We hope these stories bring you some much needed inspiration, as well as a reminder to keep on with the battle. You CAN reach your dream of parenthood.
This month's story of hope is from our friend Michelle. I hope you enjoy her story Be sure to leave some comment love and thank her for the reminder to us that dreams do come true.
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My name is Michelle. I am in my early 30's and have been married for almost five years. I am finally a mom to twins Q & V who are now nine months old. This is the story of how they got here.
After about a year of marriage, my husband and I decided to toss the birth control out and "see what happens." I always had a feeling I might have problems as I had a ovarian cyst that burst when I was younger and my cycles were never regular.
After being off the pill for a few months my cycles got increasingly further apart so I went to see my OB/GYN. Based on what she saw, she believed I had PCOS. She offered to run some blood work in office or I could go straight to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I chose to see the RE, I didn't want to wait any longer, I had such a bad feeling about getting pregnant without help.
We waited a month to see a RE and in that time decided to get the Semen Analysis out of the way. A week after this test I got a phone call from the reproductive nurse. She told me that there were zero sperm present in my husbands sample. We never expected this. We were totally devastated. Then I was diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism.
Our next steps were lots of tests, bloodwork, an appointment with a prestigious urologist, and a repeat semen analysis. All tests confirmed our initial diagnosis. We had our appointment with the Uro who prescribed Clomid (for him!) and said that he hoped to see some change after a few months of using this drug. It proved to be another worthless step as the next analysis came back the same.
We found out that although we live in a state were infertility coverage is required by law, companies with less than 50 employees are exempt from this..and we both worked for one of those companies. We could proceed with donor sperm or have my husband undergo a very invasive testicular surgery called TESE. During this surgery they would remove tissue from the testicle and analyze it for sperm.
It was a bad time. It was a bad time for my marriage, my friendships, my work performance. I just wanted to be a mother. I didn't want to feel broken. I didn't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a chance at a baby when my friends and crackhead sister had three healthy children.
It just wasn't fair.
We decided to save and borrow as much money as we could over the next few years. We got a known donor to agree to provide sperm, should the TESE surgery yield nothing. In March 2010 my husband had the TESE surgery with the intent to freeze whatever was found.
The surgery was $5000 and we could only afford that at the time, not the IVF too. They took three tissue samples and found that whatever caused his infertility happened many many years ago. Perhaps from a childhood virus or trauma. My doctor did a test freeze and thaw on one of the three samples and found one half dead sperm. We were not hopeful for the other two samples.
In September of 2010 due to financial help from my mother, we had enough money for one IVF cycle. IVF #1 was canceled for lack of ovarian response. IVF #2 my hormone levels stopped rising appropriately. So we did an egg retrieval so my doctor could examine my eggs.
We got six eggs. Of those six eggs, there were mature and looked fine. Throughout this time my doctor gave us many discounts and didn't charge for a number of procedures, it was the only way we could afford to keep going. IVF #3 began and went really well. They scheduled my egg retrieval and a second TESE surgery for my husband the same day. On December 1, 2010 they retrieved 40 eggs, 25 were mature!! They also thawed the tissue and found enough sperm to fertilize 19 eggs with ICSI!
We transferred two embryos and I didn't get pregnant.
The day my nurse called with my negative results she asked when we wanted to do the frozen transfer. I told her I hadn't thought about it but we couldn't afford it. It would cost somewhere near $5000 to do and we only had $2500 left. After speaking to my doctor, he agreed to do it for $2500, he was confident we would get better results with an unmedicated uterus.
And he was right.
On February 3, 2011 we transferred two beautiful embryos. And I got pregnant. With twins!
Q & V were born on September 22, 2011 five weeks early and only Q spent time in the NICU. Today they are healthy nine month old babies.
I have so many people to thank for their existence. From my mother who lent us money, to the girls on twitter & blogs who gave me meds and unending support, to my best friend who never told me to relax, to the doctor who believed in me and believed in these children before they ever existed.
The two lovely embryos transferred on February 3, 2011
my beautiful children, Q & V.
Not a day goes by that I don't remember what it took to get here. And I will be eternally grateful.