2000-Diagnosed with PCOS (in high school)
Darren and I got married in 2010, we "got off the pill in February 2011
Plan A: Naturally February-June 2011. We were going on a family cruise and thought that would be the perfect time to start trying. I knew I had mild PCOS (weird ovulation) but wasn't overly worried. I think I took a pregnancy test each month for 3-4 months. It was fun and stress free and exciting. In the summer I went back to my OBGYN
Plan B: Ovulation medicine July-December 2011 I was quickly diagnosed an-ovulatory (I don't ovulate at all one my own which means I couldn't get pregnant without eggs coming down). I was shocked that the last few months were in vain. The doctor reassured me that 5 mg of clomid would do the trick (it's supposed to make you ovulate). I couldn't WAIT to start it. In the meantime we found out Darren had some unknown minor issues too. Sigh. I was sure clomid would do the trick (I think like 60% of all couples that take it get pregnant in 6th months. Finally! Well, I took it the first month and it didn't work. Lots of crazy hot flashes and headaches and I never ovulated meaning we couldn't have gotten pregnant. I would have to take a pill to bring on a period to restart everything so each trial was like 45 days. They bumped me to the next dose 10mg and nothing. 45 days later I got to take the highest dose, 15 mg. At this point sex was not fun. It was a stressful panicked chore because I didn't want to do fertility treatments. I finally ovulated (very late like day 25) on clomid so the Dr. decided that we move to IUIs (artificial insemination).
Plan C: Try IUI w/ Clomid December 2011-July 2012 Obsessing became the new normal. By this point we had almost been at it for a year. I had to take these annoying ovulation predictor kits and when I got a "smile" face schedule the procedure. We got our first smile face in December 2011 and went in for our first (of several) IUIs. This is a simple procedure where they insert sperm into my cervix through a catheter. It seemed very dramatic and intense to me at the time but looking back it was nothing based on what would come. 4 days after doing the procedure, I got another smile face...meaning the first one was done in vain. I had to go back early January and get it done again. We were sure it would work. "I won't be surprised if your pregnant" Darren said. The lame thing with IUIs is they have to be timed perfectly and only are like 7-20% success rate each time. Our first one didn't work, neither did the 2nd. When I went in for my third we realized it was another false positive and that the clomid had stopped working. Again, a year later, we didn't even have a chance since no eggs were dropping. GRRR. I'm a mess by now.
Plan D: Try more IUIs with Femera: After 3 failed IUIs, they decide to move me to femera (another ovulation drug that is used for women with breast cancer) and monitoring and HCG injection. Femera would work, I just knew it. Around cycle day 12 I would have to go in and get vaginal ultrasounds where they would monitor my egg growth. Once the eggs were mature, I would take an HCG injection (again the fact that I had to take ONE shot really rocked my world and made me feel very very bad for myself). The idea is the HCG shot forces the eggs to come out in exactly 36 hours and that is when we would go in for an IUI. We could never win. Things would be perfect on my end but then for some reason the sperm count would be freakishly low (to the point where they would want to cancel the procedure) or the sperm count would be perfect but then we would find out that I never ovulated. I cannot explain how heartbreaking this was month after month as friend after friend announced their pregnancy. In 2012 we did a total of 8 artificial inseminations with no luck.
Plan E: IVF #1 September-November 2012 I lost it. I was done. We talked to a RE (infertility specialist) and he said that he thought D and I could get pregnant on our own with more time/patience but he recommended IVF just to get the process rolling. We couldn't agree more. He gave us a 70% success rate prediction. I was so ready. It had almost been 2 years (this was October 2012). We paid the 20k loan (it covered up to 4 attempts of IVF) and started. Doing IVF makes IUIs look like wimps. I mean, for 1 cycle I took over 100 injections. It puts your ovaries on crack and you produce like 20 eggs instead of 1, and they pull them out with a thin needle and then use ICSI (where they inject the sperm into the egg). Not exactly cute/romantic/how one imagines getting knocked up but at this point, I was way way over "traditional." It worked. After 24 eggs retrieved, 6 made it to day 5. They transferred 2 "perfect embryos" and 10 days later I got a positive pregnancy test. I wish this was the end of my story but it wasn't. With close monitoring, they quickly saw my numbers were off and told me to prepare for an early miscarriage. 1 month after the test I went in for an ultrasound to see an empty sack and had a D&C 1 week later. I woke up from the surgery sobbing. I had lost a little piece of my soul.
