Many people are curious about twins and multiples. One question on most peoples’ minds is “Were they conceived naturally?”. In our case, no. However, in my multiple births chapter, most of the twins were conceived naturally. I’m going to share our story over the next few posts.
I met John in 2001 at teacher’s college. I was thirty-one, he was forty-eight (yikes). One night a group of us was out at a pub and age differences came up. Someone opined that the maximum age difference is half your age plus seven. Well guess what? I was half John’s age plus seven. That night planted the seed in our minds and the rest is history.
John was separated with two daughters, aged 13 and 9 when we met. I knew I wanted kids and John didn’t want any more, plus he’d had the Dreaded V Word procedure. John decided that having me around was worth starting again and having the even more dreaded VR word. He had a vasectomy reversal the day after Jen’s fundraiser for my sister Madeleine. Stressful times.
After the reversal I used Taking Charge of your Fertility to chart my cycles and make sure we were making whoopie at the right times. After eight months and no embryo, I figured I better ramp up my efforts so we went to a fertility clinic where we tried one round of IUI. Then we had to wait, how I hated the waiting every month and, as always, it ended in disappointment.
So, I bought another book, How to Get Pregnant. This book said that IUI is a waste of time and money for many people and IVF has better success. We were off to a new clinic (mostly because the doctor didn’t even rembember my name at the first one).
For IUI the follicles are stimulated a little and the clinics don’t want too many eggs because they can’t control how many get fertilized. With IVF they want a lot of eggs so the dosages are high. Some women find they are very moody and feel terrible, luckily I was OK. I stuck myself with needles in my abdomen every day for 10 days. I had to go to the clinic for the daily ultrasound to check on the progress of my follicles. When all the follicles were nearing maturation I had to go in for the extraction which was the worst part of the process (other than the air in my abdomen ultrasound that was so painful I couldn’t walk). Up on the table, loaded up with drugs (pain meds and valium), out came the ultrasound but this one had a needle on it. The needle goes through the vaginal wall and into the follicle to extract the eggs one by one. I had 14 follicles so it took a few minutes. The eggs were passed through to the lab where they were waiting with John’s sperm. The lab techs used a procedure called ICSI, Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, they took single sperm cells and injected them directly into my eggs.
For the next five days we waited and he lab called us daily with progress reports. We ended up with nine embryos which were declared of medium to poor quality. Before this experience I had no idea that an embryo could be rated on a scale of one to four. On day five, the doctors recommended we place four embryos into my uterus. Four was a scary number (think quadruplets or more) but the doctor assured us that our odds weren’t good otherwise. So, back in the stir-ups for me. The embryos were placed in me through a catheter, a relatively easy procedure.
Then, the two week wait again. I was too impatient to wait for the blood test so I was peeing on sticks once again. I got a faint positive on day 11 (I still have the stick) and then a darker positive on day 12. Blood tests confirmed we were pregnant. We were soooo lucky we got it on the first try because we couldn’t have come up the $12,000 again!