Saturday, March 31, 2012

To increase us..

Jason and I have traveled a long road to increase our family of two by one. Early in our relationship we had spoken about our hopes and dreams for the future and found a resonance of similar dreams between us. We both had a strong desire to experience child making, growing and birthing. We both felt strongly that we honor our place on earth by not overburdening our small planet by over contributing to the exponential growth of humans. Yet we envision a family full of love and participants in our daily lives. We decided that we would have a child biologically and then have many more through adoption or fostering. Easy enough.

Jason and I officially started trying to conceive our first child in September 2009. Low and behold we had a positive pregnancy test the very first month. Just a couple days after our positive home pregnancy I started bleeding and our doctor confirmed that it was a very early miscarriage. We were disappointed but believed firmly that it was likely unsuited to life and that we would get pregnant again soon.

A year and a half passed without a single successful cycle. I felt despair and grief and convinced that there must be a reason beyond "bad luck" as we had been told by several doctors. In early 2011 my parents made a generous offer to us to pay for a infertility work up with a reproductive endocrinologist. We decided to pursue testing through the University of Washington Reproductive Health with Dr. Houmard. We underwent blood testing, semen analysis (definately not the issue), ultrasounds and hysterosalpingography. We were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility." This is a very frustrating diagnosis because essentially it means that medicine has not advanced enough to explain our circumstances. It also means there is no obvious fix since there is not an obvious problem.

 We were recommended to try intrauterine insemination with clomid and a "trigger shot" of HCG. Again my parents generously offered to cover these costs in hope of seeing us through on our dreams of conceiving. We tried IUI twice in the summer of 2011, both resulting in negative results. After taking a well needed break from treatments to travel through Europe in a mini RV, we returned home and gave IUI one last try. This last IUI was negative.

We consulted again with Dr. Houmard and she helped us come to the determination that switching to IVF was the most cost effective route for the highest chance of success. Again my parents offered to cover the costs of our first cycle of IVF.  Anything beyond our one cycle would exhaust financial resources and would not be possible. While we were both insured through Group Health, their policy does not cover any of the costs of infertility treatment. Shame on them!

In December 2011 I started birth control pills as a suppression in preparation for our IVF cycle. We took many medications by mouth, insertion and injection. We had a calendar dedicated to keeping track of which meds and how many each day. Before we could progress to retrieving the eggs, a cyst grew on on ovary and we had to undergo a cyst aspiration. We finally were able to retrieve the eggs on February 20th, 2012. We were told that 13 eggs were retrieved. Of these eggs, only 6 were mature. ICSI was performed on all 6 eggs and all 6 eggs fertilized.

On February 23rd 2012 we had our egg transfer where 2 of our little fertilized eggs were placed into my uterus. 

After this I was on light activity for a couple days and told we should return to the clinic on March 5th 2012 to have blood tests to see if the eggs implanted. We agreed not to do any home tests prior to the blood testing. The wait was so hard, but worth is as for the first time since 2009 we had a positive pregnancy test! Our first blood draw had an HCG value of 190. Two days later we returned for a second blood draw and were told that our levels more than doubled as the second value was 437. We are so thankful.

 On March 15th 2012 we had our first ultrasound at 5w2d and saw a yolk sac and gestational sac measuring at 5w1d.

On March 29th 2012 we had a second ultrasound at 7w2d. What an amazing moment we shared when we saw our baby's heart beat. Our little being was measuring at 7w6d and it's heart was beating at 136 beats per minute.

We are so thankful.

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