Little Miracle for Anchor Lisa Carberg

One in eight couples is affected by infertility

Babies are born every day, but for NBC30 anchor Lisa Carberg, the pursuit to parenthood was a long time coming. The journey took years.

Infertility and the dream of having a baby are personal. They are also very common. According to a National Survey of Family Growth, infertility affects one in eight couples.

Lisa soon saw for herself the frequency of infertility. It seemed like everyone she told knew someone else facing the same struggle.

"Every family had a sister or a cousin or a close friend who had difficulty getting pregnant," she said. "Once you tell someone, they open up to you, which forms an immediate bond."

Early in her broadcasting career, Lisa never gave much thought to having children. Her 20s flew by with the focus on her news career. She moved many times for jobs in Wilmington, N.C., Savannah, Ga., Hartford and she eventually lived and worked in New York City for a Cable Networks News organization.

"My career was so exciting and consuming. It really demanded all of my attention," she said. "In broadcasting, the first few years are the toughest. You have to work extra hard to prove your worth."

But when she met her husband, Jeff, everything changed.

Lisa chose to move back "home" to Connecticut, return to NBC 30 and get married. She planned to "immediately" start a family.  That was six years ago.

"I just assumed it would be immediate the next month. That's the line of thinking a lot of women have when they try to get pregnant," Lisa said.

But it didn't come so easy.

What took place in her personal life over the next five years was nothing she shared with many people.

"Having a baby" overwhelmed Lisa’s thoughts. Even as she worked and tried to remain professional, it was always something close to the surface.

"At work It seemed like someone was always announcing they were pregnant. I always hoped it would be me the next month with them," she said.

Fortunately, she had very understanding bosses who accommodated her many doctors appointments for treatments.

She attempted in vitro fertilization four times. The demanding process required several injections a day. She would have to bring the medicine in a cooler with her on stories, because everything is "timed."

"In vitro is a really tough process to go through, physically and mentally,'" she said.

But after all the effort, there was still no pregnancy. Lisa did not have insurance to cover the cost of the fertility treatments and the struggle was growing increasingly difficult financially and emotionally.

“I cried with her, I just said it wasn't meant to be,” said Lisa’s long-time friend and Old Saybrook High School classmate Mary Kate (Graham) Mundell.

“I was devastated for her, because for me it happened so easy, and for her it wasn't so easy, and I just tried to keep assuring her to just try and be positive and try to remain stress free,” she said.

Lisa watched girlfriends like Mary Kate have beautiful children and was always thrilled for them. But she came to realize that with single digit odds, pregnancy would most likely never happen to "her."

So, after five years of trying to conceive, she gave up on herself getting pregnant.

"At that point, our options were adoption or surrogacy," Lisa said. She and her husband chose surrogacy.

"The thought of having someone carry our baby seemed like the right thing for us. We thought it would be a really special experience," she said.

After months of searching, researching legalities and checking references, they found the right woman to hopefully carry their child.

Then a few months later, they received the amazing news they waited years for -- they had a pregnancy. But much to everyone’s surprise, it wasn't the surrogate who was pregnant, it was Lisa.

"I couldn't believe it. After all the infertility treatments, I got pregnant on my own. It seems, with the pressure off I could relax and it happened, she said.

Lisa’s high-risk but healthy pregnancy ended with an amazing result, baby Ashleigh, who was born on May 15, 2008.

“We still can’t believe she’s here,” said Lisa. "She's a miracle!"

All of the hard work of being new parents is forgotten for Lisa and her husband.

The sleepless nights, the walking and walking to calm her is all overshadowed by the joy in their hearts to have Ashleigh.

"There are many tears in our house, tears of joy. Our hearts are filled with love. It's the best feeling, even better than I imagined," Lisa said.

Along the way, Lisa met many other women also struggling to get pregnant. Now, some have their desired babies, some do not.

In the end, sharing information and emotions made her journey to motherhood possible.

One way for women with fertility problems to meet others is through websites like Resolve.

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