as well as believe. I desperately wanted to prove her wrong.
So we embarked on a different path trying numerous approaches. We tried herbal supplements, changing our diet, cutting out caffeine and alcohol.
We tried reflexology. We tried ovulation kits and mapping my cycle ourselves to time our encounters at “just the right time.” We tried Clomid. We tried relaxing, taking holidays, reducing workload, and addressing any additional stress in our lives. Nothing was working.
We finally agreed that it was time to go see a different specialist. This time was different. We clicked immediately. She understood and respected our concerns. We then proceeded with hope that we would finally start our family.
Injections, blood draws, appointments, all taking us back and forth from our small town of Dungannon to Belfast became markers of that season.
We found out I had PCOS which in turn was a contributing factor when my ovaries went into hyperstimulation. We found out that my husband probably had issues with his sperm count and motility as well. It was a growing education but one we wished were not needed.
By the time my period started that afternoon at work in February, we were both hopeful for the outcome we desired. I think that is one of the cruelest things about infertility. You can never prepare yourself for the moments of devastation when you start your period, or your transfer takes then your numbers do not continue going up. Infertility is a matter of the heart and the heart wants what the heart wants.
After that first failed round we took a few months break and mustered up the emotional, mental, and physical courage to try again in August.
This time I did not have hyperstimulation, the procedures went much smoother, and two out of our three frozen embryos had survived. It all felt like signs pointing us towards our hopeful beginning of having a baby.
The morning I was to take the test I had awakened from a beautiful dream. In my dream the test was positive. It seemed to me another sign that this time it had worked. That our years of struggle and trying were finally going to come to an end. You can imagine my surprise and sorrow when I peed on that stick and it was negative.
This blow felt lower, deeper, straight into my core self. I couldn’t believe it was happening again. Almost immediately we packed our bags and headed to the North Coast of Ireland. Our friends had generously offered us the use of their holiday home to grieve and to do it privately, away from our normal day to day life. It was a gift.
I remember vividly reading book after book then moving onto movie after movie.
I tried washing the dishes that we were using and the tears just came and wouldn’t stop. My heart was crushed. My dream felt unachievable and I was so so tired of it all.
After that I needed to take a complete break from trying. We threw ourselves into work, church, adventures, hobbies, and anything that would distract us from the longing of having our family begin. I think secretly we were both hoping that somehow, by some miracle, we would finally be relaxed enough that we would get pregnant on our own.
Another three years passed with no change in our situation.
We made a decision to quit our jobs in Northern Ireland and take some time stateside to invest in our family and friends as we are both American born. Shortly upon arriving in the States, I felt an urge to give it one last try with ICSI before we began pursuing adoption. We knew more than anything we wanted to have a family and be parents, if we couldn’t give birth to our own children we would bring them into our family another way.
Our family and friends rallied around us. They joined with us in emotional, spiritual, and practical support by helping us cover the entire cost of our treatment cycle. We revisited a clinic where we had gone for an initial consultation years earlier. They had encouraged us to try treatment back in Northern Ireland first.
After everything we had gone through, this time felt different.
We were survivors of infertility. We had gone through so much already and our marriage was still intact. We had hit so many bumps along the way, processed so much pain, and had come out the other side stronger than when we started. We may not be able to get pregnant, was what we thought, but we can keep living, keep dreaming, and keep moving forward.
After the injections, retrieval, and Bryan’s second testicular biopsy, we stepped back and just let it be. We had said all our prayers and now we were trusting and resting in the ability of our doctors, the strength of our embryos, and we knew we would be okay either way.
The night before the transfer, we laid in bed, chatting, and we began laughing about something. I can’t remember what but that’s not the important part.
The important thing was that we were light. Infertility no longer was dictating our happiness and emotional well being. Yes, of course we still wanted our family and we knew that one way or another we would be parents. But we were not being controlled by it any longer.
The morning of the transfer we were surrounded by family and friends, the moment was so sweet and the peace was palpable. We were hopeful and realistic. We were thankful and wiser than in the past. We were living in the present.
After the ten day wait we had two days of blood draws. I had started to feel different within those ten days. I had never felt nauseous before, or had a sore chest before. This time I did. The inner wisdom we learned allowed me to explore these feelings while remaining slightly detached yet hopeful. That in itself was miraculous. I did find myself feeling high and low at times but allowed myself to be okay with all the feelings.
On the second day of blood draws, we went to a coffee shop to await the phone call that would tell us if our blood test showed positive for a pregnancy.
They told us it could be all day before we would hear from them. Then about 45 minutes later my phone rang. It was the clinic. We held our breath and stepped out of the bustling and noisy coffee shop. We put the phone on speaker and said we were ready to hear the results.There was a slight pause, then the nurse happily announced, “You are going to be a mommy and a daddy!”
Even though the road would be long ahead of us as we walked through week by week of this pregnancy, this was the first time we had actually tested positive. We were stunned and elated. We both began crying as we wrapped our arms around each other. We couldn’t stop smiling or crying. We now had the biggest secret to tell! But it was ours for that brief moment of time and we reveled in it.
Later on that day we announced to all our family and friends our wonderful news and it was such a time of joy and celebration!
We then packed our bags, headed back to Northern Ireland where our beautiful twin sons, Kidran J Caleb and Cohen V Ryan, were born on the 1st of September 2014.
I would not wish infertility on my worst enemy. It was the most difficult thing I have ever walked through in my life thus far. Yet, without the support of friends and family it could have been so much worse. I am so thankful for ongoing support and resources, websites like IVF Babble as well as many others, that are helping to support so many others who are struggling. That is also why I wrote a book about my experience. I want others to not feel alone. I wanted to somehow give more purpose to my personal pain and that’s exactly what I feel the book has done.
Wherever you are at in your journey today, there is hope for you.
It may be hope of surviving this terrible and difficult journey. It may be hope that you will find fulfillment in things other than a family. Whatever conclusion you come to, you are not alone. You can be supported, you can be loved, and you can continue living. In the words of one of my favourite singer/songwriters, Ben Howard, “Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.”
You can keep in touch with Breanna by following her on Facebook @breannajochud
Instagram @breannachud and her Blog: breannajochud.wordpress.com
You can also meet Breanna on her book tour!!