Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Part 2 - Getting Pregnant and SURPRISE!

Now, now, I know when I left you, it was kind of on a cliffhanger. We had gotten the news that I had a 0.5% chance of ever getting pregnant. Obviously, we all know how the story ended up. In this post, I'll take you through how it came that we got pregnant with quadruplets. Don't worry! I won't give you ALL the details. I save those for the nosy ladies in the grocery store.


So right after our doctor told us that basically, we weren't going to have a baby, he offered up a treatment that he said would give us a 40% chance of conceiving. 40%? That's almost 50%, I'll take it (what  can I say, I was desperate).


The next Saturday, we attended a class with three other couples. Here, one of the new skills we acquired was learning how to inject medications into my stomach via needle. Talk about fun! We also got a detailed calendar with our treatment plan that told us what medication and how much we would use on what day. 

Fertility Drugs/Treatment Plan




Then we waited. We waited on my next cycle. Once it was time to begin, we called  our doctor's office and the process began. For nearly three weeks, we injected medication into my stomach. As we got closer to ovulation, I started getting daily ultrasounds looking for an egg that was of the right size and ready to trigger ovulation. Once we found one, we had one more shot to give me, in the hip.


And then came the business of making sure that that egg was made into a baby! I'm leaving this part out, because well, some things are just personal. (If you want to know, you'll have to catch me at one of those perfect times like when I'm out to dinner with my family or trying to buy groceries with four kids in the cart).


About a week after the trigger shot, I suddenly noticed some severe bloating and pain in my pelvic area. The pain became so severe, I could not eat or get comfortable in any position. Eventually, I ended up contacting my doctor and they had me come in. At this point, I was diagnosed with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  An ultrasound revealed that my ovaries were each the size of oranges and unfortunately, there was nothing we could do about it but wait it out. Two days in, I couldn't even wear my pants because they would not button. In retrospect, I probably should have Googled and I'd have figured out that my ovaries were in overdrive and were sending eggs all over the place. Who knew? 


A week went on and I continued to suffer and try to hide both my pain and bloating from everyone at the office. Eventually, I couldn't take the waiting anymore. One morning, I woke up and decided it was time to take a home pregnancy test. Low and behold, after probably 5,000 negative pregnancy tests in my lifetime, I saw two pink lines! At first, I couldn't believe my eyes. I told my husband. Later that day, I went for a follow-up regarding the OHSS. I told my doctor that I knew I wasn't supposed to test yet, but I did. He asked me what the result was and when I told him it was positive, he sent me for bloodwork. Two days later, I went back for more bloodwork. On August 2, 2012, my nurse called me to confirm, I was pregnant! (I only remember the date because it's my Dad's birthday).


About a week later, we had another appointment to confirm heartbeat and numbers. I guess maybe that was another clue I should have picked up on in retrospect but when you're living it, you only see your dream, which is to be a normal family and have a baby (although I'd be lying if I said the thought of twins never crossed my mind as being kind of cool). I remember when I told my Mom about the appointment, she picked up on it right away and said "numbers!!!! What do they mean by numbers"? to which I responded, "Mom, it's just a possibility of twins;they said it's a 5% chance" (maybe it's important to note that we already had a set of twin in our family).


That afternoon, she started calling me at the office wanting to know how it went. I avoided her calls the first few times. I just didn't know how on Earth I'd break the news to her that there were four.


Earlier that morning, my husband and I sat in an office waiting to hear our child's heartbeat for the first time. As I lay on the table, my husband sat off to the side and we both attempted to peer at the screen, which was conveniently turned just out of both of our lines of sight. What seemed like an hour passed and this sheer look of panic swept over our doctor's face. My husband and I made eye contact. Fearing the worst, we finally asked what was going on. I can't remember his exact words, because the shock hit me pretty hard, but I know that our doctor told us that there was nothing wrong with the heartbeat, except, there were four of them. And then we proceeded to hear each heartbeat. Each little answer to prayer.


The next clear memory is sitting in the parking lot in my husband's little Honda Civic, staring at the traffic passing on I-10 and wondering what to do next. Once one of us was able to form a sentence, my husband asked "what do we do now"? My answer was "we go to work. We have to work if we're going to afford four babies". And we did.


To be continued...Stay tuned for part three.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Part 1 - Where It All Began (Battling Infertility)

Over a month ago I posted that I have a story to share. A version of our story that's not the watered down version for fear of judgment. I drafted this post over a month ago but out of fear, I've spent weeks thinking and praying on whether or not I should begin this series. Dead end after dead end, and struggle after struggle, have led me to believe this is necessary.  So with that, I give you part one of many posts to come about our story.


