Saturday, January 3, 2009
We were seeing Dr. Brian Barnett at Plano Presby for our fertility issues. We had decided to go ahead with the IVF and our insurance covered it, which is totally unheard of. It covers 3 cycles.
Lots of injectable meds, lots of trips to the office, one even on Easter morning and we were all dressed for church. Once the process starts you are pretty much directed by how well your body responds to the drugs and you must make the IVF your top priority for those few months.
I had my egg retrieval on the Tuesday after Easter. It went well, I don't remember the number of eggs they got, I really just wanted to make sure that I had enough to get through the cycle. After the retrieval I went home to rest off the meds from the surgery. Then the 5 days wait began. The embryologist would call us first thing in the morning to tell us the "grade" of the eggs. A being the best and D being the worst. We had a mix of all grades which they said is very normal. On day 5 we checked into the hospital at 6:00 am and began to prepare for the transfer. I was lightly sedated which was helpful since I was pretty nervous.
The Dr and the Embryologist suggested we put in 2 eggs based on the quality of each and my age. I am considered "advanced maternal age". HA! We were nervous about doing 2 but John and I had agreed that since they were the professionals and they had valid reasons to suggest 2, knowing we were looking for a single, then we would follow their advice. They were the professionals and we needed to trust them!
After the transfer I went home to begin 72 hours of complete bed rest. I could only get up to use the rest room. That can get boring pretty fast......
Friday, January 2, 2009
A little background - After the birth of my son if you would have asked me if I wanted another child it would not have taken me ten seconds to tell you no way. Not because I don't love my children but because Walter's first two years were so unpredictable and wild. To call those years scary is a huge simplicity of our feelings. However, because the good Lord inflicts all of us mothers with amnesia of our previous pregnanies and deliveries, after about eighteen months or so I started to put the hard sell on John. He really was not on board with another child at first, at all. After a few months and many deep discussions he began to know the exend of my desire for more children. Since he is from a family of 2 children, his mom and dad are both from families of 2 children, his sister has 2 children, it was hard for him to think outside the box. My family is crazy and loud and always in everyone's business, wildly loving although unfortunatley immune to boundaries. But I would not have it any other way. In fact, the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" has always reminded me of my family, even if we are not Greek. We might be nuts, we might argue at times like stray cats stuck in a shoebox, but that is us.
So John came around. He said he could tell how much it meant to me to have a third child and if the desire was tha strong, who was he to deny me? So off to work we go.
No luck! What is going on? My daughter was practically a honeymoon baby and with Walter, as soon as we found out about the clotting antibodies and I began Heparin therapy, I had no problems with my pregnancy. What gives? Every month more and more negative pregnancy tests. I just couldn't get it.
We first tried Clomid. Talk about a roller coaster. That drug is something else. I would wake up feeling like I was stuck in somebody else's skin and I had ocular migranes. It was absolutely awful and we did three rounds of Clomid with IUIs with no results. I was getting very frustrated and worried. I guess it is fair to add that by this point I was 34 and my husband was 42. My clock was beginning to click but his was like a grandfather clock. He really did not want to be "walking with a cane to this child's graduation" as he liked to put it.
After the three rounds my regular OB said there wass really nothing else he could do to help me. He felt that I was suffering from high FSH and PCOS and that I would benefit greatly from a reproductive endocrinologist. My sister had done IVF after a similar path so she referred me to her doctor, the absolutely amazing Dr. Brian Barnett at Plano Presby. He had a wait list, like every other reputable RE in the world, but it was only 4 months. Soon my number was up and I met with Dr. Barnett. We started off doing "medicated IUI" cycles which involves taking injectable drugs to stimulate follicle growth. Three rounds, big fat negatives every time. I was not responding to the stimulation from the Gonal-F.
So we were faced with the big question of IVF. I never thought our path to another child would lead us down this dark route. But God did, because he had provided us with an insurance plan that covered three successful rounds of IVF. By successful, they mean a erm pregnancy with live birth. I had never heard of such a thing. I had the office call three times to verify this absolutely amazing news. I couldn't believe it and it seemed as if the door to IVF had been opened to us. We never would have been able to afford it had we not had the insurance.
