Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Retrospective

Today, a year ago, I woke up in the depths of despair. The first self-pay cycle had failed and I just couldn't see us continuing to throw money down the drain for a shot at parenthood. I was lost, sad, angry, frustrated. I had spent months researching procedures, clinics and stats, reading forums and coming up with a plan, only for it to end in failure. Sure, my Endo surgery was successful and I had quality of life back, but still no baby.

I know one failed IVF/ICSI is nothing compared to what so many go through, yet I saw it as a sign that it would never work for us. I was thinking, "How do I pick up the pieces today only to be crushed by another failure a month or two from now?" What would be the point of torturing ourselves with failed cycle after failed cycle?

It all felt hopeless. I just couldn't see a way forward. My Dh wasn't keen on using donor sperm, even though he had relented. Adoption is too expensive, and our age would count against us. Yet I couldn't imagine my future without children in it.

I listened to a lot of Annie Lennox, specifically, "Songs of Mass Destruction" while my husband traveled internationally. The time alone was a blessing. I could lose myself in the despair without him witnessing the downward spiral. I could sob and feel sorry for myself without increasing his guilt. My days were spent trying to come to terms with our childless future while trying to keep it together at work.

The frozen lake near our house, the weeping willows surrounding it, and the stillness of late winter mirrored my state of mind. I was stuck in a perpetual winter.

Then my clinic offered to enroll us in a grant program. I couldn't believe we qualified to get a portion of the next IVF/ICSI cycle covered, but we did. The grant covered enough of the cycle to enable us to try one more time. Just one.more.time, with feeling. I was in a daze. Cycle #2 started just two days after the previous BFN. My husband was still out of the country. I just jumped in, blindly, as soon as my progestorone level normalized.

I was still numb when I went to buy the second cycle's meds. I didn't think it would work, but there was no other viable option on the road to parenthood. One foot in front of the other: inject Lupron and Gonal-F, ultrasound, repeat. I tried not to think too much, and just do.

And then I peed on a stick and was dumbstruck. I POAS again and again and again until there was no denying the second line. It was so early, I thought it was the trigger showing up, but then it got darker and darker instead of disappearing. Disbelief. Even after beta number one, two and three, I didn't dare hope that I could actually end up with a real, live, perfect baby of our own. The ultrasound showed three sacs, and later three heartbeats. Triplets.

It scared me. High risk. So many things could go wrong. The more I read about the risks, the more petrified I became.

Yet, here I am, with three real.live.healthy.babies. Despite the odds, despite my disbelief, despite the risks, despite preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, despite their prematurity. I know I played roulette and won.

I'm incredibly thankful they made it, I made it, we made it. I know how rare it is to have a happy ending (or in our case, this happy beginning), to have this abundance, this instant family. I cherish my children. Always.

Although I do not wish a high risk pregnancy on anyone - and know of too many tragic outcomes - I do wish for everyone struggling with infertility to have the family they dream of.

10 comments:

Kate said...

Love this post. What a difference a year makes, eh?
Same here. I was in the process of IVF #1 that never even made it to trigger. In the midst of horribly stressful licensing exams.
And now, here I sit and wait, 8 days overdue, for the baby I've been trying to have for over 4.5 years. Hopefully she'll be in our arms and healthy very soon!

callmemama said...

Such a beautiful story...and it brings tears to my eyes.
Amazing where you were just a year ago today compared to where you are now.
Just beautiful :).

My Endo Journey said...

:) It was amazing to follow you through this journey! You were so strong and I really appreciated you sharing! You deserve those precious little ones, and, hope you are all doing well!!!

'Murgdan' said...

Well said...I wish it to. More than anything.

Tam said...

This post is beautiful, I love your story. It does get like that - you do it because you don't know any other way and you feel numb.

I hope that my journey ends as sweetly as your has begun!

R.J. said...

You have an amazing, inspiring story. Thanks for the pick-me-up :)

Anonymous said...

80/20 Hindsight, right? In some respects you totally lucked out on achieving the birth of 3 gorgeous baby girls - although I do not envy the hard hard hard work you have to go through with the babes/toddlers etc....I find it hard enough thinking about two babes and their needs and they are over 2 years apart - let alone 3 children - the same age and more or less the same point in development. Phewey Mommy - the girls are so lucky to have such a motivated and positive mommy.

So now have you thought about woddagonnado with any frozen embryos?)....have more babies? Some of the weirdest experiences for me on the "other side of "infertility" have been at the 6 week check up visit (for mommy) - what contraception are you going to use? WHAT???? And yet - apparently so often after one birth, others can follow (previously infertile or not).

The frozen embryo confrontation has been one of the hardest experiences for me - although we managed to come to a mutual agreement at the beginning of the year as to how we would deal with this very personal - but distressing major decision in our lives. Our remaining 4 frozen embryos have been in the "fridge" for almost 4 years...at $1200 per year!

I thought life would become less complicated once I was blessed with my first baby (singleton)...you know some of the history on that one. I cannot remember the number of IVF/ICSI - in SA told that we had no chance of conceving....and to consider a donor or adopt. My hubby was/is dead against adopting (for him)...conflict!

Well our first blessing arrived on our first attempt at IVF/ICSI in the USA - not surprising coz the process is so much more advanced - Thank our lucky stars for insurance covering the process then - at this point - we were into year 7 of failed attempts.

Baby number two - I did not feel ready, was happy with just one baby - hubby wanted more - our insurance was ending (for infertility) in 1 month - if I didn't give it a go - I might be distraught and if I did what were the odds of a second first time success - so we started a new cycle and kept embryos from baby one cycle on ice. Lo - the day I heard the pregnancy test was positive I was distraught...how could it be? Impossible - I just wanted to know that "I gave it a try".....It took lots of time and stamina 1) to accept a second pregnancy at 40 years of age - at a decade of treatments (from start to finish) and 2) to take care of a 2 year old while feeling pukey, fatigued etc.

However, like you say - despite the desperation to have a baby - somehow things work out and the blessing cannot be matched. My two "miracles"! I was once told - you will have a baby one way or another if you truly desire to be a parent! So for those of you who mourn right now - do not give up hope! It's a tough ride, however, one way or another....remember - be careful for what you ask for...as so very often it comes when IT IS ready to come.

Lisa said...

It can be so motivating to read a post like yours while still in the IF trenches. Thanks for this :)

The One and Only Chelle said...

This made me all teary. I am so happy that you have three live babies now. What a difference a year makes, I can hardly believe it myself.

I love the post about the "must haves". I was interested to see your must haves. My list is VERY similar!!

mybumpyjourney said...

Thanks for you sweet comments on my blog. :) I appreciate it. I honestly don't know where that picture is from- it is a prefab profile compliments of wordpress. LOL! I don't know how to do the whole "banner thing" and needed a sprucing up- and liked the photo. HA HA HA.

Glad you liked it. :)
How are you doing btw? You haven't updated in a while.