Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How it came to be... Intended Parents' Side

How it came to be… (*Contributed by Intended Parents)

My husband and I both always knew we wanted children. We dated for several years before we got married, we were best friends and looked forward to our future. Shortly after we got engaged, on a fluke we found out that I had a large benign liver tumor that needed to be removed and I had to have surgery right away. The tumor also known as a Hepatic Adenoma was caused by OCPs that contained estrogen and due to my prolonged use, I had developed a tumor.

Because of this, I was told by physicians that I could never use OCPs again. This was disappointing news because I have endometriosis and birth control is known for keeping some of the symptoms at bay. After we got married I decided to go see a fertility specialist due to my family history of endometriosis. My husband and I went to a large clinic in Boston and one of the first of many tests that I had to have done was a HSG test, where they checked my fallopian tubes. I learned at this appointment that both of my fallopian tubes much to our surprise were both blocked and even worse, were so damaged that they both had to be removed before we could proceed. I remember walking out of the hospital that day and sitting on a bench outside the hospital. I sat there for almost 2 hours and cried. This may sound dramatic but at that very moment in time, I knew that I would never be able to have a baby without IVF. I knew that I would have to have my tubes removed and that it would be a complicated medical journey. My body had defeated me and I was frankly really angry.

I quickly had a Laparoscopy and had a Salpingo-oophorectomy (fallopian tubes removed). During this surgery they also found pretty severe endometriosis. This was not my first Lap, in fact it was my third to date, and each surgery my endo was progressing I was 27 years old. IVF came next after I healed. The most difficult thing about IVF is the unknown. The unknown of how well your body will respond to the medications, how many follicles you will create, how many eggs will fertilize, implant, and result in pregnancy. 

We did 2 IVF cycles and they both failed. On the third IVF cycle we added AH (Assisted Hatching) and it worked like a charm, I was finally pregnant. Yet, I started bleeding very heavily early in the pregnancy. I learned that I had a SCH (Subchorionic hemorrhage) that was causing the bleeding.  Although they can be somewhat common in IVF, it was not fun. I had very heavy bleeding for over 2 months during the beginning of the pregnancy, and despite this I learned I was pregnant with twins. We were in complete shock, yet thrilled. At the time we felt like we had run a marathon and we had won. Infertility is tough on a marriage. It can be described as putting a microscope on your relationship. I was a hormonal nightmare to be around. Yes, I was the one who was going through all of the treatments, but my husband was the one who had to deal with me, and I was frankly tough to deal with. I was on a mission, and that mission involved IVF and I often stopped at nothing to make sure this was top priority, even to a point of obsession at times. Looking back I give him a lot of credit, I was a hot mess at times.

Things progressed with the pregnancy for several months, but I could never get the fear out of the back of my mind that something could go wrong. I waited months to tell most people that I was even pregnant, and I wasn’t gaining very much weight at all, compared to what most people gain while they were pregnant with twins. On a week day in November I drove to Burlington, Vermont for a work event and by the end of the event I really wasn’t feeling well. I chalked it up to pregnancy but the minute I walked into my hotel, I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding and it was heavy, I was 21 weeks pregnant. I was in shock but thought at the time that perhaps it had something to do with my previous SCH. I called my hospital and was instructed to stay at the hotel unless the bleeding became worse and to come to the hospital in Boston, first thing in the a.m.  The next day I drove several hours back to Boston and from there it became a world wind of bad news.We learned that the amniotic fluid in our daughter was quickly depleting. We had just learned the sex of the babies a few days before and everything had been fine. We learned that we had a few possible outcomes. One of them was that we would loss our daughter but our son may survive. The other possible outcome was that we would lose the entire pregnancy. The condition of the two babies over the next 2 1/2 weeks quickly became more serious. The fluid in both babies dropped completely and I was hemorrhaging and very weak due to all the blood loss.  We had no choice but to deliver both babies at 23 ½ weeks gestation. I was required to deliver both babies stillborn and we learned following the delivery that I had a severe placenta abruption. Nothing could have been done at that gestation to save the pregnancy. Our greatest fear had come true, they came into our lives and so quickly they were taken from us. In situations like these you look for answers, for explanations, we got second opinions we left no stone unturned. We were told although placenta abruptions are rare; they are more likely to occur after they have happened once, not the news we wanted to hear. Several months later we did IVF again. I wanted to do it right away, but my husband and the doctor both wisely made me wait till the spring.  

We couldn’t believe that this cycle was also successful. But nine weeks into the pregnancy we suffered a miscarriage. We also knew that moving forward our chance of success was much smaller, because we were told to never transfer more than one embryo due to my previous abruption and the quality of our embryos historically has not been great. We know we were always at risk for another abruption in a second or third trimester if we to become pregnant again and we felt that this was a risk we couldn’t take. 

During the catastrophe of our twin pregnancy, I emailed several surrogacy agencies. I knew that the pregnancy wasn’t going to end well and I was searching for hope for the future. I heard back from a few agencies but one agency in particular really stuck out and their office was in Boston, a block from my husband’s office at the time. I emailed them and a few days later they wrote back. We kept this in the back of our minds and after our second loss we decided to schedule an appointment with Circle and meet with them in person. My husband was 100% on board, but we had many questions. For many people this may sound illogical, unthinkable, but for us it seemed like an incredible option. 

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