With the difficult and long journey we endured to conceive the first time around, we were happy and content with having only one child. Our daughter was healthy and thriving, bringing us so much joy and laughter in our world.
Did we really want to go through another round of in vitro fertilization (IVF)? The question of what’s in vitro fertilization was no longer foreign to us, but were we ready? Were we physically, emotionally, and financially ready to experience that journey again? Only time will tell…
The Early Years of Parenthood
After giving birth to our daughter, I stayed home with her for 2 years.
Being a stay at home mom had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Experiencing her growth milestones firsthand without having to juggle the demands and stress of outside work was huge. I was going to embrace and cherish every moment.
My husband traveled a bit for work and we would tag along – I remember her learning to take her first steps in a hotel suite in Vegas.
Soon enough our daughter needed to be in a setting with other children where she can learn to play and interact with. Mommy and daddy couldn’t be her only friends forever.
Was I ready to let go? Let someone else take care of her while I go back to work? I don’t think any mommy is truly ready for that day.
I enrolled her in a daycare setting during the summer months before I was to head back to work in August – we gave ourselves time to adjust to our new schedule. We did our research and visited many daycares near our area to find the best one that was safe and nurturing for our daughter.
That first day of daycare was rough to say the least! I remember dropping her off, trying to let go while she was crying and clinging to me. I’m surprised I made it out the door, but I definitely cried as I drove off. I counted the hours and minutes until I picked her up from daycare.
The transition was rough but it soon became easier, day by day. She had the sweetest daycare teachers and we felt at ease that they would take good care of her while we were at work.
I went back to work as a Special Education teacher. I missed the students and teachers. I missed having daily adult conversations with the staff. I missed dressing up for work.
As a mom, I felt I became a better teacher. I taught with more passion, had more empathy for my families to understand their daily struggles, and became a true advocate for my students with disabilities.
I wanted to become a teacher my daughter would have in the future – who would have her best interests at heart and make learning truly fun and enjoyable. I wanted parents to know I cared for their children and feel at ease when dropping them off at school, that I truly had their best interests at heart.
It takes a lot of work and sacrifice to have a good work-life balance. We wanted our daughter to have as many experiences as possible – we made her join dance class, swimming class, and basketball class (I think basketball was mostly daddy’s decision). She loved them all.
When our daughter would get sick and couldn’t go to daycare, we took turns to stay home with her. Most teachers know it’s hard to take a sick day – a lot of planning is involved to make sure things are taken care of while you’re away from the classroom. It wasn’t easy and no one wants to see their child sick, especially if a simple kiss doesn’t suffice. You want to take their pain away immediately.
Eventually our careers took off and had us relocating several times. We like to joke around that we’re like the military without the benefits because we’ve lived in so many other places. People have even asked us if we work for the military.
We got very good in packing and unpacking our goods, living out of our suitcases for a while, and adapting to new living and work arrangements. It was not easy relocating with a child, but we learned as we went and made the best out of it.
Life was good and we were happy. Our daughter was enjoying her new school and making new friends. She always had a shy personality, but we were so proud of her for easily adapting to her new environment.
I think a pivotal point in our lives was when my husband lost his father. He only had one sister and his mother passed away when he was just a little boy. I grew up with only two older brothers.
We both didn’t come from big families but we were all close. His sister and her family lived literally right across the street from us. At one time we lived with my brother before we got our own place. Our kids all grew up with each other. So many great memories of growing up together.
When my husband’s father passed away we felt it was time to try to have another child again. He lost his mother to breast cancer when he was little, so now it was just his sister and him.
I don’t know if it was the void we were trying to replace or the realization that we didn’t want our daughter to not have a sibling when the both of us are gone. We wanted her to have a little brother or sister to grow up and share memories with.
IVF – Part 2
We went through another round of IVF – again it was not successful. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness was overwhelming to suffer yet another miscarriage.
I remember it was around October and we got invited to a Halloween party. I remember dressing up in our costumes and having to hide our feelings of sadness amongst some of our closest friends and family. We didn’t want to ruin the festivities by sharing our heartbreaking news. It was a pain we kept to ourselves.
I don’t recall how many embryos we decided to transfer during this IVF process, but we froze the remainder of my embryos called cryopreservation – we weren’t ready to try again soon after like before. We decided to freeze the remainder of our embryos because we never knew when we would need it again, especially the hard work we went through to get them.
We were thankful for our healthy daughter and we were content if that’s how our life was meant to be. We would be okay with that decision.
