Archives for April 2010

We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about our struggles with infertility. I described our first attempts at ‘trying’ to conceive naturally, then our diagnosis of unexplained infertility, and on to our first attempt of using fertility treatments. Today, I’m going to describe our next attempts with using fertility treatments.

Disclaimer: I am SO not a medical professional! The following described procedures are as I remembered them being explained to us, and/or from our personal understandings. Please seek medical advice and do not use this as scientifically reliable information!

Another Disclaimer: Total layman and very unscientific definitions coming your way! These are in my own words and should not be considered 100% correct, so if you are a doctor, nurse, medical student, please forgive any mistakes that you may read 🙂

Our initial attempt at fertility treatments did not work. 3 more months gone. And I’m not getting any younger!

So we talk to our doctor again, and she suggests one of two procedures:
In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) – A process in which they again make me produce multiple eggs by taking hormone shots, and then extracting several eggs from my non-baby-making womb and collecting hubby’s sperm. (Total side note: bow-chicka-bow-wow…that’s my attempt at music heard in old school porn, when in fact, hubby didn’t even get to watch videos to lend him a hand (pun totally intended). Instead he got some old magazines that didn’t really help get the job done). They then take my eggs and his sperm and put them in a petri dish to make sure that the eggs gets fertilized. After that, they take the fertilized eggs and put them back in to said non-baby-making womb.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – They again make me take shots of hormone drugs to make me produce multiple eggs. They then  take hubby’s sperm (bow-chicka-bow-wow) and put it into what looks like a miniature turkey baster and insert it inside of me when I’m ovulating.

It was recommended that we go with IVF (based on a number of different factors). So, we did. Oh, did I forget to mention that IVF is about three times as expensive as IUI? Yeah, it is. And so begins the process: scheduling what happens when down to days (sometimes hours), lots of monitoring, lots of drugs, and lots and lots of shots.

I started taking all the drugs I needed to get my body prepared for the IVF. Shots morning, noon, and night. Lots and lots of shots….hundreds, as a matter of fact. No, I’m not exaggerating, either. Between trying to get pregnant, and the shots I continued to take after getting pregnant, I stopped counting at around 300. Hubby said it’s lucky he didn’t have to get the shots or we wouldn’t be having any babies!

It also involved going in a couple of times a week for monitoring by an internal ultrasound to see how many eggs were developing and how big they were getting. Now mind you, we were both working full time, so all of these doctor appointments were very inconvenient for me! I was EXTREMELY lucky to have a totally understanding boss who let me do whatever I needed to do, whenever I needed to do it.

Finally, we were told it was time to have the eggs removed. We went in and had it done. I’m not even going to tell you how painful the egg extraction was for me (Note: It is not normally a painful procedure. Let’s just say my very tilted uterus did not help matters any…and if something is tilted, said tilted thing needs to be clamped down and yanked forward).

A week later, we were told we had three fertilized eggs! That means that they would be putting all three back inside of my non-baby-making womb. And yes, that meant that there was a chance of having triplets…eek! They put them back in (didn’t hurt nearly as bad as when they had to get them out).

Two weeks later – we went in to take a blood test to see if I was pregnant. We were to get the results later that day. We went to a movie to keep ourselves occupied, and when we came home there was a message on the machine – from the doctor…we found out we were pregnant! Success! On our first attempt!

I had an extremely easy pregnancy and loved being pregnant. Other than being tired, I never got morning sickness or any other yucky pregnancy symptoms.

And here is the fruit of our labors…Tater was born in August 2007.

And just because a picture’s worth a thousand words, even though hubby will probably kill me for showing this, here he is watching his precious first son entering the world. Not quite what he was expecting, I don’t think! He looks kinda grossed out. I can’t imagine why. I was smart enough not to take a peek at the miracle of birth. And please, no comments about my pasty, white leg.

 

And after our first successful pregnancy and birth, we were told that we’d probably be able to get pregnant now since my body knew what it was supposed to do. And a year and a half later, still no more babies.

