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My Infertility and InVitro Journey – Part 3

So honored to have you back for the final installment to my infertility and invitro journey. If you missed Part 1 click here, and if you missed Part 2, click here. One thing I want to add about my posts… All of my posts, especially my personal stories, I write from the heart. I write like I talk. It’s not always proper, it’s not always perfect… it’s just me being me. :)

My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3This picture makes me smile.. Because I moved around so much after college I didn’t have a close set of friends who lived near me to throw me a baby shower. I was a flight attendant to top it off and most of my friends lived all over the world. One day Jeff’s cousin, Kymmie found out that nothing had been planned for me. She said there was NO way I wasn’t having a baby shower so she threw me the most special celebration. I’ll never forget that. I felt like Emma’s life was even more special on that day.


Before I begin Part 3 of my IVF journey I have to mention that I had really intended for this story to told in just one or two parts… but every little detail means so much when you are going through something like this and every emotion weighs on you. In Vitro was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through in my life. Don’t get me wrong, Jeff and I appreciate everything and everyone in our lives. We are so happy, we have wonderful families, we are healthy and I know that there are far worse problems in the world… however, with that being said… it’s soul crushing when you find that you can’t have a baby with the one person you love more than life without medical help and a ton of luck. All you just want to do as a couple is be able to have that baby and go out and buy something like this matched car seat and stroller, you just want to enjoy the pregnancy. But when you need medical help and a ton of luck things are made way more difficult.

For those of you who haven’t experienced this personally.. going through infertility immediately separates you from everyone else. Everything in our society is centered on family. It seemed that as soon as I found out I couldn’t get pregnant, everyone around me became pregnant. Even those who didn’t want to get pregnant got pregnant. I couldn’t win.

For Jeff and I to find that there was nothing more that we could do to get pregnant except to pay for the most expensive, high-tech procedure and still have just a 20-30% chance of it working… was unbelievable to us.

After everything we went through to have Emma it breaks my heart to hear of someone going through infertility now. It’s such a lonely experience. If you know of anyone going through this please give them a hug and let them know that you are there to listen and support them. Whether it be IVF, surrogacy, adoption or whatever avenue, it’s never easy…

Part 3

A week and a half or so after my embryo transfer, and the day before I was due to go in for the blood test to see if this last IVF treatment worked… I didn’t feel well. Normally I would think this is a good thing… maybe I’m pregnant but the reality was that it was way too early to show any symptoms at that time. Most don’t experience morning sickness after just a couple of weeks.. I really felt that our IVF had not worked and I must be getting my period. I was so upset I called the clinic and told them that I was cramping and felt like it was a waste of everyone’s time to go in for the blood draw. They listened to me then told me that I needed to come in anyways.

The following morning, Jeff and I drove to San Francisco. The entire way there I was so upset. Poor Jeff. I cried and kept saying that I just knew I wasn’t pregnant. The strange thing is, while I felt in my heart that there was no way that I could be pregnant (I really thought I knew my body), I was also bloated beyond the norm. I looked like I was three months pregnant in my stomach area which was atypical. Of course being the type of person to always research everything I flipped through the infertility books the entire way to the Doctor’s office. I read that there was a chance that my body was undergoing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. In basic english, it’s your body’s negative reaction to taking a ton of hormones to produce a ton of eggs, especially one who has undergone a multitude of IVF’s, within a couple of months of one another. My body was obviously having a hard time.

When we walked into the Dr’s office, I felt horrible because there were so many couples sitting in the office waiting. I waltzed in looking like I was a few months pregnant. It looked like I walked into the wrong office. I’ll never forget how bad I felt as they looked at me thinking I must be pregnant. When I was called to the back the nurses began to tell me, “The good news is, the fact that you feel this sick could mean that you’re pregnant. You may be showing signs of OHSS (hyper-stimulation) and we are going to take a blood draw to find out.”

