The Story of Isabella Faith Dunbar

This will be one of the hardest blogs for me to write. There is a time for rejoicing and there is also a time for grieving. The story all started on July 23. We got our first picture of baby Isabella. Our IVF journey feels like it is one long drawn out saga. We started our IVF journey at the beginning of the year. It took 7 months to be we could implant our embryo back into Melissa. When we went to the doctor’s office on the days leading up to transfer day, everything was measuring like it should.  Everything was perfect. We made it to July and it was transfer day! Melissa and I were both so excited. We had one normal embryo and we were believing it was going to make it. We were going to be parents. We also knew we had a 60/40 shot of it not making to a live birth.

transfer day

Melissa and I were so nervous for the first 10 days. We were hopeful that Baby Isabella was sticking around and developing like she should. On the night before our first BETA test, we were both curious to know the results. Melissa was a little more anxious to know if the transfer had worked. We decided to take a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) that night. We really could not believe our eyes. It was the first time in the 3 1/2yrs of trying to conceive that we had a positive pregnancy test. That positive pregnancy test was a sign of hope for the both of us. The blood test the next day confirmed what we already knew. We knew that everyone’s prayers had been answered.

When your BETA levels are positive, you have to repeat your blood work in a couple of days to see if the levels are rising like they should. The HCG levels have to double every couple of days. The second beta level confirmed that we had a growing embryo inside of Melissa.

We were both so nervous and excited at the same time. With each day that passed, we were a little more confident. Our baby was attaching, growing and everything looked like it was going ok.  We had never been pregnant before, so we were taking this in one day at time. IVF has a way of robbing the surprise of naturally getting pregnant, so we decided to find out the sex of the embryo before the embryo was even implanted. We also figured if the embryo didn’t make it to full term then we would be able to name our baby.  We did not tell our family what it was when we found out way back in May. We were keeping it a secret on purpose.  It was the only secret we have had during this whole journey. Our parents and family were eager to find out what our baby’s gender was. When we saw our beta levels were doubling, we decided to surprise our parents and tell them. One day after work, I went to Target and bought some baby clothes for what Melissa called “a gender reveal on a budget”. I bought 2 little pink outfits and a polar bear outfit. Those of you that know Melissa, know she loves her polar bears. We went to my parent’s house and video chatted Melissa’s mom and then Melissa’s dad and step-mom. We showed them a bag and then the color of the outfit. Our family was so excited! At this point we were 4 weeks pregnant.

The day was August 10, it was just like any other day. Melissa started to think that something was not right. We continued to get ready for the day. I was working out in the living room and I was almost finished. Melissa called me and I knew something was wrong. This was early Friday morning and our fertility doctor told us to go to the emergency room to get an ultrasound and check on things. Through the weeks I had been using Google to track and follow the size of the baby. We were just a few days shy of 5 weeks. At 5 weeks you are able to see gestational sac on an ultrasound. We finally made it to the emergency room.  I had to park on the 6th floor of the parking garage and went down 6 flights of stairs because I thought the elevators were broken. Seconds seemed like hours while waiting on everything.

Melissa was taken back right away. I walked into the emergency room and got my visitors bracelet. They brought me back to Melissa. The staff finished checking her in and they brought us to a private room. They did blood work and an ultrasound. Whenever the ultrasound tech came in I was hoping to see something. I remember thinking to myself, we are just shy of 5 weeks something has to show up. I have been to almost every doctor’s appointment and I’ve learned a little about what I am looking at. I was looking at the screen and kept looking for the sac. I saw all the other parts that make up the female anatomy but no sac. We waited for her blood work to come back and her beta levels were not where they were suppose to be. At that point we knew that it was not good.  With us knowing that our beta levels were declining, we figured we were having a miscarriage. We had the whole weekend to process what was happening but it was still had to walk through. It continues to be hard to walk through.

