Why is it that when you’re told you can’t have/do something, you want it all the more? That became my mindset when it came to having babies. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t had the embryos left from Little H’s cycle. I had a boy and a girl, and maybe I would have been happy to stop there. But I did have those five babysicles, so it became ingrained in my brain that I was going to have a third baby. Shortly after little H turned one in the spring of 2002, I decided I wanted to try for a third (and I told myself, last) baby.
I don’t think my timing could have been worse. 2002 was an all-out horrible year for my family. Thank goodness I had Master Yi-Yi and Little H to keep me grounded. It started when one of my brother Michael’s longtime nurses completely disappeared. Shortly after, the family dog died. And then in July, Michael passed away. By then, I had already contacted the IVF institute and gotten the ball rolling to embark on another tumultuous journey. I think I briefly thought about stopping. But I had also worked things out with my insurance company and started the hormones. And everyone encouraged me to go ahead with the cycle.
In hindsight, there is a lot I would have done differently. I was partly obsessed with bringing new life into the world after Michael’s passing. I certainly wasn’t in the healthiest frame of mind when I went through the IVF process. I was also fixated on the idea of another red headed little girl. I should have anticipated this cycle would end badly.
Since we already had the embryos, all I needed to do was take hormones (in the form of shots, pills and creams) to prep my body. When I was ready, the IVF clinic would start the thaw and call to let me know how many (if any) survived to transfer. They had warned me that the survival rate was around 70%, so I was shocked when I heard that all five of them made it! The doctor was slightly apprehensive about using all five, but we proceeded on with all of them. Typically three embryos are transferred for fresh two day cycles, and four are transferred for frozen cycles. I’d always thought twins would be cool anyway. So in September, I once again drank a ton of water, had the transfer and went home for the doctor-mandated 24 hours of bed rest. My family was still in turmoil over my brother’s death, and I had a four year old and one year old who demanded a lot of attention! The environment wasn’t exactly conducive to staying relaxed and stress free. I still sometimes wonder if the cycle would have turned out differently had I waited.
HCG levels were slightly elevated, but not as much as they would like to see for pregnancy. So, she told me to come back in three days. If the numbers doubled, then there was a chance of a successful pregnancy. But it they didn’t, that would be the end.I suffered through the usual post-IVF two week wait, and finally the day dawned for the pregnancy test. My husband and I made yet another trip to Fairfax for the blood draw and came home to wait for the dreaded/anticipated phone call. The phone finally rang, and I was so frustrated when the nurse told me it wasn’t a yes nor was it a no. She said that my
Of all of the waits with all of my cycles, that one was the worst. I vividly remember that Master Yi-Yi was beginning tot soccer that day, so I put on a pseudo happy face like nothing was wrong, and trudged onto soccer for the afternoon. I was pretty much in a daze and could barely interact with anyone. Two days later I found out that my HCG numbers were at zero. It was a chemical pregnancy, meaning that at least one embryo started to implant, but then failed to develop any further.
I was devastated. Everyone in my family was still upset about Michael’s recent death, so I didn’t get much sympathy. I was, after all, mourning a child that never really existed. I couldn’t even explain why I needed that affirmation of life so badly. That was the next time I really questioned my timing. But I also have to believe things happen for a reason. Not long after that, the DC sniper was rampant along I95, and I was glad I didn’t have to travel up to the clinic. But as time went by, I still couldn’t let go of my obsession with having another child.
I thought about it on and off for a year. I told myself that I should be fine with two beautiful, healthy children. But I think it was the knowing I couldn’t spontaneously grab my husband and say, “Why don’t we try for another baby!?” that made it more difficult. It also didn’t help that several friends got pregnant with their third child around the same time. While I was very happy for them, it also made my longing worse.
I wasn’t tied to IVF for baby #3; in fact, I researched several modes of adoption. From what I found, we didn’t qualify on several levels. Ironically, it was also way more expensive for me to adopt than it was to go through IVF because I had insurance coverage. At the time, it was very rare for insurance companies to pay anything for IVF. Sometimes they would cover the drugs but not the procedures. Occasionally, they would cover the procedures but not the donor fee. I then researched donor embryos as well as split cycles where you share a donor with another person and split the eggs. I talked to the IVF institute and was on board to go that route. After they checked into my insurance more thoroughly, they told me I happened to have one of the only insurance companies that paid for a complete donor egg cycle including the donor fee. I deemed it fate and wound up doing another complete donor egg cycle in the fall of 2003.
Look for my next post and join me for the conclusion of my IVF saga complete with a roller coaster pregnancy leading to Monkey Boy and a cycle almost no one knows I did.