I cannot count the number of times when I was pregnant with quadruplets, and when the babies were very small, that someone came up to me and upon finding out I had quadruplets asked me why I didn't have my own television show. Over and over again, complete strangers approached me as they saw me out and about with the quads and the question I heard the most (besides "are they...") was and continues to be "Quadruplets! Wow! I bet you have a lot of help." Usually, I am able to smile and nod and go on about my business. Because honestly, we've had some pretty amazing friends and even perfect strangers pour out so much love on us unexpectedly. Still, the truth of the matter is, I've basically raised quadruplets by myself for much of the past three years.

I promised you a story. So you're definitely getting a story. The truth is, those people that see me in the supermarket have no idea what my story is like, no idea the battles I have faced, and honestly, no idea what it's like to be stared at and asked a million questions about your personal life by perfect strangers as you're trying to buy groceries with a litter of babies (some people get offended by calling babies a litter and I'm sorry if you do but sometimes, I really do feel like a Mama Kitty carrying my babies around.) When they casually ask me "did you do in-vitro?", I'm certain that either they don't know the sting of a battle with infertility or else they're battling infertility themselves and too afraid to say. 

As with any good story, it's probably best to start at the beginning.

Battling Infertility; Where it all began: I can trace my earliest signs of infertility back almost as far as junior high. I was the last girl in my class to get her period and when I did, it was extremely painful and heavy but was never regular. At age 16, I went on birth control pills to help regulate my cycle. They did and I managed to go through the rest of high school, college, and even a few more years living a relatively normal life thanks to my new best friend, the oral birth control pill. However, in 2006/2007, I started having some issues with not having a period even on birth control and later bleeding that wouldn't stop. This eventually turned into some weird cramping pains so I went to see a specialist. It turns out, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Basically, it means that my hormones are crazy. I do not ovulate regularly, thus I don't have regular periods (I also still have a TON of eggs as a result). On top of that, I was also diagnosed with a dermoid cyst (a collection of cells) on my right ovary that had to be surgically removed, along with part of my ovary. So when my husband and I got married in 2012, we knew there would be issues with ever wanting to have a baby. We decided that my life long dream of becoming a mother was important to us both, so we didn't wait long before seeking help. Near my 34th birthday, I made an appointment with my Ob-Gyn. We tried a round of Clomid (an oral fertility drug commonly used to treat infertility) to see if it would help but because of my age, she didn't want to play around with it and risk wasting any eggs and referred me to a specialist off of I-10 in Houston. 

I still clearly remember my first meeting with the fertility doctor. I saw him at a satellite office that was close to home. It was an office that he must have shared with other doctors as there was no decor, no homey feel, and if I'm honest, it felt kind of shady. The doctor was very matter of fact, laid out a million facts to us, and explained the infertility testing process that we'd have to go through before we even knew whether it was something that could be treated or not. I left in tears. I remember feeling defeated. I'd wanted a baby for so long and had watched friend after friend and relative after relative have babies and more babies but my dream, my dream was tied up in some invasive tests that not only I would have to undergo, I'd force my innocent husband to endure as well. Talk about feeling less than feminine. The whole reason behind being designed as a woman and I was failing at it. Let's just say my confidence was more than lacking. 

As we sat in the car following the visit, I told Adam that I gave up. I just wasn't meant to be a mother. And I sobbed. From little on, I doted over my baby dolls and I mother henned my baby brother to death. I wanted nothing more that to be a wife and mommy, but those dreams seemed about as far out of my reach as the moon. Still, my very logical husband questioned me "did you listen to what he said, Misty"? In truth, maybe I hadn't. Maybe I only had in my mind what I wanted to hear "you'll be pregnant by XYZ". But I didn't hear that. Instead, this very smart man who'd helped tons of women get pregnant before me, was explaining my body to me and outlining a very detailed step-by-step process we would go through on that journey. I'd missed the opportunity to see just how smart he was because I was more focused on my feelings. 

The next week, we went to our first appointments for bloodwork. Over the course of the next two weeks, we'd pretty much lose all shreds of dignity with the invasive tests and procedures we'd both endure. They make machines to do things that I'm pretty sure I'd only dream of hearing about in sci-fi novels. 

About three weeks later, with all of the test results in and labwork compiled, Adam and I went for a consult with our doctor.  The news was, all of the issues lied with my and my PCOS. I had a 0.5% chance of ever conceiving on my own. Did you see that ZERO? That's about as hopeless as it gets, friends. 


To be continued...