Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pregnancy Week 4: The thin pink line

30 August 2006
Yes, I'm pregnant!!! I AM PREGNANT!!!
After 6 years of trying to conceive in our 9 year marriage and 15 year relationship, without ever seeing a pink line on a test, I am pregnant. Boo was conceived on 18 August 2006. It's been a road thrawt with difficulty, 9 major uterine fibroids up to 7cm and abdominal surgery which involved my uterus being cut in 9 locations and stitched back up, scared tubes, diminished ovarian reserve and quality, a seemingly defunct left ovary, low motility for DH, "advanced age" at 37, clinical depression, Clomid, artificial insemination, 3 rounds of ICSI/IVF and $40,000 in medical bills. No NHS here in the USA.
We spent the most beautiful day at the Getty, the museum that towers over LA like a huge marble castle on a mountain peak. We sat and made the call to Dr Sam.
The hcg is 352 19 days past the hcG shot and I'm going for another blood test tomorrow to check that the levels are increasing.
I thank everyone, my Florida Ob/Gyn Dr Ellis who restored my health by performing the abdominal surgery to remove 9 fibroids up to 7cm in 2005 and thus restored the vessel that would become home.
And Dr Sam who seems infamous here on ivillage now (if only he knew) and who worked with us through IUI and 3 ICSIs this year, who allowed me to conceive by bypassing my damaged tube, and renewing my egg quality and quantity when as recently as May, we were looking at egg donors and adoption. Thanks to the wonderful andrologist who taught the little swimmers how to swim again, to Lisa and Yolanda my nurses who had such hope for us this cycle, and to the wonder worker, Thelma the embryologist with her incredible skill. I also need to especially thank St Gerard Majella whose Prayer for Motherhood has kept me going this cycle. To those of you who've seen it, I'm sure you'll agree it's very calming. To my mum for her eternal prayers. To Erica for being with me at every stage of this journey.
What great moments passed when I told those dearest to me. I called mum first, realising only hours later when I got home that she'd left such a sad message 10 minutes before our call and unbeknown to us, wondering why I hadn't called yesterday and thus fearing the worst. Thus she had begun to immerse herself in the thoughts that it had not worked so had a period of readjustment upon hearing we are pregnant ensued. So she called Auntie Angie here in LA with the "sad news" having not heard from us, only to have to call Auntie Angie back 10 minutes later with the eh, "Och, it's wonderful news!".
With Anne-Marie who’d clearly also feared the worst in not hearing from me, she began to screech with excitement as her voice carried across the great Atlantic and the vast expanse of land that separates us.

With Erica there was a pause as I waited to have her full attention and we literally jumped with joy with excitement, tears in our eyes. She has been through years of this seemingly endless journey with me. I owe her a great deal, but then she’d never hear of that, because that’s what friends are for.
With Jason’s parents, well, I think they were too stunned at the time to take it in and I kept for months afterwards the message Rita left on our answer phone, stumbling over her words and expressing her great happiness at our blessing.
I've been sleeping for England, Scotland, Ireland and California in the last week, becoming ravenously hungry at noon all of a sudden, and yet Jason, metamorphed into Doubting Thomas, despite me doing a test last Wednesday (big fat positive), Thursday, Friday, Saturday... That Wednesday, I absently did a test in the afternoon simply because one had mysteriously appeared in my bag and then left it by the side of the cabinet and my mind drifted elsewhere. A moment later, in quite a surreal episode, my eye caught hold of it and, there it was, the thin pink line. My first emotion: complete shock, that's how it felt. You work towards something for 6 yrs and realise there are so many barriers to be overcome and each must be conquered in turn and yet, how strangely the emotion of pregnancy overtakes us! I was shaking in every sense.
That day, I was moments away from posting on ivillage anonymously to question whether the hcg could still be in my system, and moments away from dragging Jason out of the office to tell him. Yet instead, I took Jason to the rose garden at the cliffs overlooking the beach and mountains in Santa Monica, asked him to close his eyes and placed in his hand the husband-friendly second test that spelt out "Pregnant" saying, I've made something for you. He opened his eyes, I looked for recognition which didn't seem to come. He's been in denial for a week, and even Dr Sam whom we called straight away that Wednesday said, "Smile now, celebrate on Monday". So I haven't felt able to celebrate, let alone tell anyone, until now.
And celebrate we did, well it ended up being this Tuesday not Monday after the mess up with the Labor Day holiday. A beautiful day that I'll keep to ourselves, but only to say it was spent in the gardens of the marble museum, my favourite place in LA, lying on the grass looking up at the fuchsia bougainvillea which seemed to be painted against the cobalt sky, calling our families (Anne-Marie went into a fit of excitement), and then dining at my favourite restaurant in the world, the Café del Rey overlooking the Marina where we were engaged 12 years ago. We found a luscious new apartment yesterday overlooking the same Marina on the same street we lived on 12 years ago, so perhaps we are coming full circle. Still a 1 bed and renting for about the same as our beach house in Florida, 3,000 miles away. That's the difference in the market. So we'll live here til the house sale goes through.
A couple of months ago, I sincerely felt that my life had fallen apart. We were jinxed with disappointment and bad news, within a year alone, my ill health, my infertility, our separation, relocation from Florida to California, family estrangement oh and a devastating hurricane to boot the day after we finished building our house, so we were unable to sell our home when we relocated. And yet we decided to strip away all that was not important or crucial to our overall dream, and focus first on restorinig my health, then only on conception. That I've learned. When things seem insumountable, break them down and deal with each in turn. So too with infertility, deal with each aspect that's causing infertility if you have a diagnosis, heal your womb, heal your ovaries, heal your tubes, but above all, heal your mind and who knows what great things can then spring forth. With treatment, we rejoiced at every success along the way, from the follies’ humble beginnings, to egg collection, to fertilisation, to blastocyst developing and cryopreservation! Each stage felt like a tremendous hurdle to be overcome, and yet each in itself, minor miracles.
I hope this gives everyone hope that it can and does happen and it doesn't just happen to everyone else, it happens to me and you. Thank you for reading and thank you everyone for helping me through this journey.
BTW. Things do indeed come in threes. The life changing news, the new apartment and now, on my doorstep, the elusive USA work permit that I've been begging the authorities for for 6 months. Well, what do you know.

The moment we found out at the Getty

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