Today is Sam and my one year anniversary of being together. And totally in love. And BFFs but without the necklaces because he can't get to Claire's and I'm too busy to take him.
I guess you could say our IVF journey ended one year ago today. Or became a success, finally, or something along those lines. This morning, I picked a booger from a baby nose and rubbed a belly to help (with no luck) to get a mean old poop out. (I'm considering feeding him McDonald's to get the poo party going. You know what I'm talking about.) Oh the difference a year can make.
A year ago this morning, I was driving to school. Our appointment for embryo transfer wasn't until the afternoon and there was no way in heck I was going to sit around at home. I was going crazy enough already wondering what the end of the day would look like.
By the end of the day we would know a lot and have a lot of questions answered. Scary questions answered. Questions I hope you never have to face like "Will we be able to have biological children?" Our last round of IVF was just that: the last round. We would either leave that appointment knowing we had a shot at a biological baby or we would know that dream was over and the new dream of adoption would begin.
I said back in February that the "what went wrong" with us is a lot of medical talk and hard to explain, but I know it's human nature. I would want to know, so don't feel bad for being curious. Our journey has a big anniversary today. I guess I just thought I'd like to share that.
Like I said before, we are both rejects from Table 9.
But, way back when, we started out as male factor infertility issues and the fix for that, for us, was IVF. And then using a very specific procedure in IVF called ICSI. In a normal, female factor IVF the spermies (technical name) and the eggs sit in a petri dish together for a little 7th grade dance. Some spermies cross the dance floor, eggs are fertilized, and that is that. But in ICSI, the spermies can't be trusted to find the way so an embryologist looks at all the eggs and all the spermies and then picks one of each and forces a love connection, embryos are made, and it's pretty bananas to think about. I think mixing ingredients to make brownies is amazing. These people mix ingredients and make tiny humans.
So we knew we were going the IVF/ICSI route way back in August of 2011. And we knew - always a dangerous thing in this game - that we were very good candidates. Male factor, my side looked great and we were young for IVF. This would probably be a quick open and shut case.
Cue the waaaa waaaaa because apparently we forgot to knock on wood. Our first two rounds went south PDQ when it turned out that actually I didn't react normally to the stimulation drugs and both rounds were cancelled before eggs were harvested. Yes, that is the actual term. Harvesting the eggs. I know. It took us a long time to say that sentence without giggling and we still can't.
The next two rounds went better but there was still something off with my eggs and we never had a great end result. Duh, I mean we didn't get pregnant so obviously a bad result, but it was more than that. When they harvest 30 eggs, make 20 something embryos and everything dies off. That's a bad end result. And that's what we faced for rounds 3 and 4. We were now officially male and female factor infertility and balance was restored to the land (cue angels singing).
The doctors theorized that my side of the problem was a maturity issue. There's a shocker. Let that sink in. I have a maturity issue. Should have seen this coming a mile away. Obviously that was going to be the problem. My eggs never got mature enough to create embryos strong enough to develop. But that was just the theory and the other theory there was that we had a DNA issue and that my body wasn't allowing an embryo with an abnormality to attach and therefore, we would never have a biological baby.
The interesting part about IVF that we came to understand is for how therapeutic it is, it's also diagnostic. One doctor explained that to us after the first canceled round. You have to diagnose the problem to provide the right therapy.
To fix my maturity issue the doctors added time with the classics, world travel and human growth hormone. Yeah see, most of that maturity issue wasn't fixed with the growth hormone... They added that to my drug regimen, fingers crossed and 17 days later (four shots a night) they took out 18 eggs from me.
Then the waiting starts.
They like to put the embryos back in five days later. I'll give you three guesses, first two don't count, as to what the longest five days of my life were? It's an unbelievable wait especially when you know it's the last time you will wait those five days.
A year ago today was that fifth day.
A lot was riding on that day.
We walked into the doctors office a year ago hoping to see beautiful, mature embryos to transfer but also prepared for what we had already seen so many times before. We knew we were walking in with questions and walking out with answers no matter what happened that day. And that, I swear to you, was an unbelievable amount of peace. Knowing that there would be a resolution - no matter what that resolution was - was the weight of three years being lifted off our shoulders.
It really was a life changing day on so very many levels.
The embryologist practically skipped into our room with the news that it had "worked" - so far so good. We had embryos at mature stages we had never seen before. We had a shot. Finally. After five rounds we had a decent chance of having a baby. The day Sam was born was definitely the happiest day of our lives, but the day we knew there was a hope for Sam is a very very close second.
Ten days later - remember when I said five was long? - we found out it had "taken". Put that on the best days list. Ten days before we wondered if a miracle was possible and ten days later, then 39 weeks more, and we found out they are definitely possible.
Please keep going. Please keep trying. Find your miracle.
ps. Wanna see what Chuck looked like a year ago today? Well....remember when I said we were always the height of maturity in our appointments?
This is Chuck providing me with a very informative (nope) lecture on the early stages of embryonic development using the transvaginal ultrasound wand. That wand, incidentally, also makes a great Bob Barker microphone and obviously that happened a lot. Keep it light people. Keep. It. Light.