So back to the doctor we went. This time, since we successfully did IVF, we decided to take the cheaper route and just give IUI a shot. So more scheduling, shots, and monitoring. And we went in for the procedure the day after Christmas 2008. And two weeks later…yes! Success again! It worked.

A few weeks later, I went in for my first ultrasound to determine just how many babies were in there. Since we only had one baby with the IVF, neither one of us figured we’d get two this time, ha ha on us! My mom went with me to the ultrasound because hubby just started a new job and couldn’t get out of work. As soon as they started the ultrasound, there it was…clear as day, 2 babies! Shock!

This we weren’t expecting – I mean, we knew it was a possibility, but still didn’t think it would actually happen! And this pregnancy? Not as easy as the first. I was on moderate bedrest from about 16 weeks on due to contractions (even though I was on drugs to stop them, they kept coming).

I was also told that I had AMA. Not familiar with this term?…oh, you’ll love this…35 year old Natalie had advanced maternal age! So between my AMA and the fact that I was carrying twins, I had to go to a genetic specialist to monitor the babies heartbeats and growth twice a week, every week. It was fine with me because every time I went I got a quickie ultrasound so that they’d know where to but the monitor to listen to the babies hearts.

There were a couple of admittances to the hospitals due to contractions as well…but I held on until 35 weeks. I went to my gyno for my weekly checkup, and when he checked me he said “I can feel toes! Are you ready to have these babies?”

The girls were born 5 weeks early, but completely healthy. No NICU or anything. By the time I got out of recovery (I had to have a C-section because both girls were breach) both babies were brought to me. Here again are the fruits of our labors.

Ms. L and Ms. M – August 2009

The reason I wrote two very long posts is because when I was dealing with infertility, I was alone. None of my family understood what we were going through because we were surrounded by frickin’ Fertile Myrtles. None of our friends had this problem.

My goal in writing these posts is twofold; 1) so my children understand all that we went through to have them, and 2) to help other women out there understand that they aren’t alone, that their feelings are normal, and to hang in there. I know not every story has a happy ending, but I am so thankful that ours was.

When we used to tell people that we had unexplained infertility, they’d ask “What’s that”? I would explain that there was nothing wrong with us, that we just didn’t do ‘it’ right. Now that we have kids (and spent so much money to get them!), whenever one of them is acting up (usually Tater!), hubby turns to me and says “Can you believe how much money we paid to get him?!”. And it’s a joke, but there is probably a tiny bit of truth to it, too 🙂

And they lived happily ever after…

We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part I

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). The goal of NIAW is to raise awareness about the disease of infertility which affects 7.3 million Americans.
Some of you know that we struggled with infertility before we were both blessed and lucky enough to successfully undergo fertility treatments to get pregnant with our beautiful children.

Some of you, both old friends and new, did not know this was a problem for us. I want to share my story with you here.

I promise you that I won’t go into all the specific testing we went through, or name the names of all the drugs I had to take, or use a bunch of technical jargon that would just bore you to tears; instead, I’ll tell you about the emotional part of it…and give you the shortest version possible.

Hubby and I had been dating about a year or so before we got engaged. When we got engaged, we seriously started talking about having kids. We decided it was time for me to go off the pill since my doctor recommended it because I’d been on it for so long (10+ years). Once we were married, we weren’t ‘trying’ for a baby, but we didn’t prevent it either. Honestly, I just assumed (yes, I know what happens when one assumes) that I’d get knocked up in a few months.

Fast forward a year later: no kids. So then we started ‘trying’. I began tracking my periods and noting when I thought I was most fertile. Fast forward again a year later: still no kids. No late periods. No maybes. Nothing.

So now I’m getting frustrated. I come from a very fertile family! One of my grandmothers had 9 kids, my mom had 5 kids, both my sisters (at the time) had 2 kids. All of my aunts on both sides had more than 1 baby. No issues on hubby’s side, either. It never occurred to me that I might have any problems getting pregnant, or that I wouldn’t also be Fertile Myrtle like the rest of the women in my family. Frustration and baby making do not mix well together.

