April 22, 2002 was the one of the scariest days I will ever remember. After two months of preparing for our In-Vitro Fertilization procedure the big day was finally here. This was the day they would retrieve my eggs and fertilize them using a very special procedure called ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. It’s the scientific way of saying that they would pick up Jeff’s sperm individually under high power microscopy and physically inject them into my eggs for fertilization.
Two days before this I had been told after my last ultrasound that I had forty-nine follicles with good looking eggs ready for retrieval. I thought that was great news – meaning I would have enough eggs for our procedure now, some to freeze for later, and also for me to donate anonymously to another woman who wanted to be a mother as much as I did. I knew I had been terribly uncomfortable, and I already looked like I was pregnant because my abdomen was so swollen. I did not know however, that I had ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, my blood levels were dangerously high, and that my outcome with this procedure wasn’t going to be as easy and as perfect as I had imagined it.
I woke up in recovery hearing Dr. Silber tell my family that because my ovaries had hyperstimulated so much some of the eggs within the follicles had already died. As a result, they were only able to retrieve seven healthy eggs out of forty-nine follicles. I was groggy but I heard that very loud and clear and immediately felt like a total failure. I wanted to hear that I had produced enough eggs for a football team for me and someone else. I wanted to make both of our dreams of motherhood a reality. Dr. Silber remained optimistic that we would get pregnant on this round because seven eggs would be enough to at least get a few good embryos for transfer. It was hard to stay optimistic because I knew that I didn’t have enough eggs to freeze for another attempt if this one wasn’t successful, and I couldn’t imagine going through this for nothing. So, I started praying and praying. I simply would not let myself believe that this might not work. It was going to work. I was going to get pregnant, and I was going to become a mother.
On April 25, 2002 we went back to the hospital for our embryo transfer. Out of the seven eggs that were retrieved, they were able to fertilize five of them, and only three had made it to day three of development and were healthy enough for transfer. Dr. Silber was comfortable transferring all three and so was I.
Jeff was not.
I am certain he turned white, and almost passed out when the Dr. explained the chances of us getting pregnant with triplets. We ended up transferring all three embryos. There wasn’t any way I was walking out of there without all three of them inside of me. I knew I wasn’t going to get a do-over and it had to be done. I wasn’t worried about having twins or triplets. In fact I welcomed the idea because I have always wanted three children, and why not get them all in one shot. Jeff had a hard time being as excited as I was because I think he was scared to death we would end up with triplets and worried sick about how we would afford that after the cost of our procedure. It was the first time on this infertility journey where I really began to see how different men and women are in dealing with this.
The next two weeks I was ordered to stay on bed rest with limited activity, and Jeff had to give me progesterone shots that were as thick as Karo Syrup every night at the same time all in an effort to help create the most perfect uterus for these embryos to attach to. I was so careful. I was not going to do anything to mess this up. I had a really good feeling about it, and I knew I could do this.
On May 6, 2002 after trying to choke down breakfast at I-Hop we got the phone call we had been waiting for. We had gone in earlier that morning to get my blood drawn to see if I was pregnant. I held the phone out so both Jeff and I could hear, and the nurse said the best words I’ve ever heard….”Congratulations Mommy and Daddy! You are pregnant!” Jeff and I cried and laughed and held each other tighter than we ever had before. As I type this now, twelve years later, it still makes me cry because I can remember everything about that day like it was yesterday. Those words changed my life forever in the very best way possible. My dream of motherhood was finally becoming a reality. For the first time in about a two year time span I had felt successful and not like a total failure. Those words were so wonderful and magical. They made everything we had just gone through seem like no big deal!