One of the best things about being a mother-of-multiples (besides having multiples) is meeting so many women whose stories about having multiples are so different–and yet so familiar. A common theme to many of our stories is that we were told we couldn’t conceive children on our own–for whatever reasons–and that we’d need assistance.
What do you do if your body just couldn’t produce the eggs necessary to conceive a child? Would you consider accepting an egg or two from another woman to make your dream of motherhood come true? This difficult decision is often not spoken about even between mothers of multiples. Marni had to make that decision. In this post she tells her story of the choices and challenges,the gratitutde and love that accompanies choosing to use donor eggs.
My husband and I met in May 2008–on MySpace, of all places:). We had both been married once before so once we met and started dating we quickly realized we were crazy about one another. There was one catch: he was 33yrs old and KNEW he wanted to be a Dad. I, on the other hand, was soon to be 40 and had all but given up on my dream to be a Mom. But, I knew I was crazy about this man so I promised to give it my all.
In January 2009 we decided to start trying for a family. And, no, we hadn’t gotten married, yet. Since we both had ready been down that road there didn’t seem to be a huge rush. We knew we were in love; wanted to spend our lives together; and, had the mutual desire to have children.
After a few months of trying the ol’ fashioned way, to no avail, I decided that due to my age, it was probably best to chat with my OBGYN, Dr Bryan Cox. After running a few tests he encouraged us to seek assistance from the Fertility Clinic of San Antonio run by Dr. Martin and Dr Neal.
We met with them in April of 2009. They concurred with Dr. Cox’s original findings: apparently, I wasn’t producing enough follicles in order to become pregnant naturally. They recommended moving forward immediately with the IVF process.
As we sat in the empty office with what seemed to be a thousand page contract to sign, one of the administrators helping us came in stuttering. She informed us, in a round about way, that since we weren’t married, the insurance coverage that I had with my employer would not pay ANYTHING towards fertility treatments. However, she continued, if we WERE married, with my husband being a San Antonio firefighter, his insurance would cover 80% of all treatments.
You could have heard a pin drop in that room. (Still makes me chuckle when I think about it!) Needless to say, we excused ourselves from that meeting and went directly to our favorite restaurant. Over a much-needed margarita, we discussed this turn of events. Within an hour I was busy planning our very small wedding.
On April 19, 2009, a minister married us at a bed and breakfast. The only other guest was the owner of the B&B.
One week later we were back in the office of the fertility clinic signing that huge stack of papers, gearing up for the long haul.
In May I started all of the shots, creams, pills and to prep my body for the job of producing follicles. on going clinic visits. Our first IVF round resulted in my body not producing even enough follicles to attempt an egg retrieval. In June we tried Intrauterine insemination (IUI). No luck.
Of course it couldn’t have been that easy and we were unsuccessful. The doctors suggested that I let my body rest in between cycles, so we took off two month. Before beginning the second round of IVF in September, our doctor mentioned the possibility of me not being able to produce my own eggs and suggested that we might want to consider using donor eggs.
I had NEVER even heard of such a thing so it took a bit to soak in. After all, our long term plan was to adopt if we couldn’t have children of our own. I was open to the idea but I wasn’t ready to go that route yet. Two additional attempts at IVF were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, at each doctors visit I would flip through the photo albums, looking at all of the pictures of the women who were willing to give their eggs to someone else in hopes to fulfill a dream.
But, honestly, we never saw “the” person that seemed to be our perfect fit.
On the day that we were to receive the test results of our final IVF treatment we decided to wait it out at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto and do a little praying. It was there that I received that call that always started the same: “Ms. Anderson, I’m sorry…” Blah blah blah.
I hung up and held my husband tight.
It was a long and quiet trip home that day. But, when we drove into the driveway I knew I needed to call the clinic back; I needed to know what we could do next.
As soon as the nurse picked up my call she said, “Marni, you’re not going to believe this, but I just had a possible egg donor candidate come in to talk with me. She seems to be a perfect fit for y’all!! When can you come in to see her bio and photos?”
We went the next day!
While waiting to see the nurse and egg donor advocate, we sat in the office flipping through the photo album of egg donors. Then, all of sudden, there she was! We knew it was our donor as soon as we saw her picture!! My eyes welled up with tears and my heart welled up with hope.
By the end of January 2010 all three of us were in full preparation mode. I continued taking my meds and my husband was taking a round of antibiotics to ward off any potential infection between that time and “show time”. At the end of the month we were notified that everything looked good to go and the donor seemed to have 10 eggs that looked like they could be successfully retrieved. They informed us of what our next weeks schedule would be: harvesting the donor eggs; dropping up my hubby’s sperm; the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) process where the egg is injected directly with the sperm; the waiting while the eggs developed and split; the egg implantation into me. To say that we were anxiously overwhelmed would be a total understatement.
That week went off without much ado. Right before my big day came for the implantation they called to inform me that only three of the eggs had made it successfully to the stage for the next process. I was a bit alarmed because that didn’t seem like very good odds to me. In any event, as my husband reminded me over and over: It only takes one!
Finally the day came for the implantation. We arrived at the clinic and they promptly escorted us to the room for the procedure. When the doctor entered, I immediately started crying. My husband and I, and even the doctor, knew that this would be our very last attempt at becoming parents. Everything was riding on the next 40 minutes.
At this point we discussed how many of the three viable eggs we were going to transfer. Knowing that this was the last go round I begged the doctor to inject all three. He quickly discouraged me, explaining that triplets would be more difficult to carry to term. We decided to implant only two—knowing there was still the possibility of one or both of those splitting. Gulp!!
And so it began… We had the unbelievable experience of watching the whole thing as it happened on the ultra sound screen. We saw the needle, with those precious eggs inside, being inserted and then the released. At that point I was told to lie very still and relax. Due to fact that I was required to come in with a full bladder so the doc could get a better image of the uterus for the process, the nurse quickly inserted a catheter. We waited what seemed to be an eternity all the while saying prayer after prayer after prayer. Then, we were escorted out and told to report back in two weeks for the blood test to determine if I was pregnant or not.
TWO WEEKS?!?! Might as well have been two years! It seemed as though everyone’s life was just moving on as usual but I was stuck in this awful time warp… Waiting… Praying… Going crazy!
Needless to say I didn’t wait the two weeks before I ran to the nearest drugstore for a home pregnancy test. In fact, I bought five: one of each name brand! At 6 am on Valentines Day morning, day 10 of 14, I popped a positive sign on one of those that blasted sticks! I quickly took a picture of that little stick with the purple “+” sign and sent it to my husband, who was on shift. Then, I called him screaming to look at his pictures!!! He confirmed that I was NOT seeing things and that it was in fact a positive sign!! Our prayers had finally been answered!
To say that was the end of our journey would be a lie. But, what follows is true for most pregnant moms. Worry. Worry. Worry. But, aside from a very rough first trimester and a half of horrible morning sickness, all went well with our pregnancy.