Part 3: Making A Sibling
By Leah Taylor
When our son was one years old, we thought it would probably be a good time to go back to the fertility clinic and get the ball rolling on a sibling. As we had learned, a year in the fertility world can fly past in the blink of an eye.
We met with our new doctor who had taken over from the previous. He gave us a great feeling about going through this journey again, and suggested we go straight to IVF because he didn’t want us going through what we had previously gone through. He wanted to go the most direct route, so to speak, to get us our second baby as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The IVF process was a little more invasive, but overall not too different to how I had done things before. The medication was the same, and the only difference was we created more eggs and I had to be put under anaesthetic to retrieve them. It didn’t sound too daunting, so I put my brave face on and got the job done. Waking up from the anaesthetic I was told by the nurse that I had produced a massive 32 eggs… no wonder I felt like I was going to explode!
A few days later I got a call from the embryologist letting me know that I had a total number of eight five-day-old embryos to go in the freezer. Due to the risk of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome, I had to freeze, rather than continue the process multiple times. I was absolutely overjoyed! This meant I would never have to do this treatment again. I had my whole family right there in the freezer waiting for me!
I was super excited to have my first embryo transfer, there was our second baby… just like that!
Embryo transfer: check!
Now to wait two weeks for those all-important blood test results, which were a huge positive! My pregnancy hormone levels were quite high and I was so happy with what my body had done. It hadn’t let me down. I remember my nurse saying, ‘your numbers are in the range of what we see with twins’.
I was shocked! Not only had my body done well, it could have potentially finished off my family in one single pregnancy.
Over the next three weeks, I had quite a tough time. I felt so ill and was convinced there could even be more than two in there. Either that or it was a girl, because I never felt anything like this with my son.
Going into the seven-week scan, the only question on my mind was whether there were one or two babies in there. But when I looked at the screen, my heart sank. A big black hole. It was a vision that to this day I will never forget. There weren’t two babies. There wasn’t even one. The nurse took my hand and said, ‘I’m so sorry, there is no baby. Your body thinks it’s pregnant but hasn’t yet realised that there is no baby’. She left the room for me to get dressed and I broke down. How could this have happened? I was broken. All I wanted to do was see my baby boy and give him a cuddle.
Over the next five weeks I was given a few more scans just to make sure my baby wasn’t just tiny or hiding and hadn’t been seen on the previous scan. I had a slight bit of hope that the doctors were wrong and I would go in for the next scan and ta-da! there would be my baby saying, ‘boo! Ha ha I was hiding from you all this time!’
But that wasn’t the case. There was no baby in sight, but my body still wasn’t convinced.
14 weeks along with a sizeable belly I was given a D&C to get rid of the “pregnancy”.
It hurt. I felt let down by my body. How could it trick me like that?
I was an emotional wreck, and I was angry at myself for getting my hopes up about everything. It seemed every time I would feel happy and positive, the universe would push me back down. I was over it – over fertility treatment and over the emotional heartache. I was ready to throw the towel in. I didn’t want to be a part of this crap anymore.
I took the time to process what had happened and somehow found the strength to jump back on the fertility wagon as I call it, even with some positivity. Surely, I had had my fair share of disappointment and bad luck. Surely this won’t happen to me again and it can only be positive from here on in.
Little did I know what was in store for me.
I went through the next five frozen embryos (two of which failed to even thaw) with no luck. By this stage, I was drained. Drained of all my positive thoughts, drained emotionally, drained physically and drained mentally. But, somehow, yet again, I managed to pick myself up and keep pushing. Even if there was only a small chance we would be blessed with baby number two, I was willing to keep going.
We revisited our doctor who was a little dumbfounded by the fact that I had gone through six embryos without even a hint of a positive result. Because of this, he decided to do a whole range of genetic tests on myself and my husband, searching for anything to do with clotting, heart issues, thyroid problems; you name it. I went through a seemingly endless number of procedures, including a hysteroscopy, to check for any reason why my embryos weren’t working.
All the tests came back normal, and so basically, we were none the wiser. The doctor decided to go ahead with another full cycle, but this time, we would test the embryos so we knew we were only using ones with the potential to work. They would need to be genetically perfect.
27 eggs later I was once again hopeful. 27 eggs… surely I would get a good bunch of genetically healthy embryos to work with.
Four of the embryos became ready for testing. I was told that’s a good result, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I tried to look at the positives – I thought, I should be happy I have even four, as the lady in the bed next to me only ever had one egg retrieved.
Five weeks later I got the results of the genetic testing. Half – two – of the embryos were perfect, and the other two had missing chromosomes.
My excitement gradually started increasing with the thought that this could be it – that one of these embryos could be my second child. Odds were in my favour, weren’t they?
Leah is the mummy to a beautiful little miracle and second baby-mama to be. Keep your eyes peeled on our blog for the final installment of Leah’s journey!
Part 1: Fertility
Part 2: Unexpected Surprises
Part 3: Making A Sibling
Part 4: Not Giving Up