Saturday, December 8, 2012

the post i never wanted to write

When Andrew and I began our path through the life of infertility, we made a conscious decision to live that life out loud.  When we got pregnant with the twins, we took that to a whole new level, sharing our experiences in this blog.  Since that time, countless phone calls, conversations, emails and messages have assured me that God is using our story.  We are no different from any other couple facing difficulties while building their family, except that God has given us the grace to be transparent about it.  And in small ways, I believe that God is using our transparency for good.  But here's the catch--when you decide to live out loud, when you decide that God has called you to transparency, that means you must share the good and the bad.  You must be honest about both sides of the infertility coin.  After all, not every treatment works.  Not every IVF (or other treatment option) ends with a beautiful baby in your arms.  Fertility treatments are never a guarantee...not even close.  So with a heavy heart, I feel compelled to share the latest chapter in our journey.

Thursday morning Andrew and I were in Chattanooga hoping to continue building our family.  When we did IVF in January 2010, we had two embryos transferred (our sweet B&F).  On the day they were transferred, three other embryos were still growing.  Overnight, two of those arrested, leaving only one.  That little fighter, who we have always known as bittiest, was frozen through a process that was, at the time, state of the art.  

Since the day this embryo was frozen, we have longed to have him home with us.  So in August we set the date--December 6th--to have him transferred.  For four months we eagerly anticipated this day.  Our doctor said that the embryo was of great quality when frozen and believed we had a very good chance of getting pregnant.  We tried to manage our expectations, but were already so attached to this little one that it was difficult.

I started medication in mid-November to prepare my body.  While the medication protocol is much more manageable for a frozen cycle, it is still not easy.  The exhaustion and the pain from the shots were quite difficult while caring for two 15 month olds.  Then, on Wednesday afternoon, we headed to Chattanooga.  We knew there were three possible outcomes: 1) that the embryo wouldn't survive being thawed, 2) that it would survive but we wouldn't get pregnant, or 3) that we would get pregnant.  We were in no way prepared for what ended up happening.

As we arrived in the waiting room, I received a phone call.  It was our embryologist.  Trust me when I say that you never want to get a phone call from your embryologist on the morning of your frozen embryo transfer.  Before I even got through the door to the office, she held me as I sobbed.  She didn't try to stop me, so we knew it was bad.  When they thawed our embryo, about 90% of it had already arrested.  It was most likely damaged during the freezing process, so it never had a chance.  As our luck would have it, however, a tiny sliver of it remained alive.  Let me be clear--this is not a viable embryo.  With this damage, it cannot result in a pregnancy.  But they couldn't tell us that it was 100% gone.  So we had to make a difficult decision.  We could leave it there to arrest, have it transferred and stop meds (which would hasten the end), or continue as planned.  The embryologist said that she personally wouldn't have it transferred; the ivf coordinator said that she personally would.  At the end of the day, it wasn't about trying to have this baby, but doing what we could live with.  So we chose to have it transferred.  I felt more comfortable allowing it die in its intended home...we wanted it to come home with us in whatever way it could.

Clearly we wanted this baby so much.  But with the outcome we are facing, it would have been much easier if it had completely not survived.  It could have been over.  Now I will continue medicine for 9 days and have to confirm what we already know with a home test.  It's going to be a long couple of weeks for us, and we appreciate your prayers.  We are heartbroken right now for the child we longed for, and a bit lost as well.  It's unclear where we can or will go from here.  We desperately want more children, but our resources are quite honestly drained.  We do not feel that our family is complete, but are trying to adjust our expectations to what may be our normal.  


  1. we are so sorry. sending you all hugs and prayers for comfort and guidance.

  2. I am so sorry. That must be devastating. I understand why you made the decision you did though.

    I hope there is some other way that God presents to you for you to continue to build your family.

    Thinking of you.

  3. I'm so sorry Jessica. You are right that the openness of your journey has helped people.

    Prayers coming your way as you go through the difficulty of the next few weeks and beyond. For you and the bittiest embryo.

  4. I am so sorry, Jessica. What a difficult decision to make. I wish I had the right words to say, but I just can't come up with them. Prayers sent up for you guys. Thank you for sharing and being so open about your journey.

  5. I'm playing blog catch up, so I'm sorry I'm a few weeks late. ..but I am so incredibly sorry for you, Andrew and bittiest. I'm humbled by the courageous decision you made. ..I can't imagine how hard that had to be. Sending hugs of support and prayers for your next steps, wherever they may lead you.