This fertility journey has definitely been a long haul!! On Mother's day 2005, Paul told me that he was ready to have kids, so I got off of birth control. I did all of the things that women do, trying to have a baby...made sure to have the right timing, legs up like you're riding a bike (yes, I know, it's silly...), basal temperature charting, ovulation kits...you name it, we did it. Unfortunately, our attempts were just that...attempts. Each month, I cried as I got my period, sometimes asking God why he didn't want me to have a child. I also had many friends that were so easily getting pregnant. It was so hard to hear, yet I wanted to be happy for them too...It was very hard! They would talk about how long they had tried to have kids....it was only a couple of months. I sometimes was hurt to find that they actually thought that they had tried for a long time!! Had they met me and how long I'd been trying?!?!??! Finally, I went to an arthritis doctor, where he did lots of bloodwork. It ends up, I have an autoimmune deficiency, an anticardiolipin antibody, which triggered my arthritis. This doctor knew that I was trying to get pregnant and told me to get in touch with a fertility doctor, as I was going to have trouble getting pregnant. I wasn't really sure how to feel about this, but knew that I was going to be one step closer to becoming a mommy with a doctor's help.
So....we waited for awhile and my mom's doctor recommended Dr. Randall Dunn, in the medical center. We went to visit him, where he did lots of bloodwork and scheduled me for some tests. To make a very long story somewhat shorter, he found that I had endometriosis, along with polycystic ovaries. The following February, I had the endometriosis lasered out. This procedure was not as painful as most people tell you it is!! Of course, you have to do a lot of laying around to recover, but gimme a break!! Once this was all out of my system, I still was having trouble getting pregnant, so he put me on a pill to make sure that I was ovulating. (Normally it's Clomid for most women.) I can't remember the name of it, but it was actually a pill for women with breast cancer. It was found that it made them ovulate. This was great because my insurance covered this!! They didn't know it was for fertility treatments! I was on this pill for three months, with no success. Then, it was time to move to shots. I did two rounds of shots, producing lots of eggs!! Most women produce one egg each month and I was producing 30-40!! One month, the doctor's office called and said that if I were to get pregnant, it would be multiples and would need to do "selective reduction"....I went home and cried and cried about this...I could never abort a baby!! Luckily, the nurse called and said that this whole procedure was just too risky and that they were just going to call it off. Later on, I found out that this was called hyperstimulation. So, now we had two failed attempts at IUI (Intrauterine Insemination or Artificial Insemination). To make matters worse, I woke up with a horrible pain in my side and back. After going to the emergency room, my regular gyno, and the fertility clinic, we learned that I had an ovarian cyst rupture. It took about 12 hours to finally get out of my system with some pain medications!
So, after all of this, Paul and I decided to take about a year off of going to the fertility specialists and really try to focus on US. We still were very much in love, but this baby stuff was very stressful!! Finally, after much prayer, we made the decision to go back to the fertility doctor this past summer, knowing that the only option that we had left was In Vitro Fertilization. After much consideration, we decided to go for it, signing up for a program called ARC. This is a program that you buy that is basically a "buy one, get one free" round of in vitro. Basically, you go through the whole thing and if you don't get pregnant or end up with a "live birth", they will pay for you to have the invitro again, using any of the eggs that you froze from the first withdrawal. It's a little more expensive than paying for one round, but in my opinion, well worth it. Luckily, we haven't had to use this. Anyway, I started doing my shots in June and July, and was ready for the egg aspiration to take place in July. I even cut our yearly New Braunfels trip short because of all of this!! Well, again, I produced tons of eggs and the doctors thought it was too risky. They called off this whole procedure. I bawled!! We'd come so close to the final step and it was all taken away from us! Paul was ready to quit after all of this, but I knew God had a plan for us. I just knew this couldn't be the end for us.
I had to take a month break, and then started everything again!! Luckily, since I didn't get to the egg aspiration part of the procedure, it wasn't counted as a full round and as far as ARC was concerned, I hadn't done anything yet. So...we started again, with all of the shots. This time, we made it past the point we did last time. Paul had to give me nightly progesterone shots. Boy, was this a challenge!! Every night, I had to numb a buttcheck and have Paul stick me in the muscle with an inch and a half long, THICK needle. Finally, the day had come. Egg aspiration day!! Everything went really smoothly. I can't remember all of the details, but they took all of the eggs. This time, they slowed down the procedure to where I only produced 20-30 eggs. This is still a ton!! So...we waited for about a week to see how many had fertilized and were going to be acceptable to put back in me. During this time, HURRICANE IKE STRUCK!!! There was no power in our area of town or the medical center!! The hospital was running on generators! I even had to drive to Sugarland to do an ultrasound one day because they did have power.
This is when I started to feel bad! I ended up hyperstimulating and retained fluid. I was hurting SOOOO bad! On the day that I went back to put the eggs back in, I cried as I walked back in. I was ready to call off the whole procedure, as I knew putting any eggs back in would put me in even more pain, which I couldn't even begin to think about. We were told that if we put more than one egg back in and if they took, my pain would double or triple, which again, I couldn't fathom. Well, laying on the table, something came over me. It was a sudden calm, and I knew everything would be okay. We made the decision to only put one embryo back in and hoped for the best. Afterward, they withdrew my fluid. They got two 2-liter bottles and a coke-can sized container full of fluid. This relieved so much pain and pressure! They couldn't believe how much fluid I really had!!
So, I took the picture that they gave me of our little embryo and prayed harder than I had ever prayed. I told everyone that I was either going to frame the picture or burn it, depending on the results. They later called to tell me that they were able to freeze two other embryos for later use. Yes, after all of those eggs, only a total of three were good to use!! On October 8th, the nurse called at work with preliminary results. I WAS PREGNANT!! She told me they'd need to see me again in two days to make sure that this was not a false positive result. So, I called Paul at work, and we both were thrilled. We decided to wait until we had another positive result to tell anyone! Luckily, we got that positive reading.
I am including a picture of our little embryo, that we later have named Ty Patrick Salsgiver. We want to thank everyone for all of the continued prayers that we've had over the years. We are so thrilled that our prayers were finally answered. I continue to thank God for our little miracle. It truly is just that....a miracle.