Expecting Salvation: My Sixth Pregnancy
Expecting Salvation, a Sunday series on my pregnancies, births and losses.
“All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
IVF had been our planned gateway to gestational success since losing my third pregnancy. After conceiving on our own and losing twice more, we started our first round of IVF in January, 2009. It took everything inside of me to get on board with IVF and when I finally began, I did not respond to the stimulation medication. I only produced two eggs when they like see to double-digits so my cycle was cancelled. Cancelled. I was reduced to a cell at that point, there was truly almost nothing left of me but what crumb remained somehow held on. I did some research and after a month of daily 1 oz shots of wheatgrass, my response in the next IVF cycle quadrupled:
We experienced the standard 50% fertilization rate of our eight eggs becoming four embryos. Our doctor recommended we do PGD (genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities) only if we had five or more. I think at my age (38) and with only four, he wanted us to transfer them all back in but that was not an option for us. We did decline the PGD and instead decided to push all of our embryos to a Day 5 transfer. Sure enough by Day 3 two embryos were doing well and two were fledgling. By Day 4 we lost one and on Day 5 we lost another. Of the remaining two embryos, one was slightly stronger than the other. We consulted with both the RE and Embryologist and they performed a Single Embryo Transfer on our strongest. On Day 6 we lost the remaining embryo. It is my belief, true or not, that waiting the five days gained us the ultimate advantage.
We felt very good about our chances and the health of our one tiny life. I just had to get pregnant and at that, I was highly adept.
Pregnant. Strong and increasing numbers test after test. A mighty heartbeat that didn’t fade away. I was not without fear but because we got pregnant differently this time I could put my faith in something new.
We travelled to Austin and Miami. I started to barely bleed in the bathroom of The Cadet Hotel. I refused to give in. We went about enjoying the day and the spotting stopped.
One week before my birthday and 15w pregnant, we let open the floodgates. The congratulations poured in and I was elated.
He moves! I show! At 25w and 26w we travelled to Prague, Budapest and Zürich with a stop in New Jersey on the return home.
I trusted and bought the first gift for our baby:
Kris’s family celebrated us with a lovely baby shower and special ceremony:
I embodied the expression “Everyone loves a pregnant woman.”
(A friend of mine who has suffered terrible losses trying to conceive will soon reach the third trimester of a successful pregnancy. She recently wrote “I have never been happier.” I remember exactly how she feels.)
Another shower in San Francisco hosted and attended by loving friends. I felt amazing both physically and emotionally.
One day at 32w I woke up to bright red blood that lasted until noon. I was sick with fear but comforted that the baby would survive at that age. I tracked the baby’s movements like a hawk and reported back to the doctor. An ultrasound confirmed that everything was fine.
Blood tried to remind me who’s boss but my baby set him straight.
Pregnancy gave me my body back. Pregnancy held a mirror to the teenage me and said “Look what you can do. Respect.” Pregnancy made me whole.
Four days after my very definite due date, my pregnancy, my sixth pregnancy, came to its most natural and perfect conclusion: