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Making Our Baby Is a Marathon, Not a Race

Back in December, I was out Christmas shopping in the outdoor shopping center by my house. It has a lot of great stores, but to get to any of them, you have to take these roads within the mall that have these sharp twists and turns. I was trying to get to a home furniture store. I could see it. It was right there, in the distance. I slowed down to take a hairpin right, and suddenly found myself driving away from the store. Shoot! I took the next left and pointed my car back in the direction of the store, visible again. It was right there! But the road twisted around again and it took me another five minutes to finally, finally navigate the tangled mess of roadway and arrive at my destination.

It’s been a similar experience in the last year, as my husband and I have hit numerous walls in our journey to have a baby. Ah, see that perfect, squishy baby up ahead? Well, you have to make a sharp left, hit the four-way stop, curve right, hit the two-way stop, sharp turn left, make the circle, sharp turn left ... aaaand, you missed the entrance into the parking lot. Turn around.

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It seemed like every time we got ahead of the game, something would happen. Insurance would decide they weren’t going to pay for that IVF. Only one egg was mature enough to fertilize out of the eight eggs retrieved. Dangerously high blood pressure from a fertility medication led to a cancelled cycle. Yes, even the first set of donor eggs from a young healthy woman weren’t good enough to produce viable embryos and get me pregnant.

Last year, I was angry. My body was failing and failing to get pregnant. When we came to the conclusion that this may be an issue of egg quality, I had to grieve the loss of my own eggs. But we at least had some sort of reason now for the infertility. When I lost the last two embryos, the image of that perfectly squishy baby up ahead was again lost from view as we skidded down a road traveling in the opposite direction.

No more messing around. This is it. We have a game plan. We know what we want. Like any hero says at the climax of a bad action movie: It’s time to finish this.

So when I found out my lab work was indeed showing a genetic mutation that could possibly be the cause of some of these fertility issues, I couldn’t believe it. A real, fixable diagnosis. A guarantee? No. But a good start.

Two weeks ago, we again gathered on the phone—my husband, our doctor and myself—and hashed out a plan for the coming cycle. He explained to us that a MTHFR mutation hasn’t been studied enough to know how it affects fertility. It’s still a new thing and it might be a cause of pregnancy loss because it makes certain people more prone to blood clots, but researchers aren’t even sure why. However, fertility doctors have found that using a combination of baby aspirin and folic acid can work for people who have this mutation.

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I explained to him that we needed to be as aggressive as possible with this next cycle, because we don’t have the finances for more cycles after this. We’ve exhausted our savings. I then asked him what his thoughts were on letting me do Lovenox injections as well with this cycle and he said he was completely on board with it and was hoping we would be too. Lovenox is a blood thinner that is injected into the abdomen. It’s hurts like hell, and can leave some impressive bruises, but I know how many women have had success with it. In fact, they swear it was what kept their babies alive in-utero, after previous miscarriages.

In addition to the folic acid, aspirin and Lovenox this time around, we are also picking from the top donors—the donors who have had the most successful pregnancies with their eggs. No more messing around. I picked my last donor because she looked the most like me, with the least amount of health issues. This time, we’re going for Molly McFertile. You got ten women pregnant? I want you to get me pregnant too.

No more messing around. This is it. We have a game plan. We know what we want. Like any hero says at the climax of a bad action movie: It’s time to finish this.

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