My Brave Timeline

Brave New World was the first book I gave my husband a decade ago. The irony of this would occur to me when we were told that our only option to conceive would be through what seemed to be a very “brave new world procedure:” In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Now we have our own brave baby who made the difficult journey from the dish to our arms. It’s still hard to believe.

Here’s our timeline:

  • June 2000– Jess and Mr. T meet in their early 20’s, fall in love, go to graduate school, have lots of adventures, and thoroughly enjoy life.
  • August 2006– After waiting for years for Jess to ask him to marry her, Mr. T finally has to ask her. A beautiful wedding follows, and they pledge to share their life and love in sickness and in health.
  • 2006-2009– The honeymoon years during which Jess and Mr. T enjoy life and don’t worry too much about babies yet, but are not trying to avoid them either.
  • June 2009– After a year of actively trying, no baby yet. Jess is 32 and Mr. T is 33. It’s time for Mr. T to do an SA (Sperm analysis) After he’s done the deed in the cup, the nurse calls and asks him if he’s had a vasectomy. Apparently you need a few more than zero sperm to make a baby.
  • June 2009- January 2010– While waiting for Mr. T to make the appointment with the urologist, Jess researches Azoospermia (the condition of zero sperm) and tells T that it sounds like IVF is the only solution- and that there’s no way she’s going to do that.
  • February 2010– Mr. T finally gets to the urologist. Urologist confirms Jess’ research and explains that Mr. T has a condition called “Congenital Absence of the Vas Deferense” aka- missing tubing, likely due to a gene for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). He tells the couple that “the good news is that there should be plenty of sperm in there, and there shouldn’t be any problem at all having a baby with IVF.”
  • March 2010– Jess comes to the realization that adoption isn’t as easy as L.M. Montgomery made it seem in Anne of Green Gables. She also realizes that she would like to experience the miracle of pregnancy- and all that entails- if possible. So Mr. T and Jess move forward with all the testing necessary to start their grand IVF adventure.
  • April 2010– Mr. T gives birth to his half of their potential baby’s DNA through a not-so-pleasant surgery (yes, in that area) to extract tissue with sperm. The first scoop on the right side doesn’t appear to have any sperm, so the doctor have to go back in on the left side. Jess says that any man willing to go through this to have a baby is indeed a hero.
  • June 2010– Jess and Mr. T write a very big check to an IVF refund program. This big check gives them 3 fresh and 3 frozen cycles and a 70% money back guarantee if they don’t get a “take home baby.” But peace of mind is priceless- Jess and Mr. T are not gamblers.
  • July 2010– Jess and Mr. T begin the “stim” process of tricking Jess’ body into making as many eggs as possible. This starts with 12 days of birth control pills so that all the follicles grow at the same rate. Then the injections begin- Follistem in the morning, Menopur in the evening and ultrasounds and blood tests every 2-3 days.
  • July 29, 2010– Harvest Day! Jess and Mr. T get 11 mature eggs and seven fertilized (all with ICSI). All 7 make it to Day 5, all graded excellent to very good- including the first A++ embryo their nurse had ever seen. (Jess is inordinately proud.)
  • August 4, 2010– Jess and Mr. T transfer two perfect embryos. A week later, Jess begins to crave pickles. Mr. T notices her boobs seem bigger. Pregnant? A home pregnancy test confirms their suspicions on the morning of their official test. It’s the first positive test they’ve ever seen and Jess walks on air to the clinic for the official test.
  • August 16, 2010– Beta is 800!!!! Two days later it is over 1600!! Pregnant at last!! Oh Happy Days! Jess begins to dream of names and nurseries. Mr. T, a burstingly happy and proud papa already, tells all his colleagues and his entire Fantasy Football team- even though he and Jess agreed it would be good to wait. He’s so happy that Jess doesn’t mind.
  • August 30, 2010– First ultrasound to meet the bean. Jess and Mr. T see a tiny heartbeat and the heartbeat is estimated at 120. Jess is worried that it’s measuring 3 days behind and seems to have a faint heartbeat, but Mr. T reassures her.
  • September 8, 2010– Second ultrasound. Baby measures 6 weeks 3 days. No heartbeat. Lots of of sadness. Sometimes Jess really, really hates to be right.
  • September 9, 2010– D&C. Unbearably sad.
  • October, 2010– On break. Jess and Mr. T decide to put as much distance between themselves and their fertility clinic as possible and travel to Japan.
  • November 2010– Time to go back for the frosties. Jess takes Estradoil to fool her body once again, prepping for an embryo it already cooked up in July.
