Before I get started with the next installment of "Maybe Baby", I wanted to address something that came up in the comments of my last post. (lovely comments by the way!) I wanted to clear up a common misconception about IVF. In our culture we are hearing a lot more about couples having super twins (3 or more) babies through infertility treatments. Most people assume that these multiples are from "In-Vitro" when in-fact super twins are from a procedure called IUI or intrauterine insemination. With In-Vitro you have more control over how many embryo's are placed back into the mothers womb and can put a concerted effort into keeping your litter to twins or smaller. With IUI some women are given egg enhancing drugs and then sperm is inserted into the uterus and that's when the possibility of the woman turing into a human gum-ball machine is risky. Under the care of a quality doctor both procedures can be done responsibly and when it doesn't I have put quite a bit of blame on the medical staff for not being careful. Nadya Suleman is a perfect example of someone who had a clown for a doctor and now is raising a circus. So for me and my house, we will at the most be transferring only two at a time. So no reality show in my future.
That ain't right!
Friday I checked off the next appointment procedure for our frozen embryo transfer (FET). It's called a Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS) or trial transfer. This is a quick appointment that involves being on antibiotics for a few days before to prevent infection during the procedure. Without going into how this is done (you can read the link if your really curious) I'll just say that the doctor is looking to see if your uterus has any abnormalities they need to take care of before involving the actual embryo's. The doctor said that my uterus looked, "beautiful". And then I blushed. My mom always said that it's better to be beautiful on the inside. Boy was she right.
I am going to attempt something extremely radical and dangerous on my blog. I am going to really open up and share something entirely personal and a bit controversial with the hopes of documenting a time in my life and perhaps helping someone else along the way. I am going to blog about my experience with making babies. Now for the general public I would strongly advise you to never blog about your method of baby making, but mine, well... mine is a bit more PG rated. I make my babies in a lab. That's right. White coats, microscopes, and doctors do my conceiving.
All made in a lab...... on the same day. December 3rd 2002.
Because I have Endometriosis Matt and I are unable to have *ahem* our genetic material meet in the conventional way, so after almost four years of experimenting we found that the only way for me to get pregnant was through a procedure called In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
I had never known anyone to go through this procedure and certainly lots of opinions swirled in the Christian community about ethical questions surrounding the procedure. Matt and I have always been firm that we believe that life begins at conception. We believe that God has designed each of us with a purpose and plan and He gives us all a soul the moment we were created. Of course he also gave all of us free will and well that's where the story gets all fumbled up. Anywho, Matt and I put prayer, research, and guidance into making the decision to go forward with IVF with a few parameters to be responsible. I so wished that there was a chapter in the New Testament outlining infertility treatments but as many heartbreaking stories there are in the Bible about barren women God doesn't give us any details on how to fight barrenness in the modern world. I have to say that from the moment we started to investigate IVF, God said yes. He did that with the Christian doctors and nurses He brought to us, our church who supported us, our family who gave us the shove we needed to get started, but most of all He gave us a peace that this was the avenue we needed to travel to meet three special people: Tobin, Phoebe, and Jabe.
It was our first parenting decision to listen to God's call on us.
Without going into all the medical jargon on how IVF works just know that it takes money, needles, hormones, ultra sounds, blood draws, more hormones, stirrups, and faith.
So here I am just getting to the reason for writing this post. Try to follow me here and if you get lost, just know that it's me not you. I'm complicated. Matt and I started out with a whopping 15 embryo's in 2002. The first two were placed inside me fresh, meaning they were not frozen. Tobin and a twin that never implanted. Out of the remaining 13, five were dividing too slow and were held and watched to see if they survived to the next stage of blastocyst (120 cells). The other eight were divided up into pairs and placed in the cyro freezer until we were ready for more children. Out of the five that we were concerned with, only 2 made it to blast and they were frozen at that stage. So we were left with eight, 4-6 cell embryo's and two, 120 cells embryo's totaling ten. Please don't make me do a spread sheet.
When Tobin was 1 year old, we were ready and eager to add to our family. We got my body ready to accept the frozen tot's and found out after defrosting four embryo's that only one was viable for transfer and one was one the fence. We threw them both in. (We found that if an embryo doesn't survive the defrosting it was doomed for an early miscarriage.) None of those embryo's implanted. We were told to prepare ourselves that Tobin might have been our only miracle.
We waited to give my body time to heal and when Tobin was 2 we tried again. This time they defrosted only one vile and both embryo's looked, "perfect". Thus Jabe and Phoebe attached and grew and took all the doctors and nurses by surprise.
So now here we are, my perfect little family. Most people who don't know my story, but see my family, assume that we are done; truthfully we might be. But, we have a 4 more frozen "pieces of potential" that Matt and I are committed to see what their fate is.
Tuesday we had our consultation with our beloved Reproductive Endocrinologist about possibly adding to our family using our secret stash of humans we have in cryo freeze. Remember Jabe and Phoebe were frozen for three plus years before they found their way into my womb. This time I was happy to be in this waiting room. But I do remember when just a few years ago those waiting room chairs held me in an uncertain time in my life. I felt broken and alone. I remember looking at the other women in the room wishing we could talk. Really talk about how sucky infertility was. I really just wished I could ask someone "what cycle day are you on?" or "I've heard nurse Jane has the best success rate at intra uterine inseminations" or perhaps, " are you, like me, worried that you just might die with this ache in your arms that cries out to hold your baby? Or is that just me?" I never did have these conversations with the other infertile women sitting in the waiting room. Instead I just pretended to read old People magazines and hope my name was called next. But today as I was sitting and waiting I had such a new peace about me. I have kids. LOTS of kids. My cup runneth over. I am completely content and yet if I have another baby my family will be even more complete. I still wanted to reach out to these other couples but what do I say? How do I start such an intimate conversation with strangers? A few thoughts crossed my mind. I could say something like, "So is it your problem or his?" or "So you want kids real bad huh? Hey I've got three! Even a set of twins! You want to look at my adorable children so you can be reminded of what you don't have?" Thankfully I choose to sip on my coffee and read an old People magazine.
Today we and our doctor came up with a plan on defrosting some of our babies in the frozen nursery. (They have been in for six years!) Our doctor gave us a 50/50 chance that we might end up with one baby. We are really ok with however this turns out. We gave up control over our family to a God many years ago and I must say He has done a marvelous job in knowing just what our family should look like and I don't doubt for a second that He has this all figured out in a perfect way. I will be updating during each step of this process so please follow along. Please leave questions you might have in the comments. I am not shy about this so ask away; I know I've left lots of wholes in our story. Blog reader will get all the updates first so please keep checking back to see if we will be becoming a family of six, or seven or more yikes!
I've often been asked why my blog is named, "Glory Laine". My middle name is Laine and it suggests to me quant path, and paths remind me of a journey and I blog to record my personal journey. Then I wanted something spiritual to show that I am on this journey with God's help. I debated between mercy and glory. Mercy lane sounded like a nursing home where people go to die, so Glory Laine it is.