If you read the story of ‘How I met Jeff’, then you will know that I married my best friend and the man of my dreams. After having met and married within a few short months of dating, you can understand why getting pregnant and having a baby was the last thing on our minds.
To help you really grasp the situation, we were only 23 and 26 when we were first married, and we wanted to travel and have fun together like all twenty-somethings should do. We made a playful pact not to get pregnant for 10 years, and we even shook on it. Looking back now, it makes me laugh because we were so serious, but to fully understand… Jeff came from a large family, and he never had the opportunity to travel and do some of the things that I did while growing up. He wanted to explore the world. We wanted to have FUN.
Taken just after we were married. We look like babies. ;)
Soon after we were married, I became a flight attendant for American Airlines and we began traveling our hearts out. I loved being a flight attendant, and he loved the free flights and being able to tag along with me on a trips to Miami or NYC… wherever. ;) Most people don’t fly first class, and I loved that Jeff had the opportunity all those years that I flew. He LOVED every minute of it. Lol
I loved flying..
Around 5 months of being married I told Jeff that I missed having a pet and a family, and I really wanted to get a dog. I laugh now because this happened just a mere 5 months after we shook hands on our baby pact. Now here I was convincing him to get a dog. For those of you who don’t know.. having a dog is almost like having a baby. That should have been Jeff’s #1 clue that a ’10 year baby pact’ probably wouldn’t be happening. ;)
We happily lived as a married couple + Cocker Spaniel for 3 wonderful years. I flew, Jeff worked and Chelsea slept all day. Whenever we would go out of town, we had family or friends take care of Chelsea so I was never really truly faced with being inconvenienced. Life was good…
It was sometime during the summer of 1992 when Jeff came home from work one day and found me crying in bed with the flu. He thought I was crying because I didn’t feel well, but what he didn’t know at the time was that I had been feeling that yearning to have a baby thing but didn’t want to tell him. I knew it was important to Jeff that we travel, work a little while and save money before starting a family. (Sooo together… Lol)
When he asked me what was wrong, I told him my thoughts and stared at him to see what his response was. He didn’t say anything, so I told him I had an idea. I said, “We made a pact, I don’t want to push you into anything that you aren’t ready for, and I know you don’t want to make me wait for something that I want.. so why don’t we settle it so that noone feels bad. Let’s flip a coin. Heads – we wait. Tails – we start trying to have a baby.” Jeff started laughing and pulled out a quarter. Picture this – I’m in my PJ’s laying in bed watching Oprah, and Jeff is standing in a suit & tie at the end of the bed with a coin in his hand.
I remember on this day Jeff held my cousin who was just 1 years old and we laughed at the thought of having a baby… (Last thing on our minds the first 3 – 4 years of our marriage)
Jeff flips the coin and just as he’s about to grab it, it falls to the ground, and I can’t see it. He slowly bends down, picks it up, shakes his head, looks at me a little longer and says, “Looks like…”
If you know Jeff, he always loves to give me a hard time in the sweetest of ways. But at that moment, whether it was heads or tails, he didn’t give any obvious facial signs. So the words out of his mouth were, “Looks like you……… (then he opened his hand) …………………win.”
At that moment, we both laughed and smiled and I said, “Are you sure you’re okay with this?” and he said, “Of course I am. I didn’t really have to flip a coin.” That was such a sweet moment, and it was then that I knew we were really ready to start a family. (I really began screaming and jumping up and down I was that happy!)
Just after deciding to begin trying I held every baby I could…
A couple of nights later we went out to dinner.. I pulled Jeff into Baby Gap ( I couldn’t help myself! I was so happy) and we bought a cute little onesie as a celebratory gift to our new venture. Jeff actually picked it out and it was sweet. It was a tiny white onesie with red and blue penguins all over it. It was perfect because he picked it out. And because I was sooooo happy! It could have been a football jersey for all I cared. ;)
About 6 weeks later, I was frustrated because I wasn’t pregnant. Typical doctor’s kid.. I was wondering immediately what was up and starting investigating. (I’m ALWAYS investigating, lol)
I made an appointment with my gynecologist and went in asap. I told her I had no issues that I could think of, I had tried a little on my own and after they checked me out… they checked Jeff out, then sent us home with Clomid.
