National Infertility Awareness Week: One Woman’s Long, Painful Journey To Motherhood

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A very dear friend of mine has been through more heartache than anyone should.  She endured four+ years of infertility, carried a baby to term, only to lose the baby in the first two months of life, due to a rare heart condition.  Not a day goes by that she doesn't think of her precious baby, I'm positive.  Infant loss has to be one of the hardest things to endure.

But my friend is a strong, brave woman.  She and her husband decided that this wasn't the end of their journey to become parents.  After all, they WERE parents, as this precious baby made them parents, but they wanted to try again.  This time, the journey to pregnancy didn't take quite as long, and they were blessed with twins who are happy and healthy today.

What fascinates me about this story is just what she and her husband went through to become parents.  She is a wonderful note taker, so she kept notes about everything she went through.  She shared this with me, to share with you.  What a testimony to the women and men out there who are trying so desperately to have their own child.  Take a moment (or a few moments!) and read through her history:

 

2003
01/03 Stopped BCPs
03/03 Stopped preventing
07/03 Acupuncture started (improved blood flow; removed cramps; regulated cycle)
08/03 Sperm Analysis (14 million count)
09/03 Bloodwork – Thyroid ok
10/03 Sperm Analysis (200 million count)
2004
01/04 Diagnosed with ureaplasma/mycoplasma bacteria (Antibiotics husband & I)
01/04 B/W Prolactin – 24.2 (7pm)
02/04 B/W Prolactin – 33.7 (11:30am) 
03/04 B/W Prolactin – 46.4 (8am) [GYN wouldn’t prescribe meds]
03/05/04 HSG (tubes clear, no pain)
04/09/04 Last day of acupuncture
04/26/04 Moved out of state; quit work to "remove stress"
07/07/04 First consultation with RE
07/07/04 B/W CA-125 test (9iu normal)
07/12/04 Started Bromocriptine 2.5mg/day (for elevated prolactin) 
08/27/04 LAP: found & removed Endo Stage III 
09/22/04 Started Follistim AQ pen 150mg (CD2 E2:43, FSH:4.6) 
09/27/04 Follistim dosage to 75mg (CD8 E2:382; 11mm-14mm) 
09/29/04 HCG Shot 10pm (CD10 E2:929; 2@18mm, 1@15mm) 
10/01/04 IUI #1 10am (40 million washed sperm) – uncomfortable
10/02/04 Prometrium tablets 200mg 2x day (Progesterone)
10/11/04 B/W Prolactin 8.4; Progesterone 39.8
10/14/04 BPT < 2 BFN
10/18/04 U/S Cysts: 30mm (right), 14mm & 10mm
10/19/04 Started 3weeks on BCPs
11/04-12/04 Two natural cycles, unsuccessful
2005
1/17/05 Started Follistim AQ pen 225mg (CD4 E2:30, FSH:6.3); Dex 0.25mg
1/21/05 CD8: E2:720; 1-16mm, 2-12mm, 1-11mm (Follistim to 75mg)
1/24/05 CD11: E2:889; 1-23mm, 2-20mm, 1-18mm, (HCG shot 12:15am)
1/26/05 IUI #2 2pm (90 million washed sperm, 1/3 motile)
1/27/05 Prometrium tablets 200mg 2x day (Progesterone)
2/09/05 BPT < 2 BFN
2/16/05 IVF Class
3/03/05 Started acupuncture again
3/14/05 Started BCPs (to lower estrogen)
4/01/05 Started Lupron (20u, 9 days) and Dexamethasone (0.25mg)
4/10/05 Started stimming with Follistim (300u, lowers to 225u, etc.); lower Lupron to 5u
4/20/05 IVF ER (9 retrieved, 6 mature, 5 fert)
4/26/05 IVF#1 ET with three 5-day embies [CAVM, CAVM, EB]
4/27/05 PIO & HCG injections etc.
