It started at the beginning of the year. That nagging feeling I was afraid and excited to feel at the same time. I wanted another baby. Anytime this thought popped into my head before now, another child scared me a little, barely being able to manage what I already had. But when the scared was replaced with nervous excitement, I knew I was emotionally ready.
I was excited because I have always pictured another baby in our lives. We had one remaining embryo from the triplets’ IFV cycle, and it’s always been there in the back of my mind while it’s been stored all these years. Most people have more than one to freeze. Not us. We were shocked to hear that the one we had left had survived and been frozen (in the past, our extra embryos, if any, had always died out before that point). I never had much hope of that little guy actually turning into a baby with my track record, but as hard as I tried, a tiny bit of hope always stuck. Either for that little embryo to be our baby one day, or maybe knowing it was there for five years just made me picture another child no matter how it came to us. The triplets were growing up and with kindergarten around the corner, I just felt like it was the right time. At least to start thinking about it. I always said when they were all in school I’d think about adding more and that’s exactly when it hit me.
But I was afraid because baby hunger can be a little scary for people like me. People that don’t get to just decide to have a baby, and a within a few months they have their wish. For IVFers like us, it takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of your heart. Add to it moving across the country since my last IVF cycle, having to choose a new fertility doctor, and really having to start over with them. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I was going to be angry for putting us in this situation again, but there was no denying this was what we were supposed to do. We both felt it and were ready to move forward, but I was putting some serious guards up. My emotions did not do well with IVF failures in the past, and having only one final shot with this one embryo didn’t give me much to hold on to. I really didn’t want to think about the next big step we’d have to take if this didn’t work, and it scared me. Another fresh IVF cycle didn’t seem right for us, financially, or emotionally. I love adoption and am very open to it, but it was just another long process that would require a lot of time and money. We decided to move forward taking it one day at a time.
I know some might think I’m being ungrateful wanting more when I already have three (I mean, every time I’ve left the house since I was pregnant with the triplets, people have gone ahead and TOLD me that I’m done!) , but it’s a unique situation because they are all growing up at the same time, and everyone should be able to decide when they’re done having kids no matter how many they have, and we had that last embryo. I am so grateful I do want more because I am of the opinion that that embryo is one of my babies and I couldn’t see myself doing anything with it other than having it for my own if it was meant to happen (there are other options when people have extra embryos and I was always grateful I never had too many because it would be so hard for me to know what to do with them all. Adoption? Disposal?!)
So after researching, we found a clinic we felt right about, we discovered it was only about four miles from home, and we came to find out that people from all over the country come to them for their fertility treatments because they have such great results. And we were just right here! We made the appointment, filled out mountains of paperwork for them, then talked to our previous clinic and filled out their mountains of paperwork as well. I didn’t have all the time and energy I’d had before to focus on all of this, because of the kids, which was good at bad. I liked the distraction, but I felt overwhelmed and scatterbrained a lot of the time. Every step in this process takes weeks. I remember this about the last time we went through it. Time did go faster with the kids needing me too, but it is annoying how it feels like you’re moving in slow motion to get anywhere a lot of the time.
We finally made it to our consultation appointment, which led to another bigger, day-long appointment, more like a list of appointments throughout the office, where both of us had blood tests and sat in meetings, I had procedures and ultrasounds, and we we paid them a lot of money for all these preliminary things that were just basically getting us in their system. That day, I went from a little excited to frustrated. I could see that KC was as well. I’m no stranger to this process, but I was in a new place and it felt like a factory, and I was just another piece. You are doing this heart-wrenching thing that determines what the rest of your life is going to be like, and they just make you feel like a checkmark on their list, showing no emotion whatsoever. I started to doubt the whole thing and wished I’d never brought us there. What if nothing came of this? I thought I could go through it without too many emotions because I was realistic about our chances. But after all that, I couldn’t imagine going through all this to come out at the end empty handed. The only thing that kept me going was thinking about that little embryo. Whether it was going to be our baby or not, we had to do all this for the possibility. And when we were done, that chapter of our life would be over and we could move on. So we pushed through everything and kept going. And we had a lot of pushing left to do.
Of course after that big appointment, there were missing files, and blood tests that needed to be seen by other doctors, and other things to hold us off, so that wild goose chase began. Again, something I remember well from before. I started a new medication with another doctor. I went and got more blood tests, more and more paper work, some to be notarized. The amount of signatures during this process is insane. Meanwhile we also dealt with the other end. Getting our embryo shipped across the country was crazy. You have to practically sign your name in blood to have it transported, not to mention pay an arm and a leg. I remember the moment I got the call that our embryo had flown all the way from Maryland and it was safely in a facility close to our home. I was more excited than I thought I would be. I felt like it was really happening now. Scary and exciting.
After everything was finally squared away a couple months later, we were given the okay to start our calendar. That is our schedule of medications and appointments leading up the the transfer, and shortly after that, the pregnancy test. So began the injections. Not nearly as many as I had to do during the four fresh cycles I had done before, but more than I was expecting. I did the little ones in my stomach myself, and left the bigger ones that went into my lower hip to KC, just like before. I also started a bunch of pills, and other meds. My phone calendar was filled with so many alerts and notifications, to make sure I didn’t forget anything. There were also frequent blood tests to see how my body was responding.
