Friday, December 30, 2011

Adventures in Fertility, Part III

After our referral for IVF, we had to wait about six months for my body to recover from all the medications from the previous IUI cycles.  We were referred to a wonderful doctor who was empathic and committed to helping us begin our family.  We did our first in vitro cycle and my body responded well to the medications, which resulted in many high quality embryos.  On our first transfer, three beautiful embryos (of which we were given a picture)  came to rest in my uterus.  I practiced positive thinking and followed all the doctor's instructions to the letter.  I convinced myself that I was pregnant.  So, when the nurse called with the 'good news,' I was excited.  She informed me in a sympathetic tone that I was, once again, not pregnant.  Since I had not mentally prepared for this scenario, I could not control the sobbing as I thanked her for the news.  Normally, I would have been more composed, not wanting her to feel bad for being the bearer of bad news. 

     I began to follow message boards about IVF and learned such acronyms as POAS (pee on a stick) and TTC (trying to conceive).  I began accupuncture after reading that it increased the chances of IVF success.  On the second cycle, I convinced myself that I was probably not pregnant, but could not stop the flame of hope that burned of its own accord.  When I received the news that I was pregnant, for the first time in my life, we were overjoyed.  It was around Thanksgiving time and I had planned to prepare the big meal for a large gathering of relatives.  No one wanted me to be on my feet or to have any strain, so everyone pitched in to put the meal together.  A few days later, I had a follow up test which showed that my HCG levels, used to measure pregnancy, were dropping indicating that it was likely I was no longer pregnant.  I needed a follow-up test to confirm the end of the pregnancy, and it confirmed it.   We felt devastated, again.  It was getting to a point where we were in disbelief about our own capacities for pain.  Surely, we would get numb eventually? We never did.

     The next loss was even harder.  I was pregnant through in vitro and saw my baby's heartbeat on the monitor.  There is nothing more real than seeing your baby's heart beat.  It was beyond sad when the doctor informed us at a subsequent visit that our baby's heart had stopped beating.  After several losses, I underwent more tests to figure out what was wrong.  The embryos were such high quality that the embryologist beamed each time he showed us the latest pictures.  They resulted in pregnancies. Then, with no explanation, the pregnancies terminated. 

    Eventually, it was discovered that I had a blood clotting mutation which meant that the blood supply was being cut off to the babies, preventing their survival.  So, we tried using blood thinners along with IVF and, while I could get pregnant, we continued to sustain losses.  Our doctor informed us that we had a good chance of succeeding using surrogacy, because the embryos were high quality and the surrogate would not have the issue with blood clotting.  I mourned the loss of not being able to carry my own child, and to bond with my baby in utero.  However, I accepted defeat and we were grateful to have another avenue to starting our family.

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