Babyblueprint and Familiewillim both had questions about our two year journey to parenthood, including how we coped and how we decided it would be me to carry a baby..or two, as it turned out!
So, I have always wanted to be a mom and had long dreamed of being pregnant and giving birth. I knew that if I was with another woman who also wanted to birth a child that we would have to take turns. While Penny always hoped to be a mom, being pregnant and birthing a child was not something that she felt a strong need to do. Also, Penny is 10 years older than I am, so that kind of made the decision for us. Our IVF doc did talk to us about using Penny's eggs for the IVF, but we decided that was not important enough to us to warrant both the cost and the level of invasiveness.
Over our two year journey to parenthood, we tried lots of different things. We tried fresh sperm (from a donor who was a friend of ours) and frozen sperm (from a local sperm bank). We tried just about all the different kinds of meds there are: clomid, femara, a few different injectibles, progesterone, metformin, and trigger shots. I had lots of testing and all my hormone levels came back fine. We tried different types of inseminations: IUI's, ICI's/IVI's, at home, with a midwife, just us, with a friend assisting (Thanks, Jean!) at the doc's office, etc, etc, etc.
So, I had unexplained infertility. I am not sure whether this made it harder or easier to keep going. In a way, if everything was fine, it made me feel more positive about going forward and believing that it would work at some point. On the other hand, it becam more and more frustating over time that it was not working, given that even my reproductive endocrinologist was saying she did not understand why I was not becoming pregnant! Her and me both! One recommendation was to lose weight, which I tried to do and was somewhat successful with, but it was hard for me to rely on that as my sole hope of becoming pregnant because my periods were regular, I appeared to be ovulating, and I just did not believe that being fat was my sole problem. Maybe that was naivete, or maybe it was a survival mechanism!
We took some breaks during the two years, so we really "only" had 14 months of active trying over the 27 months. When I counted my cycles, I was amazed that we had actually taken about as many breaks as we had active cycles. This was fascinating to me, as it seemed like we were always trying or waiting. I also tried acupuncture and made some diet changes. We tried to take good care of ourselves during the 2 years, by having date nights, taking some weekend and extended vacations, and checking in with each other as the process dragged on and on.
In the end, we decided to try IVF one time. I had great infertility coverage through work (IVF only cost us $3000), so we had not spent much up to that point. Meds only ever cost me a $5 copay and the office visits were free. Frozen sperm was our greatest expense, but for a year we used fresh and that was just $1 per donation! We talked about moving back to the east coast, but felt like we were putting our "real lives" on hold, until we had a baby. As time went by, we realized that might never happen. So, to put an end to the wait ifs and the maybes, we decided to try IVF one time. If it worked, we would wait till the "baby" was born, and then we would move to New England. If it did not work, then we would move right away.
So, we tried it, it worked...times two, we stayed in CA until the babies were born (and collected all the amazing CA maternity leave benefits, including paid FMLA for both of us, and an additional 8 weeks paid disabilty for me. I was off a total of about 4 months, totally paid!) and then we moved to VT when they were three months old. After a long journey and much struggle and heartache, we were so happy and amazed that it worked! And now, when we are sick and sleep deprived and struggling with the winter that just will not end, I try to be reminded of how lucky we are to have sleep deprivation because of the two most amazing little babies in the world, who, by the way are not so little anymore! The babies are ten months old now and I just can't believe it!!
Thanks for the questions/comments!