The road to baby: The twists, turns, detours and road blocks

17 weeks…

For anyone who has ever struggled with fertility or the loss of a pregnancy, you know it feels like you are fighting an uphill battle. I’ve been there myself. Charting your cycle (fertile days, next cycle start, etc), taking your temperature, attempting to lose weight, attempting to gain weight, blood tests, ovulation tests, fertility tests, ultrasounds, sperm counts, quitting smoking, soda and beer, laying with your legs up on the wall after sex… No stone goes unturned. No test goes unran. No doctor’s advice goes unheeded. No wives tale goes unfollowed. And don’t even get me started on the requests for prayers, good vibes and positive juju, crossing fingers and toes, wishing on stars, eyelashes and birthday candles…All for that one little plus sign. Or not. Or maybe the pregnancy took…until it didn’t. The emotional rollercoaster feels unbearable and hopeless. And then you are told what you have dreaded hearing and have stayed up nights about: You cannot have children; it is time to explore other options (adoption, gestational carrier, surrogate)…But those options aren’t without highs and lows of their own…

With the first family I carried for, I signed up for three transfers. After weeks of shots, oral meds, suppositories, blood tests, and lining checks, I was pregnant; they were expecting. Unfortunately, while in the 1st trimester, I started bleeding badly and went in for daily ultrasounds. It was determined that the baby wasn’t growing- I was losing the pregnancy- and we had a decision to make: abort or allow nature to take its course. The dads decided to leave it up to me, and I opted to allow it to happen on its own. I did this for two reasons. First, if there was even a remote chance the doctor was wrong, I wanted the baby to have a fair shot. Second, I did not want to chance any damage a DNC could cause, as I had never had one before and didn’t know what to expect. So I went to work and within a couple of days, I miscarried in the public restroom at my office. It was traumatizing, but though I was hurting and sad, the loss was not mine per se…and I was devastated for the intended parents. Despite my best efforts, I felt like a failure.

Back to square one we went. I had to heal, wait for my period to come, a new egg donor was found, and I started over with the med protocol. Again with the shots, oral meds, suppositories, blood tests, and lining checks. Weeks of poking, prodding, and waiting. The waiting was always the worst (patience is not my strong suit). We were all so antsy. Tick tock, tick tock. The donor was triggered for egg retrieval. It seemed like I waited an eternity the day I was supposed to get word on the number of embryos that were created. Tick tock, tick tock. Nothing. I emailed the dads and waited some more. Finally I got word that there were no viable eggs. The second cycle was cancelled.

They say the third time’s a charm, right? We started over. Again. Another new donor, another awaited period. And again with the shots, oral meds, suppositories, blood tests, and lining checks. The donor was triggered, the embryos were created, and in I went for transfer number 3. Less than two weeks later, I was officially pregnant. Again. And so it went. For the next couple of weeks life was great; we were all on cloud 9. Then one Saturday I was at lunch. As I was getting ready to leave, I felt this strange pop, and sprinted to the restroom. I was bleeding. Again. Making the call to the dads to tell them the bad news was one of my worst days. I felt like a failure. Again. A call was made to our clinic and they said to come in on Monday for an ultrasound to confirm. We sat in silence and tears while we waited to be called back. In went the ultrasound wand and the screen lit up. I couldn’t look. The doctor said, ‘Well….This is interesting. Not only did you NOT miscarry, see these two rings? You are having TWINS!!!’ More tears, but the happiest tears this time.

This is where I would love to tell you that it was smooth sailing from here, that there were no other complications and we all lived happily ever after. Close, but not quite. Until I was 10 weeks pregnant- the entire time I remained on the drug protocol- I was hemorrhaging at least once a week. Each time I was taken in for an ultrasound and each time I was cleared. The babies were growing big and strong, though there was always blood visible on the scan, it was not impeding their growth and they looked great. At week 10 I asked one of the doctors if I could forego the last two weeks of my meds. I truly felt there was a correlation between the bleeding and the shots. I was told that I could, but prior to officially stopping, I discussed my theory and proposal with the dads. They agreed and I stopped. So did the bleeding. On August 15th, 2014 (two years from the start of it all), I gave birth via an uneventful c-section to two incredibly healthy boys, weighing in at 5lbs 3oz and 6lbs 12oz. They were so healthy, in fact, that they left the hospital the next day…And on they went to live happily ever after.

With this new couple, I experienced some different hurdles leading up to the baby I am now carrying. We knew going into this agreement that any embryos produced were going to be genetically tested prior to their transfer to me, so there were some added elements (more spinning plates, if you will) to our timeline. This in and of itself was not a big deal at all. What was a big deal was the 6-month quarantine for my tattoos and vacation to Zika-containing locations, the discovery first of cysts on my ovaries (setting us back a couple of months while we waited for them to shrink), and then what was thought to be polyps in my uterus (and the subsequent surgery to remove them). We then had to wait for my period and run through a mock cycle of meds- complete with blood tests and lining checks- to make sure my body would respond appropriately. In the background of all of this mess, the donor was triggered, 9 eggs were viable, 5 embryos were created and graded, 3 were sent off for genetic testing, and 2 came back healthy and were put on ice. Ready and waiting. Perfect, right? Not so much. Evidently the bank holding the embryos had additional testing requirements that pushed the transfer date back even further. Remember what I said about waiting? But after everything- including the shots, oral meds, suppositories, blood tests, and lining checks– here we are today. The transfer was completed, I had 48 hours of complete bed rest, and now I am pregnant and they are expecting this sweet little baby, due March 5, 2019. So stay tuned while my family grows another…

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