Around the time Master Yi-Yi hit a year old, I started having that “baby urge.” I had it all planned out. I would get pregnant within three months, and my kids would be exactly two years apart in school. Don’t ask me what my reasoning was exactly. All I know is that it didn’t turn out quite like I had expected.
Let’s back up a little bit. At the time of my amnio with Master Yi-Yi, I knew that in the future, I would not be leaving the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) gene up to chance again, but I wasn’t sure what my alternate path would be. Then I read about Microsort in a magazine, and it just so happened that it was being pioneered at a fertility clinic in Fairfax, VA less than sixty miles from home. I was so excited because I hadn’t been aware that something like Microsort existed.
So, as Master Yi-Yi approached his first birthday, I took it upon myself to call the clinic for a consultation. It’s all a little fuzzy now, but I met with the doctor who laid out a plan. He assured me that I was a prime candidate and things would go smoothly. First, I had to undergo several tests. All the tests came back normal except for one, the FSH test. It indicated my fertility was more like that of a 40+ year old woman even though I was only 29 at the time. The doctor thought it could be a fluke, and we proceeded.
The cycle started with shots to suppress my hormones. Unfortunately, my hormone levels went down so low, they told me it could be months to get them back up. So, they gave me hormone pills to speed up the process. We started over with a different protocol, typically reserved for someone in their 40’s. This time the injections actually worked, and I held onto the hope that I would get pregnant. Despite the development of several follicles, though, they only retrieved one egg, which turned into one embryo after fertilization. From testing, I knew the embryo was female and after two very long days, it was transferred into me.
I was given instructions to take it easy for a couple days and some information on donor eggs. So, while I was resting, wondering if this would really work, I read donor profiles. I still remember looking them over and getting excited about the one with red hair. When I was little, I always said I wanted a little girl with red hair. I remember at one point thinking that it would be ok if this cycle didn’t work because I could use the red haired donor.
It was an agonizing two weeks until my pregnancy test, and to make it worse, I was loaded up with hormones that made me feel pregnant. Finally, the day dawned for the blood test, and I anxiously drove to and from Fairfax that morning. The day dragged on while I nervously waited for “the” phone call. And as you can probably guess, the test was negative. Even though I had been really excited about the red haired donor and really didn’t have much confidence in the cycle, I was still devastated at the news. For me, it was realistically the last hope I ever had of having children genetically related to me, which did make me sad. But, I was also willing to do whatever it took to have another baby.
Soon, I was back in Fairfax planning out the next step. I could try another cycle using my own eggs which, due to premature ovarian failure, gave me a 10% chance of getting pregnant. My other option was to move immediately on to a donor cycle, which would raise the odds to 65%. There really wasn’t much of a choice in my mind. I didn’t have the finances nor the emotional stamina to continue on with cycles that had little chance of working. I knew I would love any baby whether he/she had my genes or not. At the same time, I tried to convince myself that if this option didn’t work, I would be ok with one child. Let’s just say that my emotions were all over the place.
I made an appointment with the doctor in charge of donor eggs. I pored over profiles, looked at baby pictures, and came up with a list of my top five choices. For the most part, I chose ones who looked most like me and then added the one with red hair. I was quickly paired up with an available donor (my first choice did not have red hair). And then the donor fell through. But by then, the red haired one was available and ready to cycle, so we proceeded with her. I guess it was just destined to be.
I started with the same hormone suppressing injections, but then moved onto pills. Eventually the day came for my donors’ egg retrieval, so off to the clinic we went for my husband to give his sample and me to have bloodwork done. I anxiously awaited the phone call letting me know how many embryos we had. There were eight. Now, I just had to make it through the next two days to see how many continued to grow until transfer. Needless to say, I wasn’t much fun to be around.