5/05/05 Beta = 3 BFN; stop all meds
5/25/05 Follow-up consult with RE; b/w for antibodies
6/07/05 Anticardiolipin borderline negative (11); all others negative (<11)
6/21/05 Last acupuncture (she moved)
7/20/05 AF delayed by 2 weeks, but 5 BFNs (inc. BPT)
7/22/05 BCPs started
8/30/05 Last BCP
9/02/05 Baseline u/s; started Dex & aspirin; E2-13, FSH-5.3, LH-3.3
9/04/05 300u Follistim & 75u Repronex each night
9/08/05 CD8: E2:181; 1-11mm, 1-12mm, none on left
9/09/05 CD9: E2:?; 1-13mm, 1-15mm, no others; Follistim to 150u, stop Repronex [IVF#2 converted to IUI]
9/10/05 Follistim 150u 
9/11/05 10,000u HCG shot 9:30pm
9/13/05 IUI #3 didn't happen: no sperm, no BD, no 2WW for me
November IVF booked – signed up for January IVF
12/28/05 Didn't start AF on time, so unable to participate in January 2006 IVF
2006
1/13/06 Lap – found & removed cysts and more endo
1/26/06 Started BCPs for suppression
3/16/06 Start Lupron (20u, 9 days) and Dexamethasone (0.25mg)
3/23/06 FSH 6.0, E2 13. One 11mm cyst. OK to start.
3/25/06 Start stimming with 225u Follistim & 75u Repronex each night; lower Lupron to 5u in morning
3/30/06 E2 54; Lining 2mm; 3 small follies on left, nothing on right (cyst gone); increase the Repronex to 150u
3/31/06 E2 129; follicles 12mm, 8mm, 7mm
4/01/06 E2 152
4/03/06 E2 432; Lining 9mm; follicles 15mm, 12mm, 8mm
4/04/06 E2 649; follicles 18mm, 13mm, 10mm; cycle converted to IUI (HCG trigger shot 10pm)
4/06/06 IVF#3 converted to IUI#3 10am CD15 (35 million sperm post-swim-up)
4/07/06 Prometrium tablets 200mg 2x day (Progesterone); Dexamethasone (4mg)
4/12/06 CD21 B/W: Progesterone 54.5; Prolactin 9.6
4/20/06 Beta <2 BFN
5/04/06 New clinic consultation
5/18/06 AF started 
5/19/06 Baseline b/w [FSH & E2 good]
5/21/06 – 6/5/06 BCPs 
5/29/06 DH & I start Z-pak (antibiotic)
5/30/06 Started acupuncture again
5/31/06 – 6/24/06 10u/night Lupron 
5/31/06 Start baby aspirin and 0.25mg dexamethasone daily
6/14/06 Suppression scan (u/s and b/w)
6/18/06 Start 225u Gonal-F x2/day , 10u low dose HCG
6/23/06 First scan (u/s and b/w) – IVF#4 cycle canceled [16,14,14,10,9,7mm]
6/25/06 Trigger
6/27/06 BD naturally
7/11/06 HPT BFN
8/28/06 Acupuncturist said my pulse was different (4DPO)
9/11/06 Acupuncturist said my pulse was different (18DPO/CD2)
9/15/06 Saw my first and only ever faint line (21DPO/CD6) B- [evaporation line?]
12/1/06 Stopped acupuncture, stopped Bromocriptine
2007
02/07 Started looking into adoption
05/07 Took Foster Parent training classes
06/07 Started researching donor eggs and donor embryos
07/05/07 Phone consult with RE at CCRM
07/18/07 One day workup at CCRM; low antral follies so no more IVFs
07/25/07 Annual exam (pap), prolactin tested at 28 (<19 ok)
08/10/07 Annual mammogram (all ok)
09/18/07 Matched with a proven egg donor!! [Born 1983; her previous cycle: 23 eggs, 17 fertilized, 9 blasts, twin pregnancy due March 2008.]
10/03/07 CD3 – started mock cycle locally; one estrogen patch every other day
10/09/07 E2 = 58 (>50, ok)
10/10/07 Blood draw for STDs (DH & I)
10/11/07 CD10 Two estrogen patches
10/13/07 CD12 Three estrogen patches
10/15/07 CD14 Four estrogen patches every other day; E2 = 158 too low (>300 ok); lining 12, striped (very good)
10/15/07 DH: semen analysis; blood draw for Cystic Fibrosis test [was supposed to also do semen culture test]