‘Trying’ was no longer fun. ‘Trying’ became a job. ‘Trying’ was a scheduled event, and no longer spontaneous. I read all these books and did all kinds of things (some good, some just crazy) that were suggested by them, and by others:

• Try elevating your legs after doing the deed and lay that way for a half hour.

• Stand on your head with your legs against the wall (yes, I tried it).

• Try ovulation kits.

• Try relaxing.

• Have hubby drink coffee or a lot of caffeine before doing the deed to speed up his little swimmers.

• Try to quit thinking about it, and before you know it, you’ll be pregnant! (This one is my favorite….it was like nails down a chalkboard when I heard it. This one always came from women who ‘tried’ for a few months and then got pregnant. Bitches.)

• Quit drinking.

• Eat certain foods.

• Missionary style, only.

• Take vitamins.

• Go to the chiropractor.

• Pray.

• Avoid certain activities.

• Use the basal temperature method.

And of course, none of that worked. We decided to get some basic fertility testing done to make sure his man parts and my women parts worked. We found out that everything looked fine. We were told that nothing was wrong…sometimes it just takes awhile…to just keep on trying.

Ahhhh! Just forget it! We talked ourselves out of wanting decided that we really didn’t want kids. We were enjoying our life! Traveling, spending money on whatever we wanted, doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to do it. Having two incomes and basically no major responsibilities. We had nieces and nephews. Life was good. That is what I was telling myself, anyways. Can you say denial?

And it went on like that for another year and a half or so, but the entire time we still weren’t preventing getting pregnant, and I was still keeping track of my periods. And we were still both hoping it would just happen.

It seemed like I was being followed around by pregnant women everywhere I went! I’d turn around, and there’s somebody pregnant. In line at the grocery store? Pregnant lady in front of me. One time, hubby and I went to Target and he ran into the restroom really quick. I only stood waiting for him for maybe a minute, and 5 pregnant women walked into the store! Some even had other children with them! How was that fair? How could God give them more than one when all I wanted was only one??!

Girlfriends of mine kept popping up pregnant. I remember one friend, who had a problem staying pregnant once she got pregnant, invited me to lunch to tell me she was pregnant. This was a huge deal because both of us were each other’s support system. Only somebody that can’t get pregnant, or has problems getting pregnant, can truly understand the complete sense of failure and desperation that comes with every month you aren’t pregnant again. “I’m pregnant, and I wanted you to be the first friend of mine to know since we are in this together”. I was so excited and happy for her! Until I got home. Major water works and I just couldn’t stop crying. I was SO jealous. I was mad. It wasn’t fair.

And after realizing that every time I’d make a wish on a star or birthday candles, or throw a penny in a fountain, my wish was always the same. I don’t even think I need to tell you what it was. It’s 4 and a half years after we got married of trying and praying and begging that we realized we had been talking ourselves out of wanting children because we had tried and couldn’t get pregnant.

So finally, we went to a fertility specialist. Every test under the sun was done. And here was our final diagnosis: there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with either one of us!! We have this wonderful little thing called “unexplained infertility”. No reason we shouldn’t be able to get pregnant, but we couldn’t.

The easy fix with this diagnosis was to start me on some drugs that would make me ovulate a lot…they would make me release more than one egg when I was fertile that month. We did that for three months….nothing. The next step was either doing in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination. More on the process of infertility treatments here.

You Know You’re A Mom When-sDaze

You know you’re a mom when….
you let your babies cry so that you can go get the camera to capture the moment!
Ms. M complaining because I don’t shovel it in fast enough
Ms. L upset because her hand with the cookie in it couldn’t find her mouth

And so it goes…

Danger – Twins Playing!

Ms. M making a quick getaway with the loot stolen from Ms. L

Watching the girls play is kind of like watching a comedy. They love practically sitting right on top of each other, but don’t want to share. They steal toys from each other. They cry. They fight. They follow each other around to continue to fight when one decides she’s had enough. It’s like they’re 8 month old teenagers, I guess. I remember fighting like that with my sisters. It’s funny how mad they get at each other, but then keep going back for more.