Before they could even begin to take my blood sample for the pregnancy test, I began to throw up. I then fainted so they rushed me across the street to the hospital, UCSF (University of California San Francisco). I was immediately admitted and they gave me an IV because of my extreme dehydration. Not very long after the IV was administered, they came into the room and told us that we were pregnant. I’ll never forget (even being as sick as I was) that it was the happiest moment of our lives. Mind you, Jeff and I were sooooo elated we barely had time to really consider what was happening to me at the time. I was showing signs of distress and my chest began to hurt. The doctors were concerned because my body was showing all the signs of extreme hyperstimulation. (BTW, this happens to very few people… but of course it was happening to me)

The doctors explained that they were in a conundrum… They needed to hydrate me but the pain I was beginning to experience was from fluid building up within my abdomen. The pressure of the fluid was pushing on all my organs to the point where I was having difficulty breathing. The doctors had to take extreme measures to allow me to breathe by inserting a tube into my chest (and yes I was awake) and proceeded to remove a liter or more of fluid. They had hoped that this would resolve the problem, but what none of us knew at the time was that I was pregnant with twins. This explained a little more of why my body was hyperstimulating. I was on estrogen/hormone overload and my ovaries were having a hard time adapting to everything. (once again, this is a rare occurrence) At the time (1994) they said less than 1% of women have had this happen to them.

Unfortunately for me the ovaries didn’t settle down so the doctors had to repeat the above procedure several times while they began making calls to Johns-Hopkins and other research clinics to try and figure out the best way to handle the situation. They had never had a case like mine before at UCSF. It had only happened in this extreme way a few other times (up to that year) and some didn’t have good outcomes. It was all very scary but all I could think of was the fact that I was pregnant. I was in the best of hands. My dad, who also happened to be a surgeon and chief of staff of a hospital was on top of everything with the doctors. My Mother-in-law who was a cardiac nurse was also with us. While this was all very serious, and people were rushing in and out all the time I have to tell you that I began to feel like I was on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Because UCSF is a teaching hospital, hoards of medical students often take part in situations like mine for learning experiences. Suffice it to say, the doctors and students came into my room with their clipboards quite a few times to discuss my case. I had officially become a case study at UCSF.

After a few days of working on my case the Doctors told me that if my body did not begin to accept the pregnancy, then I was going to lose the babies. That’s when my situation really hit home. After everything that we had gone through how could we possibly end up with nothing? I couldn’t believe it.

It’s so strange how things happen in life… Just as we were being told that we might lose both babies, the doctor came in and said that the pregnancy levels (I’m going to leave this using basic terms) were dropping fast. It wasn’t a good sign. Everything that he had said could happen looked like it was happening… I was devastated and I’ll never forget Jeff’s face as I cried my heart out.

About 30 minutes-1 hour later the nurse came back in and told us that the numbers were going back up again but they were rising at a slower rate. We were shocked. What did that mean? They believed that one of the twins did not make it. This is so early on in the pregnancy… remember with IVF they check you immediately after the embryo transfer. Far earlier than anyone would normally be able check with a standard pregnancy test. While we were sad to hear that the numbers reflected that one of the embryo’s didn’t make it, we felt so fortunate to still have one embryo holding on. It was truly a miracle after everything that had happened.

The main focus at this point was to keep the remaining baby happy and healthy. I had to stay at the hospital for another week until my body was able to calm down. It wasn’t easy but my body finally settled and they told me that it looked like our baby was going to make it. I was released to go home. You may find this hard to believe, but because of what happened – I was so bloated… I could not fit through a door without turning sideways. I had gone from 110 lbs to 152 lbs in just a few days. To get me out of the hospital I had to lean back in a large wheelchair then lay in the back of the SUV in order to drive home. I couldn’t sit up fully yet due to the pressure on my chest but once I arrived home, my body slowly but surely became it’s old self again, only this time, pregnant.

While getting pregnant was hard for me, being pregnant was a piece of cake. As a matter of fact, I had never felt better in my life. Once my stint in the hospital was over I was able to enjoy every moment and every pound of my pregnancy.

