After Henry was born I made no efforts to prevent another pregnancy. I nursed him for a full year, and when he was 13 months old I began seeing a new fertility doctor and also a new endocrinologist (a brain tumor doctor) in Texas. I hoped that I would be able to get back on my brain tumor medicine (which you don’t take while you are nursing, so I wasn’t on it at the time) and I would be able to get pregnant again, like my experience with Henry. I was prepared for it to take another five years like it did with Henry, but I was also prepared to never get pregnant again. Starting the fertility process was not a no-brainer. I carefully weighed the pros and cons.
Reasons NOT to try for another baby:
- I takes lots of time away from Henry. Fertility takes lots of time at the doctor’s office, and it doesn’t seem fair to leave Henry so often in an attempt to get another baby. If it works, it will be worth it, but if I never get pregnant again I will feel horrible about the hours I’d taken away from him for nothing. I’m a stay-at-home mom so I can spend every minute with him, not so I can drop him at a babysitter and do my own thing.
- It feels greedy. I had hoped for a baby for five years and had already gotten exactly what I wanted. I got a perfect pregnancy! I got a perfect delivery! I got a perfect baby! The idea of asking God for a second miracle just seems selfish and unnecessary.
- I really don’t want Henry to grow up in a house where his mom is always trying for and praying for another baby. I don’t want him to ever feel like my focus was divided between him and a phantom child. I don’t want him to feel like I was never really satisfied with the blessing I had already been given was reaching for more. A friend once told me that when he was growing up his family never said a prayer that didn’t include “please send another baby to our family”. I never want Henry to have a memory like that. Ever. Ever. Ever.
- Money. Luckily, our insurance has amazing fertility coverage, but there are still costs. Dumping money into fertility is obviously totally worth it if you get a baby, but if you don’t it is a giant waste.
- Babysitters. Luckily I have four amazing friends who live close, understand my situation, have small children (and cats) who Henry adores, and are totally on board to watch Henry for any appointment I have. I COULD NOT have started fertility again without them.
Reasons TO try for another baby:
- A sibling for Henry. I think there are lots of perks of being an only child, but there are some downsides too. If I have a choice, I want Henry to have a sibling.
Despite the fact that the con list outnumbered the pro list, the pro list seemed to outweigh the con list. We started on fertility treatments again in November of 2013. I got back on bromocriptine (my brain tumor medicine), and began with simple clomid/dexamethasone cycles. Given my history, they started me on a fairly high dose. Since I don’t ovulate on my own because of my brain tumor, the goal was to get me to ovulate. As long as I ovulate I have the same chances of anyone else of getting pregnant, the problem is ovulation.
I did several clomid/dexamethasone cycles with increased doses each cycle and never once ovulated. After a few months of that, my doctor started mixing in follistim, which is a drug that needs to be injected daily. With clomid, dexamethasone, bromocriptine and follistim they finally found the right combination and doses to make me ovulate. The plan that first month was to do an IUI, but due to some misunderstandings (the fault of the doctor’s office), it didn’t work out to do the IUI. I was MAD. But I got pregnant anyway! The first time I had ovulated (to my knowledge) since getting pregnant with Henry, I got pregnant!
I had an unexpected positive pregnancy test at home on Friday, June 13th. I called my doctor on Monday morning and asked for a blood test. My blood test showed that I was pregnant but my levels were fairly low. They started me on progesterone and continued to test my blood every other day to monitor the rise in my hormone levels. They did an ultrasound to verify that the baby was in the correct place in my uterus, which it was. A few weeks later they did another ultrasound looking for a heartbeat. Baby had a heartbeat but it was slow and the baby measured about a week smaller than it should have been. At that point it was pretty clear that this would end in miscarriage, but there was still a chance things could turn around. At 9.5 weeks it was officially over.
I cried with my friend Reghan the day I found out that I would likely have a miscarriage, but not really at all after that. People wanted me to be sad, but it actually felt like a win. I got pregnant! My doctor had finally figured out the correct combination and doses of drugs to make me ovulate! The first time I ovulated I got pregnant! I had more hope at that point than I’d had when I started the journey, so I couldn’t find too much to be upset about. I’d been banging my head against the wall for eight months, so this was a step in the right direction.
People describe miscarriage as a great loss. It didn’t exactly feel that way to me, it felt like a disappointment. Fertility is just one disappointment after the other, and the miscarriage was just another to add to the list. At some point during all of this, I have gotten used to the fact that all news I get from the fertility doctor is either bad or neutral. This was just another thing to add to the bad list. The worst part of the experience was knowing that I had to start over with the fertility doctor, which meant more babysitter time for Henry. I was SO TIRED of leaving him for this.
I had a D&C at my local hospital on July 25, 2014, eight months after I had started fertility treatments and in the same week that I totaled my car. It was a bad week. Luckily my mom came out last minute to help with Henry since Peter was out of town. Thank goodness for moms.
Next up: IVF!