Posts Tagged ‘emotional roller coaster’
Chris and I have been married for seven and a half years. We have been trying to start a family of our own for almost five years and have yet to be successful. We love our current family four-legged family, but are anxious to have a child of our own.
Starting our lives together:
Chris and I met through mutual friends, eleven years ago. In the year that we were friends, before we started dating, Chris often referred to me as “my wife that doesn’t know it yet.” We began dating ten years ago and got married in 2004. We started trying to start our family after we had been married for a year. We were feeling settled in our home and we were ready to start the next chapter in our lives.
Beginning our process:
We started our attempt at pregnancy with the basics, measuring basal body temperature, ovulation kits, etc. We had fun trying for the first year, before we began to think that there may be an issue. I was diagnosed with endometriosis around the age of nineteen and was told at the time, that the longer I waited to start a family, the harder it may be for me to become pregnant. Chris and I tried on our own for around a year and a half before we started looking for help from my OB. We tried clomid for three cycles before we were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. After multiple tests and diagnostic procedures, it was determined that an IUI (intrauterine insemination ) was the best place to start. This procedure is generally attempted three times before it is suggested that a couple try IVF (in vitro fertilization). The IUU cost is $500 per cycle. The IUI cycle requires multiple hormone injections. I was giving myself estrogen injections twice a day and taking a multitude of oral medications. Needless to say, I was on the most intense emotional roller coaster of my life! We completed three unsuccessful IUI procedures and then decided it was time to move to in vitro fertilization.
A turn we were not prepared for:
At my last appointment before the retrieval procedure to collect my eggs, my doctor told me that my ovaries had not produced as many eggs as they would like to see, and she recommended that we do another IUI. The IVF procedure is much more expensive ($6000 for IVF compared to $500 for IUI), and she did not feel that my body was in the best place for the procedure. Rather than waste the $6000 for IVF with only a few eggs, we opted for a fourth IUI. Within two weeks of the procedure, my cycle started and I realized that again we were not pregnant. There are hardly any words to describe the disappointment that Chris and I were feeling.
About a week and a half after the failed IUI, I began spotting and cramping. I called the doctor and she instructed me to come in for an ultrasound. Chris had to work and the doctor did not seem too concerned, so I went to my appointment alone. As I sat in the examination room, waiting for the doctor, I figured the spotting and cramping was a reaction to all of the hormones. When the doctor began the ultrasound, she immediately located a “mass.” A million thoughts began to run through my head: Am I pregnant? What is the mass? Why isn’t Chris here? She told me that she wanted me to take a urine pregnancy test and she wanted to do a blood test as well. I left the office in a fog as they explained that they would call later in the day when they had the test results. I called Chris from the car and explained, through sobs, what the doctor said. I went to work and tried to keep myself busy. The doctor’s office called on my way home from work. The “mass” was indeed a pregnancy; however, it was an ectopic pregnancy, meaning it was located in my fallopian tubes and was not a viable pregnancy. Chris and I had to go back to the doctor to determine how to deal with the situation. I could barely breathe. Devastation does not even begin to explain the feelings I was having. We returned to the doctor and we were given three options. The first option was a surgical procedure to remove the “mass.” Option two; take a high dose of methotrexate, an oral medication used to stop the cells from rapidly dividing. Finally option three; test my blood and hope that my body “corrects” the issue on its own. Thinking back on it now, I realize how horrendous all three options really were. After much consideration, Chris and I decided that the best option for us, which would be the most conducive to us still wanting to try and have a family, would be to take the methotrexate. This was by far the hardest decision we had made. We knew the pregnancy was not viable, yet it felt as if we were giving up on our dream. Fortunately, before I was scheduled to take the medication, my blood work came back to show that my body was correcting itself and no medical treatment was needed.
