Yellow Team: The Ziolkowskis
Our Infertility Story, as told by Kate:
When I came home for the summer after my freshman year in college and met Paul, I knew I had met the man I was going to marry. When he asked me to officially be his girlfriend on July 4, 2003, after only one date, I had a hunch he might feel the same way about me. At the time, Paul was in the Police Academy and I still had three years left of school. In the beginning, we endured some good ole’ teasing from many of his police buddies about our age difference. Paul had just turned 23 and I was 18. He waited until the summer before my junior year (2005) to propose and finally, after I graduated, we got married on December 16, 2006.
At the time, those three and half years moved so slowly. We were desperately waiting for the ‘next chapter’ of our lives to unfold. There was a wedding to plan, a house to buy and babies to be had. Being the oldest of 5 girls, my main desire in life was to find the man of my dreams and have a large family and my dreams were slowly coming true. Paul and I decided to wait for a year before trying for a family because we wanted to enjoy being newlyweds, I needed to look for a job and we wanted to buy a house.
When Christmas 2007 rolled around, after 6 months in our new house and a year of me working as a Recreation Therapist in a retirement community, we were excited to finally start trying for baby #1. After 4 months, we were overjoyed when a pregnancy test came back positive. Just a few short days later our world came crashing down when we learned I had experienced a ‘chemical pregnancy’. Did you know they existed? Yep, neither did we.
Paul and I continued in our quest to become parents and by the end of 2008 suspected there might be a bigger problem. We kicked off 2009 by seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist and undergoing a myriad of tests. All of our results pointed to Male Factor Infertility and we knew IVF was somewhere in our future. When 2009 ended, we had undergone more testing than we ever thought possible and had 4 unsuccessful IUI’s under our belts.
We went full speed ahead into IVF in March 2010. We never once stopped to consider the emotional, physical or financial repercussions of going through IVF. Paul and I whole heartedly believed that our infertility journey would end with a positive result. Our initial statistics with IVF with ICSI were amazing and it looked like our dream of becoming parents might just come true. But then our IVF attempt was unsuccessful. Our embryos weren’t growing. Our Frozen Embryo Transfer in the summer of 2010 ended in the same negative result and we were officially welcomed into the “Unexplained Infertility” Club. Paul and I checked with each other…neither of us asked to be admitted into that club.
By Christmas of 2010, we called it quits with actively pursuing fertility treatments. We needed to take time off and find ourselves again. Our marriage needed strengthening and my body and our hearts needed a break. So did our bank account. We gave ourselves a one year sabbatical from all things ‘family building’ related.
One year suddenly became two and half years, and since that time we have realized what a blessing our infertility journey has been. Paul and I have expanded our family by six paws…bringing our puppy count up to 4. We have discovered a passion for travelling and took advantage of an opportunity to stay with friends in Finland for a week and half. I started a little cookie decorating side venture and Paul discovered a love for motorcycles. Amazing new friendships have been made, our marriage is stronger than ever, and we are more grounded in our faith and our knowledge that we are exactly where we are suppose to be.
So here we are feeling blessed that we started trying for a family at such a young age, because even after 6 years of trying to have a baby, time is still on our side. Because of such a long break, Paul and I are going to meet with a new Reproductive Endocrinologist and get his recommendations. We are humbled to have been chosen for the Race to Parenthood and are looking forward to using any money raised to use our remaining frozen embryos for a FET. No matter where this path may take us (more treatments/fostering) or what our ‘next chapter’ may be, we are so grateful for the family and friends who have supported and encouraged us along our infertility journey.
Here’s to never losing hope.
Update December 2014: After two chemical pregnancies in the fall of 2014, Kate and Paul found themselves at the beginning of a new journey and are joining our 2015 Featured Couples in The Race to Parenthood 5k as Team Yellow once again!