It has been a year since we have been serious about getting pregnant. We have actually been trying for longer – we lost Grey in March and started trying at the end of May 2017 and went to see a fertility specialist a year ago. One morning, a month or so after Grey had passed we were driving to breakfast and Stacy asked me if I was crying the night before as we were laying in bed to sleep, “yes” I replied. A few moments later he said,
“So, are we going to have another baby or what?”
Yes! Yes, so much yes I cried. I had been wanting to talk to him about having another child but I felt like a crazy lady, like- give yourself some time. But also, in the back of my mind, thinking about my age and the reality that we should get started right away – another child would help to heal our aching hearts and fill my empty arms. Nothing became more important to me than giving our Grey a sibling. It was the strangest thing going back to trying to conceive mode, removing my IUD, tracking my cycle in my fertility app, taking prenatal and restarting acupuncture. My acupuncturist gave me a lot of hope, she said I was riding on a wave of hormones that would be good for getting pregnant again. I went back to see the doctor that delivered Grey to make sure that getting pregnant again would be safe and had my blood drawn to check my hormone levels. I wanted to recreate everything I was doing that I believed helped me conceive Grey; eating healthy, fertility smoothies, exercising, having a positive mindset (that one was very tough) even down to the scent I wore and music I listened to (reggae). Looking back, it was a good distraction and gave me something to focus on other than my grief.
Towards the end of August last year I started to get worried about our success in having a baby. I was constantly online reading about TTC over 40 and implemented every bit of baby making voodoo I thought could possibly help us. I decided to make an appointment with a fertility clinic to see what they had to say about our chances. When I was driving to my first appointment I got to the off ramp to the clinic and instantly started crying, I couldn’t control it. I entered the facility and let me tell you, my visit with them didn’t help the tears, in fact, when I left it felt like they pushed me off a cliff and yelled, “good luck ya old hag” after me. It was the worst. But, still we decided to follow through with treatment. I read that one can improve egg health in 90 days by eating right and taking an array of supplements. So, for the following 90 days (and subsequent days) I have pretty much been a pillar of health, full of supplements, alcohol free and caffeine limited. I wanted to make sure that if we were going to go through with IVF that I was giving myself the best possible chance by being as healthy as possible. We still tried on our own every month but it just wasn’t working out for us, it was devastating. We started our first, and only, IVF cycle in January 2018.
I am not going to sugar coat it- our IVF cycle was a complete disaster. I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve which is terrible for any woman and awful if you are over forty. My RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) suggested protocol was a mini IVF where I take less medication than a traditional IVF cycle because she predicted that I would produce the same amount of follicles on less medication as I would if I took traditional IVF medications. OK I thought, I am going to trust in the process and go with what my RE suggests. At my follicle scan I had 3 – two good-sized ones and a third smaller follicle. At my second scan the third follicle had not gotten to the size she wanted and she suggested that we flip to an IUI. I told her that I wanted to discuss with Stacy and I would get back to her. When I called her back she said that I should go in for a third scan the next morning to see what growth we got from the follicle over night. When I went in that next morning I told the nurse that I didn’t want to do the scan and I was OK with flipping to an IUI. She said we should just take a look at my follicles and see where they were at and wouldn’t ya know – the third follicle got to the size they were hoping for to move forward with an IVF cycle. I am going to stop and say – this really makes me mad, IVF is a big deal and very expensive. When you are under the age of 40 they give you package deals – some even let you pay in advance for a guarantee that you will take home a baby. If you are over 40 you get no deals, you have to pay full price for everything. Each decision that is made has to be a good one and this was not the right choice.
When we went in for our egg retrieval the RE sat next to me and said, “We can get 3, 2, 1 or 0 eggs today.” Um, excuse me – where does zero eggs come from?! Not getting any eggs was never discussed as a possibility prior to the retreival. She then said it was weird that my 3rd follicle got to the right size. What?! In my mind I thought that I was there for a reason and told myself that we will get a good result. The doc then asked me what kind of music I wanted to listen to while they put me under, reggae of course, Bob Marley. When I woke up I saw Stacy sitting next to me and the first thing I asked was how many eggs we got.
We retrieved one egg, I was devastated and immediately started crying. You want as many eggs as possible and I just couldn’t believe we went through all of that for one chance. Stacy was so wonderful and positive, he did his best to make me see the good in what we had. The next day they called us to say that our egg fertilized with no issues and that they would call us in 3 days and let us know if the embryo survived and divided enough to transfer back to me. On day 3 our egg divided to a 5 cell embryo and they said that we should transfer it back to me. We went in for the procedure and when we left they called me “PUPO” – pregnant until proven otherwise.
You are then sent on your way and they tell you to take a pregnancy test in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS! Guys, that is like forever when you think you might be pregnant but yet, still have to wait to see if you are. If you know me – you know that IVF did not work for us. Two weeks later I took a home pregnancy test and it couldn’t have been more negative. We were crushed.
I tried to look at the positive things that we learned while we were thinking about what we would do moving forward.
- I have eggs
- Our egg fertilized on its own
- Stacy has super sperm
- All my other hormones and levels are normal
We had enough money saved to complete 3 IUI cycles and decided to go that route. When April rolled around we had made it past the anniversary of losing Grey and I just prayed and asked God to please help us, haven’t I suffered enough? I pleaded. I am ready, my heart is open and I am so ready to be a mommy again.
After 3 failed IUI and 2 medicated timed intercourse cycles I just couldn’t let it go. Does my body really have some sort of internal clock that knows that I turned 40 and it is now somehow impossible to have a baby? I got pregnant naturally at 39.8 years old, why can’t I get pregnant again?! I researched on the internet and found that my fallopian tubes could have been damaged during my c-section so I asked my RE to give me a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG test to check if my tubes are clear. We discovered that my right fallopian tube is completely blocked. I mean, seriously….WHY WASN’T THAT TEST ORDERED MONTHS AGO? I had to take that day off of work to come to terms with the results of the test, because…my right ovary is my super producer. During one of my cycles I had 4 follicles on the right another time I had three and another I had two. For two of my cycles I had nothing on the left side and others, just one. All of that time and energy spent and I feel like it was for nothing. I know we would have made different decisions if we had this knowledge months and months ago. With our finances dwindling, continuing with treatments does not feel like it will get us our baby and it is time to move on to other options.
Stacy and I had already started looking at other options on how to bring a child into our lives. I must admit that I am coming to terms with the fact that my biology will likely not be in the equation and that is hard, it’s just very hard. But then I think of all the things I have been waiting to do with my child, sometimes my heart feels like it will burst with the love that I have to share. I know that whatever is decided we will be ok as soon as that little soul enters our lives.
I would love to connect or hear from other moms that have taken alternate routes to parenthood, please leave me a comment or send a message.