My husband and I met in April 1995. Back then if you had asked either of us about marriage or children, we probably would have laughed in your face. But in December of 1999, he proposed and on September 9th, 2000, we were exchanging our vows.
In 2001 we talked about having children and said if it happens, it happens. But after a year, we didn’t get any positive tests. We eventually had a consultation with Dr. Chang and found out I had endometriosis, fibroids, and tubal cysts. But due to the cost, we couldn’t move forward.
As time went on I found myself craving motherhood more and more. Not to mention I wasn’t getting any younger. In 2013, I consulted with Dr. Kipersztok (Dr. K) in Waldorf, MD, and the finances were now available. I qualified for the Shared Risk Program 100% Refund Program. I was on my way to becoming a mom.
I met with my nurse, Nikki, for my protocol. After receiving the call from the pharmacy about my meds, things were becoming surreal. The cost of the meds was intimidating but it was the cost of my dream. Luckily things were working in my favor financially. After days, weeks, and months of injections, pills (orally and vaginally) and bloodwork it was time for my egg retrieval.
I was so nervous the night before, I didn’t sleep because I was afraid that I would oversleep and miss my appointment! We ended up with six embryos. Now, I have six potential children and six tries to have them. My train of thought was, if I transfer two I’ll have twins and I’ll be done. So Dr. K agreed to transfer two embryos. The 2 week wait (2WW) seems like the 2-year wait. It was the slowest 2 weeks of my life. But the day came for my blood to be drawn, just to have to wait some more for a phone call.
Nikki called me and guess what, I was pregnant! I thought, oh my goodness, I’ve never heard those words before pertaining to me. I was beyond ecstatic! I didn’t tell my husband, I just told him we had an appointment the following week for an ultrasound. The day of the ultrasound came and wouldn’t you know it, we were pregnant with fraternal twins, both embryos stuck. We were in awe. We completed everything with Dr. K and his team and were discharged to our OB.
Things were going alright, I had occasional unexplained bleeding off and on. On July 14th, I had some spotting and went to the ER for precautionary reasons. I was told that I was 5cm dilated and I would be admitted to the antenatal ward. I was 19 weeks pregnant. I never wanted to know what sex they were, I only cared that they were healthy. Unfortunately, the next day I was fully dilated and delivered my son and daughter that lived for approximately an hour. It was then that I found out that getting pregnant wasn’t the only part of having a baby. It was then that I learned about preterm labor and incompetent cervix.
My husband and I grieved but were hopeful that things would be different moving forward. We contacted Dr. K’s office around Sept/Oct of 2014 and began planning our next cycle. I was set on transferring two embryos again, but Dr. K talked to me openly and honestly giving me the pros and cons. He convinced me that one embryo would be safer this time around. I agreed.
On November 3rd, 2014 my blood was drawn after my 2WW and I was pregnant again. This pregnancy brought excitement, but it was accompanied by guilt and fear. At my first ultrasound, we saw a beautiful little flickering heartbeat. At my second ultrasound, I went alone, it’s only a follow-up ultrasound, but wait…….. In this ultrasound, there were two flickering heartbeats. I wanted to cry. In my mind I’m terrified, in my heart, it’s simply meant to be. But how in the world am I going tell my husband without him thinking I’m crazy?
I told him en route to our 3rd ultrasound! We were having a few unexplained bleeding episodes again but things were fine. On February 18th while at an appointment with my new high-risk OB my twin girls were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).
My doctor explained that a procedure needed to be done to give them a better chance at survival. TTTS can escalate rather fast. I was at stage 1 on February 18th and was almost at Stage 4 by the 23rd, the day of my procedure. The procedure is called laser ablation and it was successful, however, unfortunately, my water broke afterward. So at 18 weeks 5 days, I delivered my twin girls. Beyond devastated, I didn’t know if I wanted to go through with any more IVF cycles, but I had learned another lesson about pregnancy. I learned about TTTS.
In September of 2015, my craving for motherhood was bigger than ever. On November 18th I got the call that we were pregnant once again after transferring one embryo. Before each of my first three ultrasounds, I prayed that this embryo would not split. Alas, I was finally pregnant with a singleton. But this pregnancy was filled with paranoia and fear of history repeating itself.
Reaching each milestone took very little weight off my shoulders. I turned to a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor for my care after being released by Dr. K’s office this time. I received a cerclage (stitch to help keep the cervix closed. Often done for incompetent cervix) at 13 weeks and was monitored weekly.
The cerclage was removed at 37 weeks 3 days and on June 23rd, 2016 (37 weeks 6 days) my dream became a reality. I delivered via C-section a healthy 9 lb 10 oz baby boy. Every injection, every pill, every blood draw, and every heartbreak we endured was worth all the love we have now.
My advice to others
If there’s anything we learned from this infertility journey, it’s there’s more to having a baby than getting pregnant. And if at first, you don’t succeed try, try again. But most of all, keep your FAITH. Our baby shower theme was “AFTER OUR STORMS, THERE’S A RAINBOW.” If this is what you want, you may have to endure hardship or two but give it all you have.