Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy Birthday to my IVF-FET Babies! Babies?

I can't believe it. It was almost exactly 11 years ago that I had my eggs aspirated for the fourth time. My oldest daughter, now 12-1/2 wasn't 2 yet and I was worried she would remain an only child forever. She was born after nearly 4-1/2 years of marriage, a result of my second IVF cycle.

When she was 6 months old, I was ready to try again. I had traveled to visit my parents in the US and I came back sick. It wasn't clear what it was I was sick with. Tens of tests and nearly a year later, a professor who headed the Internal Medicine ward was convinced it was Hodgkin's Disease. He sent me for bone marrow aspiration. As I expected, the results were fine. With no more ideas or tests left to run, the doctor finally diagnosed me with CFS – chronic fatigue syndrome.

I read up on CFS & understood that the fever might take years to go away. More surprisingly, I came across research that showed that pregnancy often cures CFS. (I looked for information about this now & found a question & answer session with Dr.Charles Lapp - where he was asked about his experience with pregnancy in CFIDS. He answered that about two-thirds of patients get better during the course of pregnancy.) With this information, I decided to go ahead with the IVF treatment despite the fact that the IVF department advised against it.

The first cycle failed (4 embryos, no pregnancy). The second cycle, on June 6, 1995, resulted in 8 embryos - four were transferred and four were frozen. The transfer failed. Next was the frozen transfer cycle. The frozen embryos had been graded B,C,C & D, but all survived the thaw and we transferred all four. On the 11th day after the transfer, I started bleeding. A pregnancy test showed a faint pink line... but when I went for the pregnancy test at the hospital a few days later, I was convinced it was over. Later that day, I was shocked to hear that my beta was 600.

In the first ultrasound, I saw three sacs. About two weeks later, on my daughter's second birthday, after a bout of heavy bleeding and cramping, I was amazed to see a heartbeat... and another heartbeat... twins!

My CFS did go away sometime during the pregnancy. Those little hearts kept on beating until they were born at the end of 39 weeks of pregnancy - on June 6, 1996 - exactly a year after they were formed.

I want to wish a very happy birthday to Harry and Judy, my miracle babies who are turning 10 on 06/06/06 :-)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ouch! It's Mother's Day

Did this really have to happen, you wonder... Did they really make a day just to make me feel even worse? Do I really have to call my mom and tell her how happy I am for her that it's Mother's Day... and my mother-in-law too? It seems more like a reason to wake up in the morning crying... or better yet... just hide out the whole day so that you don't have to face the world and feel like such a failure.

Is being a mom really so important or special? Why are we brought up with the idea that we'll grow up and become mommies, when not all of us can? It seems so unfair...

For those women who do want to have children, the pain of not being successful can seem unbearable. As the years go by, which is what frequently happens, the dream seems to slip farther and farther away. When I was going through infertility, I remembered what my father had told me about AA meetings (he ran them at some point, as an Army chaplain) - one day at a time. I felt my life was going one month at a time. If I could get through this month, I would get to the next month when there was another opportunity to succeed. Getting my period was a fresh start... one that would bring me closer to being a mom.

I guess that during all those years of infertility, in a way, I already was a mom. The love I was going to give my child was already there, along with the things I wanted to teach him or her. I kept my playfulness so that I could be playful with my child and I remained optimistic so that I could bring my child into a house with optimism. I was already able to feel my ability to nurture a child... and if I was willing to go through so much to have a child, clearly I would do everything I could once I was finally blessed with it.

To all those who have been lucky enough to become moms, happy mother's day! And to those who are still waiting, in my book, you're honorary moms & you deserve to celebrate.