I had to take two months off from medications to let my ovaries settle back down to normal. Even though they were not stimulated enough during the IUI cycles, I guess Dr. Barnett wanted there to be a rest between the IUI cycles and the IVF cycles.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
My husband, John, and I went to the same high school but did not know each other because he was a few years older. We met in Dallas in 2000 and I knew from the miute I met him that I would marry him. Pretty cliche, I know, but it was true. I fell in love with his laugh.
We bought our home in 2002 and were married in November of 2003. Our wedding was an absolute blast and a real blow out for his friends because they were sure he would never make it down the aisle. We had a wonderful honeymoon in Maui and returned back to Dallas after 10 glorious days.
In January I didn't really feel like myself. My head was very groggy and I was oh so tired all the time. I took a pregnancy test and we were surprised and very excited to know we would be expecting our first baby in October. I had the regular sickness and spent many months with my head over the toilet. Other than the nausea, the pregnancy was fairly uneventful and I happily spent the months planning the nursery and awaiting the arrival of our daughter, Mary Catherine.
Let me tell you, Mary Catherine had her daddy wrapped right around her finger from day one. Every day when he came home from work he would ask "where's my girl" but now was meaning where was Mary Catherine, not Mommy! He is such an amazing father!
John has one sister that is two years older than him. I have one sister, Brooke, who is seven years older, a brother, Rob, who is five years younger than me, and a little sister, Windy, who is thirteen years younger than me. Almost 21 years between my older sister and my younger. Same parents! Make for a pretty wild household but I wouldn't have it any other way. That being said, we knew we wanted to have our children pretty close together. I had my heart set on having my babies eighteen months apart but God had other plans for me. I had three miscarriages before we welcomed my son home in October of 2006. Up until the first miscarriage I had never really experienced a great loss like that and I had no idea that it would ever happen to me. I was devastated. After the first came another, and then another. I was furious at my body and did not understand why this was happening. After the third miscarriage my OB tested my blood and I tested positive for anticardiolipin and antiphosophilipin syndromes. I was actually relieved to know that there WAS something wrong because at least there would be a plan of action.
So I began to take heparin injections and finally was able to carry another pregnancy. Again I was sick and hung my head over the toilet for a few months. Thank God we had gutted and remodeled the house in 2005 because I had a much nicer bathroom to spend my first few months in. During the second trimester I began to relax a little and think that I might actually bring a second baby home.
Fast forward to his birth....our son John "Walter" was born on October 5, 2006, exactly one day and two years behind his older sister. It was a scheduled C-Section and we checked in early on the morning of the 5th and awaited what we thought was going to be a normal birth. Big mistake.
As soon as my OB took Walter from my stomach he said something was wrong. Immediately a team ran in from the NICU and grabbed for my sweet baby who was blue. The last thing I remember was someone saying there was something wrong with his leg. After that point I remember nothing for about 3 days.
My son was immediately taken to the NICU where he remained for a week. He was intubated to assist with his breathing. He could not eat. And his leg looked like he had elephantitis. It was so awful and so surreal to see my baby lying there in the NICU looking so huge compared to the other babies but being so sick and not having any idea what was wrong with his leg.
At one point, the head doctor told my husband that he was fairly certain that Walter was born with lymphoma. John was doing his best to look out for me as I was a tad bit fragile at this point, and he decided he would not tell me this until the doctors had decided for sure what was going on. In the meantime, though, the doctor came to my room with his concerns. I remember my father was in the room and I began to scream. I tried to sit up and tore open my staples from my C-section. I just looked to my father who had crumpled. I was absolutely terrified and felt that God had forsaken me.
Soon began a battery of testing to try to determine what was wrong with my son. Doctors came from all over to see this baby who was born with such a bizarre condition. They took him away every morning to do more and more MRIs. After five days the doctors told us they believed he was born with Klippel Trenaunay. This is a vascular and lymphatic congenital condition that spontaneously occurs in utero and will not go away. At this point, as long as my sweet baby was going to live, I felt I could handle anything.