We were scheduled to see our fertility doctor on Monday, August 13. On the 13th our doctor confirmed there was no sac. He couldn’t give us any reason or any answers as to why we miscarried. All we have are speculations.

On the way home from Baton Rouge that day, we decided to name our baby girl Isabella Faith. Isabella means “God is my oath”. Melissa and I know this is all apart of His plan and we continue to trust Him. Faith is the word Melissa chose at the beginning of this year. Having a miscarriage is the hardest thing we have ever gone though but we still know God is FAITHFUL!

We are planning to transfer again in October. We have 2 embryos left. We do not know if they are normal or not. When they were tested, there was not enough cells to tell anything. We are hopeful, optimistic and cautious all at the same time.

Isabella Faith Dunbar

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Life Is Ironic

What does it mean to walk a mile in someone’s shoes? I remember seeing a news broadcast years ago. The news segment was about the IVF process.  I remember thinking that anyone who had that procedure done was just wanting to control what type of children they were wanting to have. When I saw the broadcast, I really did not understand what went into the process and what it was about. I really did not know all of the reasons for infertility and still don’t. We have learned so much already but still have some much to learn.

Why is it that life brings you to places where you never thought you would go? The way we look at certain situations is determined by what we experience while living.  I know there are a lot of controversial things happening in America right now. You know the longer this journey goes, the closer I get to my wife and the more we learn to lean on one another. Not that our marriage is perfect but infertility has brought us closer. There can be positive things that come from the negative situations in life. You really have to look at it through God’s eyes.  Sitting giving my wife her shots and hoping to get one embryo we could use has really changed my outlook on IVF. When I saw that news segment, I knew nothing about having bad egg quality or what a chemical pregnancy was. I thought every egg would be ok and everything would work like magic. I didn’t understood what the news segment was all about.

This has been the most emotional journey I have ever been on in life thus far. There is nothing I can compare this journey to.  You are always looking for a plan B just in case the one plan you are trying does not work. After seeing negative pregnancy test for so long you start to wonder if anything will work but all the while believing, praying and trusting that this one will work.

I know God will use our story to help someone some day. I am really trusting and believing this can be in our past soon. While we walk in this journey and after, we will help others along in their journey too.

To answer my question from the beginning, you never really know what it is like to walk in someone’s shoes. Everyone has different battles in life. While some may be similar in a lot of ways, our battles are still different. The best advice I can give is to listen, try to learn and try to understand what others are going through. You never know what another person is going through until you listen.

 

Meet the Dunbar’s

Melissa and I would like to thank you for taking time to read and learn about our story. My wife and I were married on June 21, 2014. Melissa has known since she was a teenager that she was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  PCOS can cause irregular cycles, as well as, many other symptoms.  PCOS also causes hormone levels to be out of balance.

I never knew where this journey would take us. I didn’t know how long it would take. When Melissa and I were dating, I believed we would not have any trouble starting a family. I thought God would just intervene for us to get pregnant when we would be ready.  It did not happen that way at all. We tried special diets, vitamins, different medicines and a surgery that helped other people with their infertility but unfortunately did not help us.  Here we are three and a half years later and still waiting.

I recently reached a point where I am actually trying to embrace and learn from my experiences. I am the type of person who wants to help others learn and not make the same mistakes. Looking at our current circumstances, everything happened the way that it should have. The process seems long and drawn out, but I find myself saying this journey is a marathon not a sprint.  There are times when infertility can really bring you down if you do not have a support system in place.  Sarah’s Laughter has made a tremendous change for us. Both of us have found so much love and support in our men’s and women’s infertility groups. When you have a support system in place, you can message anyone who gets infertility, who’s with you on the same journey and you can also lift one another up.

This whole process has really been a great learning experience. We have gotten a refresher in our science classes from high school. The IVF journey is such an incredible process. Sometimes, I feel as though we are taking God out of the process but I believe that he is in this process 100%. God gives us and the doctors the knowledge to be able to know how to do this process of IVF.

We hope you enjoy our reading our story!

 

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