Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. R and I started this blog to chronicle our journey to parenthood, which has turned out to be longer and more difficult than we ever imagined. What was first intended to be a story about a two mom family has morphed into a blog about infertility, assisted reproduction, and wrestling with their concomitant demons.
Our journey started in July 2010, when we decided to take the first steps toward having a baby. R had a routine check up at the OB/GYN and a few labs to help us narrow down potential sperm donors. Shortly thereafter, we began the difficult task of selecting a donor, which involved a lot of research and reading and talking with other two mom families. After many phone calls with two mom families around the country, and chats with friends and family we settled on the idea of using a known donor because we wanted our child to have a chance to know his/her biological family. We initially wanted to use a relative, but were deterred by the legal and social complications. We decided it would be best to use an anonymous donor, and picked one from one of the more popular sperm banks. We tried to conceive at home. We tried to conceive at the OB/GYN office. After multiple failed attempts, we enlisted the help of a reproductive endocrinologist. We tried some more and failed some more. We looked into adoption and were discouraged, and then a bit more optimistic but simultaneously terrified of the risks involved.
We decided to keep trying for a biological child. We tried some more and failed some more. Then in fall of 2011 we read media reports about large numbers of off-spring from anonymous sperm donors, as well a handful of distressing essays penned by donor conceived children. We became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of using anonymous donor sperm, and decided to look for a known donor.
We circulated this letter through a few friends and relatives whose friends we don’t know very well. One of our enlisted sperm donor scouts took his good friend out for a tennis match and popped the question for us. The potential donor gave it a lot of thought, and decided he couldn’t come up with a good reason not to donate. After months of negotiations with the donor and two attorneys, we met him and started trying to conceive with his sperm. We had some awkward, albeit memorable, moments but no baby after secretive(ish) meetings with the donor.
We hired a new doctor. We gained new hope, tried new drugs, but still failed to conceive. After years of fertility drugs, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, dietary restrictions, and fervent prayer our beloved doctor told us that R officially met criteria for a diagnosis of unexplained primary infertility. Like me, R could not conceive without in vitro fertilization.
Having parted with most of our cash and nearly all of our hope, we began looking into adoption prospects in earnest. After a few meetings with social workers and adoption experts, and a few rejections from agencies here and orphanages abroad, we realized we did not want to bear the risks of adopting domestically or the charade of adopting internationally. We decided reluctantly, and against the advice of a psychic, to pursue IVF. We started the first cycle at the beginning of February, and on February 27, 2013 we traveled to the Midwest for the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. After an agonizing two week wait, we learned that the procedure worked!
Two weeks later, we went in for our first ultrasound and learned we were expecting twins. At all our prenatal ultrasounds one baby was smaller than the other, giving the doctors cause for concern. We chose to let them carry the concern, until we couldn’t ignore the signs that Peanut had major medical problems. At twelve and a half weeks, our baby’s nuchal translucency was extremely large and she had developed cystic hygromas, which progressed to hydrops and pleural effusions in a short four days. She had multiple anomalies and did not survive.
Her twin continues to thrive, and we remain hopeful in spite of all the bumps along the way.