The Wolf Family
I feel the need to share my/our infertility journey. I believe that our testimony can help others and give them much needed hope...
Our journey began 3 years ago. I remember going into the Center of Reproductive Medicine, discussing our options, and making a plan. My husband had a vasectomy shortly after our first son, Joshua-who is now 12, was born. We were so sure at the time that we did not want to have anymore children. He chose to do a vasectomy because his recovery time would be short and it would be less painful for him to have a procedure than for me. Little did we know that I didn't have a tubal because I would be destined to carry other children.
After meeting with our doctor, we decided that the best thing for us was to undergo IVF treatment, but before we could do that we had some prep work to do. I needed to have an egg retrieval cycle done, and my husband needed to have sperm retrieval done. Since, his vasectomy was done so long ago, a reversal was a long-shot, and the chances of achieving successful pregnancy were slim. My husband was put on medication to boost his sperm count before his procedure. I had a lot, and I mean a LOT, of hormones to take before my procedure. Before we began, we had to wait on my Lupron to wear off (I had been misdiagnosed by my-now previous-OB with endometriosis due to heavy flow), and I had to begin a high dose calcium supplement. Once the Lupron wore off, I could have my first cycle and everything could be timed from there. I also should mention that my husband and son wanted a baby when I did not and it took them over a year to convince me!
We had a vacation/cruise scheduled for October and guess when I started my period?! You guessed it! I started on our cruise, and as soon as we returned, both procedures took place. They retrieved 24 eggs from me and enough sperm to make us an adequate number of embryos. For our first embryo transfer cycle, we chose to implant one embryo. We did our first transfer in November, around Thanksgiving, and it was successful! We had a wonderful Christmas present. One of the nurses even made us an ultrasound picture that said "Merry Christmas Mom and Dad." I carried this baby (whom I refer to as my angel baby) up to at least 10 weeks. We saw our IVF doctor until 10 weeks and then get released to an OB for a 12 week appointment. At 10 weeks we had an ultrasound and saw our angel baby doing the Macarena on the screen. It was beautiful and we were so ecstatic, it was so easy! We went in for our 12 week visit and they could not find a heartbeat, so we were sent for an ultrasound. We went over to our local hospital for the ultrasound and were told the horrible news that I had miscarried and there was no heartbeat. We were devastated. I stayed in bed for an entire week! Looking back, I think the only reason we were able to keep going was from all the prayers that were being said on our behalf. We had people we didn't even know praying for us. We had family, friends, church members, and neighbors bringing food over too. We were just so blessed, and I knew that, even though I didn't understand God's reason. My husband was such a blessing through it all. He went to bat for me with everyone that came by to see me, because I didn't want to see anyone. He was so caring, loving, and supportive.
We had to schedule and go through a D&C (in February, right before my son's birthday)-it was very unpleasant. Our doctor wanted my OB to send the fetus to Baylor College of Medicine to be tested and see if they could tell why I miscarried. I had a recovery period, and then we started trying to figure out what to do next. I should also mention that I had put on quite a bit of weight from the egg retrieval process (over 20 pounds) and some weight from the pregnancy. The sample that was sent to Baylor came back inconclusive because it was compromised. We cried and prayed, and prayed and cried, and made the decision to keep moving forward.
After discussion with my doctor, we decided that the reason that I probably miscarried was due to stress from work. I was a supervisor of 24 people and training someone who was supposed to be my equal. I also wanted to homeschool our son because I was so unhappy with the public school system. We knew we wanted to keep trying to have a baby so, we decided that I would quit my job in August of the next year. However, things changed and I quit in May (at the end of our son's 4th grade year).
We proceeded to do 5 more embryo transfers that were all unsuccessful. The last 2 transfers I was on bedrest and on some medication that decreased my immune system (to try to get my body to accept and not reject the embryos). By December we still hadn't had any success and I decided that I needed a break. I wanted to lose all the weight I had gained and start again the following year.