10/16/07 CD15 Start Progesterone tablets 200mg 3x day
10/25/07 Endo bx; stopped estrogen and progesterone
10/26/07 Prolactin tested again (fasting in the morning), was high 46
10/28/07 CD1, waiting for schedule
10/30/07 On BCPs (Yasmin 28)
11/01/07 Calendar received for 12/17/07 ET!
11/06/07 Biopsy results are BAD. I am missing Beta-3 Integrine, an enzyme that helps embryos adhere to the uterine lining. Cycle postponed.
11/18/07 Last BCP
11/23/07 First Depot-Lupron shot (CD1) [Method started to fix enzyme issue]
12/21/07 28 days later Second Depot-Lupron shot IM
2008
01/18/08 28 Days later Start BCPs and get new calendar
01/23/08 Prolactin tested: 3 [RE says excellent]
01/30/08 Twice weekly acupuncture started again
02/03/08 Start Lupron 10u/day
02/04/08 DH & I started Doxycycline 2x/day for ten days
02/15/08 Start Estrogen (1 patch every other day), oral estrace, low dose aspirin
02/21/08 Blood draw E2 = 138 (>50, great); 2 patches
02/22/08 Donor's baseline good; all set to start
02/24/08 Donor starts stims! 3 patches
02/26/08 4 patches (every other day)
02/29/08 Donor's first u/s: 20 follies!
03/02/08 Fly to Colorado (CCRM)
03/03/08 U/S and E2; mtg w/ Physician; DH provides back-up sperm sample [Donor: coasting with 20 follies to mature them; Me: triple striped 9mm lining and 431 E2(>300); DH: 67 million sperm, motility 43%, morphology 2%]
03/04/08 Last Lupron shot
03/05/08 First Progesterone (PIO) shot, 1cc daily
03/06/08 Donor ER (w/ICSI); b/w Prog 20 & E2 1000; start Medrol & Tetracycline (for 4 days each) [DH: 140 million sperm; motility after prep 85%; 2% morphology]
03/07/08 Embryologist report: 22 eggs retrieved, 16 were mature, 14 fertilized with ICSI; increase to 2cc PIO
03/09/08 Day 3 report: They want to see: 6-10 cells; grade 4 (best) or 4-, 3+; We have: 9 good embryos (meaning they are where they want to see them), 3 slower at 4 cells, 2 that are 7 cells but fragmented, so lower grade 
03/11/08 5-day ET: 200mg Prometrium at 7am vaginally; Acupuncture at 11:30 am; transfer at 1:15 pm (one perfect expanded blast; second slower blast); acupuncture post-ET
03/17/08 Relaxed pulse was 84 instead of usual 60-70
03/18/08 Positive HPT at 6am (FRER)! Started 200mg Prometrium vaginally 3x/day
03/19/08 Beta #1: 152; P4 >40 (13dpo)
03/21/08 Beta #2: 390 (doubling time=1.47 days); P4=78
03/28/08 Beta #3: 8488 (doubling time=1.57 days); P4=76, E2=455
04/04/08 Blood draw P4>40, E2=793
04/06/08 First spotting (brown blood) accompanied by cramping in center of pelvis
04/07/08 First ultrasound & OB consult: Singleton (0.62cm=1/4") measuring 6w4d with heartbeat (116bpm)
04/08/08 Start weaning off bromocriptine: half pill x7 days then stop
04/11/08 Blood draw P4=80.1, E2=382
04/18/08 Blood draw P4>40 , E2=921
04/19/08 Cut down to 3 patches every other day, 1 cc PIO daily, maintain estrace & prometrium x3 day
04/21/08 Vision migraine #3 in 3 weeks
04/22/08 Blood draw: P4=98, E2=1003
04/23/08 Cut down to 2 patches every other day; prometrium x2 day
04/25/08 Blood draw: P4=120, E2=670
04/26/08 Cut down to 1 patch every other day; prometrium x1 day
05/02/08 Blood draw: P4=58, E2=634; no changes to meds
05/08/08 Blood draw: P4=73.1, E2=636
05/08/08 NT scan: 1.2mm fold (1 in 10,000 risk for trisomy & downs); HB 188 bpm; baby 4.23cm long, measuring 11w
05/10/08 Stop patches; 1cc PIO every other day
05/12/08 Blood draw: P4=72, E2=592
05/15/08 Blood draw: P4=44, E2=748; stop all meds next day
05/19/08 Blood draw: P4=42, E2=709; all stable, released to OB
05/23/08 Second trimester!
06/13/08 Blood draw: Risk factors are 1 in 2,500 for Downs, 1 in 10,000 for Trisomy 18, 1 in 6,000 for Spina Bifida
07/10/08 Scan (20w u/s) revealed possibility of "hypoplastic left heart", a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped; the OB also mentioned "DiGeorge Syndrome", a chromosonal disorder where one of the symptoms is heart defects, but an amnio or blood test after birth must be performed to confirm this; baby is 14 oz., 131 bpm, measuring 21 weeks, all else looks great
07/14/08 Talked with RE at CCRM, he said that sperm quality probably caused the embryo quality drop off after day 3. If there is a next time, DH would do Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA).
08/06/08 Fetal echo cardiogram: diagnosed with (1) AV canal defect with small left ventricle; (2) double outlet right ventricle; (3) pulmonary valve atresia. Treatment includes: (a) prostaglandin to keep ductus arteriosis open after birth; (b) Blalock-Taussig Shunt in first week; (c) Glenn Shunt at 5-6 months; (d) completion of Fontan Procedure at 3 years.
08/28/08 Third trimester!
09/04/08 Prenatal appt: u/s showed baby moving well; baby lying head down right, rear up left; gained 23 pounds to date. Did Glucose Intolerance (one hour) test.
09/05/08 Consult w/cardiac surgeon.
09/09/08 Passed GD test (129)
09/15/08 Started BH Contractions
09/18/08 OB appt & growth scan: Baby is 3 lbs. 8oz. (50th %); feet very long; lots of amniotic fluid; no fluid around heart, HB 133; did internal exam – not dilated; first hypnobirthing class
09/19/08 Consult w/second cardiac surgeon
09/24/08 Fetal echo #2: no change to diagnosis, veins and arteries nice and strong; Tour of L&D NICU
10/02/08 Prental visit, BP 117/71, pulse 74, baby looks good; second hypnobirthing class
10/05/08 Coming down with a cold
10/08/08 Meet with Doula
10/11/08 Childbirth Prep class
10/13/08 First non-stress test (NST) – passed, HB 145 bpm
10/16/08 NST passed; checked amnio fluid levels (9.5) – good [between 5 and 20]; OB appt – all good
10/20/08 NST passed; started swelling of legs and ankles at night
10/22/08 Meet with Doula
10/23/08 NST passed, HB 135 bpm; Amnio level 16; BP 114/69
11/16/08 Surprise! It's a girl! Baby girl born.
12/01/08 Baby underwent open-heart surgery to correct about four defects, installed a b-t shunt
12/17/08 Baby underwent surgery for abdominal corrections
12/18/08 Baby died due to blood clot in her shunt
2009
01/09/09 Started Energy Healing to balance hormones, relieve pain of grief
01/21/09 Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay: sperm integrity is good, all results normal
02/05/09 First post-partum AF
03/05/09 Mock cycle to start; mammogram & breast exam
03/07/09 CD3 Start estrogen patches every other day
03/13/09 Estradiol 67 (should be >50); ok but adding 1 estrace tablet orally per day now
03/17/09 One day work up at CCRM; u/s: lining 11mm triple striped, ovulated and making progesterone, excellent blood flow; hysteroscopy: no scars, perfect; b/w: estradiol 117, STD testing etc.
