For several years Brian and I have attempted to conceive another child so Travis could have a sibling and we could extend our family. We have been trying to conceive another child since Travis was 4 years old. He is now 10 years old.
Looking back, it's amazing as a woman, what we put ourselves through to have another child. As for myself, I was driven and wasn't going to take "no" for an answer. It's hard to explain to others unless they have walked in your shoes the feeling you have of feeling incomplete. It's not the urge to have another child, but the emptiness you feel.
The history of what led to our journey of Gestational Surrogate and Egg Donor...
We started by me taking oral drugs to increase my follicles to various testing of my Fallopian tubes. In 2006 we decided to begin in vitro fertilization (IVF). The process of IVF entails the woman to take hormone injections to stimulate her ovaries to produce more follicles to better her chance for pregnancy. The follicles are than retrieved through a laboratory procedure and placed with an unfertilized egg in a Petri dish to achieve fertilization. The embryo is then transferred into the uterus to begin pregnancy. (How about that for an IVF 101 class :) ) We made it through retrieval and were on our way to transfer and were 10 minutes away from River North (Fertility Center of Illinois is located for procedure) when we received a call. On the other end was a quiet soft spoken nurse who calling to inform us that our one embyro stopped growing and cancelled our transfer. You can imagine the devastation we felt being so close and having it all taken away from us within seconds…
Shortly after our first cycle of IVF, I started doubling over multiple times with excruciating pain and made a trip to the emergency room to learn that I had the size of a grapefruit cyst and it was not going to go away by itself and if it did, I would be in even more pain. The cyst being too large for Laparoscopic surgery, I ended up having to have surgery with an incision from one side to the other on my "bikini" line to remove the endometriosis and the cyst. After surgery, my Gynecologist visited me in my hospital room to tell me that they could not save my left ovary. This was just the beginning of several trips to the hospital…
To prevent the endometriosis from coming back and so we could move forward with our second cycle of IVF, my doctor put me on Lupron injections once a month for 6 months. After the last injection of Lupron I started having extreme anxiety attacks that came out of no where. The first couple times they occurred, I thought I was having a heart attack. I would shake uncontrollably and my blood pressure would sky rocket through the roof (we're talking 190/110) for about 20 minutes. These attacks happened about 4 or 5 times. Not knowing what was going on we made several trips to the ER. My doctor thinking my blood pressure was out of control increased my blood pressure medicine and I ended up bottoming out from too much medicine and passed out on the bathroom floor for my husband to find me unconscious. Another trip to the ER, but this time in luxury of an ambulance chauffer. After meeting with our fertility doctor we learned that I was having an allergic reaction to Lupron. Thank god it was that and nothing more serious.
Two months after the Lupron treatment, the endometriosis reared its ugly horns once again. This time a cyst the size of a tennis ball. Once again, an incision was done from one side to the other side of my stomach. The only good thing that came out of this surgery was that we learned that they did not take my whole left ovary in the first surgery and the right ovary was still in tact.
Once recovered from surgery, we attempted our second IVF cycle. This time was different than the first cycle. This time we actually made it to transfer. I had one perfect grade A embryo. The doctor said it couldn't be any better. There was a good chance of becoming pregnant. As I told my husband, I may get pregnant and I didn't even get kissed. It was a joyous experience. Days later after a follow up doctor's appointment, we learned that the embryo did not plant itself and I wasn't pregnant. Yet another devastation.
We were told to rest my ovaries for 2 to 3 months before we should attempt our third cycle of IVF. You guessed it, during that rest period the endometriosis wanted to decide my fate. Once again, I doubled over in excruciating pain. Unable to drive, my husband drove me to the doctor on Friday morning to get an ultrasound. The endometriosis had returned. My Gynecologist said I had no other choice but to have a full hysterectomy. I left the office in tears hearing my doctor's voice over and over in my head saying "Okay, I will see you on Monday for a emergency hysterectomy."
After our long and winding road in our attempts to extend our family, I learned my strength as a person. As Forrest Gump's momma use to tell him, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." "You have to do the best with what God gave you."