The day of the transfer snuck up on me. We made it to the procedure room, and got set up. I hadn’t seen much of my doctor, and it made me miss the one I had in Maryland who I grew to know so well during our year+ of treatments. But this doctor did his job well (he was the creator of the company, had amazing results, and like I said, people came from all over just for him) so we knew we were in good hands, even if they were unfamiliar ones. The procedure was short, though more painful than I remember. But the valium was wonderful afterward. Just like that, the embryo we’d thought about for so long was now where it was supposed to be, and there was a chance I could be pregnant. The embryologist came over and said the embryo looked great and it had already started to hatch (it was in blastocyst stage when it was frozen) so it could implant any time. This information hit me harder than I was expecting. I had forgotten that for a long time I feared they would tell us it didn’t thaw right or something else was wrong and it was all over for us. I was so wrapped up in the procedure that I forgot about those fears until this moment. So this news took me a little off guard that that hope started creeping up again. I was sent home on strict bed rest for the next two days. And then we just had to wait.
I hated those 10 days. I had to wait two weeks in the past, so I thought this 10 day wait would be easy. It was awful. I was so tired all the time from the meds, and I would brush off any possible symptom that would creep up as a side effect of the hormones I was taking. I got strep and at the urgent care, I had to tell them I might be pregnant, which almost made me feel foolish, because there was a good chance I wasn’t. I just felt like it was too good to be true and I was dumb to think it actually worked. I freaked out at times, feeling like my whole future was up to this dumb blood test coming up. It really messes with your head.
I was getting tested on a Saturday. The Thursday night before I was having trouble sleeping. I was anxious and a little upset. Unlike my other four IVF cycles, I bought a pregnancy test this time. I’d never let myself in the past, for some reason. But since this was probably my last chance to take a test, I bought one just in case I wanted to use it. It was taunting me. I said I would only use it the day before the blood test for the most accurate results, but here I was Thursday night, not able to sleep at all. I lost all self control, and just did it. I was upset because in two minutes the hoping was over and truth would be out. KC and I just sat there waiting, and I think I just kept saying things like “This in insane.” “This isn’t fair!” or “ Why did we start any of this?!” and then I checked the test. Guess what.
I think I said something to the effect of “Holy Freak.” showed it to KC and started to hyperventilate. And just like that I forgot about every test, injection, and credit card payment, and immediately started thinking about the future instead. We were in daze. Did that help me sleep? Not at all. I was up a good part of the night. I was in utter disbelief.
The next day we spent time with friends and went to dinner with some of KC’s family, all of which knew what was coming up the next morning. They had all been praying their hearts out for us. I’m sure if I hadn’t tested the night before I’d be agitated and anxious the whole time. I kept the positive test to myself, wanted to be sure with the blood test, but I was definitely more relaxed, maybe still a little dazed. The kids spent the night at KC’s sister Nicole’s house where KC’s parents were also staying so KC and I could have a little more peace at home. I slept so much better than I had before the other four pregnancy blood tests I had done, having an idea what the result would be.
Early the next morning, KC and I walked into the office with more hope than I’d ever had walking into those appointments before. I told the nurse I’d tested positive, and she was ecstatic. Was this really happening? Telling someone made it feel like it was. The test was done, and we were told we’d get a call by noon. We went to breakfast, did some grocery shopping, and spent a quiet morning together while the kids had fun with their grandparents. This was such a different day than I was expecting it to be. I used to dread those phone calls like nothing else. Three out of four had bad news, so that’s what I was used to. I knew this one was going to be good, but I had to hear it to believe it for sure. And just like they said, at about 12:02 my phone rang. We had bad reception so we had to hang up and wait for her to call back! She did within a minute or two, and said she definitely wanted good reception to tell us that our test came back, without a doubt, positive. I was excited all over again, and it became even more real.
We didn't have an ultrasound scheduled until 6.5 weeks. Even though I knew we only had one embryo, I knew with my luck it would split! As much as I loved our triplet adventure, I would often dream of what it was like to just have one baby. I knew the chances of another one of my embryos splitting were extremely low, but still I wondered. I let out a sigh of relief when we saw that one heartbeat, partly that there was a heartbeat at all (I worried constantly!) and partly because it was just ONE! I am really living my dream.
Here I am, a few months later, still finding it hard to believe it. I have spent many days worrying that something would happen and I’d be more upset that if there was never a positive test at all. I’ve also been sick and completely useless here at home. Poor kids. They really are good at keeping themselves occupied, but I’ve missed playing with them. A few ultrasounds have put my mind at ease, and this stomach is growing faster than I thought it would (thanks triplets). I still have to pinch myself sometimes. I feel like the luckiest person alive, and I thank my Heavenly Father every day that he blessed our family with another baby. This process really pushed me to trust in him and his plan for our family. Each of us pray every day for this baby to make it safely here to join our family. The spring can’t come soon enough.
My arms already ache to hold my sweet baby girl.