I have been inspired to write about my journey through infertility after reading another twin mommies blog (Thanks Andrea)! I realized as I read through her own personal struggles that I have found few “stories” out there to read and relate too. I got to thinking, maybe after someone reads mine, they too will feel inspired to share and one more woman may not feel so alone in their journey through infertility.
I must say, nothing I write is ever very “short n‘ sweet”, I tend to be a little long-winded so, might I suggest you grab a beverage of your choice, maybe even a snack and settle in for a little “us” time together…LOL
To write this, I went back and re-read the Facebook group I started in an effort to keep family and friends updated on the “baby-making-happenings” and more selfishly, so I wouldn’t have to repeat it over and over. In the last 2 hours I have laughed and I have cried…I kinda wish I could just re-post all my entries for you to read because it really was a roller coaster ride. One thing that remained constant was my sense of humor and I hope I don’t offend anyone or come across as trying to trivialize the real pain infertility causes for millions of people and the struggle it was for me and my husband.
David and I were married on Valentines Day 2004 after dating for only 3 short years. We both were very excited to have a family but decided to take the first couple of years to explore our lives together as husband and wife, travel and build our careers. We were diligent in our use of birth control, which is so funny when we think back to just how “protected” we were. It was on our 2nd Anniversary in 2006 that we decided to throw caution to the wind and we went forth to “multiple”, again something we find amusing considering we did just that!
I never stressed as each month came then went with no blessing of a baby. For me that just meant I was able to continue life as usual, including my nightly glass of red wine. It wasn’t until later in the Fall of 2007 that my feelings of “gotta get pregnant NOW” kicked into full gear and off to the doctors I went. After an ultrasound of my “womanly parts” I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and put on 3 cycles of Clomid. My doctor felt that if 3 rounds of Clomid failed, I would need to seek help from a fertility specialist. After all, by medical standards I was an OLD woman of 33 with aging eggs…LOL. Needless to say, the Clomid did not work for me, actually it was the worst 3 months of my entire journey and for those of you who have been through the IVF process, I don’t say that lightly. I had enormous mood swings, hot flashes, cramping, headaches, bloating, nausea….it was worse than any symptoms I had through IVF & Pregnancy. This experience did not have me running towards IVF, in fact I almost dismissed the idea of going forward but that “wanna have a baby NOW” feeling kept gnawing away at me and my husband…so onwards we went.
At the end of February 2008, we attended the mandatory $250.00 “Informational Session” regarding IVF with about 50 other couples. I will never forget that night. We all sat looking straight ahead, never making eye contact with each other. For 3 long painful hours, Doctors stood in front of a large auditorium talking about IVF in medical terms that a 4th year resident wouldn’t understand…unless infertility was their specialty. I can’t speak for everyone in that room but Dave & I only truly understood 3 things:
- it was going to be REALLY expensive (upwards of $15,000)
- you would probably be waiting 6 months to a year to even get started
- there was less than a 50% chance it would be successful
And then, adding insult to injury, we were handed an “Information Package” filled with the same incomprehensible medical jargon AND a note that read something like: “If you would like to continue with IVF Treatment please call the number bellow IMMEDIATELY. Should you wait to officially register, this WILL cause major delays in your treatment.” Talk about using pressure sales tactics! Seriously, there were over 50 couples in that room and we were all faced with having to take a medical journey to start our families…the very least they could have done has humanize it a little more. Call it what you want, it worked; we got on “THE LIST” the very next day, and provided the required $10,000 deposit…ouch!
On the bright side, things didn’t move half as slow as we had anticipated. By the end of March 2008 we had had our first consultation with the clinic and I began the long daunting task of undergoing the needed tests to become ‘IVF Ready”. I must have had over a dozen different tests while Dave only had to endure THREE….blood work, physiological eval and the ever dreaded “Sperm Vitality” test. I suppose that is the burden we must carry to be able to experience the sheer miracle of pregnancy and birth…I won’t complain. (I really want to though)
In June 2008 we were officially “cleared” for take off and as it turned out, Dave also had some male infertility issues, making IVF with ICIS our best route to take for success. We were giddy with excitement! Giving ourselves ‘High-5’s” for “passing” all the tests to become parents (if only everyone had to be screened so strictly) but our joy quickly dissipated as we thought about the 6-12 month wait ahead of us. But as fate would have it, a few people on the list declined or rescheduled their IVF cycles and in August 2008 we were on our way to becoming parents.
I feel like that was just yesterday….yet a lifetime ago. I remember all the medication I had to take, here's a peak at some it...
