You would think that after 16 years of telling my story so many times, I would have it memorized, but truth is I do not. I am certain that my subconscious has pushed so many of those memories away in order to somehow convince myself that I am okay, and past it all. One of my dearest friends, and fellow warriors Lisa Rosenthal once said it best…” we are not former fertility patients, we are recovering fertility patients”.
My story started the same way most everyone else’s does. Meet your partner, settle down, save some money, start your family. I was a terrible student, and never quite knew what I wanted from life, but one thing I knew for certain was that I would be a mom. I would be that young, cool, stay at home mom, I would breast feed, I would attend mommy & me classes, and then be in the preschool drop off lane by the time I was 30. This was what I envisioned for my future, so when I was told that I had a less than 2% chance of ever getting pregnant on my own, you could imagine how my world crumbled. Now I could have said “our world” but like most couples, one person will always be the optimist and the other will spiral into a deep dark hole, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am the one that spiraled and I spiraled hard.
To spare some time, I will give you the cliffs notes version….
· Married at 23.
· Started trying at 27.
· Saw OBGYN a few months after no success.
· Saw my first specialist after my OB said that one of the test results was bad.
· Immediately started IUI after the specialist said there was nothing to worry about, we just had to give mother nature a “nudge”.
· After 3 IUIs we were told it was time for IVF.
· We went for a second opinion with one of the top specialists in the country who proceeded to tell us that our OBGYNs findings were correct the first time! All of the IUIs we completed were useless and only offered a 5% success rate at best. The plan was IVF with ICSI, and it was our only hope.
IVF Round 1
So here is where our story gets fun, our insurance covered nothing relating to IVF. Not the meds, not the monitoring, not the procedure, ZERO! We were looking at a cost of at least 20K, and at the time about a 30% chance of success. Seeing that this was our best and only option, we took what savings we had, and a couple of credit card charges later we completed our first cycle. Stim was perfect, retrieval was perfect, embryology was perfect, my lining was perfect, and the transfer of 2 embryos was smooth as glass. We knew we had this in the bag, until we didn’t. Beta was NEGATIVE! You can imagine the shock and grieving that took place. Not only were we not expecting, we were also flat out broke. We used whatever money we had saved and racked up major credit card debt. Our only saving grace from that cycle was that we had 4 embryos left (we started with 21 eggs) so if you do the math, you really cannot put all your eggs in one basket, see what I did there???
FET Round 1
We managed to pay down some credit cards and charged an additional 5-7k as soon as we could so we could start our first FET. I wish this could be the part where my story ends, but that would have been too easy! Turned out my beta was positive, but the numbers were low, so I was told to be cautiously optimistic. I kept my chin up, and had so much hope, I knew there was no way life would be so cruel to us again, but it was. My beta dropped and I miscarried, they called it a chemical pregnancy, but in my eyes, it was it was our baby, and I had already started seeing a future for him or her.
FET Round 2
After mourning our loss, our family was kind enough to write us a check for another cycle, our last cycle. This was it, the last of the remaining embryos, our last chance. I had a surgery prior to this FET, in the hope of making my uterus more receptive to implantation. They removed some polyps and “cleaned the slate” as they called it! SUCCESS, we got a very positive beta, and I delivered twin girls 9 months later, I will do a Pregnancy After Infertility Blog soon, don’t worry.
If our story had ended differently, meaning that last cycle had failed, we wanted to adopt internationally. However, by then, we were completely drained financially, and in major debt so we would have had to wait on that dream too. In hindsight, purchasing a Multi Cycle Guarantee plan like BUNDL Guard, would have been a game changer, we would have received 100% of our money back, paid off our debt and been one step closer to creating our family via another pathway.