  • November 20, 2010– Transfer two perfect embryos. Both have “cavities” (apparently a good sign for defrosting frosties) and are continuing to hatch. One is almost entirely hatched already. Jess worries about its ability to survive the arduous journey without a shell, but the professionals are unconcerned.
  • December 2, 2010– Home test the morning of the official test: faint line. Beta HCG levels are 91 and 270 four days later. Jess is worried. No one else seems to be. Jess insists on another test. Beta is up to 540. Jess is somewhat reassured. Nothing to do but wait and see.
  • December 20, 2010– First ultrasound. Jess is a nervous wreck. She hears the doctor say that there’s only a gestational sack measuring 4 weeks. She hopes this is a nightmare. It’s not. There’s no baby. Lots of tears.
  • December 25, 2010– Miscarriage begins naturally. Jess and Mr. T are out of town visiting family for Christmas. Because Jess is O Negative blood type, she needs the RH Sensitization shot within 72 hours. They spend all day in the emergency room going through unnecessary tests, ultrasounds, exams and waiting capped off with an impressive meltdown from Jess before they finally get the shot they came for.
  • December 31, 2010– Beta test shows HCG is down to 50. Jess is relieved this one is almost over and that she can start the new year with a fresh start.
  • January 4, 2010– Jess and Mr. T meet with Dr. IVF. He is empathetic, but still optimistic about their chances. Jess and Mr. T push to do every RPL (recurring pregnancy loss) test under the sun.
  • January 14, 2010– Beta down to 3. Jess no longer needs to go for weekly blood tests to prove that she’s no longer pregnant.
  • January- February 2011: Tests and a break. All RPL (recurring pregnancy loss) tests are normal
  • March 2011: Starting IVF #3 (2nd Fresh cycle) Although they have 2 good frosties left, Jess feels betrayed by that batch and wants a fresh start. She’s afraid the old ones are doomed by the marathon she ran two days before starting the IVF cycle in July. Mr. T sees the glint in her eyes and knows it’s no use to argue otherwise.
  • April 2011: 14 eggs retrieved, 7 fertilized with DH’s 1-year-old frozen sperm. Transferred two perfect blastocysts on Day 6. None to freeze (though there are still 2 from IVF 1.0)
  • April 26th: Beta= 474
  • April 28th: Beta= 842
  • May 11th: First ultrasound. A heartbeat! 126 bpm. Measuring on track! Lots of happy tears.
  • May 19th: 2nd ultrasound. Baby is still growing and on track! heartbeat is 162. More happy tears.
  • June 9th: 1st OB visit. Amazing.
  • August 5th: Anatomy scan- all parts accounted for. Happy happy day. Jess isn’t even tempted to change her mind and find out gender- just so grateful that baby looks healthy.
  • December 30, 2011– Baby, grow strong for your due date. One day we’ll tell you all about your brave new world adventure.
  • January 4, 2012– After a long labor that was nothing compared to the long journey to this day- Brave New World Baby arrives with a big yell! Mr. T cuts the cord and announces to “It’s a Girl!” She’s 7 pounds, 6 oz with tiny dark curls. Jess and Mr. T hold her and cry so many happy tears.
  • 2012-2014-One day, when Jess get her courage up, the brave couple will go back for the last two frozen embryos (from IVF 1.0 that ended in miscarriages both times.)  They balance the potential heartbreak with the potential joy that those two embryos will hold. Jess and T would love to give E a sibling, but they have decided that this last frozen embryo transfer will be the last page of their family building journey.
  • January 2014: Jess and T decide it’s time. They meet with Dr. P and start the protocol for the FET for their last two embryos which have been frozen in time for three years.
  • February 4, 2014: Jess and T watch the ultrasound monitor as Dr. L transfers that last two embryos.
  • February 14, 2014: Beta day on Valentine’s Day. Jess takes a HPT (Home pregnancy test.) It’s negative. Decides on the way home from blood test at clinic that since the first HPT was a dollar store test, she’d take one last test. To her shock, it’s positive. Nurse calls from clinic that afternoon with beta: 440!
  • February 18, 2014: 2nd Beta is 1885. Nurse emphasizes that this is very good.
  • February 28, 2014: The last first ultrasound ever. Haunted by the memories of the other ultrasounds from the first four embryos from this batch, Jess is anxious. There’s a long pause while Dr. A looks at the monitor. Jess is convinced this means bad news. Then Dr. A turns the screen to Jess and T. Jess gasps, immediately understanding the image. “Twins!” Dr. A says, clarifying Jess’ reaction to a confused T. “And it looks like an empty third gestational sack here. One of the embryos must have split.” Jess and T are thrilled, but cautiously so, as one baby seems to be measuring a few days behind the other.
  • March 2014: Jess has lots of bleeding- which means lots of worrying. However, ultrasound at each appointment shows two healthy babies.
