Friday, April 30, 2010

Autumn's Story

Almost a year ago, I started this blog.
Mainly as a way to keep record of our attempts TTC with a little life & humor thrown in.
I had been a regular on one of The Bump boards and while I don't post there much anymore, I made some fabulous friends and gained invaluable information about my body that I had never been taught.

I also met Autumn.

Autumn changed my life.
She may not even know how her story has affected me, how for the rest of my life I will see things differently, I will be thankful for things that are normally unmentioned. How I will compose myself and not ask nosy questions that everyone thinks are okay to ask.
Because I'm changed, I'm informed, but most importantly, I am aware.

Not to say I wasn't aware before, but not to this extent.
It's one of those things that until it happens to you or someone you are close to & you see them experience the heartbreak & confusion, you don't think about.
Sure, you hear stories about people who can't or struggle to have children and the automatic response is "That's so sad" but then you go on about your day.

But what if it was you?
What if it was your sister or best friend?
Would it be so easy to put up that barrier & just not think about it?

Autumn shattered my barrier.
I will never hear those words again and think only "That's so sad."
I will reach out, I will be a friend. I will not ask questions. I will just listen. I will be there.
Autumn taught me those things, and so much more.
This is her story.

My Story by Autumn

There are short stories with surprise endings and long stories with tragic endings.
There are good stories with shocking endings and fair stories and superior endings.
And then there is my story.

In the fall of 2004, I met the man of my dreams.
He was tall with thick dark hair. His eyes were blue like the sky.
His skin was fair and his smile was perfect.

“We would have beautiful babies together!” I told my best friend.

On October 20, 2007, I married that man.

…this is where my story ends, and our story begins…

Matt and I had originally planned to wait 2 years before trying to start a family. I didn’t want to be one of “those” couples who have a wedding and become pregnant all on the same day. I wanted to enjoy my marriage, travel, focus on our home, and then welcome children into the world.

God had a different plan.

At the turn of the New Year (2008), Matt and I decided to stop “not-not trying”. We were going to go full throttle. I began charting my temperatures, eating organics, checking (and charting) my cervical mucus, elevating my hips after intercourse (this was reeeeaaaal sexy, let me tell ya!), and even used Pre-Seed for an added boost. I made sure all my medical history was up to date and made a “pre-conception” appointment with a doctor at the best hospital in the city.

I was ready. I knew it was going to happen. Everything was perfect.

Month 1.… One line…not pregnant

Month 2…. One line…not pregnant

Month 3…. Early period…not pregnant

Month 4…. One line…not pregnant

…….

Month 9…. One line…not pregnant

It wasn’t working. Everything I was doing was failing. I was failing.

I contacted my OBGYN and explained that we had been trying for quite some time and feared that my previous experience with Endometriosis could be causing us problems.

He ordered tests. A lot of tests. Tests for me. Tests for Matt.

On my way to work, about a week later, I received a phone call from an unknown number.

“Hello?” I said.

“Autumn, this is Dr. DeCenzo. I just received the results from all of your tests. Your numbers all look great and it’s not your endometriosis causing the problem.”

“Oh! That’s great! So we’ll just keep trying” I said as I pulled into my parking spot.

“I’m afraid that won’t work. Your husband’s sperm count is extremely low. In fact, he only has about 500,000 sperm that could even contend to do the job.”

My heart stopped. My world stood still. My eyes filled with tears. But I would not let this get me down.

We met with an Urologist a month later. He felt Matt would be a good candidate for a procedure called “varicoseal repair”. He would simply go in, make a few snips, move things around, and wah-lah!

It would take 3 months to know if this had worked.

Month 15…. One line….not pregnant

The Urologist swore Matt would have me “knocked up” in no time.

Month 18….One line….not pregnant

It was time to move forward with a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

We met with Dr. Wakim and instantly knew we loved him. He was old and talked like ‘The Godfather’. He put our needs first and was willing to work with us to do what was financially appropriate.

We found out our IUI’s were covered, but our medicines were not.

God, again, had a plan.

A friend of mine conceived her 3 children with injectables, had overstock, and sold them to us for next to nothing.

IUI 1…natural… one line….not pregnant

IUI 2…clomid…cancelled…not pregnant

IUI 2…injectables…one line…not pregnant

IUI 3….injectable…one line….not pregnant

IUI 4…injectables…early period….not pregnant….or so I thought.

Matt and I met, once again, with Dr. Wakim. This time it was to discuss IVF.

We decided to go ahead and do a “one fresh, one frozen” plan.

Total cost, $12,000 plus the cost of medicine. Grand total $15,000.

God had a different plan.

As Matt and I entered Babies R Us, hopeful that our IVF would work and anxious to start looking at baby items, I received a phone call.

“Autumn, this is Hope from Dr. Wakim’s office. You’re pregnant.”

All I could do was cry and listen.

“Your BETA is 31. That is pretty low, but not unrealistic. We will need to see you again next week for another blood test.”

IUI 4…. Chemical Pregnancy…no longer pregnant.

I was ready to give up.

God wouldn’t let me.

How would we ever afford the IVF and the medication involved?

God knew.

I decided to partner with another couple and donate ½ of my eggs to them. We split the costs right down the middle. This was not an overnight decision and took months to prepare for. I had to answer questions I never even thought about and go through tests I didn’t even know existed.