My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Horrible picture I know… What on earth am I wearing and Jeff? I can’t figure out what we were thinking.. LOL What I do know? We were so happy!!!!

My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3My Mom gave me this snow globe with an angel inside that Christmas I was pregnant. Everyone always said Emma was an angel sent from heaven…

Having gone through IVF a few times, including a frozen transfer, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would have always wondered if it would have worked had we not tried. I am also so happy that we pushed for the one last try because we almost didn’t. I can’t even imagine my life without Emma.

So many things were learned through my situation. After my Doctor (the Director of my clinic at the time) held my embryos out a day or two longer than what the normal practice was before transferring them back into the uterus (because she said she wasn’t impressed with their growth, lol), IVF clinics began looking into making this a standard practice. They changed the protocol to wait until the blastocyst stage for the embryo transfer. Waiting for that last stage makes a world of difference. I wish they had known that the first time around. But then again… I may not have had Emma if those attempts had worked.

My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Emma was the most beautiful baby in the world… ;) She wasn’t red in real life. I don’t know what’s up with all these pics. Where were digital cameras back then?My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Emma’s First Christmas… She cried so much because she didn’t want to be left alone on the floor in a strange place.. I can’t say I blame her! Poor thing. Her eyes were so red! Btw, I never made her wear one of those headbands with bows again.. ;)Emma loves her Daddy… Those two laugh and laugh

If you are experiencing infertility and going through this sort of thing, don’t give up hope. If we had not gotten pregnant with Emma on that last try than we would have called it a day and turned to adoption. I always knew that. We never felt the need to approach adoption though once we had Emma. We truly felt like all our prayers and wishes were answered. It felt like closure of the best kind. The only regret if you can call it that.. is that Emma doesn’t have a sibling. That’s the only thing that hurts sometimes. I know she would have loved that. I would have gone through IVF again had they let me but because of my experience there was no way they would ever let me into another program. I also knew that I would never push Jeff into trying for adoption. We already felt so lucky… He was always so supportive of anything and everything that I ever wanted. I knew it was hard for him to see me upset and to become as sick as I had become during the process. We had our family.. we were happy… we were ready to move on.

My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Emma always smiles… Then and now.
My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3On this day Emma was taking a bath after her last day of Kindergarten. She was crying so hard I ran into the bath and pulled her out. She couldn’t catch her breath for the longest time then she finally told us that she was going to miss her teacher, Mrs. Biasotti so much she was terribly terribly sad. I’ll never forget the sadness she felt. Jeff and I were there during that moment and I told her she would always know Mrs. Biasotti for the rest of her life. We weren’t going anywhere. She smiled then I brushed her hair and Jeff took this picture. I still adore Barbara Biasotti and we see her in town every once in awhile. There are some people who touch your lives forever and she is one of them.

My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Our tiny family of three..
My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Emma never loved this picture but I did… I always wanted to look as tall and elegant as she did here when I was in HS. My Infertility and InVitro Journey - Part 3Such a fun moment being nominated by our town for the Mother/Daughter look alike contest after this shot was taken at Emma’s Senior Ball. We came in 2nd place. ;)

Thoughts?

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58 thoughts on “My Infertility and InVitro Journey – Part 3

    1. I loved reading your story about how you met Jeff and now how you conceived your sweet Emma. I too struggled with infertility and welcomed my sweet Ella four years ago. I too feel so fortunate to have had the full support of my husband and to be a family of three. Thank you for sharing all of your story and sure you can attest how wonderful modern science is.

  1. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. No wonder your bond is so tight. Your daughter is certainly a blessing and you and Jeff are hers. Stay healthy and happy so she can have you around at least until you’re both 100 yrs old. I was my mother’s only daughter- she died 9 yrs ago. She was my very best friend. No one can replace her. My mother’s love and friendship was the greatest gift . I miss her everyday. You are so lucky to have Emma. Only happiness to all of you?

