Hello long lost blog. It’s been a while … a little over a year, to be exact. Well, in that little-over-a-year I got pregnant. So, that’s exciting! It’s a bit of a miracle story, how it all went down. Here’s the scoop:
After my last post I took a break for a few months and then saddled back up to the sperm donor sites last February. I went to Australia for a few weeks, came home and tried again. This time with shots and meds … the whole bit. Didn’t get prego but I did get discouraged and started to wonder if this was really my path.
At that point, May 2014, my doctor suggested an embryo adoption. This is where the potential mother adopts an embryo left over from another person’s IVF cycle. They are referred to as “snowflake babies,” which may be a bit cutesy for my personal sensibilities, but I digress. He recommended this as it’s a lot cheaper than IVF (around $12k versus $$40k) and I’d have a higher success rate, since I DID have post-40-year-old eggs. It was a lot to take in. After that appointment I jumped in a car with three girlfriends for a road trip to Asheville, NC, cried a bit, grieving the newest hand dealt—0 DNA versus 1/2 of my DNA, and then we started listening to 80’s music and cracking up and essentially, I put the whole baby drama aside.
I moved into a beautiful new house, played interior decorator for a few months, got on with my summer and courted a little around-the-world romance with a bloke I’d met in Australia.
I got the call. On Thursday, July 31st actually, two days before my 42nd birthday. That night I was hosting a party for 30+ people for visiting friends from Australia. My cousin from L.A. was coming in for the weekend. It was going to be a bustling birthday weekend!
“We have an embryo ready for you. Do you want it?”
They sent me limited info, including: picture of the egg donor and her biological child. She is petite, hispanic, sweet smile and her child is beautiful (looks to be around six in the picture). They sent info on the sperm donor—profile from California Cryobank: Irish, dark hair and eyes, 5.11”, lawyer, plays guitar, good teeth, no picture. Not a couple. Both donors. Both want to be kept anonymous.
Of course I had so many questions. Mainly, who put this DNA together if it’s not a couple?! Apparently another woman did. Was she single, gay, married; why did she hand pick this egg and sperm donor? I don’t know her story. What I DO know is that she didn’t achieve pregnancy, and instead of trying again she decided to put her leftover embryo’s up for adoption.
Cut to: Me. At work, getting a voicemail from a nurse, whilst in-between clients, asking if I wanted this embryo.
I eventually said yes. We set an appt for two weeks later. And then I said wait. Too much, too soon. I wasn’t emotionally prepared for an IVF cycle—four months of daily inter-muscular hip shots, 3 vaginal inserts a day, 8 pills a day. And so much money … I held off until November, still a bit ambivalent but glad to know that there was an embryo out there, mine for the taking, if I wanted it. Literally days prior to the revised appt (now in Oct) I decided to say YES to this unconventional option in front of me.
And I did it. A month of birth control, hormones, stomach and then hip shots, blood draws … all in preparation for the big ET –embryo transfer day. My friend K went with me to the hospital. I signed lots of papers, was given a Xanax, taken to a room with lots of nurses and my doc came in and implanted two embryo’s in my uterus. My nearest and dearest brought food and company during the four days of bed rest following the transfer. I took shots and suffered sore, bruised and lumpy hips. In the middle of the night on week two, when I got up to use the rest room I took a test, on a whim. I fell back asleep before I saw the results. The next morning whilst brushing my teeth I looked down (I’d forgotten I’d taken it) and lo and behold, two lines.
Still sleepy, I called my friend K. “I think I might be pregnant.”
“Yeah, it’s two lines. OMG!”
And that was the grand moment of discovery.
I went to Arizona the next day for Thanksgiving break and told my family. I was happy but the fatigue was so unrelenting it was hard to feel much of anything, besides sleepy and zoned out. My family started to excite over the first “designer baby” in the family. I played happy too.
Meanwhile, I was having a little bit of buyers (or rather, psuedo-baby-making) remorse. I was so sore from the shots, tired beyond belief, moody and bloated from all the pills and the guy from Sydney lost interest after the pregnancy news … two weeks in and I already wanted my “old life” back! Be careful what you ask for.
My saving grace was history. I have a history of loving children, and of wanting them. On my faith journey I would pray that all that love and affection would kick back in. And finally, it did. When I started bleeding.
Six weeks in I bled. I tried not to worry. After three days of spotting it turned bright red, which is the opposite of okay when you’re pregnant. I left work in an emotional frenzy one afternoon for an emergency ultrasound, to see if the pregnancy was still viable. J, my loyal colleague, held my hand in the sonogram room as we waited TWO HOURS for my doctor to come in. The ultrasound showed an embryo sac. I cried tears of relief.
Two days later I bled profusely, worse than a menstrual cycle. Blood clots. Cramps. I was so scared, panicked really. I knew I was having a miscarriage but it was so confusing as my hormone numbers were so good two days earlier, the embryo sac was there, with my developing baby. My only hope was that it was a vanishing twin. I was miscarrying the second embryo. When we did the ultrasound—K holding my hand, both of us crying, the embryo sac showed up. So did a healthy little heartbeat! 147 bpm. What a strange sensation to be grieving and then rejoicing with the same set of tears.
It was a “vanishing twin” and although I was relieved with the sight of one healthy embryo, I grieved my second baby. All so surreal, really. Two babies for six weeks.
And then there was one. And there’s still one. With ear buds, developing vocal chords, a huge noggin and a strong heartbeat.
I’m now on week 13. Baby is the size of a peach. Just a few more shots ALLELUIA, pills and vaginal inserts. Placenta is taking over and no need to artificially take care of the baby anymore. I’ve finally made it into the normal-pregnant-woman’s club versus the high-risk IVF pregnant one. Next week I get the release from the infertility doctor and will start seeing my midwife from here on out. Have gained lots of breast weight so far, but that’s about it … so more “porn star” than “pregnancy glow” at this stage as I’m still waiting for a little baby bump. Dreaming up nursery themes, researching parenting philosophies and lamaze classes and feeling like a pregnant cliche, as I ate two jars of pickles JUST this past week!
Mama bear is thrilled in her core, that this little mystery miracle baby is living and growing and manifesting inside her; inside me. God willing, I’m having a baby when I turn 43. Due date is August 6, 2015. My birthday is August 2, 1972. “I’ll be a grandma having a baby,” I joke with my friends. Always a truth in jest …
Life is so strange. And I’m so very grateful. Oh, and he’s a BOY! Here he is, week 13, showing off his junk. Ultrasound was from this morning! I’m over the moon.