a birthday story - 3 years in the making
It’s been a year… it feels like so long ago and still only yesterday.
Some of you may know this story and others do not so just a little backstory to how the twins came to be.
Flash back to September 9, 2007. Our son was born. Our hearts were full. We had one of each, the perfect little family. And that is how we stayed for quite some time. Our lives got hectic with raising 2 young kids, opening a business and then saving for and building our home. But as time went on I found myself not feeling quite whole. Something was missing and as I reflected on what that something was, I realized that we weren’t meant to be done having kids, our hearts had more room.
With our oldest 2, getting pregnant was EASY. Reagan was an oops (the best oops of my life!) and when we decided we were ready for #2 we were pregnant with Grant in a month. So when we made the decision to grow our family, it never even crossed my mind that there may be a struggle. But struggle we did!
I knew when it didn’t happen for us within a few months that something was up. Call it women’s intuition! I saw my regular OB and discussed what could be the cause. After talking, it was determined that I may have some endometriosis. But the only way to diagnose and treat it was through surgery. So in December of 2014 I underwent a laparoscopy. It was found that I did have some endometriosis and my doctor was confident that this small fix was what we needed. A few more months passed and still not pregnant. So back to the doctor I go, this time to discuss fertility options. Like most women experiencing infertility, the first drug you’re given is Clomid. It’s fairly easy. You start on a low dose for the first 2 months, bump it up for the next 2 months and yet again for another 2 months. Throughout that time, there are bi-monthly doctor visits and monthly blood draws to check your progesterone levels (not to mention all the basal temp monitoring & peeing on sticks… constantly checking for ovulation). After 6 months, my doctor decided to keep up the Clomid for 2 additional cycles at the maximum dose. Still nothing.
After the 8 months of Clomid, I was referred to Kettering Reproductive Medicine. We met with Dr. Mark Bidwell in January of 2016. We talked about what we’ve learnt so far and what treatments we already underwent. Dr. Bidwell wanted to start with a few months on another fertility drug. One that also has benefits for people with endometriosis. I was a little reluctant. I was ready to go big or go home. But Brad wanted to give it a try, so we waited a cycle and returned for an ultrasound of my ovaries prior to starting the new treatment. They found a cyst. I was devastated. It wasn’t the end, I just had to wait to start any new treatment until it went away. But when you have been waiting this long already, waiting another month (maybe two) seemed cruel. I remember leaving the appointment in tears, getting in the car for the long ride home and telling Brad that I can’t do this anymore. We needed to decide to go all in (IVF) or I was done. I couldn’t handle the emotional roller coaster every month, every cycle brought.
A few weeks passed and we return to KPM to talk IVF. A conversation only a few years ago I NEVER imagined I would have. I left that meeting feeling lighter, feeling hopeful. Sure, there was still a lot of obstacles to overcome, a slew of tests both for both of us and not to mention the monetary commitment, but I felt that this was the answer (here comes that women’s intuition again!).
We started our IVF cycle in April of 2016. Anyone that has undergone IVF knows it takes both a physical and emotional toll. Looking back, I’m not sure which was harder! We quickly learned how to measure and administer shots. Following the schedule to a T. Every 3 days, going back down to Kettering to watch the follicles grow. Doctors adjusting the medications to ensure the eggs would be ripe and ready come retrieval day. We had an incredibly successful cycle. If I’m remembering the numbers correctly we had a total of 20 eggs, 17 of which were mature enough for fertilization. For the next 3-5 days you get daily updates on the status of the embryos and everyday we received great, positive news. Day 5 rolls around and it’s time for implant!
We discussed with the doctors about how many embryos to transfer. They felt confident with the way everything was looking that we would be successful even just transferring one. But I wanted every odd stacked in my favor, and the percentage of implant was higher when you transfer 2, so that was the route we decided on. Transfer was done and now all we could do was wait… more waiting.
With time gone by now, I can’t remember exactly how long you wait before the blood test to determine if you were pregnant, but I do remember it taking seemingly forever! So the big day rolls around and I go for the blood draw early in the morning to ensure I get the results back the same day. The rest of the day I was so anxious, watching the clock, willing my phone to ring. So 4:00 rolls around and I know the office is closing at 4:30 and still no call. I couldn’t take it anymore so I called them to see if they had the results. The answer is obviously anti-climatic as we all know how the story ends. But it was a moment of pure joy and release to hear all of our efforts were paying off.
Monroe and Hayes… you have blessed us more than you know. We longed for you, prayed for you, sacrificed for you and the two of you were SO worth it. I would do the whole thing over if I got you two again. We love you beyond words baby girls… Happy Birthday!
And to all of you couples out there experiencing infertility. My heart goes out to you. It’s not easy. Most of the time there isn’t a quick fix or even a clear answer as to why. I’ve stood in your shoes, I’ve felt your pain. And I will continue to pray for your miracle.