      1. Thank you for sharing your very personal journey into mother hood. I can tell you how much I value your openes and heartfelt story.

    1. So sorry for the loss of your mom. I know how you feel. My mom passed away two days ago and I feel so lost. Losing your best friend is the hardest thing in the world.

      kristy, this story is a testimony to God’s love. My daughter and I are so close. I am so happy that you were able to have your best friend.too.

    2. My mom died last week and I agree, it crushes you. I miss her so much. We were best friends. My daughter and I are best friends. We spend everyday together and I truly do not know where I would be if I didn’t have her these last 5 days. Mom’s are so special. ❤️

  2. Kristi, thank you for sharing your story with us. What an amazing journey. My husband and I have tried for years and have finally decided we are done trying. I’m at peace with that decision now. I’m glad you received your miracle!! Your family is truly a blessing and your relationship with Jeff an inspiration. Happy New Year to all of you. Xoxo

  3. Hi Kristy, such a beautiful blessing ?? What an emotional roller coaster ride for you two, a gift from God that was meant to be, perfection, beautiful daughter, thank you for sharing this remarkable journey! God bless you all ?

  4. I had been waiting to hear this last part. I’m so glad you got blessed with the opportunity of having a baby. Though it was hard I know it was worth it. Thank you for sharing ?

  5. Hi Kristy,

    Thank you for sharing your story. The way you described the isolation and how you are separated from everyone else is so relatable for me. Every time I hear someone else I know is able get pregnant it’s a punch to the gut. No one understands how it feels unless you’ve been through it. You feel somehow responsible and as if you’re failing. Your perseverance is inspirational to me and just hearing another’s story is so comforting. You and your family seem so lovely!

  6. I love to read your stories!!! You always have such a beautiful way of telling things. My sister in law also got hyper stimulation during her first Invitro cycle. I remember how she was in so much pain and had fluid drained. We did IVF
    Too and we’re lucky to get our two children!! They were 5 day blast transfers. That’s so neat that your Doctor was the first to try it out. So grateful for modern medicine! Your Emma is darling and looks just like you.

    1. That’s amazing that you and your SIL both went through this at the same time. Having someone to share the pain with is half the battle. You two are so lucky! Hugs and thank you so much for commenting. xx

  7. Crying my eyes out right now! Such a beautiful story and you are such an inspiration! My husband and I are going through infertility right now and all of the avenues seem so scary!

    1. Just know that no matter what… you two will be ok. :) Remember why you married one another and support each other always. Jeff and I grew closer every day. xx

  8. Hello Kristy:
    I read your story and cried. The way you explained every detail made me feel every emotion you felt. You are a courageous woman and your husband Jeff is a great man for all his support. I am so happy to see that all that you went thru resulted in a beautiful daughter. Thank you for sharing your very personal journey. Sending blessings to you and your beautiful family. xoxo

  9. Kristy,

    This brought tears to my eyes! As a mom, hearing about this short but scary episode in the hospital made me cry! My mom lost several babies (five) through miscarriage and ended up with two children (my brother and I). I always wondered if I’d have the same problems. I started spotting when I was three months pregnant with my first pregnancy, my son, and was terrified. The doctor told me that just happens sometimes and to just relax and wait and see. I was so thankful that was the last of the problems and was blessed with a son and daughter, grown now, like Emma. Thanks for sharing your story and so happy you ended up with such a lovely gift of a daughter!

  10. Such a miracle Kristy! I felt the emotion in every part of this story! Our oldest is 19 and we went through several years of testing. It is such a trying time. I love seeing You and your sweet family on Instagram!

