My husband and I realized we needed to look into fertility treatments after three years of trying unsuccessfully. We brushed off questions from family like “When are you having kids?” or “You’re not getting any younger”, and “Your clock is ticking” and we tried to make it seem like maybe we weren’t going to have kids as we were already suspecting that maybe it wasn’t going to happen for us. We didn’t even tell our parents until we decided to consult with a fertility clinic, the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine (PCRM).
Unexplained infertility was our diagnosis; nothing really indicated what the problem could be even after extensive tests.
We had previously agreed we could never do in vitro fertilization (IVF) due to its costs and felt the procedures and medications would be too much for us, so we moved forward with an intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment with PCRM.
That one round of IUI was unsuccessful, and after, with some financial help from our families, we decided to move forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF). We did not want to waste money on any further IUI’s that have a lower success rate compared to that of IVF as we felt our ages were a factor at this point. I had initially feared the IVF medication process of injections and the egg retrieval but found it was much easier than I had anticipated. I turned to social media to start opening up about our story and share in our journey but it was mainly with the ‘trying to conceive-infertility’ community. Friends and family just didn’t understand like others who were going through the same thing. Through social media I found my best support system and still keep in contact with these ‘sisters’ today.
I was able to get time off work to complete my IVF process for three weeks in Vancouver and thankfully had a female supervisor I felt close enough to to be comfortable discussing IVF with (we lack proper treatment monitoring services where we live). My husband flew down to join me closer to the egg retrieval date and we had ten eggs retrieved, and five made it to day five blasts (a stage of embryo development). We transferred two fresh embryos into my uterus and froze the remaining three.
We were in total shock when we got a positive pregnancy test on day five post transfer and then confirmed by blood test shortly thereafter. Our first ultrasound however, gave us the biggest shock of all: both of our embryos had successfully implanted! But a few minutes later the ultrasound tech said “There’s a third heart beat!” I was pregnant with triplets! One of the two embryos we had transferred had split to what we later learned to be monochorionic-diamniotic identical twins! We were SHOCKED but SO excited! It was like we had won the “baby lottery” as my husband called it. We had tried to conceive for three years and now were being blessed with three babies!
We were told the risks of carrying multiples which was mainly Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) and asked if we wanted to abort one or two babies. We declined this option, we loved them and wanted them so much! Everything went smoothly and we started to prepare the babies’ room after I reached four months. Unfortunately, things changed terribly the evening of 17 weeks and 3 days gestation when my water suddenly broke. It was our lowest baby (our son, Kason). I was sent home to watch for contractions and infection signs and we were back in hospital at 18 weeks gestation with contractions and our tiny son was born too early and did not survive. Heartbroken, we were sent home and our twin girls (Haven and Lyvia) remained growing inside me for another week until one of their sacs broke too. I was admitted with IV antibiotics then sent home where I put myself on total bed rest to try to save our girls. Then the morning of my 37th birthday I woke up to bleeding. We made it to 22 weeks 5 days gestation when they were born in the hospital likely due to infection (chorionic amniotic infection). We held our girls and they lived for one hour and passed. Our triplets’ birth was traumatic, excruciating and the worst heartbreak of our lives.
We knew we needed to move forward with a Frozen Embryo Transfer as soon as I was well enough and our doctors approved it. Through our grief we felt it was the only way to help us get through it. We could never replace our triplets but we could hopefully bring their sibling into the world.
Three and a half months after we lost our triplets, we transferred one of our frozen embryos and held our breath that this would work and that we would get to bring this baby home in our arms. Another positive home pregnancy test and another positive blood test – it worked! We were once again pregnant and now terrified we might lose this one too. I was monitored more closely with ultrasounds this time, and I fought for extra precautions in this pregnancy. Our BIG healthy baby boy was born 37 weeks and 5 days! He is perfect and we are thankful every day for our miracle rainbow baby, thankful for the care and support we received through PCRM, thankful to our angel triplets for sending us their brother. With two frozen embryos left we plan on an early 2020 transfer to try to add to our family.