03/20/09 Started taking low dose aspirin x1 day on my own
03/22/09 (Started 200mg prometrium early 2x day in case of BFP)
03/23/09 Estradiol only 297 (>300 good), but can cut back to 2 patches, stop estrace; RN said lining was great and that was the important thing
03/24/09 200mg prometrium 3x day for ten days, then stop patches, too
03/28/09 BFNs on digital (FMU) and FRER
04/04/09 First Depot-Lupron shot (CD1)
04/29/09 Matched with a new donor! [Born 1983, first time]
05/02/09 Second Depot-Lupron shot IM
05/07/09 Blood draw (fasting): Prolactin level 40 (too high); CBC and thyroid normal; started Bromocriptine
05/23/09 Breakthrough bleeding
05/26/09 Start BCPs
06/15/09 Start Lupron 10u/day
06/15/09 DH & I started Doxycycline 2x/day for ten days
06/19/09 Last BCP
06/22/09 CD1; Blood draw (fasting): Prolactin level 5 (excellent)
06/24/09 Start Estrogen (1 patch every other day), oral estrace, low dose aspirin, Lupron to 5u/day
06/29/09 Twice weekly acupuncture started again
07/02/09 Blood draw E2: 155 (>50); 2 patches
07/04/09 3 patches (every other day)
07/05/09 Donor starts stims 
07/08/09 4 patches (every other day); Donor's first u/s: follicles 9-10 on left and 14-15 on right
07/09/09 Donor cycle canceled: she is not responding correctly to meds and may not be taking them properly (which she denies).
07/10/09 Cycling now with new frozen egg donor (b. 1986, 18 mature eggs) in new "egg vit" program
07/12/09 Fly to Colorado (CCRM); last Lupron shot
07/13/09 U/S and E2; thaw frozen eggs & fertilize(w/IMSI); b/w E2 762; start Medrol & Tetracycline (for 4 days each), first Progesterone (PIO) shot, 1cc in AM, 200mg Prometrium in PM
07/14/09 B/w P4 46; Embryologist report: of our 18 frozen eggs, 16 survived the thaw and 13 fertilized.
07/16/09 Day 3 report: All 13 still growing, 12 are good (6-10 cells) and one is just 2 cells
07/18/09 5-day ET (2 grade 4AA perfect embryos, 3 frozen); acupuncture pre&post-ET; E2 312, P4 33
07/19/09 Six more embryos frozen (total of nine in five straws: 4@4BA,4BB and the rest less)
07/23/09 10dpo HPT BFP; increase prometrium vaginally 3x day
07/26/09 13dpo Beta #1 – 171, P4 26
07/28/09 15dpo Beta #2 – 371 (Doubling 1.78 days), P4 26, E2 269
08/03/09 B/w: E2 344, P2 44
08/10/09 B/w: E2 472, P4 60
08/13/09 First u/s (6w3d): Twins – Baby A 6w1d 140bpm; Baby B 6w2d 140bpm; b/w: E2 838, P4 53
08/17/09 B/w: E2 734, P4 52; reduce patches to 3 every other day, prometrium 2x/day
08/19/09 B/w: E2 603, P4 61
08/25/09 B/w: E2 913, P4 54; reduce to 2 patches
08/28/09 B/w: E2 827, P4 65; reduce to 1 patch and 1 prometrium at night
09/01/09 U/s (9w1d): Baby A 9w2d 180bpm; Baby B 9w2d 175bpm; b/w: E2 971, P4 86
09/02/09 Stop patches; reduce PIO shots to every other day
09/04/09 B/w: E2 758, P4 62; no changes to meds
09/09/09 B/w: E2 827, P4 57
09/11/09 Last PIO shot, last estrace tablet
09/14/09 B/w: E2 767, P4 55; no more meds *graduated from the RE*
09/28/09 NT scan (13w0d): 1.8mm folds (1/10,000 risk for DownS); Baby A 13w3d 154bpm; Baby B 13w6d 165bpm; first video
10/27/09 Anatomy scan (17w1d): Baby A 17w5d 147bpm 0.8 oz; Baby B 17w3d 156bpm 0.7oz; cervix great 5cm; hearts look great; expecting two boys!
