I titled my blog My Journey to Home, but what is home, and what is this journey about?
Home is family, home is where the heart is…
I met Jim while we were both in Paramedic school together, I was not there to find a new husband, at the start of our program I still had the old one. We had a great group of students in our class, we all got along and enjoyed going out to lunch together at our break as a big group most of the time, as smaller groups when we couldn’t all agree on a restaurant. We all got to know each other well and became friends. Paramedic school lasted 14 months, about halfway through I found myself in the midst of divorce. Not the best time to start a new relationship, but God has blessed despite the timing. One of the things that drew me to my soul-mate was how much family was important to him. He showed such love and respect towards his mother, and he wanted kids as much as I did. As our friendship grew, it blossomed into love, and I have never been more loved or loved another more than this. We were married a year after my divorce was final, in a quiet ceremony with just our best man and matron of honor as witnesses. It felt special to make this wedding about us and our marriage and not about a big party for everyone else. Marriage is a sacred covenant not to be entered into lightly, my only wish is that this wedding could have been my first as well as his. Divorce is ugly, scarring, and most times unnecessary. Even when divorce is the only answer it is sad. I refuse to ever experience it again.
We began our journey to parenthood immediately, after all, we both wanted a family that included more than just the two of us, why wait?! Bring on the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, we were ready! With my previous history of pregnancy loss it was a little scary, but surely everything would work out fine this time. After all, I had come home, this was where I was meant to be. Six months into our marriage we had still not conceived and decided it was time to consult a specialist. Again, they couldn’t find anything wrong with me, the specialist casually suggested that Jim see a urologist and be checked for male factor infertility. Punch to the stomach, double whammy, the results showed that we now had two issues. My previous pregnancy losses, and unknown risk for future losses, and now male factor infertility with unknown cause. Jim endured a surgical procedure intended to improve if not solve the issue. We were told it could take up to a year to show full results. It didn’t work. We started out with Intrauterine Insemination aka IUI, we had two failed cycles before our doctor suggested IVF. Before we could start IVF I noticed irregular spotting between cycles, it turned out I had developed a uterine polyp that had to be removed. I was scared, the C word in the back of my mind. Thankfully it was benign and the recovery process was short and relatively painless. After the suggested wait time after my surgery we began the process of injections, ultrasounds, blood draws and ultimately egg retrieval day and transfer of two embryos. We had good odds on our side, I had produced ten eggs of which eight were appropriate for insemination, using intracytoplamic sperm injection or ICSE my eggs were fertilized, of the eight, six began to divide and grow. IVF transfers are done on day three or day five depending on how well the embryos are developing, day five is preferred when the embryos have made it to the blastocyst stage. Our little ones were growing well and two were transferred on day five. That would leave us four to freeze for future attempts. Except that those four stopped growing, and were unable to be frozen. Two weeks later my pregnancy test was negative.
With tears we grieved together. Holding each other, trying to understand why two people who wanted so much to be parents were having such difficulty making it happen. After all, how many teenagers got pregnant every day accidentally? How many times had we seen in our professional lives women addicted to drugs having their eighth drug addicted baby? I have transported several such mothers to the hospital to give birth. Such heartache, such pain. We had asked to have our failed embryos, our babies, given to us. We buried them under a special rose bush with the locket that contained the remains of my third pregnancy. I was ready to let go, but my heart will never forget.
During our follow up after our failed IVF cycle our doctor recommended a medication and vitamin regimen to try to help improve the male factor infertility. Maybe we could try again and be successful with the less expensive IUI cycles. Off to the store to buy vitamins we went, and armed with the confidence that this could work we surged forward. Three failed IUI attempts later, we were back in his office talking about IVF. We decided we needed a break before we pursued any further treatments. My heart had been crushed to the point that I had no more hope. I wasn’t sure that optimism was something that I could even count as part of my vocabulary any more, I was now a confirmed “realist”.
Adoption? During the months that we took off from fertility treatments we talked about adoption, I was all for it, after all my “realism” said “there is no way we will ever be successful at having biological children, why not just accept it and move on”. Jim was not ready to give up, he had only started this journey when we got married, I had started it several years before and added the scars and pain from my pregnancy losses to the failure of all of our treatments. We consulted with family counselors at our church, what should we do? Was adoption the answer? The strange thing was, as Jim became more open to the idea of adoption, I began to soften to the idea of one more attempt. And so the decision was made, adoption was on the table, but we would give IVF one more go.
We made an appointment to see our doctor towards the end of 2013, we would begin our IVF cycle in December and maybe at last our dreams of becoming parents would come true, just in time for Christmas, what better gift? Then our doctor called shortly before we were to start the process for treatments, he was leaving the practice, our choice was see another doctor at the practice that we weren’t comfortable with, or wait until he established with another practice. Wait?! What?! I had finally come to the point where I was ready to do this, I had myself emotionally psyched up and now I had to wait?! REALLY?! These bumps in the road were starting to take their tole. But we had little choice if we wanted to stay with the doctor we had become comfortable with. So we waited, we searched the internet for signs that he had joined a new practice. Don’t you just love the law that states that you belong to a practice and not your doctor and therefore they are not supposed to tell you where they are going? If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pretty stubborn. I liked my doctor, had been going through this process with him for literally years, and I was not going to change doctors at this stage in the game. Finally in mid January the internet gave us the information we were looking for, and so we went in for another appointment. Since it had been so long since our last treatment a few routine tests were needed, but we were on our way and a cycle would start soon… Except that my routine tests showed a cyst on one of my ovaries, a really, really, really big one. (No wonder I had been in pain). More delays, meds to make the cyst shrink, and time, more time waiting.
At this point I really got myself worked up, if you have never been through a process like this, let me tell you…anxiety is a fact and with all the hormone fluctuations with the medications they put you on, it only amplifies your feelings. Finally the second follow up ultrasound showed no more cyst and so it really was time to get started with our cycle. I had more days of anxiety, with all these roadblocks maybe it was a sign we shouldn’t do this again, why spend the money when it wouldn’t work anyway? Praise God for putting wonderful women friends in my life to support and uplift me. One such friend came over and let me vent and cry and spew. We prayed, and I woke up the next day with peace. For better or worse, if it works or it doesn’t, we will try one more time. The journey to home is a journey to our completed family. Join us for the ride?