Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How We Got Here...

I never went into detail about what went into Donna & I becoming parents. I started the blog to keep friends & family updated on what was going on since we moved away right when I got pregnant. But at the time we were so nervous about the pregnancy at hand, that I didn't want to rehash what had lead up to that point. Well 1 year and 3 healthy babies later, here it is...

When Donna & I met in March of 2000, we both knew we eventually wanted to have children. I was 22 at the time so there was no rush. We revisited the conversation in 2003, we had been together for 3 years & had gotten married (in VT) the year before. Donna was 38 & having kids was something she wanted to do before she turned 40. We researched doctors and started getting everything in line. A couple of minor things came up during my physicals & blood work, but were resolved easily. When it came time to schedule with the fertility doctor different things kept coming up that hindered our appointments, an insurance change, a death in the family, and a long wait to get in to begin with, we kept scheduling & rescheduling until finally Donna became ill. Donna's illness is a long story in itself I won't go into it now, but will just say, we almost (and according to her doctors should have) lost her. It took an entire year & 3 operations to get her back up & running again. So needless to say all baby making plans were put on hold.

Fast forward to 2008... It was time to REALLY make a go at it or put the thought away for good. So again we researched doctors & I got all the work ups from my OB-GYN. Everything looked great, my doctor sent me off to the fertility doctor & expected to see me back in just a couple months, HA!!!

We got in relatively quickly with the fertility specialist in October. He actually didn't do any testing, blood work, or anything. Because we were a same sex couple & had actually never "tried" to get pregnant before, he didn't see the need to check anything out. He wanted us to "try" for 4 - 6 months without fertility meds or anything. "Trying" was done with IUI's (intra-uterine insemination) Well we went 4 months and got nothing, except heartbreak month after month. On our 5th month at this doctors office we were seen by a new doctor that had recently joined the practice. We asked him about running some tests to make sure I didn't have anything working against me, since I had a history of endometriosis & other reproductive issues. We also asked about trying clomid just to help our chances. He ordered some blood work that month & said it was our money & if we wanted to add clomid he didn't see why not. Well when you start fertility meds they start monitoring you via ultrasound. This is to watch the number of follicles (eggs) you are developing & to see when you are ready to ovulate. Nothing much happened with the clomid. I would have 2 or 3 follicles growing and then just one would mature (ovulate.) Every month though I would end up with a number of cysts which meant I would have to wait until the cysts were gone before we could try again. Sometimes this took 2 months. Well after adding indictable fertility meds to the regimen, a laporoscopy (I requested) & 5 more "tries" we still had no luck. We decided we needed an emotional break & took a few months off.

While having lunch with a friend one day, she told me she knew someone that had gone to a fertility doctor downtown. It was a smaller practice & she had never heard of the doctor before, but her friend really liked the practice & most importantly GOT PREGNANT rather quickly. That afternoon I called and scheduled a consultation.

Our consultation with the new doctor, Dr Riggal, was great. We learned a lot about the treatment we had already received, like the doses of meds I had been on were very low & probably ineffective. He went over the labs I had had & some of the tests I had run & didn't see anything he could point his finger at as a problem. He suggested we change medications, increase the dosage & give that a try. With new found hope we proceeded...
Turns out I did have a problem & it only took one month ("try") for the Nurse Practitioner, Camie, to figure out what it was. Remember the cysts? Well this time, after one more negative pregnancy test, I was left with 14 cysts!!! The previous doctor didn't know why I kept getting them??? Well maybe it was because I had Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome?!?! With this new found information it was determined that it was too dangerous for me to continue with the fertility meds & IUI's, plus we weren't getting pregnant anyways.
If we stood a chance at getting pregnant we would have to go with IVF (in-vetro fertilization.) After a lot of consideration we decided to go for it. For the money, we really would have preferred adoption at that point, but it was not possible for us in FL at the time. IVF was really our only option & with our funds, we would only have one chance at it. So we proceeded in May 2010. A lot of the process was the same, injectable fertility meds, being monitored through ultrasound, but the end procedure would be entirely different. I would go in for what was basically an in office surgical procedure, to retrieve the eggs that had developed & matured. After the egg retrieval, the eggs & sperm (anonymous donor) were placed together to do their thing. Each day Camie would call & let us know how many fertilized & how they were developing. We ended up with 6 blastocysts (embryos.) So 5 days later Dr Riggal transferred the 2 best embryos back into my uterus (the other 4 would be frozen) & we had to wait 10 more days until we would know if it worked...
The 10th day fell on a Monday. Donna took the day off to go with me to have blood drawn & then wait for the doctors call...
IT WAS POSITIVE!!! We were finally pregnant!!!
We were scheduled to go in the next week for an ultrasound. Donna & I had bet on if it was twins or just 1 baby. I just knew it was twins & she was convinced it was just 1. What we were told was that with transferring 2 embryos (which is all Dr Riggal would do) was that there was a 40% chance of twins & less than a 1% chance of one or both of the embryos splitting causing triplets or quads, but the chance was there.
Our ultrasound revealed twins, it was a very early (5 week) ultrasound so we couldn't see heartbeats yet, but we were scheduled to come back the next week. That Friday afternoon I had some bleeding. I called the office & Camie said it could be nothing, if it got worse to call back. I was a nervous wreck!!! Saturday morning I was still having some bleeding so I called back. I needed to know what was going on, I couldn't go all weekend not knowing. So we went in & had an ultrasound. One baby had a tiny little heart just beating away, but the other baby did not. My body was trying to figure out what to do since I was still so early in pregnancy. I did put the other baby in jeopardy but all we could do was wait & see. The bleeding continued but stayed pretty light. I went to an OB-GYN, Dr Danna, at 8 weeks for another ultrasound. The remaining baby was doing great & she didn't foresee the other baby being a problem, my body would just reabsorb it. We went back at 12 weeks for another ultrasound and our baby no longer had a heartbeat. We were beyond crushed!!! I was showing no signs of miscarrying & was given the option of waiting it out, having a D&C, or taking some medication to induce the miscarriage. I opted to wait it out. I obviously couldn't go to work or do anything knowing that at any moment my body would decide to abort the deceased baby it was carrying. I was too devastated to leave the house anyways. That weekend I suddenly started bleeding & heavy. I was sure that was it. Donna called Dr Danna & she had me come in Monday for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed the baby was still there, I still wanted to wait it out. I know this probably sounds horrible to most people. You think you would just want it out & over with, but I knew a D&C could cause further fertility issues & I needed the time it was taking to really wrap my head around everything we had been through. I felt my body would know what was right & do it in it's own time. I went back the following week & I had still not passed the baby. Dr Danna advised taking the medication at that point to help things along. My miscarriage was a very long process. I'll skip the rest of the details, but I had to take the medication twice & it took the entire month of August to miscarry.

