Iowa Couple’s Journey With Infertility Ends With a Twist

Special Reports

IOWA — We first introduced you to the Hemesath family during the fall of 2019, when they shared their adoption story with us. Part of that story includes infertility. “I was just very, very emotional and I felt broken every time, every month,” Betsy explains. “People don’t understand how much infertility affects your life. It’s more than not getting pregnant.”

The toll is huge … physically, financially, emotionally. “I always dreamed of being a mom and our big family and what that was going to look like. When it wasn’t happening, you have to rethink it all,” says Betsy. Her husband adds, “When those plans were shattered when we struggled to conceive, we had to process that almost like a pregnancy loss.”

And for the first year, Marcus and Betsy suffered in silence. Marcus was in residency and Betsy was home alone a lot. “He was going to work and delivering babies every single day and dealing with pregnant women every day and then coming home to me sobbing,” Betsy remembers.

Few people knew what they were going through, and no one understood. Betsy started writing. She started a blog, and people who understood her pain started reaching out. “It became an outlet for me,” she explains, “Sixty-year-old women reached out to me telling me they never got to conceive and still struggle.”

For Betsy and Marcus, even after building their family through adoption and IVF, the pain caused by infertility lingered. “Now that we have our two boys is when I’m understanding that I’m still a little bit traumatized by everything we’ve been through,” says Betsy. Marcus explains how those old feelings can bubble to the surface. “It’ll come back when someone is pregnant, or someone asks you about your family, or when you’re watching a commercial.”

That was part of the reason the Hemesaths decided to put their plans for a house full of kids on hold. “There’s a lot that goes into it when you have infertility,” Betsy explains. “You don’t just decide to have a baby. You have to make huge decisions.”

Everything changed for them a few months later when Betsy discovered she was pregnant. “When the test said ‘pregnant,’ I screamed,” she laughs. She surprised Marcus with the news at work. “My initial response was shock,” he says, “Then, this is amazing! This is great news!”

Three months after finding out they were pregnant, the pandemic hit Iowa. Their little girl Maren was born in August. “Part of the healing for me has been getting pregnant without treatment,” says Betsy. “Now we have three kids and that’s closer to what we had been planning.”

They describe Maren as the most chill baby ever, always happy and crazy about her big brothers. “It’s cheezy,” says Betsy, “but she’s our rainbow at the end of the storm.”

Betsy and Marcus know their story could be helpful or hurtful to others going through infertility. They know what that ache feels like and they know how lucky they are.

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