Thursday, September 12, 2013

The day my biggest fear became reality

My first miracle arrives in this world!!

My husband and I got married in April 2010. We decided we would immediately give "just seeing what happens" a go as far as babies were concerned. We both had good jobs. We had a home and we had love, so what else did we need. We knew we wanted them, our friends were having them and we had "the itch". Just seeing what happens quickly became trying. Trying quickly became tracking and was in full swing. Ovulation kits purchased, propping legs up after the deed, you name it we were giving it a go. Trying led to disappointment after disappointment and it was very difficult. Within an 8 month period of going from let's see to what the hell, I decided we need to see what is up. My ovulation was like clock work. I was getting that smiley face on day 16 every month. My cycles were normal, I was young, I was healthy, what is the deal??

So here we go. I make us an appointment with my OB, she checks me and gives me a referral to a reproductive specialist. We go to our first appointment, talk and schedule a few more tests. One of those was a sperm analysis for my husband and the others were checks on my tubes, etc. My tests were all checking out, so why was this happening, were we not meant to have a baby?! Well, we got the call from my husband's test that his count and mobility were very low and got another referral to another reproductive specialist who became our doctor. They explained that something happened during puberty with a vein that was causing this and he could have an easy surgery to remove the vein and then it would correct itself, but as to how much it would improve and how fast is all unknown. We sat down and talked, I came in with my notes from Dr. Google and we were told, "it would be a miracle if you had a baby naturally on your own" and we were told we could have the surgery, wait 6 months and try again, then see or we could move forward with our one and only option at this point of IVF with ICSI. For those of you who don't know, in normal IVF, many sperm are placed together with an egg, in hopes that one of the sperm will enter and fertilize the egg. With ICSI, the embryologist takes a single sperm and injects it directly into an egg.

And now I am even more blessed! Miracle #2

IVF is a very intensive, very expensive and emotional process. It required an upfront deposit of $12k and upfront medication orders of over $3k. This was a huge investment for us, we are not wealthy by any means, we don't have family money, everything is what we work for, but I wanted a baby of my own more than anything in the world. It started with a month or so of small injections into my belly daily to shut my system down. Then, while continuing on those, I had to add another small injection to start amping up my egg production. As we go along, everything from how many eggs on each ovary to my blood levels are being closely monitored. Then, the night before your eggs are removed you take your "trigger" shot. The morning after my trigger I went into surgery and literally by this point I am walking awkward, because I feel so heavy carrying around all these eggs, but I was very fortunate to provide 22 large, nice eggs. Surgery complete!

Now, we wait to see if they live and if they fertilize. At this point we also have to start our progesterone shots. Many people are given the option of doing progesterone suppositories, but not us and let me tell you, if you missed out on these injections, you are very lucky, because this was by far the worst part. The needles are about an inch long and thick and they are injecting a thick oil into your hip bone, yes it is horrible. By day 5, 12 embryos had fertilized and 6 had made it to day 5 blastocysts. Time to transfer. We went into our transfer day feeling confident about risking twins and transferring 2 embryos rather than facing a failed attempt. However, when we got there and told this to our doctor, he strongly urged against it and said we have very high chances of transferring 1 embryo and his goal is to provide us with 1 baby. Ok, we were on board with that. So within 5 quick, painless minutes, my beautiful embryo was now in me and I was free to go. Wow, just like that! Ok, now what?? Well, now we wait..10 days to be exact.

So, being myself, one who doesn't care for surprises and is very curious, there was no way I was going to go in on day 10 not having any clue and wait at work for a phone call that was either going to be very exciting or very sad. So probably on day 4 I started peeing on a stick. Too early, yes! Negative, negative again, and then....a positive. OH MY GOSH!! Another positive, and another and another! The husband and I freaked and of course I continued to pee on sticks until my appointment where it was confirmed!!! I was pregnant on our first try. We continued with our blood tests until about 6 weeks when our ultrasounds started and then continued with those until 10 weeks. During this whole time we are continuing with our daily progesterone shots and by this point I am black and blue, have lumps and feel like someone threw me down the stairs, but hey, it was all worth it. After 10 weeks we were released to our OB to continue our pregnancy.

As a young girl, I always feared not being able to have children of my own. Maybe it was because I wanted to so badly and maybe my heart would have changed if it didn't happen, but I wasn't open to adoption and I could not imagine my life without kids, so the day we got the news we wouldn't be able to have kids the fun, old fashion way crushed me, it scared me, it broke my heart! I am so grateful for science, for amazing doctors, for our careers that provided us the means to be able to pursue IVF, for my health, for GOD's grace, for our supportive family & friends and for each other. We are so fortunate to have such great success on our first try and even though it was a little harder for us, it makes us appreciate it that much more. We weren't able to have babies the fun way, but it did make us grow closer and it is absolutely amazing the way these doctors are able to totally manipulate your body to do what it is supposed to WHEN THEY WANT IT TO! For anyone who has struggled with infertility, my hat goes off to you, it is an incredibly emotional, physically and financially draining experience and I wish you all nothing but success. We have now been blessed with 2 beautiful, healthy children through 3 attempts, 1 of which ended in a very early miscarriage.

For anyone struggling with infertility, if you want someone to chat with reach out. It was a journey, but  we were lucky with our process and we were successful, and I pray you will be too. Stay strong, be brave and try to stay positive!

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