The pills, daily “nasal sniffs” and injections for almost 6 weeks was grueling, to say the least and that was just to shut my reproductive system only to have to “super-stimulate” it in an effort to produce multiple mature eggs to be “harvested” for the actual embryo transfer, which occurred on October 2, 2008. We were so fortunate, we had over 20 eggs “harvested” and 9 fertilized, a very successful cycle! We had two fresh embryos transferred, 1- 7 cell and 1- 8 cell. The remaining embryos were frozen for future transfer cycles. The medication regime didn’t end after the transfer, I miss the joyful process of taking Progesterone vaginally (TMI??)… LOL
Life carried on as usual for the next 2 weeks and we never really allowed ourselves to get toooo excited, I admit, that was hard! In all honesty, I had myself planning and preparing for the eventual arrival of a baby in 9 months. I just didn’t know at that time that I would have to wait a little longer…the first transfer was unsuccessful. I remember being sad but not devastated. I have always been an optimistic person and I chalked it up to “it’s just not our time”.
On “THE LIST” we went...to wait…again! We were told that the average time for a frozen cycle to become available is about 3-4 months so, on with life we went. We even enjoyed a fabulous cruise to the
to ring in the year 2009. As we kissed that New Years Eve I had an overwhelming feeling of “This IS the year we will become parents!” Bahamas
The end of January 2009 marked the beginning of our first frozen embryo cycle. This process wasn’t as time consuming and “hormonally charged” as the full fresh embryo cycle but it still required over 3 weeks of preparation before the transfer occurred on February 25th. This time around, I ordered myself to 48 hours “couch rest” to better my chances of implantation even though I was told it didn’t matter and I should just carry on as usual. Maybe “they” were right…it didn’t matter…on March 14th we found out that our second attempt at becoming parents….failed! I was devastated this time around…heartbroken. I began thinking that this might be God’s plans for me…to not be a mom and who am I to question his plans for me? Then I began thinking…bullshit on that! I deserve the opportunity to pass on my vast knowledge of the world and subject my own offspring to my crazy parenting philosophies. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, after all we still had 5 frozen embryos and I know a lot of people aren’t so “lucky”. I put us back on “THE LIST”…again, to wait…again! (I swear it felt like we were on some “LIST” somewhere, for something, forever…LOL!)
The wait this time around was much shorter. We got a call at the end of April 2009 to start our 3rd IVF attempt (second frozen embryo transfer) and on June 1st my beautiful Ave & Bryce were placed in their comfy little home for the next 38 weeks. Now, it wasn’t all happy times because I began bleeding (a big clot was expelled, hope that’s not too much info) and cramping just over 2 weeks after the transfer, only 3 short days after the BIG POSITIVE was confirmed…I was a wreck!
The fertility clinic said to just “ride it out” and wait. My family Doctor, a wonderful woman, didn’t feel the same way and started to send me for daily HCG Blood Level tests and she would call me back every afternoon to confirm that the levels were continuing to rise and that I was still pregnant. She did this for 10 days straight until she knew I was feeling more relaxed and confident…did I mention how wonderful she is? (The bleeding had subsided by day 5 into the testing.) Anyways, she talked with me and explained that there was a possibility that both embryos might have implanted but that one may have miscarried, hence the bleeding and cramping. I was sad (more sad that I ever admitted) but so happy that I was still with child…I prayed everyday and every night that when we went for our first ultrasound that my baby would still “be there”.
It sure was "there" AND the baby we had so desperately wanted had a WOMB-MATE!! We were SHOCKED! Some people can be so inconsiderate when I tell them that we were genuinely surprised to find out we were having twins. I often get a comment like, “What do you mean you were surprised? You had IVF; you MUST have known there was chance to have multiples! You couldn’t have been TOTALLY shocked!” Well, without giving them the full description of the above, I guess they would think that but I don’t care what people think…it was a surprise… A WONDERFUL SURPRISE! Actually, there was a brief moment when the technician thought it was triples. If you look close at my Blog picture you can see that one “sac” is quite large compared to the other one, so she was looking for a third heartbeat. I would have fainted…no, my husband would have fainted! LOL
Me, 5 minutes before Ave & Bryce arrived!
(I can't believe how swollen the human body can get...LOL)
On January 29, 2010, through a schedule C-Section and at almost 38 weeks gestation…Ave Linnet was born at 7:49 pm, weighing in at 6 lbs 2 ozs, measuring 19 inches long and her baby brother Bryce Barohn was born at 7:50 pm, weighing in at 5 lbs 15 ozs, measuring 20 inches long. We were truly blessed with two healthy babies that went straight from the operating room to recovery with two people who were just “ordinary” a few moments before they arrived but who would now and forever be known as “Mom & Dad”!
So, there you have it….my LONG, hopefully not boring story of how I kicked infertility in the buttocks and lived to tell all about it!
Ave & Bryce (1 Month Old)
Thanks for taking the time to read my journey.