Brian and I first met on October 5, 2003. He lived about 100 miles from me, but worked with my best friend from college. Something about him made her think of me...so she asked me if she could give him my phone number, to which I said..."sure" somewhat reluctantly. After all, who was I to indulge in "blind dating."
So she gave him my number and on October 5th, he called. And, I let it ring. And go to voicemail. Yep. I knew it was him, but you see, I was watching the MILLION DOLLAR Trading Spaces episode that I'd waited a LONG time for and didn't want to be interrupted.
Fast forward 8 months and we were married! (So he obviously forgave my selfish "call screening" from that first night. :)
Like most couples, married life was good. We had a cat, we got a new dog, all we felt was missing was a baby. So after being married for almost a year, we decided we were ready! We counted out the months so we could pick the best time to "have" our baby. And then we set to "work." :)
Month after month passed and nothing. Pregnancy test after pregnancy test was negative. The first few times I wasn't terribly defeated because I figured it was normal to take a few months before it would work. But as we approached the first year I had a sneaky feeling something wasn't right. After all, by this point, NUMEROUS friends had gotten pregnant. And quite easily, I might add.
I saw my regular gynecologist and though she could not readily find any reason we weren't getting pregnant, she went ahead and gave me a referral to an Infertility Specialist since we had tried unsuccessfully for a year. (Yikes...)
I'm not sure I've ever been more nervous about anything. It's kind of like a "last resort" place to be, so as much as I really was relieved to be there, I really wanted him to tell me there was nothing wrong and that we'd be fine and could go home and resume "normal" activity, if you will. :)
Our first appointment was in October 2006. At that appointment, after Brian gave his "Sample" and I had an Ultrasound (U/S), our doctor said, "We'll have you pregnant by the holidays!" (I assumed he meant the Christmas holidays, but perhaps I misunderstood...I realize he meant Halloween 2 years from then!)
Our ride was not easy. But here's the rundown.
October 4, 2006: First Appointment
October 24, 2006: IUI #1 on Clomid: (Intrauterine Insemination) If you're unfamiliar, and IUI is when hubby gives a "sample of swimmers", from which they pick the "best."Using a flexible catheter, they inject the swimmers directly into the uterus where the hope is that they'll find an egg to fertilize!
November 7, 2006: Pregnancy test is NEGATIVE. :(
November 17, 2006: IUI #2 on Clomid.
November 31, 2006: Pregnancy test is NEGATIVE again.
December 13, 2006: IUI #3 on Clomid.
December 27, 2006: Pregnancy test...you guessed it. NEGATIVE again.
January 9, 2007: IUI #4 on Clomid.
January 24, 2007: Great devastation. THE fourth NEGATIVE pregnancy test.
After this round of assistance, it was clear that we were going to have to move on to something else. It was agreed that the next logical step was InVitro Fertilization (IVF). (IVF is basically when they take eggs out of the ovaries and take swimmers from "dad." They put them together in a petrie dish and wait to see if they fertilize. If so, they can then transfer them back into the uterus where they will hopefully attach and grow into a child. ) So we began the process of stimulating my ovaries to produce lots of eggs.
And so, I began taking shots. Lots and lots of shots.
April 6, 2007: IVF #1, Retrieval: (The retrieval is the process by which they insert a needle directly into the ovaries and retrieve any and all eggs that have grown there) I had responded really well to the drugs so they were able to retrieve 18 eggs. Of those, 15 fertilized so this gave us hope for lots of chances to get pregnant.
April 9, 2007: IVF#1 Transfer. We transferred 3 embryos back into my uterus and then hoped for the best.
April 23, 2007: (My 30th birthday) Pregnancy test is NEGATIVE. :(
And so after a bit of defeat, yet again, we decided to proceed with a second IVF. After all we still had 12 frozen embryos. So began shots again, this time just progesterone and lupron.
June 9, 2007: IVF #2 Transfer. This time we transferred 4 embryos.
June 22, 2007: Pregnancy test is NEGATIVE. :(
Honestly, at this point, I'm really feeling defeated and unsure that I will ever be pregnant. But, we still had frozen embryos so we moved forward with another IVF.
September 26, 2007: IVF #3, Transfer. This time we transferred 5 embryos.
October 15, 2007: Pregnancy test is POSITIVE!! OMG! I was seriously SHOCKED!
November 1, 2007: Ultrasound to determine how many babies might be growing showed that I had already miscarried at 7 weeks. :(
What I'm totally leaving out of all this is the extreme devastation I was going through. After trying SO hard, I thought we were in the clear. That miscarriage really through me for a whole new loop. It was just awful.
November 8, 2007: D&C at 8W1D
After this third IVF which had succeeded AND failed, we were at a total loss. On the one hand, it was a BIG step in the right direction that my body had even gotten pregnant. But obviously, it was a huge downer that it didn't stick. But we now had new reason to push on again. But first, our doctor wanted to do some exploratory surgery to see if we could find a reason these embryos hadn't been sticking.
