How We Became Who We Are

My name is Isabelle.  My husband is Bob.  We had tried to make a baby for 18 20 23 24 27 33 42 69 months.  We had done IUI and many cycles of IVF with my own eggs.  We did frozen donor egg cycles and fresh donor egg cycles.  We had to use a surrogate.  And now we are a family of four with twins.  It is exciting and at the same time nerve wracking was tiring, exhilarating, heartbreaking, dream-shattering and stress-inducing.  On the flip side, this journey has also given me a lot of laughter, friendship, hope, and a confirmation that my husband is the best person with whom to walk this journey.  With the diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve, the chances of us conceiving were slim.  With a new diagnosis of adenomyosis, the chances of conceiving and carrying a child were even slimmer.  We are so grateful that we had the means to pursue various treatments including surrogacy and finally have our take home babies after five years 9 months.  The following were the updates that I wrote along the way:

Update 1: We did our first IVF in June/July 2013 and ending up with one day six frozen blastocyst.  It was quite a journey.  Now we’re gearing up for IVF #2 and hoping that our little embryo thaws well so we can transfer it regardless of any new fresh embryos.

Update 2: Our second IVF in August/September 2013 was a bust.  Our third IVF in November 2013 only yielded one follicle.  We decided to convert it to IUI and just finished with it.  Still haven’t transferred our little frozen embryo yet.

Update 3: IVF 4 in December 2013 is delayed due to a cyst.  Taking a month off to enjoy ourselves.  There is hope that 2014 will finally be the year that we conceive and bring home a baby.

Update 4: IVF 4 in February 2014 resulted in our first ever transfer of one thawed day six blastocyst (Clay) made in July and one fresh day 5 morula (Eli).  First beta on 8dp5dt was 21.  Finally POAS’d after first beta and got my first double pink lines.  Second beta was 23.  Our first pregnancy ended but our embryos fought hard.  We are heart broken.  No more frozen embryos.  We will have to start from square one, again.

Update 5: After taking a six-month break to mend my heart, we picked ourselves up and started considering various options.  They ranged from mini-IVF locally to mini-IVF in SoCal to donor egg cycles to cycling with my original RE.  After a lot of prayers and thoughts as well as help from a psychotherapist, we decided to try mini-IVF locally in August 2014.  Unfortunately, IVF 5 is delayed due to a cyst, again.  More waiting.

Update 6: IVF 5 was a success!  After a month break, we embarked on our journey of using only 100mg of Cl.omid for five days and then adding Ganirelix and Meno.pur later on.  We got four mature eggs and three fertilized.  On day 2, we froze a 4-celled grade 1, 3-celled grade 1, and 2-celled grade 2!  We’ll see if IVF 6 will replicate the result.

Update 7: IVF 6 was better than I had ever expected.  Same protocol as last cycle.  We had one big follicles and two small follicles.  We only expected one egg but we ended up having three!  Two fertilized and both became four-celled grade 1 embryos on day two!  Both are on ice.

Update 8: IVF 7 was not as good as the previous two.  No dominant follicle was growing.  Still waiting for RE to let us know the next steps.

Update 9: IVF 8 was a huge roller coaster.  It took a few months for my body to get back to semi-normal, after ovulating two times and having menses three times within a short 24 days.  Finally we could do a cycle again.  Retrieval day showed that I had already ovulated, so unfortunately we had to convert the cycle to an IUI.  We intended to thaw three of the day-two embryos and still do a frozen embryo transfer despite not having made any fresh embryos.  Miscommunication between the nurse and the embryologist meant that we had to thaw all the embryos.  Transferring all five day-two embryos in March 2015 did not result in a pregnancy despite a ton of pregnancy symptoms.  We were crushed.  This marked the end of our fertility journey using my own eggs as enough time, energy, and money had been spent on doing so.

Update 10: As a couple, we decided to pursue egg donation.  After agonizing over donors, we finally chose one who could not be confirmed until July 2015.  In the mean time, we had to complete our pre-cycle checklist in order to start our donor egg cycle.  Little did we know that a routine saline sonogram revealed possible adhesion (scar tissue) in the uterine cavity.  In June, 2015, an attempt to remove the scar tissue with local sedation with my own RE (which was paid for out of pocket) failed as my cervix was too wide for the water that was pumped into my uterus to stay in there.  It was too dangerous to continue with the surgery when my RE could not clearly see the uterus.  After wasting a bunch of money, I will have to try to use my own insurance to pay for a surgery with general anesthesia.  I officially entered the most difficult time in my life.  Life has been tough and I need to find the faith and trust in continuing with this process.

Update 11: Wow… It has been a very long time since I did my last update.  Well, life continued to be difficult for the next 1.5 years.  It is a very very long story.  Here is a summary:

  • did a surgery for the so-called scar tissue but it was a fibroid
  • our chosen donor disappeared after meeting us
  • decided on using frozen donor eggs with a proven donor
  • failed one fresh transfer (chemical pregnancy) and one frozen transfer with two embryos that were made with frozen donor eggs
  • was diagnosed with adenomyosis and told to use a surrogate because carrying a baby would be too dangerous for me and the baby
  • decided on another proven donor
  • husband was diagnosed with varicocele and DNA fragmentation problems
  • found our surrogate and decided not to transfer in me
  • donor was tested positive for cocaine mid-cycle, and we had to make an agonizing decision to use her or abandon the cycle
  • decided to continue cycle with donor
  • four normal embryos out of six
  • transferred into surrogate Annie the best embryo and had a chemical pregnancy
  • husband’s sperm was sent for a new test
  • transferred two embryos in Annie, BFP with high beta
  • new sperm test indicated the use of a blood thinner called Lov.enox to prevent clotting
  • Annie started Lov.enox
  • 6 week ultrasound confirmed two heartbeats!
  • Annie had an anxiety attack
  • Annie carried the twins to 38 weeks 2 days
  • Twin A (Bunny, a girl) and Twin B (Okra, a boy) joined our family on September 15, 2017
  • We are officially a family of four
  • Our quest for a baby (and now babies) officially ended after 5.5 years (69 months)

You can contact me at binkymoongee at gmail dot com.

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11 thoughts on “How We Became Who We Are

    • Thanks! I am glad you came to visit! I have been lurking around a lot in the last 2 years and finally decided to do my own blog. 🙂 Your blog has been one of those that I lurked.

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  1. Hi, you sent @ivffervescent some questions re DHEA a while ago which the Centre for Human Reproduction have now answered. As @ivffervenscent had to delete her blog she has nowhere to publish these questions and has asked me to put them on my blog. Would you be happy for me to add your blog name next to the question you asked? No pressure if you’d rather I didn’t! X

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    • Awww… I love her and actually was thinking about her this morning and was wondering how her cycle’s been doing since it’s October. Bummer.. 😦 Yes sure put my blog there. Thanks girl!

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  2. Hi there… I’ve been diagnosed with DOR too … it’s a truly sucky thing to hear. I’ll be following your journey and cheering along from the sidelines… wishing you lots of good luck :))

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    • Thanks for following! Sorry about DOR. Doesn’t the diagnosis suck? Sounds like you’re also from the Bay Area? Good luck on your journey as well and hope that you update me with your good news.

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  3. Pingback: Surrogacy Stories: An Interview with an Intended Parent | Heartland Surrogacy

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