  11. Oh Kristy I’m just in tears reading this. Suffering from infertility myself you absolutely hit the nail on the head in saying how excluded you become from society. Everything is child/family orientated and pretty much every man and his dog has gotten pregnant since I knew I couldn’t.
    We went through 2 IVF cycles last year (2017) which resulted in one failure and one pregnancy with a miscarriage at 9 weeks. It was such a horrible ordeal I really don’t want to go through another IVF cycle in case the same heartbreak occurs again, but a few things have been telling me to do it one more time, and now your post is telling me the same. My husband is so supportive and says it’s up to me. I just don’t want to have any regrets later in life. Hopefully we will get our happy ending like you did. Thank you so much for sharing. Xxx

    1. Oh Rachel… you need to! We almost didn’t do another attempt and if that had happened I would never have never had Emma. I miscarried her twin but I’m still so thankful to have her. Never give up hope. xx

  12. I can’t even imagine how it would feel to go through the ups and downs you guys went through! I’m sorry you had to experience that. Emma really is a mini you :) Hugs and kisses!

    1. Oh Katie! I miss you and Micah and the family soooo much. Whyyyy can’t we live closer? Thank you so much for commenting and just know how much I love you all. xx

  13. Thank you for sharing such a precious piece of your heart with all of us. This brought tears to my eyes in such a wonderful way. I love your perspective through it all. Situations like this really make you thankful for the little things and to cherish every moment together. Such an inspiration. Beautiful family. Thank you for sharing :)

    1. I couldn’t agree more Abigail… You never can believe you are going through this when it happens to you. Life isn’t supposed to work that way is it? Hugs and thanks for your support. It means so much. xx

  14. What a beautiful thing to share. I’ve loved this series. I didn’t have to go through IVF but it took me 2.5years to get pregnant with Grace, 18 months with Ella and then 1lucky night with Ethan ( theyvare barely 18 months apart!! It’s a heart breaking time in life.
    Thank you for sharing this with us all, and sharing those darling pictures of Emma, she’s an absolutely angel. Xxx

  15. Hi Kristy,
    Thank you for such a beautiful story. I love how you write just like you’re talking. It makes the story so real. Your Emma is beautiful!
    I would like to say to Jessica who responded that they have not had their miracle happen to seriously think about adoption. Especially a child with very mild medical needs from China. My story as a Grandma is very different than yours but truly miraculous. I have 5 children. Four sons and one daughter. My own sweet mother died in an accident right when my oldest son was born. Oh how I missed her with all my children but I always dreamed of having the baby experience with my only daughter. My daughter is married to a wonderful man and they decided before they were married that their first choice would be to adopt at risk children. I was proud of them for their decision but of course I thought they’d have some biologic children too. Their first adoption from Poland was a little boy who was born at 23 weeks but was now two years old. They traveled and were with him for one week. The adoption process required them to come home and return in one month. Sadly, our new little grandson was given to another family. Corruption. It was devastating. But I secretly hoped that now my daughter would forget all this and get pregnant. I so longed to share our daughter/Mom baby experience.
    I would pressure her and ask if they would still have a least one of their own. I look back now and feel ashamed of not supporting her 100% with her selfless dreams of helping innocent children who need a forever family. Well I can tell you and Jessica that we just welcomed home my third grandchild from China. Their first came to us at 15 months old. A boy with cleft lip and palate. He is now six. Her second son came at exactly 2 yrs, of age, also with a cleft lip and palate. He is now five. Both boys have had surgery for repairs and speech therapy. They are 11 months apart in age and I always tell my daughter that she has Irish twins via China. They are so beautiful and perfect little boys. Our precious grand daughter just arrived on Dec. 2nd. She is 20 months old and even though she was considered to have medical issues she is perfect. (China said she had a cast for 3 months for club foot. But her feet are fine now) My daughter and her husband really wanted to take the boys to their “finding place” when they were in China getting their sister. Well I can tell you that the picture of my 6 ur old grandson standing in front of a terribly sad run down building in an equally sad poor Chinese town brought all the years of “my wants” into perspective. He is standing so proud with the biggest grin on his beautiful perfect face. “This is where he is from and this is who he is.” A little boy who because of a scary but fixable issue, born to very poor parents was laid on a curb and left in the cold at 10 days of age. My sweet happy healthy grandson who I love as much as my 4 other “biologic grandchildren”.I can’t tell you what that picture meant to me. It brings the whole world of adoption as the greatest gift for us and especially that innocent life. I just feel so sad for you moms and dads who struggle with infertility which wasn’t the case in our family. But I can’t help and think how incredibly strong you all are for going through all the joys and disappointments. And if you’re that strong you should think of adoption. Because these kids really are dying in orphanages in China and they neeed a strong Mom and Dad. They need a family. Sorry this is so long saying prayers for Jessica and her husband. Meg