Jan 1, 2010…. IVF injection 1….no pain no gain.

Everything was going great! I was producing eggs like the hens in a hen house. This was finally going to be it.

On January 15, they collected 21 eggs from my ovaries in a small medical procedure.

I donated 11 and kept 10.

8 out of 10 were mature. 6 out of 8 fertilized. 4 out of 6 were perfect quality.

We decided to transfer 2 embryos and freeze the other two.

The results of the IVF would be revealed on my 28th birthday.

I woke up early that morning (4:00am) and used 2 tests. I was shaking. This was it. I knew it.

IVF 1…. One line….not pregnant

How much more could a woman go through?! Why was this happening to us?! We corrected the problem and yet for some reason I wasn’t made to be a mother?!

God had a different plan.

On April 6, we had our Frozen Embryo Transfer. Two embryos that thawed like a million dollars. They were beautiful. One blastocyst and one 10 cell-grade A.

On April 14th I tested.

FET 1…. Two lines….pregnant.

WE DID IT!! Our dreams were coming true!!

I pee’d on 10 sticks in the following 7 days. Every day the line was darker than the day before.

On April 19th the nurse confirmed the pregnancy.

On April 26th we went for our first ultrasound.

FET1….Pregnant….TWINS!!!!

God had a plan.

There are short stories with surprise endings and long stories with tragic endings…but my story…
my story had a great ending that came only from a great story.


Autumn had a happy ending, but so many others do not.
They go through a lifetime of expensive medical procedures, adoptions that are expensive and sometimes fall through, red tape, & insurance companies that don't care.
All because they want the one thing that comes so easily for so many others.
To be parents.
It's not fair.

We can all help raise awareness about infertility.
We can make it a subject that is okay to talk about.
We can guard our words, & be considerate of the silent struggle that lies behind what the world can see.

We can listen. We can be supportive.
We can be aware.

For more information about Infertility & National Infertility Awareness Week, Click here.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

12 comments:

Southern Loves said...

Came across your blog, and it's adorable!! Congrats on your new little one to come!! What a GREAT, inspiring story...Thank you for sharing the words of Autumn; I look forward to following!!
~ Marlie
http://southernloves.blogspot.com/

Cheryl Woodhouse said...

Pippy... I'm in tears.

Autumn's story reminds me of how difficult our journey to parenthood could have been, if our first treatments hadn't worked.

It reminds me of all of my friends and "cysters" (women with PCOS) who are still struggling every single day with infertility.

It reminds me of that aching pain from the realization that you may never, ever have a child of your own... A pain that is still very real and very much there, for me.

I know we have a child on the way, and that she is healthy (so far, knock on wood) - and I thank the universe every single day for her. Because this story... It so easily could have been our own.

Autumn, I don't know who you are - but I have love for you. I do. We're sisters, in a way.

We battled our demons, we've been betrayed by our own bodies, we've given up just to realize that we never really can give up - all to finally emerge on the other side, victorious.

Victorious, and holding our babies closer and tighter than any mother could imagine.

Victorious, with stronger marriages and more patience, tolerance, and understanding than we'll ever need.

Victorious, with more love than any child could ever hope for.

We did it, Autumn.

We did it.

*cry*

- Cheryl

Mrs. Pink Pearls said...

I know Autumn from the boards as well. She is such an amazing person. Her story is so touching. I am very happy for her. I am so glad she shared her story!

Sarah said...

Praise God!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story!

ModernMom said...

My sister is facing the same struggle. It has been more then 6 years. Thanks for sharing this story!

Kelsey712 said...

wow, what an awesome story. Thank you so much for sharing that!

JrzyMeeba1 said...

Awesome post.. thanks for sharing Autumn's story. I hang on every blog post she puts out, because I'm so ecstatic that something is FINALLY going wonderfully for them.

Mrs.Jacks said...

I remember reading Autumn's blog post when she found out she was pregnant while at Babies R Us. I remember fighting back tears because I was so happy for her.

I also remember when she found out that it wasn't meant to be. I continually took breaks from reading because I couldn't read through the tears that were streaming down my face.

I haven't been on The Bump much lately and missed the announcement, but once again I sit here with tears in my eyes feeling absolutely overjoyed for her!

Miss Nikki said...

Came across your blog and I am in tears! That is such great news! I am so happy for you and your husband! I have been told I have a 5% chance of having children due to my medical history but I am going to break the odds just like you and your husband! =] I look forward to reading more on your blog! Thank you for such an uplifting story!

-Miss Nikki

autumnbride102007 said...

Thank you so much for all of your support, encouragement, and love.

I thought I would update you all and let you know that we went yesterday for an ultrasound (I was having some bad pains).

Our twins are now our TRIPLETS!!!

We have a set of identical twins and a singleton!!!

We heard the I.T's heart beats!
We got back on Thurs to see if we can hear baby 3's h.b!

GLORY TO GOD!!!

Joy said...

Pippy, thank you for this post, and for the honesty and love behind it. You are truly a gift from God, and with your words you have touched so many over and over again. (myself included!)

Autumn, thank you for sharing your story, here and elsewhere. I know what Pippy means by having been changed from knowing you, and I know we both see God's light shining through you. I hope and pray that your 3 little ones continue to grow and become even greater blessing to you than they are now.

((Big Hugs)) to you both

erin said...

awesome awesome post. awareness is crucial. no one should suffer alone.