  • May 2014: Jess and T celebrate the babies on the way, announcing to their families that the babies are twin girls! E names the babies Minnie and Mouse.
  • June 2014: Ultrasound shows that Jess still has placenta previa. OB isn’t too concerned, so Jess decides not to worry too much either.
  • July 10, 2014: Just before bed at 10pm, Jess has some bleeding. She calls emergency line. Doc on call tells her to go to the nearest hospital with NICU as soon as possible. Babies are only 25 weeks and 1 day. Docs at  hospital prepare Jess and T for worst case scenarios and prepare for possibility of emergency c-section, and administer steroid shots to prepare babies’ lungs for early delivery. Jess is a wreck. Bleeding slows and stops and starts again. Docs say she can go home if she has a week without bleeding.
  • July 17, 2014: After Jess is on bedrest at the hospital for a week, doctors confirm that she not only has a complete placenta previa, but also Baby A’s (Mouse’s) water has broken. Jess is now officially on bedrest at hospital until babies arrive. Jess cries a lot. And just hopes she can get the babies to a safer birthday.
  • July 30, 2014: The morning the babies turn 28 weeks, Jess has another major bleed. She’s rushed from antepartum to Labor and Delivery, put on magnesium, and once again prepared for emergency c-section. Bleeding slows and stops. Jess’ bed is rolled back to the antepartum hall.
  • August 12, 2014: The day started like every other day. But after the ultrasound that afternoon showed low fluid levels and no “practice breathing” for Baby A, docs put Jess back on NST monitors around 4pm. Babies’ heartbeats showed distress and contractions, though Jess felt fine. Docs told her it looked like an infection, and they would move her to Labor and Delivery for more monitoring and again prepare for potential c-section. Jess was annoyed- she’d been through this routine before: more magnesium, more monitoring, more IVs. At 5pm, Jess told T to come to hospital as soon as he could. When T arrived, she was burning up, begging for ice, then suddenly shaking from cold as the infection set in. The doctors told her they needed to get the babies out. Jess cried, but knew they were right. By 7pm, she was being wheeled into the operating room. At 7:33, Carina Eleanor was delivered at 3 pounds, 5.6 ounces and at 7:35 Sylvia Grace was born, weighing 2 pounds 7.5 ounces.  The room was quiet after their arrival as the girls were whisked into the recovery room. T followed them and Jess feared for the worst.
  • August 12, 2014 late night: Docs prepare Jess and T for the worst: Carina wasn’t doing well. None of the ventilators were working on her. Finally, Dr. Miracle tried something that wasn’t in their usual protocol, administering nitric oxide, not usually used for babies this small due to the risk of bleeding. It works. Carina stabilized. Meanwhile, her younger sister Sylvia Grace calmly sleeps, making sure that all the attention could go to her twin.
  • August 14, 2014: Carina comes off the ventilator and the Nitric Oxide. Brain scan shows no bleeding. Everyone takes a sigh of relief. All the nurses agree with the proud parents that the girls are adorable.
  • August 15, 2014: Jess finally goes home for the first time in 5 weeks. It’s an emotional day for Jess- going home without the babies.
  • August 23, 2014: Carina and Sylvia both came off their IVs. Sylvia goes down to 4 on CPAP and Carina goes down to 5.
  • Today: Jess and T spend their days going back and forth to the NICU (luckily only three miles away from home) and Jess pumps milk for the babies around the clock. So far, the girls are doing well and getting stronger. Jess and T are amazed and inspired by their tiny daughters’ feisty spirits. E asks to visit her baby sisters every day, bringing books to read to them, making up songs about them and dividing out her hair accessories between the three of them. Jess and T agree that as difficult as it has been, these three beautiful girls are worth it all.
  • Sometime in late September/ October: As the girls were born just a few hours short of 30 weeks (to Jess’ annoyance, the NICU doctors would always call them 29 weeks instead of 30) they still have a long stay in the NICU. Jess, T and E look forward to the day they can welcome Carina and Sylvia home, and their family is finally together.

4 thoughts on “My Brave Timeline

  1. […] a Brave New World, Baby Just another WordPress.com site Skip to content HomeAbout Baby’s Brave New WorldBlogs I read ← Happy […]

  2. iwantbaby June 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm Reply

    Amazed by your Brave Timeline..! Thanks for sharing your tough journey (with a happy-ending tho!) and inspire women and couples around the world to hold on to their dreams.

  3. sarah August 17, 2014 at 5:19 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing your timeline with us.. x

    • Jess August 17, 2014 at 7:18 am Reply

      Thank you for reading. And you just reminded me I need to update it!

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