I was 39 when my husband and I married. We had tried for many months to get pregnant, and finally sought infertility treatment from Kaiser. Three miscarriages followed, and we decided to stop treatment. Shortly after that, much to our amazement, a month-long vacation in Indonesia turned out to be the fertility treatment we needed I was 41, and the amniocentesis said all was well. Our son, all 10.5 pounds of him, was born in 1999, when I was 42.
When no other children made their appearance the old-fashioned way, we turned to Dr. Schriock at PFC, and found an egg donor. Despite having only three embryos, my husband and I were optimistic. We were delighted when I became pregnant with the last embryo. It was a tremendous relief for us to get past the first three months of the pregnancy, when most miscarriages occur. When my husband suggested I have an amniocentesis, I wondered why, since the egg donor was 26 and my husband was 39. He said he would be more comfortable if we were certain all was well with the baby, so we had the amnio performed when I was about four months along.
This time the results were not good; the geneticist called on a Thursday evening and told me that the baby had Down syndrome. The odds of this happening with a 26 year old egg donor were about 1 in 1,000. We were just unlucky. My husband and I had agreed in advance of the test that we would not bring a special needs child into the world. Grief-stricken, we ended the pregnancy.
Our IVF miracle had become a tragedy. Not only had we ended a much-wanted pregnancy, but as this was our last embryo, we had reached the end of the line in our quest for a second child. It was unbelievably painful to have come so close, and then have the outcome we did. When we had decided to pursue egg donation, I knew it was far from certain that we would come home with a baby, but I had felt that it would work out all right for us. To have spent such a tremendous amount of time, money, and emotion, and have it end the way it had was almost too much to bear.
Mourning the unborn is a lonely business, especially when you have made the decision to end the pregnancy because of a poor pre-natal diagnosis. We received a number of e-mail condolence notes, a handful of cards, and a couple of calls. We were very glad for these, but they came to a close quickly, and soon we were alone with our grief.
I found comfort in the A Heartbreaking Choice website http://www.aheartbreakingchoice.com/, and in a Kaiser support group for families who had ended pregnancies because of poor pre-natal diagnosis.
Friends advised me to move on; they pointed out that I had put a tremendous amount of time and effort into expanding our family, and now I needed to decide what else to do with that energy. I rejected that line of thought. I had always felt, after our first child, that I had one more good baby left in me, so I broached to my husband the idea of getting another egg donor and trying again. We are not a wealthy couple; my husband works for a non-profit, and I run a small business. We live in a small, old house. Our cars are old. The thought of starting afresh with the payments for another egg donor and the clinical care seemed impossible.
I approached Dr. Schriock at PFC, and asked if there was help for a couple like us. He replied that PFC offered closed embryo donations; meaning that we could be put in a queue to receive donated embryos, but we would not meet the donors. This didn’t feel right to my husband and I. Subsequently, the doctors at PFC offered to treat us at a reduced fee, and the embryo donation agency we had used the first time (Jackie Gorton) did the same.
We chose another donor, and I became pregnant on the first transfer. My son and I had always been extremely close, and I was a little worried during the pregnancy that, perhaps, I wouldn’t love this child as much as I loved my son. I didn’t want the fact that she didn’t share my genes to matter, but would it?
The pregnancy was easy, and the day after Christmas, our daughter was born in a lovely natural birth. Kelly weighed in at eleven and a half pounds (making her the biggest non-caesarean baby born at Kaiser Walnut Creek in 2008!)
My worries were unfounded; my husband and I both feel we got the child that was meant for us. We loved her the instant we saw her, and my husband, son, and I enjoy every minute we have with her. Kelly is now two, and she is much like her brother: fun, funny, affectionate, bright, and coordinated.
We went down a long, hard road to build our family; four embryo transfers, three miscarriages, two egg donors, and one ended pregnancy. But after it all, we got our two beautiful children, and life would be so less rich without them.
We have eight embryos in storage at PFC, and we would like to donate them to a couple that needs them. We would like the embryos to go to a Bay Area couple interested in an open adoption—meaning we would like to have an on-going relationship with the family that the embryos go to.
Here is a little information about our children. They are both tall for their age, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and fair-skinned. Their ancestry is Dutch, Scottish, French, Irish, Swedish, and Norwegian. The mental and physical health histories of the biological parents are good.
If you are interested in seeing if your family and ours might be a match, please send information about yourselves to firstname.lastname@example.org