Every single day at our house, here’s what happens at least 100 times….Ms.M  has the little plastic keys, and Ms. L wants them and takes them. Then, either one of two things happens: a) Ms. M reaches over and tries to pry them out of Ms. L’s sweaty, drool soaked hands or b) Ms. M gets something else to play with and Ms. L decides she wants it and takes it again. It a vicious cycle. There’s a lot of screaming and crying. And if Tater gets into the mix, fuggetaboutit. Obviously, it is not mom-of-the-year appropriate to sit back and watch the action happen, but it is kinda funny.

“Danger!” That’s what I want to shout out every time I see them playing on the toy-littered floor. Because the other thing that happens at least 100 times a day is this: both girls are sitting up playing. One takes a head-first digger onto the carpet and continues to play. Let’s say it was Ms. L that falls over. So again, either one of two things happens: a) Ms. L will start kicking Ms. M in the head, which of course causes anguish and much screaming, or b) Ms. M will start beating Ms. L about the head with whatever toy is handy, and again, much anguish and screaming occurs. And remember, the girls switch off on who’s in what position. It’s a dangerous endeavour. Playing at our house isn’t for sissies! Both girls are preparing each other for what is without a doubt to come in a couple more years when they start getting beat on by playing with big brother.

But then, at least once or twice a day, I also catching them kissing each other and holding hands…and that makes all the chaos worth it. And if Tater’s in the mix when it happens, my heart does flips because there’s nothing more amazing to watch then the love fest that doesn’t happen nearly often enough with all three of them. Sometimes, they even let me join in too.

Any other moms have similar experiences like this with their twins, or children really close in age?

And so it goes…

Tater’s First Sleepover

Tater and the Infamous Blue Blankie
Tater spent the night at Auntie S’s house on Friday night. Is it weird that he’s almost three years old and has never spent the night away from us? I think it might be. He’s never even stayed with Gramma. We’ve only stayed the night away from him one time – for hubby’s work Christmas party. But Auntie A stayed here at our house with him so he got to sleep in his own bed. Friday night was the first night he spent away from us and away from home.
At first, hubby and I were SO excited. We both did the happy dance. We talked about how our night would go once the girls went to bed (they go to bed between 6 and 7, so we would have the whole night to ourselves!). We talked about getting a babysitter so we could have a nice dinner out…just the two of us…and then coming home for an uninterrupted romantic night together. And none of that happened. Tater was gone. We couldn’t get a babysitter. We ordered pizza and watched TV. And by the time it was time for romance, we were both too tired. On a positive note, I got a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep! I can’t even remember the last time that that happened! It was wonderful 🙂
But back up just a little…I made sure to tell Auntie S to have Tater call us to say goodnight before he went to bed. We weren’t even sure if he would sleep away from home. I was thinking I might have to make the half hour drive out to Auntie’s house at 9 pm to pick him up. At 8, I told hubby that he still hadn’t called us. He must be having a good time. What I really meant was “Why hasn’t he called us yet?” They did call at 9 to say goodnight. I expected tears, crying, begging and pleading from Tater for us to come and get him. Know what I got? “Hi Mommy. I’m having fun. Bye!”. That.was.it. I was the one with tears! I was the one crying! I was the one begging and pleading for him to talk to me for one more minute and to please tell me that he loved me! How did that happen? Where did my happy dance go?
And then to top it all off, when Auntie S dropped him back off at our house on Saturday afternoon (after he’d been doted on for a full 24 hours straight…doing whatever he wanted…new toys…2-1/2 hours at the park), he was pissed off to be home! Not happy to see us! No hugs and kisses! He asked to go back to Auntie S’s house and cried when we said he couldn’t!
Things never work out the way you think they’re going to. Tater’s first sleepover was WAY MORE traumatic for me than it was for him. I’m over it though, and can’t wait for him to do it again 😉
And so it goes…