Monday, August 11, 2008

The Story of Pickle PART ONE

First of all, be sure to check out my GIVEAWAY. It's good!

As many of you know, I have four boys and a girl. The girl is my youngest and the story of how she came to be is kind of a long, complicated one--so to tell it properly, I'm going to break it down into four parts over the next four days. So "hold on to what you got" (as a crazy bus driver once announced to his terrified passengers--me being one of them). Actually, the full quote is "This bus ain't working right--so hold on to what you got!" I'm already going way off topic--here we go!!

I also want to say here that parts of my story are somewhat controversial and not everyone might agree with some of the things I did--but, please, try not to judge me. Thanks!

Let me start by saying that I love having boys and I was very happy being a mom to four boys. It's just that, I wanted a girl too. This thought was always in the back of my mind, but it never really bothered me or upset me.

I was perfectly fine when I found out (through a test called CVS) that my fourth child was a boy (Gooser). I was just excited to be having another baby!

He was a great baby and I was happy as could be. One morning, when he was three or four months old, I was out for a morning walk with him. It was a beautiful day and a happened to run into one of my very good friends who had two boys and was pregnant with another baby. She told me that she had her amnio and found out she was having a girl.

For some reason I can't explain, something inside of me snapped. I put on a happy face and said congratulations and told her how excited I was--but then I ran home as quickly as I could and just started sobbing. It was a weird and awful feeling and I was full-blown hysterical. I guess all those feelings I had pushed back over the years--over my whole life, really--came up suddenly to the surface.

Don happened to call in the middle of my "episode" and I blurted out everything-- how desperately I wanted a girl. To my surprise, he said that it was OK with him if we had another baby (he had said he was "done" after three, so I was extra surprised!). I can't even explain how happy this made me!

But I only seemed to make boys. What could I do to ensure the next baby would be a girl? I started researching.

While searching the Internets, I discovered a high-tech process called PGD. It's a procedure where you go through in-vitro, then the embryos are genetically tested so it can be determined if they are healthy and also if they are male or female. I realize this is extremely controversial and a lot of people have ethical problems with it--but I ask you to please not be judgemental and just listen!

So we found a place locally that performed this service and we went to talk to the doctor. We didn't really like him and it was CRAZY expensive, so we decided that this probably wasn't the best move for us.

So I continued to research, but I couldn't find anything else out there. I read things about "low-tech" ways of improving the odds to have a girl--but this seemed very hit or miss to me. I really needed a guarantee. Looking back, it's pretty ridiculous that I thought I could get a "guarantee." Of course, there's no such thing!

Ironically, the friend who was having the girl--the one that set off my whole journey--told me that her obstetrician was also an fertility specialist who dealt with many experimental options and that perhaps he could help us.

We met with him and really liked him! The other doctor we talked to had seemed so business-like and cold--but this one was warm and sweet and seemed to genuinely want to help. He understood (and it was really hard to find people that truly understood) how important is was for us (well me, mostly, but Don really did want a little girl too) to have a girl.

He explained the process--which was daunting--it involved all sorts of injections to stimulate the ovaries, then a "retrieval" where you were knocked out with anesthesia, then more injections, etc. so that the embryos could be put back in. We also had to discuss all the possibilities of the embryos--IVF often leads to multiple births, so we discussed how many we would feel comfortable"putting back" and also what we would do if there were any embryos left over.

We had a lot to think about. Was this the right thing to do? Not only was the process very physically taxing, it was extremely expensive, not to mention the odds of it working were not that great. I was so desperate, though, that I ignored all the negatives and decided to go ahead with it.

We had to purchase dozens of vials of medicine and syringes and I had to be injected daily with the ovary-stimulating stuff, plus progesterone which was very viscous and required a giant, thick needle to get the oil through.

Meanwhile, I would go in for an ultrasound every couple of days to see how many eggs were developing. When the doctor felt they were ready, I was given another injection to stimulate the release of the eggs. It was precisely timed so that the "retrieval" (the part I had to be under anesthesia for) would be done at the exact moment of the eggs' readiness.
The day of the retrieval came and I was nervous. The idea of the anesthesia scared me and I was also worried about the number and quality of eggs. I was on the older side when I did this, 36 or 37, and apparently the odds of getting "good" eggs go way down at this age.

When I woke up from the anesthesia, I was told they had retrieved ten eggs. The next step was to fertilize them and see how many embryos would develop.

When it was all said and done, seven embryos developed and would go on to PGD testing. I was getting excited! The possibility of another baby was getting very real.

I was completely shocked when they called me with the embryo report. Six out of the seven were "abnormal" and had stopped growing and the last one was a "normal female."

