This is a long over-due update to the on-going saga of trying to get Baby Rhodesbud here!
March 2009 was tough. The OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome) was hellish. It was really hard on my body, and my ovaries are permanently enlarged as a result (it added a centimeter or two to the permanent "baby bump" I've got going on). Each time we do fertility treatments it adds a few more pounds and some permanent "enlargements". I'm not trying to "milk" sympathy, we know how pathetic we are :), but this might be pertinent information for others going through this process.
Because of the OHSS, we were not able to implant any embryos at the time and we had to freeze them. We let my body rest for a few months and then we decided to do an implantation in August 2009. Now, when it comes to fertility and timing, there IS no good timing. Life continues to go on, and sometimes things are quiet and sometimes they are busy. August turned out to be very busy and stressful. The embryo "took" but it implanted somewhere other than my uterus. My blood tests showed "something" growing (the levels were too low for a viable pregnancy, but too high to be nothing). There were a lot of ultrasounds and almost daily blood draws, but by mid-September, the levels were dropping enough to do a "chemo" shot. Just a shot of anti-cell-growing medicine (you get two shots at the same time, two nurses, two syringes, and two buttocks, both mine... even though I was sad-ish feeling I could not help but laugh at the awkwardness). Again, we let my body rest for a little bit.
By December, we were ready for another transfer. We unfroze the rest of the eggs (we had unfrozen about half in August and implanted the best ones. Eggs lose "effectiveness" once they have been frozen and thawed. Freshly fertilized eggs directly implanted is the best option). We got my body ready with the necessary shots and meds and things looked good. The implantation went well, and for a while, the embryo "took".
I remember when they told us we still felt really cautious, just as we have with every tidbit of news the doctors give us. It was close to our anniversary when we found out that my levels were good and showing a successful transfer, but I remember going out to dinner to celebrate and feeling really subdued.
One of the hardest parts of the in vitro process for me is not the shots and the meds, but telling my friends and family what's going on. I am of two minds on the matter: on one hand, the only reason we have been able to do this is because of the generosity and support of others and therefore I feel these people have a right to know what is going on. These wonderful people are also praying for us and for the success of the procedure, and that is a power I have faith in and need! On the other hand, when people know what were doing and when we're doing it they sometimes want news and information we are not ready to share. I was not ready to share the fact that we had our first "viable pregnancy". We did send out a very cautious e-mail saying that things looked good and thanking everyone for their love and prayers.
A couple of weeks later we had an ultrasound where the doctor informed us that it did not look like an embryo was growing. It was more like a mass of tissue that was acting like a pregnancy. I had a small "natural" miscarriage (thank goodness I did not need a procedure for that) and we let everyone know it was a "no go".
This was a dark time for me. Todd and I still call it that. We were not living in our own home (we were waiting for our current home to be finished and were living in temporary housing), it was the depths of winter (gross), and we were not surrounded by our creature comforts. It's almost good that it was like that because it seriously could not have been any worse, and if we go through this again, I know it won't be that bad again! Blessing!
This dark time led to some really "light" times. I have taken a year off from even thinking about fertility. We continue to get a lot of pressure from well-meaning friends and family about adoption, but the answer we continue to get from our searching is "not yet". It's hard for us (but SO happy) to have friends go through the adoption process and add to their families this way. We don't know why this is not part of our path right now, and frankly, it's getting more and more difficult for me to endure the well-meaning pressure.
Here comes the hard part for some people to digest: I am okay with not having kids. This doesn't mean that we will not continue to pursue options, pray, fast, seek, and ask, but I want people who care about me to know (and to accept) that children may not be part of our earthly path, and while that may be sad for some, I have had 10 years to come to grips with it, and I am okay.
I do feel sad that we don't have kids to share the fun things with; holidays and family traditions are SO much funner and more meaningful with children. I do feel really sad that Todd and I might grow old with no one to look after us or care for us or visit us. Our posterity ends here. But I have dealt with all of these scenarios and ramifications and I can handle it, I have to, this is what my life is!
We are currently looking into more fertility treatments. I had a polyp removed from my uterus this January that might improve the "environment" for future treatments. We have been to a Counselor who was very helpful in helping us explore our feelings on infertility, our relationship, and how we handle our stresses. We feel (and our counselor backed us up on this) that if we try another treatment, we will not publish our time line or the results unless they are positive. It's too hard, it's too much pressure to have people too many details. We know people continue to pray for us and we still need it, but we need to insulate ourselves a little more from the well-meaning inquiries.
Again, we are looking at the timing, and the timing is never good. Life goes on. Who knows what is around the bend. Todd and I continue to be happy and to try and follow divine inspiration on the matter. We are SO GRATEFUL for the continued love and support from friends and family. We couldn't do this at all without knowing how much others care for us and for a positive outcome. While this whole process has been hard, it could have been a LOT harder. I continue to be very open and honest about the process and am very willing to talk about what we've gone through. If you or anyone you know has questions about the process, its pros and cons, let me know, I'd love to talk to them.
Carrie & Todd