Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How we went from 2, to 5 (Plus the huskies!)

I started this blog entry on June 1st. This is the same week last year that I entered the hospital to have our trio. Let me start from the beginning… and you will better understand our journey. I wanted to break this down so I remember; and if anyone else is struggling with these things that reads the blog, there is hope!

Todd and I were married in 2002, knew we wanted to have kids some time… but not any time soon. Once both of us finished grad school… we enjoyed our freedom a bit. We spent a lot of time with our dogs, which were our children, traveled a bit, focused on our careers… and then at some point in time, we decided we should likely start trying soon as we weren’t getting any younger.

Trying to get pregnant wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I think as a newlywed, you look at trying to get pregnant as throwing caution to the wind, and it “just happens”. Well it didn’t. Now that it has been a little while, dates are a bit blurry to me. One thing I do know is, it was an adventure. I think we started in 2008, after a few months we went to Clomid. Clomid yielded us a miscarriage. After picking ourselves up off the ground from that… We went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist here in Indianapolis. This doctor was formerly with Jarrett Fertility, but has since started his own practice in Austin Texas. Dr. Kenneth Moghadam was a God send to us. I think he told me later in our conversations, that in our first consultation together he knew that he had met his match with me, and that he would have his hands full. I had done my research, I had a plan in mind, and I just wanted someone’s stamp of approval, and for us to get moving on it. We finished our 3rd Clomid round… and were just done with that. One of my friends nicely put it, and I concur… “Clomid makes me want to EAT my husband”. How true. I wanted to absolutely make everyone else’s life as miserable as I felt.

On to the next. We then went on to IUI (Intrauterine insemination). Still really without a firm diagnosis. I have some ovulation dysfunction, or simply put it, irregular cycles. I had a procedure to make sure my fallopian tubes were clear. They were. I had a surgery to make sure I didn’t have any issues with my uterus. I didn’t. The 2 IUI’s with injectable medication to stimulate my ovaries yielded nothing.

On to the last. After many discussions; I mean many discussions… we decided to do IVF or invitro-fertilization. Not only is this a financial commitment, but it is a huge emotional commitment. Huge. March of 2009 we did our first IVF cycle. For those of you that have not done IVF, it’s definitely taxing on your body. It boils down to about 4 shots a day, 4-5 ultrasounds, same amount of lab work, and a lot of emotional investment. There is a surgery to retrieve the eggs from the female, which left me uncomfortable for a few days. The eggs are then fertilized by the sperm that was collected and incubated. Then, there is the everyday call from the embryologists to see how many of our little critters survived, and how they are growing. After that, there is a decision that needs to be made by the doctor as to how long you need to wait for the transfer. 3-5 days is the norm. We did 5 day transfers on them. 10 days and about 5 boxes of pregnancy tests I got my lab work back, that showed my labs were low… and I would likely miscarry again. 3 days later another lab showed, I indeed… had miscarried.
After that miscarriage, I really had to evaluate what I wanted. Todd and I talked a lot about options. He had always leaned more toward adoption. He did want our own biological children, but being the incredibly down to earth person he is, he knew there were many children out there that needed homes. He knew we could offer a wonderful home to one of them. I had a hard time with that. I think I had a hard time with the fact that I was giving up on us. Giving up, and giving in to infertility… I didn’t want it to win. We took the summer of 2009 off. We enjoyed our summer. I think we went to Cabo. We definitely tried NOT to think about having kids. I did some blood work for recurrent miscarriages, and found that I had a copy of a clotting disorder called MTHFR, and I was borderline hypothyroid. I was put on a blood thinner, and low dose thyroid meds….

Long story short with the frozen embryo cycles. (We had some embryos that we had frozen left over from the first cycle). The first cycle we tried my uterus wouldn’t get thick enough with the hormones. I then came down with H1N1. God knew better than I did. I had high fevers, and an ugly pneumonia. The next month we transferred 3 embryos, and didn’t get pregnant.

We were really at a crossroads then. Do we spend $20k more on another cycle, or spend that money toward adoption? I leaned one way, Todd leaned the other. He told me that he would do another cycle because it is what I wanted to do, and he respected that. But, I also knew that is not what he would have chosen if I hadn’t wanted it so bad. I also had to rationalize with myself that if this didn’t work, that I may have to give in. I may have to realize that it isn’t going to happen for us. I may have to revamp the way I always thought my life would be, and I’d just have to deal with this curveball. All of this sounds so dramatic typing this out… but these emotions and feelings were heart wrenching for us. Many discussions, and many of my tears, and much support from Todd…. We decided to do one more fresh cycle, and see what happens.

Let me also say that my thoughts on adoption were very strong. I knew there were children in need of adoption, but could not ignore my drive to beat infertility. I had always wanted to make sure that Todd had a little piece of his brother Travis back. They only way to perhaps have a little bit of him is born again, were to have a biological child of our own. I really felt strongly that if we would have gotten pregnant and had a singleton, our next child, we would have adopted.

November 2009 we did our final IVF cycle. I had basically the same response that I had had previously. I produced a lot of eggs. Our embryos were good quality. We came to a decision when it was time to transfer the embryos… do we do 2, or do we transfer 3? Dr. Moghadam, Todd and I had talked about this. We transferred 3 before in the frozen cycle, and didn’t get pregnant. 2 in the first fresh cycle, only to have a miscarriage. Dr. M told us he would support us if we decided to transfer 3. When we arrived to our room before the transfer, the embryologist came in with a picture of the 2 leading embryos.. and said, “Here they are.” I said, “Well, I think we are going to transfer 3, so go pick out the best one!” So, 3 it was.

I promised Todd that I would not take a pregnancy test before we were to get the lab work done. I had obsessively peed on sticks every flippin cycle, only to cry the rest of the day, and be in a complete fog for weeks. I was convinced the day of my lab work that I was not pregnant. In fact, Todd worked at home that day, so we could get the call of the labs together. I knew that I was cramping, like I was getting ready to start my cycle. We got the call, and the nurse said, “Tiffany, your numbers are good… they are really good.” I think my knees about buckled. My beta 9 days after my 5 day transfer was about 500. I knew that was high… I knew we were likely looking at multiples. Neither Todd nor I cared. We were ecstatic.

Dec 30th, we went in for our first ultrasound. 2 heartbeats were seen immediately. Then, the nurse said that I had a cyst on my ovary… and I quickly noticed that that cyst had a heartbeat… There were 3 little flickers in my uterus. 3 fast flickers. Todd was absolutely elated. I, was cautious. I was scared, I was happy, I was shocked, I was…. I really can’t explain that emotion. It’s like no other. The first words that came to my mind were expletives. But, one thing was for sure, I knew we had an uphill road with the pregnancy. I knew that it wasn’t like a twin pregnancy, or a singleton for that matter…. But, I knew that this is what God had in mind for us, and we needed to jump in feet first!

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