11/02/09 Results of sequential screening test: 1/9000 risk for DownS, 1/1600 risk for Spina Bifida
11/24/09 Second anatomy u/s (21w1d): Baby A 22w1d 141bpm 1 lb. 1 oz; Baby B 22w0d 147bpm 1 lb. 0 oz; cervix 6cm!
12/14/09 Three days of excessive BHs
12/16/09 Fetal echocardiogram (24w2d): Baby A 26w3d 147bpm 1 lb. 14 oz; Baby B 25w1d 153bpm 1 lb. 10 oz; cervix still 6cm; fundus measures 33 wks! Both babies have all normal heart and arterial structures.
12/22/09 Very painful sacroilitis for two days – chiro appt fixed it.
2010
01/07/10 (27w3d): Baby A 30w1d 133bpm 3 lb. 0 oz; Baby B 29w1d 144bpm 12 lb. 13 oz; both babies head down; Baby B has higher than normal amniotic fluid; GT test done, results Monday [125<139, passed!]
01/25/10 (1am-6am) Excessive BH CX sent me to L&D this morning! FFN negative, cervix still high, closed, hard.
01/25/10 (30w0d) OB appt and limited scan (fluid levels and cord doppler): Baby B's fluid level is normal; both babies are head down; all is well
02/05/10 (31w4d) Thought my water broke; emergency office visit tests all negative
02/09/10 (32w1d) Passed first NST; fundus is sized 45 cm x 59 cm; BP 109/73. Baby A: 35w4d, 5 lb 4 oz, 150 BPM; Baby B: 34w4d, 4 lb 15 oz, 136 BPM. 
02/26/10 (34w4d) Fundus 47 cm! Fetal heart rates 135/150. Passed NST.
03/05/10 (35w4d) Urinalysis shows +2 sugar +3 protein; Group B Strep swab (negative); 50% effaced, baby not engaged.
03/08/10 (36w0d) Emergency visit due to Pre-Eclampsia symptoms (very swollen in feet/legs, swelling in hands and face; headaches). Urinalysis normal, bloodwork mostly normal, platelet count is low 126 (<140), BP 111/71. Baby A seems to be lower. Getting harder Cx. Passed NST.
03/12/10 (36w4d) Urinalysis normal, BP 116/68; platelets stable (128). Baby A: 36w3d, 6 lb 5 oz, 129 BPM; Baby B: 36w6d, 6 lb 12 oz, 142 BPM. Babies still head down.
03/19/10 (37w4d) Passed NSTs, both babies HBs in the 140s. Urinalysis normal, BP 122/70; 1cm dilated, 50% effaced; stripped membranes. Have pitting edema in feet and legs.
03/21/10 (37w6d) Passed NSTs: Baby A 125, Baby B 140; BP 114/71. Fluid level around Baby A is too low, need to induce right away
03/22/10 (38w0d) Induction scheduled 7:30am at L&D; Babies A and B born. No NICU time. Everyone healthy.

*some information has been changed to protect the privacy of individuals*
 

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Gena is the mom of three boys, ages 5, 3, and brand new! She is the wife of a great man, a Christian, blogger, and former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom. They live in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Texas area.

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Comments

  1. Oh my word. I can't believe how much she has been through. I never take my children for granted as I have been very lucky to fall pregnant within a month of trying for each child. Happy she finally got her babies :)

  2. Wow! It's so easy to take things for granted, can't imagine how arduous this must have been.  Glad to see that the journey was worth it in the end, though! :)

  3. Losing a child has got to be hardest thing any parent can face.  It must have been so hard to pick up and start over.

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