I began a strict diet and exercise program, and shortly after had to have my gallbladder removed. The doctor who did my surgery told me that my gallbladder needed to be removed because of all the hormones that I had been on nonstop for the last year. He also told me there was a chance that my body was rejecting the embryos because it was so focused on trying to heal my infected and inflamed gallbladder. That gave us the hope we needed to keep moving forward. I lost all the weight (and then some) by March and was ready to begin again. We did an embryo transfer in May and it was a success!!! We were elated!!!
We made it through the first trimester of pregnancy and were released to our OB. We had a good first visit with our OB. We were scheduled for an ultrasound between 15-16 weeks to check progress and determine the sex of our baby. We went in for the ultrasound and found out it was a boy. Baby boy Brian. The ultrasound tech sent us to our OB immediately after the ultrasound-we were terrified! Our OB referred us to an ultrasound specialist in Webster for the following day. He couldn't tell us what was wrong, just that something wasn't right with his skull. We found out that our baby had anencephaly at that visit. We decided not to carry the baby to term, it would be too hard on me to give birth to Brian and lose him within 48 hours after birth. Oh, how my heart was aching. We terminated the pregnancy at 17 weeks. The one thing that sticks in my mind from the doctor who performed the procedure was that after our first visit, he told me that I could have a drink, as in alcohol. I just lost my baby and was told devastating news, and I guess there are many people that would drink from that, but I was still pregnant. My husband withdrew from the pregnancy after we found out about the anencephaly—he quit touching and rubbing my belly every night, but I was still very much attached to Brian. I was still pregnant, even if it was only for a week.
We knew that we wanted to try again-we knew it for sure! We had to wait for the recovery period to be over with, and have time to mourn our loss (which I still do sometimes). But faith and time heals! I know that Brian is in heaven with God, my Grandmother, Memaw, Aunt Shirley, and many other relatives. I know that they are taking care of him until Mommy is reunited with him. I love him so much!!! We had to tell our son the devastating news. He took this news so much harder than our angel baby-we all did. Afterall, we had a fetal doppler and listened to Brian's heartbeat at least once per day. Once again, we had so many people praying for us and bringing food over. We were so blessed, even though, at times, it didn't feel that way. But, we were determined to keep pressing forward. We knew that God planted this dream of expanding our family in our heart's (yes, all 3 of us) for a reason. We were not giving up!
After the loss of Brian, a friend contacted me who was also struggling with infertility. She had one daughter already, but had recently had a miscarriage and wanted to try again. I shared my story with her and she sought out treatment at CORM. She ended up getting pregnant right away, with twins. However, she lost one of the babies within the first 8 weeks-it's called vanishing twin. I am so glad that God put me in her life to help her, to give her hope, to support her, and to share my struggles with her. We were put in each other's lives at just the right time to be able to encourage one another and lift each other up.
3 months after Brian was placed in heaven, I was put on birth control to manipulate my cycle. I was on birth control for a short period and did an embryo transfer after my cycle (end of January). This embryo transfer was successful! There was a scare at 8 weeks into the pregnancy, when I passed a clot after a visit. I was sure that I had miscarried, but thankfully, I had not. My husband put me on bedrest through the whole first trimester, just to be safe-and I agreed with him. Joshua was such a big help through this time. He took care of all the cooking and cleaning! We made it through the first trimester and were released to our OB. We also saw the same ultrasound specialist several times, the last time at 24 weeks. At 24 weeks we also switched OB's, because the OB I was seeing no longer accepted our insurance. Our new OB was in Webster, where CORM and the ultrasound specialist are located. We delivered our miracle baby, Logan Matthew, at 38 weeks at Clear Lake Regional Hospital. He was 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and healthy. No defects, abnormalities, or health issues. We are one proud family!!!!!
After everything we have been through, I wouldn't change a thing!! We have Logan, the precious little boy who was meant to be in our family (he is 5 weeks old today). We went through a lot to get here, and it has made our marriage, our faith, and our family stronger. WE ARE BLESSED BY GOD!!!!!!!