Adventures in Fertility

The fertility process can be a long and frustrating journey. With the twins, we had nine straight months of failed attempts. Most of the cycles were cut off in the middle of the month because my body was refusing to cooperate. As a woman who wanted nothing more than to be a mother, it was hard not to feel like a failure. I felt like a failure to my husband and I felt angry at myself since biology and health classes in school pretty much taught us that if we let a boy touch us, we would instantly get pregnant. Now, add two straight weeks of injecting high dose fertility hormones to those feelings. I was a wreck.

Joey was 10 months old when I went to my first consultation with our reproductive endocrinologist. This was the same doctor who helped us get pregnant and it would be the first time seeing him since I left his office shocked, ecstatic, and carrying ultrasound pictures of two growing fetuses. Considering the twins should only have been 7 months old at that time, it was a rough appointment talking about the loss of Connor and the dangerous ending we had to our first pregnancy. As much as I know that what had happened wasn’t my fault, as a mom you can’t help but feel guilty that you were unable to protect and save your child. There is always a slight anger that I carry at my body. I’m mad that it doesn’t work right. I’m mad that I got sick and had to deliver early in order to give my children a fighting chance. The grief at our loss hits me hard when I least expect it. I still cry for my baby and I wonder what life would be like had he survived. Would he and Joey already be best friends? Would they be chasing each other around the house? Would they be talking to each other in their own little babble? Would they gang up on me at bedtime?

Going in for our second attempt at fertility was slightly easier than the first time since we knew what to expect. We knew it most likely would take some time. We knew it might not work. We knew that even though our insurance was great, with the high cost of the injectable drugs, we could only afford a few tries and IVF was off the table. Most of all, we knew we had a beautiful miracle boy and would be happy even if we couldn’t give him a younger sibling.

Our first month cycle that we tried went very well. My ovaries created a few follicles and I was nervous and ready to cancel if there were too many. I was terrified of getting pregnant with multiples again. The doctor promised me that he would not risk anything over three eggs. Only one follicle looked promising, another two were close and could possibly contain eggs, and about 20 small ones were causing my ovaries to swell so much that it was beginning to become painful to walk. We were given the go to trigger ovulation with another shot and come in for IUI, two days after our twins first birthday.

Like my first pregnancy, I started getting symptoms early. Unlike our first pregnancy, I did not have a positive test right away. On day nine post ovulation with the twins, we knew we were pregnant. This time it was negative, negative, and negative. Technically they ask women to wait a full two weeks before testing (mostly to avoid false positives from the fertility drugs) but I had given up by the time our two weeks was up and was just going through the motions. I bought a cheap blue plus test from Walmart and instead of having a second line show up, the test turned into a giant blue blob.
I stared at the test and then swore loudly enough for my husband to poke his head into the room and ask what was wrong. I showed him the test and asked him what he thought it said. My husband who doesn’t understand how the home tests work, just shrugged and said, “I dunno.” Frustrated and wondering if I was pregnant or not, I ran out to the store and picked up a box of pink tests. Quickly downing some coffee and water, I waited impatiently to be able to test again. Five positive tests later, I started to believe that our fertility treatments actually worked the first time and we were pregnant with our rainbow baby.

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