For those unfamiliar, Clomid (in the simplest of explanations) is used to help your chances of getting pregnant by stimulating your hormones and jump starting your ovulation. Consider it like a tune up. It can increase your chances of having twins so you are monitored while taking it to make sure your body doesn’t produce too many eggs. I ran home and couldn’t wait to begin!
After using Clomid a couple of months the doctors began IUI. IUI is Intrauterine Insemination. At the perfect time of ovulation they inject sperm inside my uterus giving it the best chance of reaching the egg. I was so excited and felt it would work. I mean it HAD to! After another couple of unsuccessful months my Gynecologist recommended that I see an Infertility specialist at Stanford. I was so happy to get going so I made an appt. as soon as I could. (This all happened within a few months)
The first minute I met my Infertility Doctor I loved her. She was amazing, she listened to me and she respected my opinion. Having a dad who was a surgeon really set me up to being my own advocate. I have always been on top of my health and I researched everything. I told her that I thought I had endometriosis because there was no other explanation. I had regular periods (albeit a little heavy with cramps) but no other signs of issues. Jeff had been checked so it had to be me. The only thing I could think of was scarring in my tubes from endometriosis.
Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue is found outside of the uterine body. This can occur when the uterus sloughs off some of the tissue and rather than exiting the correct way, (through the vagina during your period) some of the tissue backs up into the tube (who knows why) and it has no place to go. So…. with every subsequent period, this causes your uterine lining to bleed which then causes that sloughed off tissue part to bleed as well because it thinks it is still in your uterus. (So much info I learned…)
In other words the stray tissue is still living tissue. This leftover tissue then continues to bleed and spread with each following period until that tissue becomes scar tissue and causes blockage. Phew!!! That’s a lot of medical jargon. I’m telling you, it’s an education I NEVER wanted.
I had no idea that the reason I had pain when I ran at times was due to the scarring inside of me. When my Doctor pressed down on my abdomen and uterus I nearly jumped off the table. She said at that moment, “Yep… I’m willing to bet that you have some serious endometriosis going on. Let’s schedule a laparoscopy asap”.
A laparoscopy is a low invasive surgery that enables doctors to easily see what is going on inside your abdomen. They make small incisions, inflate your stomach with air through tubes so they can view everything with cameras, then if need be, they use lasers to remove any scarring or other problems.
The next thing we knew, I was in surgery two days later. (Once again I was so happy to get going!) When I woke up after my 4 hour surgery (they thought it would be 1-2 hours max) my Doctor told me…
The bad news is… I would never have a baby on my own. My scarring and endometriosis was so extensive they weren’t completely sure they got it all and my tubes were found wrapped around my ovaries, completely scarred and closed. No fimbria or fingers to speak of to pick up an egg.
The good news is… she also had endometriosis and she had twins through IVF. She went on to say she had never seen anyone with as bad a case of endometriosis as herself, until me. (of course… UGH)
She said my only route was IVF or adoption. She went on to say that she really felt that I would get pregnant like she did because of the kind of person I am. I have a supportive husband, an incredibly supportive family and I’m tenacious. I was already beginning to feel better. She had been through it and had twins.
I remember sitting there in shock. I was terrified that my dreams of being a mother would never happen. I called my mom and dad immediately and I’ll never forget their response. “Don’t worry about a thing. We will help you and Jeff get through this, promise.” My mom went on to say that they would pay for half of the IVF if that’s what it took. At that time IVF was super expensive (12-15K a try) and no insurance covered any part of it.
I felt relieved as soon as everyone calmed me down and then decided at that moment that I was never going to let this ruin my life. I had a plan, support and I was going to get pregnant or have a baby somehow if it killed me. I wasn’t going to be depressed any longer. I was taking action and doing all I could. :) I really believed it and that’s when I decided from that moment on to focus on the good, be grateful and approach this journey with a happy heart. Everything happens for a reason… If this is the worst thing that can happen to me than I’m doing well. One thing I did do from that moment on..? Talk Talk Talk! It helps so much to let others know how you are really doing in life. :)
My parents have always been there for me..
I decided I was going to be happy through this journey… no matter what. I was lucky!
Stay tuned for part 2 and my IVF journey..
Helpful Websites, Podcasts and Books For Infertility and IVF ~