Patient Odyssey - Cindy and Heidi: Their Story
!(http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertilityflash/vol3-8/two-women.jpg)One of the first things that my partner Cindy and I discussed when we started to date was a strong desire to have children. As we talked about building a life together, we clearly imagined ourselves as parents, much to the relief of our families who were eager for grandchildren. We even started talking with Dr. Ryan about starting a family at the same time that we started planning our wedding. We had selected an anonymous sperm donor that we hoped to use for each of us, so that our children would be partially related to each other. We were very excited. We decided Cindy would begin first, as she was older, so the month after we returned from our honeymoon, we started trying. Cindy was started on Clomid, which, although it worked relatively well, also had the unfortunate side effect of making her feel completely crazy at times. After a few months on Clomid, we decided that trying to balance pregnancy efforts with two demanding and stressful jobs with a lot of travel was enough to make anyone crazy, and we didn't actually need the additional variable of Clomid. We moved on to injectables (gonadotropin), which although not perfect, ended up being a great deal easier on both of us. Once again, although everything looked like it was working relatively well, no pregnancy. At this point, we had been trying for almost a year with absolutely no success, and we were trying very hard not to act as frustrated and upset as we felt. It was a tough year -- our friends and family were very supportive, but the monthly calls to our parents and close friends letting them know we still weren't pregnant were getting harder and harder and the financial and emotional toll was starting to weigh on us. We decided to move on to IVF and that if IVF didn't work I would start trying. In the egg retrieval for IVF, we ended up with ten viable embryos of varying degrees of quality, and in consultation with Dr. Ryan we decided to be as aggressive as possible, and put all of the embryos back. Two weeks later, we learned what we had suspected, which was that none of the embryos had implanted. We took a few months off - spent several months remembering what it was like not to split your month into binary segments, not to have hypodermic needles in your kitchen cupboard and to drive down the Embarcadero without worrying we were late to an appointment. When we felt ready, we went back to PFC. It was my turn. Everyone welcomed us back with sympathetic hugs and although we were ready to start trying again, it was a somewhat different experience - our excitement was tempered by our awareness that pregnancy simply doesn't happen for everyone. I started out on Clomid for six months with great results - except no pregnancy. At that point, we both decided we didn't have it in us to continue the same trajectory for the next few months with injectables. We decided to go right to IVF, which had the highest chance of success for us. We also started seriously discussing adoption, which was comforting to us as we were able to tell ourselves that we would be parents in the next year, one way or another, and that really helped. We ran into out-of-town friends in the IVF waiting room (we knew they had been trying, but hadn't discussed where and how in depth with them, so we had no idea they were also doing IVF at PFC) and we both agreed to hope the coincidence was a lucky sign. Three days later, we put back three embryos and froze five. After two nerve-wracking weeks in which I fluctuated between wondering if I could be pregnant and worrying it was all jet lag, we found out on January 14, 2005, that we were pregnant! It was suggested to us that since my HCG numbers tripled very quickly, we might want to think about the possibility of twins, and our five week ultrasound revealed two sacs. Those two sacs have developed into a boy and a girl, who are due this October 6, and look, thus far, completely healthy. (Even better, our friends also succeeded on their try, and their baby is also due on October 6.) We are thrilled beyond all measure, and these babies are so loved and wanted by so many people that it is ridiculous. We have taken every possible step to ensure that Cindy is also legally recognized as their parent so our family is as legally and emotionally solid as it can possibly be. We will always wish that Cindy could have gotten pregnant and we don't think that sense of loss will ever go away completely. On the other hand, as this experience has reminded us, you don't always get to live the life narrative you had hoped to write and these are the children that we are blessed with. We could not have had our family without PFC and especially not without Dr. Ryan's support and encouragement. We look very much forward to meeting our children when they arrive. **-- Heidi (Names have been changed at the author's request)** **Post Script:** Heidi and Cindy recently welcomed a healthy boy and girl into their family!