Three years. Thousands of dollars. Surgery, ICIs, IUIs, headstands, and hope. (See Part 1 ) We wanted to have a child so badly. But none of it was working.
Were we doing it wrong, was the timing off, or was I actually having fertility issues? After all, it was 3 years later, and I was now 40. We had no idea, but we were finally ready to consider more technologically advanced methods like Invetro Fertilization, IVF.
Thankfully, the fertility clinic had since changed their policy about working with same-sex couples. But, because of my age, our doctor was very grim. He predicted I would likely only get one viable egg if we were lucky and then luckier still to have it go on to become an embryo and then a baby.
Boy did I blow their minds. I produced 16 eggs that became 8 viable embryos. We transferred the first two, and I got pregnant on the first try!
Here I was thinking I was a 40-year-old lesbian fertility challenged prodigy! After all, the doctor only gave us a 15% chance of conceiving. I patted myself on the back. We told everyone. We tracked every second on every pregnancy app available. We began reading the pregnancy and baby books we’d ordered. We bought maternity clothes. We were elated at finally being pregnant.
It all came crashing down when at 9 weeks we went in for an ultrasound and got bad news. There was no heartbeat. We lost the baby.
We were devastated, bewildered. It was one of the hardest things we’d ever had to face, especially as a couple. Miscarriage is often unexplained and, as our doctor told us, very, very common, even among those who do not struggle with fertility. We were not alone, but this fact didn’t lessen our grief, because it also meant that if we lost one, the chances of losing another rose. On top of being sad, we were scared.
Our doctor reminded us that we had plenty of embryos, so we decided to try again. Two months later, we transferred two more and got pregnant again!
When I began bleeding at 5 weeks, we panicked. We had put all our hopes (and money) into this and here we were convinced we were losing another baby. We were distraught— again.
Three excruciating days later, we had an ultrasound. This time it was good news. There was our baby with a strong heartbeat, developing normally. He looked like he was holding a balloon as if to say, “I’m OK, Moms.”
The bleeding was a false alarm. We went on to have a happy, healthy pregnancy (with only the happy annoyance of multiple ultrasounds due to my geriatric pregnancy).
Finally, we had our precious Finn. Our rainbow baby in every sense.
We have always wanted to have more than one child. For one thing, both my wife and I wanted to carry a child. (Now it’s Theresa’s turn.) And we want Finn to have a sibling: someone to play with, to grow up with, and ultimately to complain about us with.
Since we have embryos remaining and since this would provide Finn with a biological sibling, we opted for IFV again with the 4 remaining embryos.
This time, Theresa went through all of the testing, the meds, and even a minor surgery. We transferred 2 embryos last August. As if by fate or sheer luck, we got pregnant on the first try!
We were so excited! We were already working out ways to tell our just turned 2 year old that he was going to be a big brother!
Sadly, we found out early on that the pregnancy would not be viable and we miscarried again. We were devastated. Again.
We honestly started to question how much of this roller coaster we could take, emotionally, not to mention financially. Miscarriages are so heartbreaking, and when there is a huge bill tacked on to it, it just adds insult to injury.
Although you cannot put a monetary value on the joy that Finn has brought us, he came with a mountain of bills—as all babies do, but more with the added cost of fertility treatments. Now we face the prospect of doing it all over again.
We have questioned our decisions. We have reevaluated our budgeting strategies. We have all those new spreadsheets and charts and graphs and tips to incorporate. We have considered fancy financial planning routes. We have considered taking on second jobs. We have been talking a lot about our options lately. And they seem so few. We now only have 2 embryos left.
But, I choose to remain hopeful. After all, it’s a new year. New hope. And a new budget.