Sunday, February 15, 2009

One Year with Our Little Miracles...

One year ago today, our little ones were made. I don't dwell much on how we got to the point to be able to have this blog that chronicles our lives with the twins, but its important to pause and reflect sometimes in life, so if you are interested, take a deep breath and dive in. If you are looking for Super Sunday, it will be here as soon as my oldest little miracle stops squalling!

If you want to know the story of how our kids came to be, you have to go back to the fall of 2005. Jon and I had been married for a few months (together for a few years) and we were ready to start a family. I decided that I wanted to be childless for our first anniversary, but didn't really want to put things off any longer than that, so as soon as we got to the point where we would have a June due date, we were off to the races! Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had always had a feeling that something was 'wrong' so after 6 months of really trying, using all the tricks of the trade, I went to my OB. She listened to me, and allowed me to trust my gut. She gave me a referral to a specialist, and told me I could go anytime I was ready to. I went the very next month - why waste time?

We went to the specialist and she put me through a battery of tests, a month's worth of tests, many, many tests. My tests didn't show anything that caused her any concern.

She also had Jon take a semen analysis. BAM!

Jon had great results, except for his morphology. 96% of his sperm were shaped abnormally. This was our problem!!! She fast-tracked us to IVF and gave us great chances of success. It was now August of 2006.

I remember the nurses in the office being so optimistic - telling me they were sure I would be having twins - they were sure of it! At that time, it turned out, they couldn't have been more wrong....

We had our egg retrieval in September, I was working long hours because it was my busy season at work and it was just brutal. They retrieved 9 eggs - not stellar, but not terrible either. Jon took great care of me.

The next day, I got the call - only one had fertilized. I was devastated. I clung to the hope that our little embryo would make it to the transfer on day 3 and it did.

We went to the transfer and I knew in my gut it wasn't good when they didn't show us a picture of our little embryo. The transfer was very difficult and very painful and took a long time. My hopes were very low, and of course I turned out to be right.

A few weeks later, we met with the doctor. She told us that my eggs appeared dark and compacted, not fluffy and cloud-like, as expected. She said that we owed it to ourselves to try again - given my age, it could have been a fluke - I would have to do another cycle to know for sure. So we did, and even though I had my doubts about her, we stuck with her to do it.

I had a bad feeling things would not go well the second time around. Jon was seeing a urologist for his issue and had actually been cured with hormone therapy. He was now a 'superman' according to his doctor, who advised their must be something wrong with me - he said that if Jon's problem was our only problem that we would be pregnant. This hit me really hard. There was nothing wrong with me according to our doctor. What was going on?? During this time, in October 2006, Jon had a dream that we had twins, but they were both boys. He was apologetic to me that they were not boy/girl - I laughed and told him at this point, that I would happily take two of whatever was to come around...

So, we started again and my doctor increased my meds dramatically, in the hopes of producing more eggs. We actually had one less this time. Again, only one fertilized. We went in for our transfer on the day after our niece was born. They told us the embryo was not good - only three cells and growing slowly - we transferred it anyway. We were heartbroken. We knew we would not be pregnant from this cycle. We had our blood test confirm that we were not pregnant after cycle two on Christmas Eve 2006. It was horrible.

We met with the doctor again, in early 2007. She told us that she had done all she could do. In her opinion, my eggs were not functional. She couldn't say why. She recommended that we either adopt or use an egg donor, but did tell us that we should get a second opinion if we wanted. I remember her saying that if someone told her she had stage 4 cancer, that she would get a second opinion. Having my infertility compared to a terminal disease cut me very deeply.

We did get that second opinion. Our new doctor took a fresh look at me. He made alot of changes and offered us alot of hope - we couldn't help but try again. We had a renewed sense of energy about our chances. We followed his instructions on how to prepare to cycle again to the letter...we felt a renewal about trying again. Then, just before Mother's Day, my sister told me she was expecting a child. We were happy for her, but of course, devastated for ourselves...wondering when it would ever be our turn.

