Monday, July 07, 2014

Four Feet

A little over a year ago, B1 asked if he could talk to me.  Nervously, I sat down and looked at him expectantly.  He told me to close my eyes and hold out my hands.  I trust him, so I did.  What he placed in my hands that day forever changed our lives.

In my hands, he placed a pair of baby boat shoes.

B1 never wanted to have children.  I knew this before we were engaged and while I was disappointed, I wasn't devastated.  It wasn't a deal breaker.  We met later in life and by that time, I had already given up on the idea of having a family.  Hell, I had even given up on finding true love.  So hitting the jackpot in love was always enough for me.  Sure, every now and then I would dream about how awesome B1 would be as a daddy, or what it would be like to be pregnant, but I pushed it out of my head and focused on while a wonderful life we have without children.  And I dreamed about all of the things we would be able to do because we didn't have children.

And then he put those shoes in my hands and told me how much he loves me and how, over the last few years, he's realized that he wants it all.  He wants to have a family with me.

I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to hear those word.  Of course I wanted to start a family with B1-of course!  In fact, I couldn't think of anything I wanted more.

We decided that we would hold off on trying until the end of the summer so that we could have one full summer free of morning sickness and doctor appointments.  We'd start trying in September, we said...

...but then we got excited.  And I stopped taking birth control and we said that we wouldn't actively try but we wouldn't not try either.  But nothing happened and we had a wonderful summer anyway.  In September, I started tracking my cycles, taking my temperature and peeing on sticks to predict ovulation.  Every month we'd anxiously await the results and every month they were negative.  By December I knew it was time to see a doctor.  Since we are both considered "old" by fertility standards, I knew that the normal 1 year of trying would be knocked down to 6 months.  So I called and made an appointment for January 2014.

When I met with the fertility doctor, I showed her all of my charts and gave her my full medical history.  She ordered some tests for both myself and for B1 and after a few weeks, we knew the diagnosis.  While I won't get into specifics here, we were, as a couple, diagnosed with infertility.  And given our ages, it was suggested that we skip over all of the normal fertility drugs they start with and go right into our first cycle of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). For several reasons, this didn't actually occur until late April.  There are so many factors involved with beginning IVF including getting insurance to approve everything and getting my cycle on track.  I was impatient to get started, but happy that the ball was at least rolling.

Around mid-May I begin my first round of injections into my stomach.  For the most part, this went off without a hitch and didn't really even hurt most of the time.  The drugs did sting for a few seconds when they were absorbing into my body, but that's about it.  After each (specifically timed) injection, I placed an ice pack on my belly and laid down for about 20 minutes to relax.  By my side was a nice big glass of red wine, to also help me relax.  I did this every night for 10 nights.  Toward the middle of this cycle, my blood was tested almost daily to monitor my hormone levels.  And then toward the end, I also had internal ultrasounds to check to see how my ovaries were doing and to see how long my folicles were getting.  The bigger the follicle the better, as they are the heros who produce the precious eggs.  On the last day, I was told to go home and replace all of my shots with a different shot-one that would trigger my body to ovulate, and thus releasing all of the eggs we produced.

That shot hurt like a mother.  And it left a huge welt, too.  But it did it's job and two days later, I went into surgery to extract the eggs.  All in all, 8 were retrieved-a great number.  I came through the surgery fine and only had a few minor side effects (major bloating-I couldn't even stand up without it hurting!).  Later that day, 7 of the eggs were fertilized using B1's sperm (which he was so nice to leave for the lab while I was in surgery) using ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection).

Five days later, we went back into the lab to have two perfect embryos (their words) transferred back into my uterus.  That was quite amazing to watch.  They projected it up on the screen and we could see them floating down the tube into my uterus.  Such a surreal experience and while I wouldn't wish this process on anyone over natural fertilization, I felt very fortunate to be watching what could potentially be the conception of my child.  They even gave us a picture:

When I got home, I laughed and laughed about the fact that the embryo on the right seems to have a "B" on it.  B1'a name starts with a B, if you didn't catch that.  Hysterical.  Isn't that sort of amazing?

After the transfer, we went out to lunch by the ocean and relaxed.  We went to the store to pick up a new garbage can and then went home and rested.  I was back to work the next day and while I was still a little bloated, for the most part I was great.  Anxious, but great.  That was a Wednesday.

On Sunday, I was exhausted. And I was (forgive me) constipated.  And I'm um...pretty regular.  So I thought, "Hmmm...this could be something."  On Monday, those symptoms were worse and I told B1 that I couldn't wait until Friday (which was when our "Beta Test"/blood test was) and that I had to take a home pregnancy test.  On Tuesday night, after B1 got home, I went into the bathroom and emerged 3 minutes later.

It was faint, but it was 100% POSITIVE!  Over the course of the next few days I continued taking home pregnancy tests and the line continued to darken.  We were having a baby.  Or two.  But we didn't want to get our hopes up TOO high until Friday the 13th when I was having my blood drawn for a "real" pregnancy test.  That said, my symptoms continued to grow along with that double line, and I was pretty certain that the result would also be positive.

And it was!  Two more blood tests followed to check to make sure that my hormone levels were rising (they generally double every 24-48 hours in the beginning) and they did.  So an ultrasound was scheduled for 10 days later to make sure that everything was progressing as it should be.

That 10 days was worse than the 10 days we waited to see a positive.  I had to stop reading IVF blogs and Google because my mind was going crazy with the with if's and why's (is that cramping normal?!  Does it mean a miscarriage?!)  But I got through it and B1 and I sat patiently in the room while the ultrasound was being performed.  The tech kept the screen toward her the whole time until she was done.  When she did, we saw the most amazing thing ever:

Yes, there are two.  B1 and I are having twins.  Apparently those embryos apparently really were perfect!  Needless to say, we were (are) shocked and amazed that our first IVF cycle was a success.  And we are beyond excited about the future our "ready made family".

I am currently 7 weeks, 5 days pregnant with twins. Today we saw their little hearts beating.  They've grown so much already since this first ultrasound picture was taken, and we are hopeful that both will continue to develop and grow into full-term babies.

We know we're not out of the woods yet, and that's why only our immediate families know.  If you know me in real life, please feel free to reach out to me PRIVATELY.  PLEASE DO NOT POST ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK OR TELL ANY OF OUR MUTUAL FRIENDS.  We are keeping this close to us until I hit the 13 week mark, in case something happens to one or both of the babies.

So, there you have it.  Twins.  B1 and me are havin' them.  And I feel like it, too.  I've been sick this whole week and haven't eaten much.  In fact, I've lost about 4 pounds so far-which is fairly normal in the first trimester, I'm told.  I am eating when I can, taking my vitamins and drinking plenty of fluids.  And I'm resting as much as I can and learning quickly that I can't do everything I used to without getting extremely tired.  B1 is so wonderful, picking up the slack, doing laundry, filling our water tanks, lifting everything that's heavy...he's the best husband ever and he's going to be the best dad ever too.

We plan on staying on our current boat for as long as we can.  I'll talk more about that as we progress, but we think we can stay with this boat until the babies are around 2 and then we'll have to upgrade.  And, if at any point it's just too hard to do this on the boat, we'll move back to land.  But we really don't think that will happen-and we don't want it to happen-so we're going to make a strong go at making these babies, boat babies.

After all, they already have the shoes for it.