As surprised as I was that so many didn't make it, I was excited that we had the one left for transfer. I read all kinds of "signs" into it--having only one left no question about how many we would transfer and I didn't have to worry about freezing any remaining embryos.

We transferred the one female and entered the "two week wait."

Those two weeks seemed endless. I looked compulsively for any sign of pregnancy--but I didn't feel any. I was scheduled to go in for the HCG test (that's the hormone that only appears in pregnancy) and I was supposed to get the results back later that day.

I waited by the phone, but when the call came in, the doctor told me that the results were inconclusive and that I'd have to retest in a couple of days. Apparently, there's a margin of error of =/- five points (or something like that) and my HCG test was something really low--like a four. So the doctor thought there was still a possibility and maybe the test was just too early. But he indicated is wasn't looking good...

To be continued...



Ronda's Rants said...

I understand...I have two boys and one girl. I love them but can't imagine not having experienced being a mother to a son and a daughter. My sisters only have boys and make comments about how much easier boys were but I had a girl and it was joy! My best friend has 4 boys and is about your age...she is a girly girl and I wonder if she will ever have a little girl. She is amazing to all of her friends little thoughtful. Your daughter is perfect...I can't wait to hear the rest!

Heather said...

aaahhhh, i can't wait for the rest of the story, how could you end it at a good part like that????!!?!?!?

i always look for signs and i agree that having the 1 female survive has to be the biggest sign i've ever heard of.

can't wait to hear the rest!

Anonymous said...

Jen, My fav blog post so far- the story of Miss Astrid. Can't wait to hear the rest. I kept seeing her pretty blue eyes while reading it thus far...

Lori said...

I think what you did is so cool! It's kind of too bad Pickle is such a tomboy, though -- that plain-Jane bathing suit and everything. ;D

Unknown said...

I completely understand how you feel. I had two boys and when I became pregnant again, I was resigned to having another boy. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have swapped my boys for anything and I just wanted another healthy baby, regardless of it's sex.

BUT, there was a tiny piece of my heart that was crying out for a girl, that I could dress in cute clothing, do girly things with, buy a first bra and all the other things that Mums and daughters do.

Then I found out I was having twins. Okay ... here we go, four boys.

When the first twin was born, I heard 'It's a beautiful boy' ... then the second twin was born and I asked how was he was. My Dr laughed and said 'SHE'S fine :-)

Never got my girly girl though. With three brothers she ended up to be a bit of a tomboy :-)

Forgetfulone said...

I'm ready for the next installment!

Yes, it's a very controversial procedure, but it's also beneficial. You are the only one who gets to decide what's right for you, so if anyone disagrees with your choices, they should just move on.

I went through a rough time with getting and staying pregnant. I had every test known to man that deals with reproduction. I had a tumor removed from in front of my ovary. I had an ectopic pregnancy. I had two miscarriages, then I couldn't get pregnant. I've had injections like you mentioned and blood tests every day. That was all 13 years ago. I have healthy 12 year old twins, and if I had it to do over, I would not hesitate to do it again. Kind of how you probably feel about finally getting a daughter. Sorry to write a book here.

I am anxiously awaiting more!

Jennifer said...

Thank you, Everybody, for reading and commenting!! And also for saying nice things--I was a little nervous to post this!!

Make sure you stayed tuned for more--it gets a LOT crazier!!

Kelly said...

I absolutely agree 100% with forgetfulone:
"Yes, it's a very controversial procedure, but it's also beneficial. You are the only one who gets to decide what's right for you, so if anyone disagrees with your choices, they should just move on."
Thank you for having the courage to share the story of your precious, beautiful baby, GIRL!!

Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

Oh, the suspense! What an interesting story. I hope nobody judges you for your decision, it's personal and really not anyone's place....but of course not everyone knows their place.
Thanks for stopping by my bloggy home!

Anonymous said...

Well written - I can't wait to read the rest!

Amy said...

Wow, I'm glad I know the ending and you have your little girl. It sounds like you went through a lot and it worked. Good for you. Experimental or not, it's your choice, don't worry about what anyone thinks. That's why it's called a choice......

leezee52 said...

I'm waiting for the next post!

I had a girl 1st and then a boy so it was instant family. If I had two girls I would want to try for a boy for sure!

KWolfAK said...

I wanted all girls, but only my first was a girl. And BOY is she a GIRLY girl!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, this is quite the to part two..

Sherry Goodloe said...

Keep going keep going . . . I love these kind of stories. By the way, your little girl is just as precious as can be!

Anonymous said...

OH, you DO have a story! I've been so behind on everything this week....I'm finally getting caught up. I'm glad I waited a little I can go on read at least parts 2&3 w/o having to wait.... ;)