Patient Odyssey - One of Those Babies!
After trying "au natural" for several years, we were told to try clomid a few times... no luck. We were then told to try IUI but we decided against it. We always felt we had plenty of time but Daphne, my wife, had turned 36, and we knew we had to get serious. Following a battery of tests, our picture went from bad to bleak. First we learned that my sperm count is lower than average, so I felt horrible. Then we learned that Daphne has endometriosis. So it was her turn to feel bad. You sort of feel like you're letting the other one down. Our OB/GYN decided we needed a specialized facility, and referred us to Pacific Fertility Center. One of our toughest days was our first trip to San Francisco, a four-hour drive. We didn't know anyone there. We went through the convolutions of testing and more testing and deciding to undergo IVF. And then minor surgery. This was in the middle of the holidays; Daphne felt sick, and we began thinking of all the expenses we had incurred just to get to that point. We felt like our lives were out of control. Standing on Pier 39, I wondered whether we could continue, and I said, "I don't know if we can do this!" Daphne just looked haunted. She didn't say a word. Daphne was so meant to be a mother. At one point I started feeling desperate for her. Another mother in line at a grocery store yelled at her child, taking it all for granted. It just made us wonder why? Why them and not us? It made Daphne absolutely miserable. During these tough times we would be comforted when we entered the doors of the center and felt a sense protection, as if people were putting their arms around us. We began to turn it around and started enjoying ourselves in the City while dealing with medication shots and appointments. We didn't look back - and then it came time for the retrieval. Just before Daphne was to receive the anesthesia, Dr. Schriock, with his soft-spoken mild manner came over to check in with us, and held her hand. That really touched her. If you're going to go through something like this, you couldn't ask for somebody more understanding. Whether they know it or not, the PFC physicians and nurses, and Joe come across as caring people before professionals, even though I know they're experts. We didn't break any records; I think we barely made 10 embryos, but that gave us enough to use and freeze. Plus, they looked good. After an agonizing wait, the news on our IVF cycle was negative. We were disheartened, but Daphne quickly rebounded and we went right into our 2nd cycle - a frozen transfer. Again, the transfer, the waiting and again, negative. Those were very black days. You feel part of a populace, but everyone is moving on and you're not. You feel so alone. We were struggling so hard on an activity that should have been so natural. We were hostages to so many unknown factors. We went on and did a 3rd try, again using our frozen embryos. We were fully prepared to be disappointed. After the transfer and the wait, the testing lab in Fresno drew her blood and by the time we got to our home close to Yosemite, the phone rang almost immediately. I was ready, standing next to my wife, forming the words that would comfort her, but instead she looked at me and gave me a thumbs-up! From that time on, we were even more guarded than before... at least for a while. We were almost too afraid to tell people but we surprise-visited Daphne's parents with a cake that said "We're Pregnant!" Tessa is now nearly two. Of course, you see children, and you know they're considered perfect. But Tessa is the most photographed and beautiful baby, and she has a personality that just won't stop. We're hoping to give Tessa a sibling soon with our remaining frozen embryos. I now look back and see it kind of empirically - Tessa was one of the strongest embryos, and since being born, she hasn't had any problems: no sniffles, no flu, not even a hiccup. So we didn't just get a baby, she really is one of those babies! -- Randy Cohlan
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