After the D&C, we found out our insurance carrier wouldn’t cover any future rounds of IVF cycles. We appealed the decision. A couple of months went by. We got a rejection letter, denying our request for future IVF coverage. We were distraught. We thought long and hard. Were we ready to commit the kind of financial means we needed to make our dream of a family come true? What if it didn’t work? Not to mention the toll this would take on my heart and my body. After searching our souls long and hard, we decided it was worth the risk.
Once again, we were back on the IVF merry go round. The second cycle began on November 18th. During this round, the length of injections lasted 23 days with a total of 46 injections. The egg retrieval resulted in another 10 eggs.
The day after retrieval, as I was on my way to work, I got call from the clinic saying my husband’s sperm sample came back too low and they wouldn’t be able to use it. I couldn’t believe it, I was so upset. This could jeopardize the entire cycle. Doubt started creeping into my mind, but I held fast to the belief that this would work. I asked them if he could go back and try again. They said a second sample is usually worse, especially so close in time but they were willing to try; they reminded me time was of the essence. My husband was already on his way back to work when I called him to tell him the news. Full of anxiety, he raced back to BostonIVF. Thankfully, the second time around the sample came back with great numbers, my husband’s swimmers had come through. We joked that night that he should be a donor at the clinic.
Of the 10 eggs we got from retrieval, 6 fertilized but only 3 were of good quality. The clinic scheduled the transfer for November 30th, the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend.
After my acupuncture session, I was back in my operating robe, ready for action. This time we had a different doctor handling the procedure. I don’t know why, but from the moment I saw her, I had a bad feeling. She insisted we transfer only 1 embryo insisting that it was of great quality, and since the remaining embryos were as well, the likelihood of having triplets was high if we transferred 2 embryos. My gut disagreed. I told my husband I felt we should use 2 embryos, but he sided with the doctor and tried to reassure me that she knew best. Still, everything in me felt this was the wrong decision.
The transfer procedure this time didn’t go as smoothly, in fact it was a bit painful. It took much longer, and according to my husband, she used some pretty scary looking devices to try and get the cervix ready. I was blissfully unaware of this, thanks to my acupuncture session and my lack of hearing. As the procedure lengthened and the pain increased, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and thought this was a bad omen. I tried to shake it off, and to stay positive.
We went home and waited the dreadful week, only to learn it hadn’t worked. No pregnancy. I was crushed. That night as I laid in bed crying, my mother walked in and in typical Portuguese fashion stated the obvious “what did you expect filha? You waited too long to try and get pregnant.” When I cried even harder, she apologized and tried to comfort me. The sad thing is, she had voiced exactly what I had been thinking. I was 42 at the time.
We decided we would give it one last shot. We agreed after this cycle, there would be no more.
On December 17th, we began the third round of IVF. Injections lasted 23 days, but this time I only needed 31 injections. Since we already had 2 frozen embryos, there would be no egg retrieval, just a thawing process. On January 7th, 2015, we transferred both embryos. The minute I met the doctor who handled the procedure (Dr. Bayer), I knew it was all going to go well. My intuition was correct, and the procedure went fast and smoothly. This happened on a Wednesday.
One night soon after, I woke up in the middle of the night and went downstairs to grab a little snack. As I sat down to eat my toast and sip my tea, I felt 2 sharp pangs. One by the left side of my uterus, and one very low to the right of my uterus. I remember smiling and being sure that what I had just felt were my embryos implanting themselves. A week later, they confirmed what I had suspected all along, I was pregnant!!
This time though, I tried to keep my excitement in check. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But as blood tests kept coming back with tripling hcg levels, I just knew we were having twins. My husband was freaking out, rambling on about how expensive college is, what would we do if we had twins? I couldn’t help but laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I was freaking out too, but I felt more excitement than fear.
The day of our first ultrasound, I tried to keep calm and not jump to conclusions. My heart racing, my eyes fixed on the technician, I waited in the loud silence. When the technician finally spoke up, and confirmed there was a strong heartbeat to the left side of my uterus, my husband and I exchanged a big smile, and I started to tear up with happiness. Hesitantly I asked “is there another one?” After a minute she confirmed “ah yes, I hear another heartbeat!” This one was lower to the right side of my uterus. There it was, my suspicions were confirmed. I couldn’t believe it, and yet I could. As scary as it was, I had already embraced the notion of having twins. After all we had been through, I felt two were better than one. I thanked God for our tiny miracles, and wonder started to fill my heart. We waited until we were outside, and my husband and I kissed and hugged. We had finally found our joy.
Looking back, I know things happened as they should have. If we had we put in 2 embryos during the second IVF cycle, we probably would have ended up with just one baby. Now, I can’t fathom the idea of having only one child, I was meant to be a twins mom.
For those of you still on the IVF merry go round, take heart and keep the faith. Joy might just be around the corner.