    1. I couldn’t have said it any better… Thank you so much for sharing your love and life! Everyone who reads this will feel comforted and supported. :) Hugs! xx

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. It is so inspiring and reminds me not to give up hope and to believe that miracles do happen each and every day. I love watching your stories and reading your posts, you are such a positive and bright person, thank you for sharing it!!!

  17. Wow! Such an amazing story! Thank you for sharing. I think that it is so important for women to share their journeys. My husband and I also went through years and years of fertility. When we became pregnant, finally, I also hyper stimulated and was hospitalized. Our stories are so similar!! I was dehydrated, hooked up to an IV, and having migraines when our doctor came in and told us we were pregnant!! Phew what a roller coaster…but we have 2 sweet four year olds and God is so good!! Again thanks for sharing!!

    1. How incredible Nina! We both went through so many similar things…Crazy! I am so happy for you. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your story! Hugs x

  18. Your story is so much like my own experience! It’s incredible. I had flash backs reading of that pain of fluid build up. They used a thick long needle with me through my lower abdomen and withdrew 2 1/2 liters of fluid. I was so scared the would puncture the babies. It was very painful when the needle went through the fascia! Didn’t you find it strange how the fluid settle in places before your body rids it! Oh my goodness I could tell you some things. Anyway, I was just so happy to finally be pregnant. 15 long years of trying. Now I have two beautiful 16 year old boys. I’d do it all again. Thanks for sharing, it’s nice to know in a strange way I wasn’t alone in a emotional and scary but exciting journey to motherhood.
    Blessings

  19. Kristy and Jeff – thank you for sharing your personal journey. Emma is beautiful and a gift to both of you. Through yiur stories – we can see and feel the love ❤️
    I truly wish you all a wonderful and healthy new year and again thank you for all you share!! Mena xx

  20. Hi Kristy, love your story and it brought me so many memories. I also had IVF. It took four times for me to get pregnant and i also experienced ovararian over stimulation. I had the axact same procedures to remove excess fluid which was about 2 litters at a time. Reading your story was like reliving my own story. I was also pregnant with twins and I also lost one of my twins at 31 weeks of pregnancy. Lots of similarities with the difference that i had a baby boy! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. Oh my gosh, Kristy! Our stories are so similar. My father is a surgeon too (a urologist), and I went through IVF in my hometown of Indianapolis first, and had a girl (17 years ago), then did another IVF a year or so later that didn’t work. Through my best friend, I found Dr. Christo Zouves, who is in San Francisco(!) and when he agreed to take me as a patient, we spent three weeks there doing IVF that resulted in our son, who is now 15. And the funny thing is, when we got to SF and finally met Dr. Zouves in person, he looked at my maiden name, asked if my dad was a doctor and said, “You won’t believe this, but your father and I have shared a patient for the past year and have had many correspondences!” SUCH a small world! Your story brings back so many vivid memories! I had terrible results from the transfer (only 1 egg!) and Dr. Zouves wanted to keep it growing in the petri dish longer, which I hadn’t realized was better either (he was very cutting-edge). And we got our William!

  22. What a great story! I was thinking she looked exactly like Jeff until I saw the more recent photos, nope she’s 100% you! Both of you are gorgeous! Mom goals and Couple goals! I’ve been with my hubby for 26 years, married for almost 20. We have a daughter turning 18 this year and going off to college, tell me I’ll survive! So crazy! Xoxo

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