Plan F: Frozen Embryo Transfer March 2013 Luckily there were 4 frozen embryos left from IVF 1. We decided to do a frozen transfer(they are really close to being as successful as fresh). This time we told family and friends (the first IVF was a secret). We had a huge prayer meeting at church. The embryos unthawed perfectly and the transfer (March 2013) was perfect, everything looked really really promising. 10 days later I had ZERO symptoms and wasn't shocked when I got to negative tests. At this point I was mad. Very very angry. EVERYTHING looked promising for this cycle and IVF is the most aggressive approach. What the heck?
Plan G: The Old Fashioned Way April-June 2013 Our RE told us we could jump right back into the "fresh cycle" round 3 but we needed a break. I refused to completely take a break and begged for a prescription of femera (the pill that makes me ovulate) so we could try on our own for a bit. We did for 3 months. We timed things perfectly. We even went on a honeymoon #2 to the Caribbean right when I was ovulating. This was the perfect time for God to do a natural miracle and I allowed myself to hope. For the first time ever, I had spotting like a week before my period was due. I was 80% sure this was "implantation spotting." When my period came, it kicked me hard in the stomach-I cried at the loss again but more so that a full blow IVF would be our next step.
Plan H: IVF #3 June-July 2013 About 2.5 years from the start date, we started IVF #3 cycle May 27 (this took 8 weeks from start to finish). I gave myself shots after work and got to do the surgery about a week after I got out of school. Things were smooth. They took out less eggs but more made it to day 5 (9). I insisted on transferring 3 embryos. 100% sure. The embryologist tried to talk me out of it and so did the RE "your young." I had to do everything to hold back an eye roll. I pointed out that we had transferred a total of 4 perfect embryos and were still childless. We opted to put in the best two embryos and the weakest one (it was still like a B+ on the grade scale). 8 days later I got my 2nd positive pregnancy test ever but was very very guarded. At the 6.5 week ultrasound the tech found 3 sacks with 3 heartbeats. This was confirmed at 7.5 weeks with all 3 heartbeats strong (177, 171, 154). At exactly 9 weeks I had 1 time of light spotting so I went in and baby B was dead. We were shocked and horrified but then happy at the same time to see baby A and C moving. Nothing is guaranteed till I hold them in my arms.
Plan H continued: IVF #3 going all wrong. As mentioned above, we lost the triplet at 9 weeks. Everything was going perfect and we found out our twins were a boy and a girl at 16 weeks. At 17 weeks, 1 day the unthinkable happened. My water broke from the little girl. This is known as PPROM and it's a very fatal situation. Baby girl was given 1% chance and I went into labor a week later and delivered her as a still born. Miracously baby boy, who we have named Jude, was the last triplet fighting for life. We love him and we want him more than words can express. However, again God had other plans. I went into labor 4 weeks after Brinley's water broke and delivered Jude at 21 weeks.
Plan I: Try More IUIs since we had met our out of pocket with losing the twins, the IUIs were free. I tried 3 perfectly timed back to back IUI's with ultrasounds, femera, HCG shot and great sperm count (Husband went on clomid too). All negative results.
Plan J: Gestational Carrier/Surrogacy in November after losing the twins, an amazing woman stepped forward to carry some our leftover embryos from Jude and Brinly's cycle. She offered to do it for free. We transferred two, both stuck, and at 35 weeks 6 days, our genetic children, our loves, our dreams came true-I witnessed live crying babies being pulled out of our selfless and amazing surrogate-Noah Jude and Beckom Samuel were born on November 14, 2014.