Saturday, March 22, 2014

2.5 Kids?

"The typical American family has 2.5 kids." What does that mean exactly? I mean, what is half of a kid? The dog? That statement always amuses me.....

Regardless, we too would like to have more than one kid. Crazy?? Maybe. I mean, I knocked on deaths door delivering my son after struggling with infertility for FOUR YEARS just to have him. Am I being greedy at this point? Maybe I should simply appreciate what God has finally given us, and be content as a family of three. Here's the thing.....I LONGED for a sibling when I was little. My mom remarried and had two boys who were ten and twelve years my junior. I say "were" because the first born brother died five years ago in a car accident, one month before my wedding. That's for another post....

So, we still have five remaining embryos in the freezer at the fertility clinic. We refer to them as our "frosties". That's typical infertile lingo that your average person, fertile person, isn't familiar with. Everyone feels very differently about this, and this is simply my husband and my feeling about our embryos, but we feel we have an obligation to all of them. In other words, I plan to give them all a chance to become our children. I'm approaching 40 much faster than I would prefer, so those chances are going to happen in rapid succession. It took us four years and many embryos to finally meet our son, so who knows if any of these remaining frosties will even take, but I have to give them the opportunity to do so. If they all wind up being duds, we will reopen the adoption book....I feel that strongly about our Little having a sibling to grow up with.

When will this FET (frozen embryo transfer) happen? Well, in 12 days to be exact. We will transfer two more, and 9 days later we will know if I'm pregnant again. Sounds easy enough, and to be honest, it IS easier enduring fertility treatments when you finally have a baby at home. We have had our miracle, everything else at this point is simply icing on the cake. ;)

Then comes a baby?

Well, you can imagine my surprise when my period arrived once we returned from our honeymoon. What in the world?? We were newlyweds doing it like rabbits! My husband was the epitome of masculinity and I was under 35. Seemed like a no brainer.

We were married in May so by the fall, I thought maybe I should start using OPKs just to make sure we were baby making on the right days. I seemed to have really regular cycles, so frustration was building. By December I invested $200 on the CBE fertility monitor. We were really in the big leagues now! In March, we met with our first fertility specialist. Everything checked out ok with me, but my husband's semen analysis was devastating. He only had 2% normal sperm. After meeting with a urologist, he determined that there was a grade 3 varicocele in his left testicle that needed surgery to improve his swimmers. We agreed to move forward.

Finally by December 2010 (1.5 years after our wedding of which babies were supposed to immediately follow), the semen analysis had improved enough to try IUI. We were so excited and hopeful that this was it! Sadly, it didn't work. We decided to try again, never give up, never say die!! Our second procedure was cancelled because the sperm looked bad once again. We were advised to move onto IVF. Wait, what??? This can't possibly be happening.... :(

Of course, there is no IVF clinic in our town, so we traveled 2 hours away for treatment. Emotionally and physically it was intense, but it worked, on the first try! We couldn't wait to see our little bean at our first ultrasound. I could tell immediately by the doctor's face that the news wasn't good. It was a blighted ovum, an empty sac, and I would have to take a pill vaginally to deliver it at home. This was our first stab of pain to this degree. Even so, we wanted to get back on the horse and try again. We had gotten a small taste of victory, and we wanted it again, so badly.....

The next two years were filled with cycling, early losses, chemical pregnancies, and absolute heartbreak. Why was God testing us this way? What had we done to deserve this? The world was passing us by, everyone else was having babies, and we were stuck in this hell that we couldn't get out of......we could give everything to a child, and idiots were popping out kids they couldn't even provide for. I was angry, sad, withdrawn, bitter, and lost.

Finally in November 2012 we decided to cycle one last time. My body had had enough, my marriage had had enough, I had had enough. Our fresh cycle failed, again. We wound up with frozen embryos from that cycle, so we moved forward with a frozen embryo transfer in February. I was so sure it wouldn't work (why would it?) that we contacted an adoption consulting group in Atlanta and made the decision that we were ready to start our family one way or another, even if it was through adoption.

My pregnancy test was positive which it had been several times before. I felt like I was going to combust on the day of my ultrasound......and then it happened....the most beautiful sight and sound I had ever experienced, a tiny heartbeat.

After an uneventful pregnancy our son was taken via emergency cesarean at 36 weeks on September 27, 2013. I had developed HELLP syndrome, and my platelet count had dropped to 87. He was fine, but I needed a couple of blood transfusions so we were kept in the hospital for five nights. We were finally released to take our little family home. I had to have a D&C six weeks later to remove remaining pregnancy matter from my uterus. I lost 1.5 liters of blood during the surgery and found myself back in the hospital overnight with another transfusion. I honestly wondered if I would ever be back to normal......

But you know what? I would do every single bit of it again, every failed cycle, every tear, every bad day, everything, if I knew what was waiting for me at the end. Our beautiful, perfect, little miracle boy. My sweet son.

First comes love, then comes marriage....

Where, oh where, do I begin? Well, I'm a southern woman, a housewife, a new mommy, an aspiring chef, a music lover, and basically your typical 30-something (and holding!) girlfriend who didn't get to this point in my life with any ease. My wonderful husband and I met over eight years ago on MySpace (remember that previous form of social media we could clutter with playlists and digital photo albums??). We emailed back and forth for about three weeks before he asked me out to a piano bar on $5 pitcher night. Romantic, huh? Don't be jealous ladies! He even brought his roommate with him case I wasn't who was in the pictures on my profile. He definitely wanted an easy out if necessary!

Well, fast forward three years and he finally put a ring on it! We had an amazing wedding with our closest friends and family, and a wild honeymoon in the Bahamas for ten nights after that.

When I look back on our wedding pictures, all I can think is.....that's the naive girl who thought she would get pregnant on her honeymoon, who was worried about tossing her birth control pills the month before the wedding, who thought mommyhood was just around the corner. Boy. Was. I. Wrong.

This blog is about how we navigated through infertility, my passion for food and cooking, the challenges of marriage, the eventual arrival of our little miracle (plus our hopes and "plans" for another!), and this crazy yet wonderful life with my two boys at Casa de Ley. :)