Houston radio host Sarah Pepper opens up about IVF
HOUSTON – She's one of the most well-known radio personalities in Houston. Sarah Pepper keeps listeners laughing, but behind the mic, she's been going through a struggle shared by millions of Americans.
Her distinctive voice accompanies millions of Houston drivers battling the morning rush. Sarah Pepper is an open book on Mix 96.5's "The Morning Mix," even opening up about her struggles to get pregnant.
"I decided to do IVF because I felt from the time I was young, I always wanted to be a mother. I figured by 35, I would be married and have children. That is not the way that things panned out," Pepper told KPRC2 News anchor Rachel McNeill.
Pepper said that three years ago, she underwent her first round of IVF with high expectations.
"My plan in my perfect little mind, I was going to do this transfer. I should know on Christmas Day. I'll be home with my mom. She'll open up this pregnancy test and boom! She'll realize she's going to be a grandmother, something she never thought she'd be," Pepper said. That's not how it worked. I took the test on Christmas morning. It came back negative. I cried all day Christmas."
Two months later, the transfer did take, Pepper said. But genetic testing revealed her baby had a severe genetic defect. Pepper miscarried at 15 weeks.
Devastated, she shared the news on air and said she was surprised by the overwhelming response.
"I had almost 1,400 e-mails in my Facebook before the end of the day that first day from people saying 'I've gone through this. I've been through this twice. I can't believe that you're going through this. I feel your pain,'" Pepper said.
After taking a year off to travel and reflect, Pepper said she is ready to try once more.
"If it does take, I don't know if I can handle that loss again. But I also don't know if I can also handle not knowing for the rest of my life," Pepper said.
To chronicle her experiences, Pepper started a podcast, a candid, unapologetic take on her journey shared by so many others.
"Do not feel ashamed of your struggle. Don't! Find empowerment in it. Find strength in it because my mom keeps telling me that you'll appreciate this so much more because you had to work so hard for it and she's the smartest woman I know, so I know she's right," Pepper said.
One thing she said was so surprising to her was how many men she heard from after she revealed her struggles. Pepper said they were going through it as well with their partners and it's always challenging to find the right thing to say.
Pepper said she promises to keep her listeners updated every step of the way.
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