Why Me? Now What? (A Personal Journey Through Infertility)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Not Even Chocolate Cupcakes Hold the Answer When Things get Complicated

I recently thought about changing the name of my blog, I mean, after all...hadn't I "conquered" infertility? But who was I kidding there is no such thing as conquering this miserable beast...I had simply stepped around it's sleeping body by some strand of modern medicine and miracles. I was still on this journey, and honestly... the title still rings true.

Why Me? Now What?

I had my first doctor's appointment yesterday since the Ultrasound... they had to call the lab to have the results faxed to them, and midway my appointment the nurse came in and handed the confirmation to my babbling to my doctor. Needless to say, she was shocked. We knew what we would have to do... I would officially be referred to a high risk OBGYN for the balance of this pregnancy. She said things looked good... that at this point, there were no concerns, but that coming back at 12 weeks would help compare the results from Monday and ensure that things were progressing on track... all of it seemed so matter of fact, and I left feeling like things were starting to stop spinning.

I had started to feel better the moment I picked up a book and started to educate myself. I have found knowledge empowering through out this journey... and needless to say I felt powerless when I stepped off the Ultrasound table Monday morning. I quickly used online resources to determine which book would stay clear of scare tactics but give honest, straightforward & accurate information I would need to keep not only myself, but these babies healthy through the coming months. "When you are expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads" by Dr. Barbara Luke & Tamara Eberlein was that such book. Absorbing the informative and detailed plan to a healthy pregnancy of "supertwins" (triplets) was easy... and I knew that with this guidance, my husband's support and the watchful eye of my acupuncturist and doctors...I WOULD be able to get through whatever was thrown at me next.

So yesterday, when I arrived home from my afternoon accupuncture session, I felt good putting back that wonderfully chocolatty "Crave-O-Licious" cupcake with blue buttercream icing... and when the phone rang, I thought nothing of it as I cleared my throat with a large gulp of milk.

It was Dr. O'Keane... the doctor that had become my unsung hero.... with the bedside manner of a bestfriend and the medical skills of a man top in his field. I had requested him as my OBGYN after hearing he was still practicing labor and delivery and hadn't moved entirely to fertility treatments. After all...he HAD been the doctor working the day the little embryos had been placed back inside me over a month ago...wouldn't it be fitting to have him deliver these three tiny bundles of joy?

He congratulated me and said that the ultrasound had just landed on his desk. He wondered how I was feeling, and guessed that this may the reason for my recent bloating this last month, laughing that they hadn't expected THAT to be the issue. But then his tone turned more serious. He talked to me about how complications often arise with Multiples...and that women aren't necessarily built to carry three thriving babies... something we needed to think about. Had we discussed selective reduction? He was asking the question that only hours before had crossed Mike and My's conversation on the cell phone as we were stuck in traffic each driving home from our day's events. I wasn't comfortable with it...and neither was Mike. We knew there could be risks.... and most definitely a change to the way I lived my life if we went forward carrying all three babies... but bed rest, C-Sections and exaggerated monitoring and stress on my body were all scenarios we were at peace with... selective reduction to make things easier was not. We had agreed that should they spot a genetic abnormality in early testing, we would potentially reconsider our position, but to reduce from 3 seemingly healthy babies to a set of twins where risks and preterm labor still exists...just seemed out of our realm of possibility at this point.

"We would wait and see" he said...another Ultrasound was in order... at 10 weeks he felt I should come in and meet with Dr. Greene... to determine what we need to do relative to the babies growing inside. I know he HEARD me say we didn't want to look at reduction, but he seemed to press on with the issue...was Dr. O'keane slowly losing favor on the pedestal on which I had placed him weeks earlier? He reassured me that couples with triplets are split 50/50 with ones that carry on with 3 babies and ones that choose to selectively reduce the numbers growing inside... so it wasn't impossible.... but he kept going back to the risks.

As I hung up the phone, I was more confused than ever. Would I let my doctors guide me to the decision they felt was best? Or would I continue to trust my body and move forward with the best tools and support as I had when I chose to surgo surgery for my fibroids, or dismissed the option to attempt several IUI procedures... we had a LOT to consider. In the meantime, I plan on moving forward as if the decision to carry all three babies had already been solidified...I would have them healthy and strong by that next ultrasound and prove to this team of experts that I COULD do it....but for that, I needed just ONE more cupcake.

Monday, July 17, 2006

How does one feel in control one second & then...

Feel as if the world is spinning out of control the next.

I was so confident, so proud of the woman I had proven to be through the last 6 months of this journey. I had gotten through things I never thought possible, survived needles and hormones that would make normal women crazy... I had proven to myself that I was indeed strong and able; ready to raise a child. I had no doubt I would be a great mom...And Mike? Well he was placed on this earth to be a dad... I am sure of it. He is the most giving and warm man I have ever met, and so I felt excited when we saw that we were finally pregnant, and welcomed the possibilities that accompanied this long awaited news.

So when we walked into the ultrasound this morning, I was excited to get this party started... trying to keep my emotions in check, reminding myself that one precious child would be a blessing and that not seeing a perfect set of twins as a result of the 2 embryos that were transferred back over a month ago, should not be reason for disappointment. Let's keep realistic, the national average for even 1 baby in an IVF cycle is just over 30%, and for two miracles, the success rates are even lower. I would simply be happy to hear that my child was doing well, and leave it at that.

Laying on that table as the technician slathered the ultrasound gel across my belly, the anxiety took better... PLEASE GOD.... let everything be looking ok.

She was quick to offer reassurance, she immediately spotted the dark circle on the screen identified as the sac, with the white globe inside it. There, next to the white "yolk sac" was a small moon shaped form. This was our baby!!!! It's heart was beating fast and strong.... 135 beats per minute...a perfect rate for a baby this small! We were simply in awe as we watched this minute grain of rice flutter at such a beautiful and remarkable pace.

Then she stopped, added more ultrasound gel, and pressed firmly again, over and over she circled the same area...and I began to be concerned. Was there something wrong? Had something happened that had the technician scared of complications or a potential miscarriage of our precious little one? My heart began to quicken, surely the same rate as that little miracle growing inside me.

We should have known something was up the minute she said it... "I have worked here for 15 years" she started "and although I have heard of this happening, your officially my first".... WHAT DID THAT MEAN??? WHAT WAS WRONG???

Then, the news came at us from out of nowhere. Some how, the second embryo that had been placed back in my uterus last month, also stuck... and beating odds of about 1 in 16million, had chosen to divide into two healthy identical twins... I was pregnant with triplets.

Multiples don't run in the family, in fact this is a first for any generation on either side of the family tree. So how was this possible? Our minds began to race.

It's been hours since learning the news. We are still overwhelmed and scared. But honestly, even with all the fear that things wont go right, I feel blessed. Even when we involve medical intervention, the best doctors and seemingly have 100% control of a such a complex process, God reminds us that at the end of the day, he does what he wants anyway.... and for now, he wants us to love and nurture 3 beautiful babies. He brought us to this point, and will surely help us through the next 7 months... all I have to do now is let it sink in...and then start this new chapter with a newly energized focus.

I hope we can do this!