We did that third cycle, our first with the new doctor in May/June of 2007 and it DID go so much better - we had 30 eggs retrieved and 12 fertilized - we couldn't believe it! We made it to a five day transfer, but again, the embryos were not good quality. The doctor wanted to transfer 3 or 4. I was terrified. I had never had more than one to transfer. We transferred two, in the end, and froze the few that remained. This cycle ended in another negative.

We met with the doctor for a follow-up. He convinced us to give it one more go before exploring our other options. We also began seeing a counselor - she was an angel - it really helped us to have someone to talk to - the treatments had really begun to strain our relationships with our family and friends who were living through our struggle.

We summoned our courage and went one more time. I took leave from work and stayed home for the entire cycle - putting all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. It was September/October 2007. We tweaked the previous protocol and got similar results to the first - except that I experienced OHSS this time. The treatments were getting increasingly hard for my body to handle. I recovered nicely though and we were hopeful - until the day before the transfer.

We got the call that the embryos were not doing well and that the doctor wanted to thaw our other embryos to give us more for the transfer. Heartbreak again. We transferred two embryos again. One from our fresh cycle and one frozen. Again, we got a negative result.

We met again with our doctor. Finally he agreed that my eggs were non-functioning. I was ready to admit this after cycle three. He wanted one more, which I totally understood. Now that this was done, he was ready to talk about other options with us. Jon and I were very clear after all we had been through on what we wanted to do next. We wanted to join the clinics donor egg program. We got a packet that day to give us more information.

We wasted no time. By Christmas we had done the appropriate counseling and we had chosen an anonymous donor from the donor pool. We liked two donors right away, so we thought on it for a while, and we both kept coming back to the one we finally settled on - she just felt like the right one - to both of us.

That Christmas was very hard. I lost a beloved pet that I had owned for 10 years, on top of all the other pain we were feeling, that loss was devastating. The hope we had for our upcoming donor cycle - cycle number 5 for us - was the only thing that got us through.

We cycled with our donor in February 2008. I had gone back to work right after the last failed cycle in October 2007 and was working out of town, so that made things really interesting.

The eggs were retrieved from our donor and fertilized on February 15th. One year ago today.

We made it to transfer five days later, though with less embryos than I expected. It made me scared and nervous. What if there was something else wrong? What if this was just like every other time? I shook it off and hired a nurse to give me my progesterone shots while I worked out of town waiting for my beta. When I finally took my beta, the results were that I was 'very pregnant'! I couldn't believe it.

We had an early scare at 5.5 weeks when I stood up one day at work and I experienced multiple gushes of blood (sorry, I don't know how to say it without being graphic).

A scan revealed that I was carrying twins and that all was well. We found out around the same time that none of the other embryos from our donor cycle made it to be frozen. That meant that this pregnancy was our one and only shot. As overwhelming as it seemed to be having twins, it was a relief to me to know that they would have one another as they grow up.

8 months, a few scares, and a hurricane later...the boys were born. Three years, almost to the day, from when we decided to start a family. Two years since Jon had that fateful dream.

They are our little slice of Heaven here on earth and everyday we thank God for them, and for our egg donor, and for all those who helped us along the way, but especially we thank God for them.

I can't imagine our lives being as full or as rich if our children were anyone other than who they are, so I know that this was the absolute right thing for our family.

Happy Miracle Day to our two little miracles. I am so proud to be your mommy. Your daddy and I are so very happy to have you in our lives.


The Browns said...

Thank you for sharing your story SeaStar..we love you all so very much, and are so very blessed by B & B. Happy Miracle Day Phillips family!

chellekay said...

thanks you for sharing your story!!

Irish Tigger said...

Happy Miracle Day! I've been a little behind in my blog reading, but this post was a very welcome addition to my day. I'm so happy for you, Jon and the boys! Take care!

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