The ups and downs of IVF:
Chris and I took a few months to cope with the emotions of a failed pregnancy and come to terms with the next step in our fertility process. We were finally ready to start the IVF process again. One of the major differences in the preparation for the IVF process is in the hormone injections. Many of the numerous hormone injections and oral medications are similar to the IUI process, yet at this stage, I was not able to administer all of the injections to myself. The prednisone injection had to be given intramuscularly (which means in my rear end). It was impossible for me to give myself these shots, so I had to be sure that someone (Chris, Mom or my best friend, Kelly) was always around at 6 PM for my injection. Talk about stressful! After a few weeks of injections, intrauterine ultrasounds, and blood work, the egg retrieval was scheduled. The morning of the retrieval, I took a valium. I didn’t realize the valium had much effect on me, until I almost peed myself laughing at Chris in his medical gear for the procedure, he looked like the scientist in ET. During the retrieval process, I was given a mild anesthesia that puts you into a dazed state while the eggs are removed from the ovaries. After an hour or so in recovery we headed home for me to rest. After a few days the doctor’s office called to tell us that we had three good looking embryos and we scheduled our transfer. At the transfer appointment, two of the embryos are placed back into the uterus, where the hope is that they will implant into the uterine wall and the pregnancy will take. Chris and I were so sure that one of the two best embryos would take; we decided to freeze the third embryo. After the embryos were successfully transferred and I laid flat willing the embryos to implant, Chris took me home to rest for four days. After two weeks, I returned to the doctor for my pregnancy test. Chris and I arranged to call later that afternoon on three-way so we could hear the news together. Imagine the devastation we felt when Michelle, our IVF nurse, told us the test was negative.
IVF number two:
After months of healing again and figuring out where we were going to come up with another $6000 for another IVF procedure, we started the process again. The same medications were necessary and the same rear-end injections. I felt like a pin cushion and could barely sit down. When we went in for the retrieval, we were thrilled to hear that the doctor was able to get 9 eggs. Unfortunately, during the retrieval procedure, in her attempt to get as many eggs as possible, there was some internal bleeding. After about 45 minutes of agonizing pain, they decided to do an emergency laparoscopy to identify where the pain was coming from. The procedure found 750 mL of blood in my abdomen. I spent one night in the hospital and finally went home to rest. After four days, we returned to the doctor’s office for our transfer. We had three good embryos and we decided to transfer all three. After the procedure and an hour of lying flat willing the embryos to implant, Chris took me home again to rest for four days. After two weeks, I returned to the doctor for my pregnancy test again. Chris and I spent the day together, Christmas shopping and hanging out, just the two of us. We anxiously awaited the call from Michelle. We had just returned to the car after a trip to Giant Eagle when the phone rang. I answered on speaker and we heard the news together, “not pregnant.” I had never felt such a strong sense of disbelief. How could this possibly be true? How could we have gone through all of the pain, emotion and stress for nothing? To this day, I still do not understand how this can be happening.
Recovering and moving on:
This past December was a year since our second failed IVF and the pain is as strong as it was that day in the Giant Eagle parking lot when we got the news that we were not pregnant. Chris and I have worked very hard to deal with the emotions and disappointment of not being able to have a biological child of our own. Some days are easier than others and some days it takes everything in my being to get out of bed and get through my day. We have worked through our grief and come to a place where we are ready to work on building our family. We have decided that domestic infant adoption is the right fit for us and we are excited to begin the process.
I never knew how expensive the adoption process was until my first phone call to an agency. I was shocked and stunned to find out it would cost between $20,000 and $40,000. Chris and I have been saving and will continue to save, but it seems like an impossible task. We have resisted asking for help for a long time. It is hard to explain, but for quite a while I felt that if Chris and I couldn’t afford adoption on our own, then we didn’t deserve to go through the process. In a conversation with my friend Cory, she told me how hard is has been for her to see Chris and I go through all of our struggles and to not be able to help us. She told me about the idea of setting up a savings account that people can donate to, to help us fund our adoption. I have to admit, Chris and I were still on the fence about the idea of asking for financial support. It is a place we never thought we would find ourselves in, but after spending over $22,000 on multiple IUI and IVF procedures, we feel that we have no other choice than to ask for help.