January 21, 2008: Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy. These surgeries revealed a ton of scar tissue on ALL of the nearby organs (fallopian tubes, uterus, etc.) So he removed a TON of scar tissue and ended up removing one of my fallopian tubes because it was no good and would in no way allow us to get pregnant via it.
After this, we took some time off to recuperate and recover, both physically and emotionally. In March, we decided to go for IVF #4. Thinking we had a couple embryos still frozen we were relieved that we would not have to go through the whole shot process again. Unfortunately, we were wrong. We were informed that we had no embryos left because all of them were thawed in order to find good ones to use.
Let's just say this did not sit well. But because I still had a newfound glimmer of of hope, I agreed to go through the shots again for IVF #4.
March 29, 2008: Ultrasound reveals I have only produced about 4 eggs (and who knows if they would survive the retrieval and fertilization.) So sadly, we decide to cancel IVF cycle #4.
I'm so fried at this point and yet still wanting to be a mother so badly. We took a few months off to just "be." After much discussion, tears, heartache, etc. Brian and I decided that we weren't done yet. We agreed to try one more IVF and then allow ourselves to move on to another option (surrogacy, adoption, etc.) Unfortunately this meant doing the shots all over again. But I did it.
August 15, 2008: IVF #5 Retrieval: They were only able to retrieve 7 eggs, but they were the best quality yet. Sadly, of the 7, only 4 of them fertilized. (We had been down this road before, and were ready for another letdown with only 4 embryos.)
August 18, 2008: IVF#5, Transfer: We transferred all 4 embryos with fingers crossed.
Knowing that this was our last ditch effort was really depressing and made it hard to remain hopeful. But, I am an optimistic person by nature and gave it my best effort and tried to be positive for the next 2 weeks.
September 1, 2008: Pregnancy test is POSITIVE!
At this point, I am elated and totally freaked out that I'm going to miscarry again, but trying to be so positive. I had to wait another 2 weeks to find out how many babies might be growing in there but am fully prepared for one since getting pregnant was already a task!
September 16, 2008: Ultrasound.
This was one of the craziest days of my entire life. Seriously. First off, waiting on that cold table, with Brian by my side, I was as anxious as ever. I was preparing for the doctor to find another miscarriage. But, we had to go through with it anyway. I will never, ever forget looking to my right at the monitor as she scanned my uterus. It was apparent to me what I was seeing, but I wanted her to say it first. And then she did- "TWINS! There are 2 sacs and I can see a baby in each one."
But then Brian, glancing even further to the top right of the screen says in his most casual voice, "So what's this up here?" And then she did something I never, in my wildest dreams expected her to do. She deleted the word "TWINS" which she had typed onto the screen and inserted the word, "TRIPLETS."
And there, before us, were 3 twinkling heartbeats. :) :) :)
She left the room and left Brian and I to ourselves for a few moments while I got dressed. When she returned, my spirits were immediately dampened as she said, "We can't let you carry all three."
I am only 5'2" and was 99 lbs. They were confident that I would not be able to carry three babies to term, and would likely lose one or more baby at some point during the pregnancy. They suggested we reduce the pregnancy to twins...Multifetal Reduction.
We struggled emotionally with this for weeks. I think I always knew I'd never be able to stop a beating heart, but we were scared. Every doctor spewed statistics and risks at us like crazy. It felt irresponsible not to at least consider what they were saying. But the fact remains, we valued those little lives exponentially more than doctors' opinions.
And just the knowledge of HOW MFR is done was heartbreaking to me. I do not judge those who've gone down this path. I genuinely don't. We are all different and have different views and needs, etc. For me, I could not imagine flying to Los Angeles to lie on a cold table beside a doctor I just met. I knew that I'd see those 3 heartbeats one last time and then have to accept that they would inject potassium chloride into the little heart of whichever baby:
1. Had any genetic abnormalities, and if none did,
2. Whichever was easiest to access.
And so our hearts won. Good or bad, those 3 little heart beats were ours and we would take life as it came.
I made our final decision in the parking lot of Babies R Us, while crying uncontrollably. Brian said to me, "Ami, what do you REALLY want to do?"
And I looked at him and said through tears, "I want to keep all three."
And that was it. He said, "Then let's go in there and look for things in threes."
Heres' the kicker....during the pregnancy, as we started to attach names and personalities to each of the babies, we always assumed it would be our little girl Hunter, who was quite a bit tinier than the other two, who would have been "reduced."
Now, I know it would've been our firstborn son, Colton. They would have done genetic testing prior to the procedure and found that he had a cleft lip and palate. Thus, it would've been him.
The decision we made was the best one for us. Triplets it was going to be. :)
To follow the pregnancy in short, check out the "Pregnancy" tab. (or read the blog from the beginning)
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