We relocated due to work soon after and didn’t really think of trying to conceive through IVF again for many years.
A Blessing in Disguise
One day I went in for my annual women’s checkup appointment with my new obstetrician/gynecologist (ob/gyn) doctor in the area. During the appointment, he soon learned of my history of infertility and I told him about my miracle daughter conceived through in vitro fertilization.
He kindly asked if we would like to try again and I was a bit surprised actually because my husband and I haven’t discussed it in a while, a long while.
Our daughter was almost 8 years old. Our frozen embryos were in another state. I wasn’t as young. Like anything, there were risks involved. Is it even possible?
My new doctor handed me a pamphlet and said to speak with a lady that handles the logistics of the procedure. I went home and discussed it with my husband – he was surprised too.
Maybe it was worth a try again after all these years – a blessing in disguise.
One phone call and numerous clinic visits led to another and we were soon at our first appointment with a new doctor and team of nurses to embark on our next IVF journey.
We promised ourselves that we would try again this one last time and if it didn’t work out that would be our final time and we would be okay with that decision.
We decided to use fresh eggs so we had to start from the very beginning of the IVF process. From our personal experience when we used frozen eggs, our chances to conceive weren’t successful. Studies I’ve read show that using frozen eggs has a more successful rate. Everyone’s experience and health history is different and unique, so we advise you to consult you’re team of doctors for the most viable option for you.
On our first trimester they detected 2 heart beats. I was having twins!
Both embryos that were implanted stuck which was amazing because that never happened in any of our cases.
It was recommended I be on modified bed rest again. I quit my job because I was working with babies and toddlers in early intervention which took a toll on my body. I had to make a safe and critical decision because my pregnancy with twins was considered high-risk. Thankfully my husband and I were in the position to be able to do that comfortably, so I chose to take a leave of absence from work.
I never had an easy pregnancy as some would say. The daily injections, medications, and constant visits to see specialists were all too familiar.
My husband became a pro at giving me my shots again. I guess it’s like a riding a bike, once you learn you don’t forget. I developed an allergic reaction to some of the shots this time around, so we had to closely monitor and adjust the medications.
Towards the end of my first trimester, I remember waking up in the middle of the night bleeding on the bed, not just light spotting but blood on my garments and sheets. Not again…another miscarriage?
I remember frantically having my husband call my doctor’s mobile in the early morning hours to ask him what to do. It was a Saturday. Was there anything the doctor could possibly do?
We knew if I was having a miscarriage there was nothing to stop it. We were so fearful going into the doctor’s office that Monday morning. Were we going to hear the dreadful news again – that I was experiencing a miscarriage once again?
It doesn’t get any easier even though we’ve experienced it a handful of times. At the appointment during the ultrasound, we only heard one heartbeat.
We ultimately were referred to see a specialist. My ob/gyn recommended I travel to see this specialist immediately and made travel plans to leave on the next flight out.
We learned that although I was having a miscarriage of one embryo, they still detected the strong heartbeat of the other. I was still pregnant with one. We didn’t think that was possible, but it apparently was.
One was all we needed and hoped for and it was thriving. We are so grateful for our team of doctors and nurses that showed us so much compassion during this time.
Our bundle of joy – our miracle son – arrived 5 years ago.
We call him our “boss baby.” Watch the movie “Boss Baby” and you’ll soon realize you know one or two in you’re lives. Our little boss baby is definitely mommy’s boy though.
He loves preschool and was disappointed to not be going to school anymore due to the corona virus pandemic– or as he calls it “conora” virus. He has adjusted well to online distance learning.
Like his big sissy, he loves soccer and misses his weekly soccer practices and Saturday games with his teammates. Our son recently celebrated his 5th birthday while we quarantined and practiced social distancing.
Hope for the Future
Our IVF journey was now complete.
We shared a little more with our closest friends and family this time around. And now it’s something we don’t shy away from talking about.
We can answer that question “what’s in vitro fertilization?” without any hesitation or embarrassment.
People are actually surprised when we talk about how our kids were conceived. I still get teary eyed sharing our story.
The roller coaster ride of emotions you experience is a difficult journey. We want others going through the process and enduring the struggles to know that you are not alone.
Fertility issues is now more mainstreamed – you hear and read more about it compared to ten years ago. IVF is practically a household term. It doesn’t have to be a silent journey or one to be embarrassed about. We hope our story gives you strength to endure your IVF journey. You are strong and resilient. May you find strength to keep powering through regardless of what’s currently going on in the world.