The Story of Francis.
Part 2: Third Time Lucky?
As the weeks and months went by, Ananda and I slowly came to terms with losing what we had come so close to having. Research showed us that almost 30% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. Taking into account the number of miscarriages that happen before the woman knows she is pregnant, the doctors think the actual percentage of miscarriages may be as high as 50%. Wow.
In the meantime I finally got a job as a trainee carpenter at a new school they were building in Hamilton, and one Saturday morning came home to find Ananda missing, but one of those pregnancy test sticks sitting unwrapped in the bathroom with a distinct positive line on it. “Probably gone to the pharmacy to get another to re-test” I thought. Lo and behold Ananda arrived home a little while later, asking “Did you see? Did you see?” as she came through the door. The second test showed positive too.
Maybe Ananda’s subconscious had been waiting for me to get a job so that we had some stability before we got pregnant. Was that the key to the whole thing? Was it that primal?
On Monday Ananda went to get her hCG levels checked, and although they confirmed we were pregnant again, they were very low. And so we expected the worse and again the worse came.
After this second short lived pregnancy, we were actually quite optimistic about things as we had gotten pregnant naturally this time. So we kept trying, and kept waiting. And waiting. And waiting. It’s difficult to put into words the disappointment we had every month as Ananda’s cycles came and went.
Ananda’s inquisitive mind led her to look at research into miscarriages because one of those fertility tests along the way showed she had a mutation in a certain gene called MTHFR (which we said stood for Mother F**ker gene- because if you had it you could be more prone to miscarriages). Another piece of the puzzle maybe, but still no direct actions we could take to find a solution, except taking some vitamin supplements.
My good friend from back in California had been super helpful and supportive and open to us as she herself had had twins through IVF. When I chatted to her one day she mentioned a friend of hers who had had many, many cycles of IVF before going to see a consultant at the fertility centre at Cornell University in New York.. “You should give her a try” she said.
So with nothing to lose but $500, we sent her an email, and then sent all of our charts and test results off to the Doctor. One morning we had a conference all with her to discuss our infertility. It was very thorough discussion and at the end of it Dr Khang said she would come up with a different IVF plan for us to try. All we had to do was convince Fertility Associates to administer it for us.
To be fair, despite some early unenthusiastic responses from Fertility Associates, they did agree to the new plan we had. After all, we were private patients so they were willing to bend their “rules” and normal “plans” to accommodate us.
So we, and again I really mean Ananda, went through a round of patches, injections, ultra-sounds, blood tests etc. hoping that the third time would be the charm. On the new plan of injections we were seeing more follicles and things were looking good. Harvest day was much less fraught for me and my part in providing my specimen went mercifully without any hitches unlike the first time. (We, and by this I mean me, had already put some swimmers in cold storage ahead of time just in case!)
They harvested 10 viable eggs this time and mixed them with my sperm. The waiting game started again. Next morning they told us we had 5 fertilised embryos with three of them looking really good.
Day three arrived and we had four embryos still on the go. Two were classed as okay and two of which they said were graded as high as could be. So we would progress to day 5 and do the transfer then. There is of course a risk that things go south on day 4, but come day 5 we still had two viable embryos. We decided to transfer one, and freeze the other one, although I really wanted to try for twins!
|Our Day 5 Blastocyst - rated 4AA - A top rating!|
The day of transfer came and we watched again as a tiny little ball of cells was placed in Ananda’s uterus. For the second time via IVF we were PUPO. Two weeks later the blood tests confirmed that we were indeed pregnant. We took this as good news, not great news, as we had been here before, and I think we were both just super cautious. I know that I for one started to build up my defenses to be ready for another heartbreaking miscarriage.
The weeks ground past painfully slowly. Every time Ananda and I got home from work I would search her face for signs of bad news before being brave enough to ask her how she was doing. At about week seven or eight Ananda started complaining about feeling sick in the morning and she was certainly very lethargic and tired.
Although it sounds cruel to say it, I did take a certain delight in this as it was certainly a different symptom from our first pregnancies and we both saw this as a positive sign. Maybe, hopefully it would stick this time and we would finally be truly pregnant.