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.
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…