This is the second post in our story of trying for baby number two. Click here to read the first post.
With so many failed attempts, a miscarriage, and a chemical pregnancy, Kendra and I were not sure we wanted to continue trying for another child. Her body was paying a huge price physically, and we were both mentally exhausted. At various points we had emotionally drifted apart – each one trying to shield the other from the pain and heartbreak we felt. Our energies were focused on just two things – Addison, and trying for another child. We realized we needed to reconnect, so we got a babysitter and went on a date.
It had been so long that we had gone out, just the two of us, we were not even sure what to do. We settled on dinner, so we could just talk and figure out what we wanted to do next, if anything, with the babymaking process. During that conversation, we realized two things – we wanted another child thus we were willing to continue trying IVF, at least for another try. We also realized that we needed each other, and we needed to shift our focus back to our special bond and strengths as a couple. We recommitted to each other, and the process.
When we arrived home that night, I checked my email and found the most amazing message from a mother whose child shares Addison’s donor. She had a vial left – one vial – and wanted to give it to us. Kendra and I collapsed on our bed and cried. We had long since reconciled with the fact that our next child would not be conceived from the same donor as Addison. Suddenly, that door was reopened, and we became grateful for all the losses and failed attempts.
Kendra began a second round of IVF. The doctor increased her dosages to see if she could produce more than four eggs. Pumped full of medication, they were able to retrieve 22 eggs from her body, 18 of which were viable! We used the gifted vial, and every single egg fertilized. Every egg was fertilized only because the lab, who made an egregious mistake in not mixing our eggs and sperm together the first time, performed complementary ICSI. By day five, there were six embryos in good shape, so we transferred two back into Kendra and froze the other four. Unfortunately, the higher doses of medicine, which had sent Kendra into hyper-stimulation, had taken their toll on her body. I knew in my heart those eggs had no chance of surviving while her body was desperately trying to regulate itself. I was right, and neither of us were surprised when the blood tests were negative.
Though we tried to fight it off, we were once again devastated.
We thought about taking a round off. The holidays were right around the corner, and we were not sure we could handle the added stress of IVF. At the last-minute, we decided to go forward with a frozen transfer. This meant that Kendra would not have to endure injections – instead, she wore an estrogen patch and took daily suppositories. It was relatively painless compared to the twice-daily shots.
Her body responded well, and on Christmas Eve we drove to the clinic. This time felt different. It felt right. We arrived with Christmas cards and candies in hand for everyone helping us that afternoon. There were smiles all around. Everyone was in the Christmas spirit, despite working on Christmas Eve. Two of the frozen eggs were thawed, and both were perfect! The lesbian doctor who had prepared the embryos came into the operating room to wish us luck. Our doctor performed the transfer (it was the first time we had ever seen him outside of the office setting – we had always had a different physician the day of the procedure). Kendra said it was by far the easiest transfer she had experienced.
We told no one about the transfer, instead choosing to focus on holiday celebrations with our families. On Christmas Day, we picked up Kendra’s parents from the airport. We spent the week exploring Boston with them – hiking, museum trips, and trying new restaurants. The night before they left, Kendra took a pregnancy test.
It was positive.
We cried together, and then shared our news with her parents and my family. We prayed that this time the pregnancy would stick.
For the next several days, Kendra took pregnancy test after pregnancy test; each time the line was darker. We nervously awaited the blood test, and were overjoyed when we got the phone call that her beta numbers were good. Three days later, after her second blood test, we got the call that her numbers had tripled. Kendra asked our doctor flat out, “If you were a betting man, would you say this was a twin pregnancy?” He replied, “I’m not a betting man, but I am quite sure there’s more than one in there.”
At the seven-week ultrasound, we saw two tiny beating hearts – 112 bmp and 117 bmp. They were perfect little embryos, each in their own gestational sac. We breathed a very cautious sigh of relief. For the next two months, we had several more ultrasounds, each one showing perfect progress and healthy babies.
This past Wednesday, Kendra reached 24 weeks. Her c-section is scheduled for August 28th. Every day we relax a bit more. This week we bought a double-bob stroller. We told Addie about the twins, and like us, she cannot wait to meet her brother and sister.
We are still nervous, but now more so about the idea of having three kids ages three and under! Yet we are ready – ready for these babies we worked so hard to have. The process was difficult, but in the end, so completely worth the emotional roller coaster.