In the midst of my miscarriage Donna's company decided to eliminate her position at her current location. We were faced with her going ahead and finding another location right then or waiting for the company to make the decision final & be forced to take whatever was available at that time. We decided to be a little proactive & secure a position in a location we would be happy with. October 1st Donna reported to work in North Carolina. I stayed behind to tie up loose ends with the house, finish a couple classes, & oh yeah... one more embryo transfer :)
We weren't sure we could do it again, we didn't know if emotionally we could handle it. My therapist & friends tried to convince me to wait especially with the move going on. Somehow though, I just knew we needed to try again right then.

So here it was October 2010, 2 whole years since we started our journey to becoming parents & on our absolute last "try" & chance. I remained positive & put everything I had emotionally into this last try.

There had been some changes with my fertility doctor since my last ultrasound with them. Dr Riggal & Camie had joined another "Big" practice in town. I loved their small practice. I loved how personable it was & how caring everyone there seemed to be, right down to the receptionist. Camie called to check on me during my miscarriage & the rest of the staff was so compassionate, even after our first "try" at their office. No one ever showed any concern at our previous fertility doctor's office. Anyways, I loved Dr Riggal & Camie, so I followed them to the new practice. I started different medications this time to prepare the best possible environment for 2 more little embryos. At least I didn't have to give myself shots this time. My dad took me in the day of the embryo transfer & I hung out at his house relaxing for the next few days. The following week Donna came home, the packers packed up our house & the movers loaded up all our stuff. All that was left to do was drive ourselves and the pups to NC. We left FL on October 30th. I was scheduled to have a pregnancy test done on Monday November 1st (one year ago today.) I went first thing in the morning to have blood drawn one more time & wait for Camie's call...
It was positive & we were pregnant again :)
We were very happy, but very scared this time. Although I knew in my heart this pregnancy was the one, this baby was meant to be!!! We decided to only tell our parents and my sister until we got through the first trimester.
I scheduled an ultrasound with Camie back in FL for 2 weeks later... at first it looked like just one very healthy baby, but right before she was about to finish the ultrasound, she saw another one, TWINS AGAIN!!! I really didn't think that would happen twice, I knew the chance was high (40%) but I just didn't think it would happen twice. We were ecstatic but still reserved.
I scheduled another ultrasound for 2 more weeks with Camie & knew I would have to find an OB-GYN in NC after that... We were very nervous going into the next ultrasound, we were afraid of one or both of the babies not having heartbeats... So when Camie started the ultrasound & didn't say anything for a couple of minutes Donna started looking closer to see if she could see what she was looking at & then Camie said "oh no." Donna said "what, no heartbeat?" Camie said "no 2 heartbeats," Donna said "well we knew that" & Camie said "no, 2 heartbeats in the same sac" & Donna said "how'd they both get in the same sac?" Thats when Camie showed us a single heartbeat in one sac & 2 heartbeats in the other & said "you're having TRIPLETS" Donna looked stunned, I really thought she would pass out, but she just stood there with her mouth open. I couldn't respond at all & when Camie walked out of the room to get Dr Riggal, I just started laughing, it's all I could do. You see, in the early months of trying to become pregnant Donna said it would be great to have twins and just be done in one shot. I semi-jokingly said "if you wish hard enough for twins, we'll end up with triplets." At the end of our quite shocking appointment we said our "goodbyes for now" & headed back to NC to find  an OB-GYN.
No one would take us expecting triplets & we were finally referred to Wake Forest Comprehensive Fetal Care Center. It is a high risk group that apparently handles all of this areas high risk pregnancies. We received great care & had a great experience with them.

I was sad at my post-op check-up to say goodbye to my midwife, Sheila & the nurse, Sandy, they treated us so well. I get so attached to people that play such important roles in our lives. We have met so many great people on our journey, from the doctors & nurses, to the friends we've met & made online, to the other triplet families we've connected with. It was a long, drawn out, heart-wrenching journey, but it has a very happy & quite adorable ending ;)

The rest of the story is here in the blog. I've kept details on my pregnancy & updates on the boys up to now all here. If you've joined us recently I recommend starting with our first post in Dec 2010. You will find it under "archives" to the right towards the top.

P.S. I apologize for any typos, it's getting late & I'm too tired to proof-read now :)

1 comment:

  1. What a great story!! Thank you for sharing! Your boys are so lucky to have such wonderful parents! :)



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