After finding comfort in others' social media posts about the sometimes long road while trying to conceive, Kelly Petrere decided to document her own journey — and the resulting video is a raw and emotional glimpse into the world of infertility.
Petrere, 27, and her husband Ryan first started trying to conceive in September of 2019 after three years of marriage. When Petrere went off birth control, she was unaware of any fertility issues.
"I did not think that it was going to be an issue," she told TODAY Parents. But soon afterward, Petrere realized "something wasn't right."
"I just wasn't ovulating," she said, "and so there was no opportunity to even actively try to conceive."
Day after day, month after month, Petrere's ovulation tests continued to report negative results. She took supplements to bring on her menstrual cycle, which were often 45 or 65 days long.
When the global coronavirus outbreak hit the United States last spring, Petrere, a musical theater teacher for middle and high school students at the Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina, found herself at home with a lot of unanswered questions.
"There was a lot of unknown in my life," she said. "I didn't know when we would go back to school, and I didn't know when or if I would ovulate again."
Finally, in June, Petrere had a positive ovulation test — nine months after she started trying to conceive. "I had been taking tests every day, just trying to see if I could get a little glimpse of something to give us some hope, and it finally happened," she said.
The funny thing, she said, was that just that month, she had told her doctor she was ready to try Clomid to bring on ovulation. She had gone to the pharmacy the day before to pick up her medicine and supplies, and then she found out she was already ovulating on her own.
"It was really exciting," she said, especially because the news came right before Father's Day. Petrere's own ailing father had just decided to go on the transplant list for a new liver.
"There was so much going on that month that just getting that positive was kind of perfect timing," she said. "To be able to give my family some sort of good, something exciting to look forward to, was really, really special."
Petrere, who is now 18 weeks into her pregnancy, waited to post the video on TikTok until she was sure the pregnancy was healthy. Now, she wants to offer her story as hope for others.
"It was a little hard to post it, because a part of me doesn't really want to share that," she said, "But I figured that I've seen so many other people on TikTok and YouTube, and I see so many other people struggling with trying to conceive, that I don't mind posting this and helping them not feel alone."
When she was going through her own infertility struggles, Petrere said, she would watch other people's videos and it made her feel better. "You feel like you're a burden, almost, and you almost think it's your fault," she said.
Petrere has a message for those who are still waiting for their own good news: "You are not a burden. It is not your fault, and you are not alone. And it's OK to not be OK. The tears and the fight will all be worth it when you get that positive."