It all began long before we started trying to have a baby. Before marriage, college, or high school prom. It began when I was a little girl and was handed my very first baby doll: I knew I wanted to be a mommy. I played with my baby dolls with such intensity that a therapist probably would have questioned some part of my otherwise perfect upbringing. I never pretended that I was a bride, with the long, blanket veil trailing behind me as I walked down my staircase to my awaiting teddy bear friends. I mean, sure, in my imagined “house” I had a “husband” but he was merely there as a means to make me the “mommy.”
Fast forward to 2007, and I married the boy. And when I say THE boy, I mean it. I married him – the one I always imagined as my husband. The one that I had been pining over since we were twelve years old. And our wedding, though I never had a thought in my head about what I wanted my wedding to look like – was perfect. Had I dreamed about my perfect wedding, our day was exactly what I would have imagined.
A year later, we decided we wanted to have a baby. Easy, right? I had no reason to believe things would be difficult for me. When it didn’t happen right away, it was because my system had to get fully off the birth control. A few months passed, and it wasn’t happening because I didn’t have my ovulation figured out right. So I started taking ovulation tests, but then it wasn’t working for a million other reasons. I always had an excuse for why it didn’t happen that month. I refused to believe something was wrong. But as every month passed, I became more and more frustrated, worried, and depressed.
And then, before I knew it, a year had passed, and my coworker got pregnant her first month trying. Then it was my best friend who got pregnant her first month trying. So I went to my OBGYN. She had me chart my temperatures to see if I was ovulating. Yep, I was! Check! “Okay” she said “let’s just wait and see. Sometimes it just takes people longer.”
And then it was my other coworker who got pregnant while taking antibiotics and her birth control didn’t work. And my sister-in-law got pregnant because she ran out of birth control and thought she’d give herself a month off. And I knew then that something must be wrong.
So we went to an RE.
The very first test they performed showed that both of my Fallopian tubes were blocked. I quickly got an anatomy lesson. I had no idea how babies were made – I mean, not really! Without Fallopian tubes, sperm can’t get to egg, a fertilized embryo can’t get to the uterus, therefore pregnancy cannot happen.
I was devastated, but we had options! I at least knew why I wasn’t getting pregnant. And we were the perfect candidates for IVF: young and healthy. I was 28 years old, my husband was in graduate school, I was supporting us on a teacher’s salary, but we wanted that baby! So we started the process of figuring out how to manage (financially and emotionally) the IVF process.
But then, after two cancelled cycles due to my ovaries not responding to the hormones (I grew not a single follicle), my doctor determined something else must be wrong. We ran more tests and discovered that I also have Diminished Ovarian Reserve. He said my numbers were bad, I would probably go through an early menopause, and I should probably start considering donor eggs.
We weren’t ready for that. We gave it another go. One more cycle, with a gargantuan amount of drugs, resulted in one egg retrieved, fertilized, and transferred, but with a negative result (our embryo was a mere 4 cells at transfer). Our doctor wasn’t shocked, and neither were we, but we weren’t ready to take the donor egg leap just yet.
We pulled out the big guns, and went out to CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine). We went for a one day work up, where they told us they had seen much worse cases than mine and wanted to give it a shot with my own eggs. Whew!
First though, they wanted to remove my tubes through laparoscopic surgery, just in case they were blocked with something that could harm any transferred embryos. Well, the surgery showed that my tubes are not, in fact, blocked. Instead they are completely deformed/non-existent. One of my tubes goes up just a little way, but then stops in the middle of nowhere. My other tube is intertwined all around my other organs. The doctor was shocked and said that he had never seen anything like it.
Lucky me!? So he tied my tubes, just to be on the safe side. That surgery probably wasn’t necessary, but it gave me such peace of mind. I have never regretted that surgery. In fact, it may have been the best part of my infertility process. It gave my doctor a good look into my uterus, which was perfect. I knew my body could at least carry a pregnancy, if only we could get pregnant!
Then it was time for the IVF cycle. They retrieved 8 eggs, 5 fertilized, 2 transferred, one of which became our one, beautiful, perfect, and stubborn baby girl. The other three embryos stopped growing and were not eligible for freezing. We literally have the result of our one lucky egg. And she couldn’t be more perfect!
I always told God that if he could just give me one baby with my DNA, then I would figure out how to get the rest of my family. So here we are, ready for a second baby. Well, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve been ready for a long time now, but we are just now settled enough in our lives to plan for a second baby.
However, this time it’s a whole new ballgame. We’re using donor eggs and we are going to San Diego Fertility Center because they have a better program for donor egg cycles.
Now, if you made it through reading all of that, bless you! It’s a long and complicated story, but it has made me a stronger and more gracious person/mother.