As Told To: Kevin Seguin
My own wife had been told for years that it would be very difficult for her to have children. It is a topic that we discussed quite a bit while we were dating and into our engagement and first year or so of marriage. Infertility is a topic that isn't discussed much in the church, far less the options when dealing with it.
Some dear friends of ours have been struggling for years, and their story is filled with ups, downs, and everything in between. They have generously agreed to share their journey in the hopes of encouraging others in a similar position. It is our hope that this piece (which will come to you in four parts) will function as a jumping off point for church leaders, believers, and even couples facing this challenge as well. This is a painful topic for many and for many reasons. Our prayer is that this conversation is helpful to you.
So we last left off with our decision to go ahead with IVF. We were put on the waitlist back in April of this past year (2016). We were told that it could take up to a year, because there are a lot of women who want to be part of the program, which I completely understand. Besides, what’s another year when we’ve already waited almost 4 at this point?
Every month I call in at the end of my cycle, to see if or when they can fit us in. I finally get hope in July: there’s a spot available in August! We get excited, and things escalate quickly. We start all our meds right away. There are many, and almost all are injections. We start with one a day, and move to two a day. The drugs are very very costly, but we considered the cost worth it in this circumstance. The medicine was to stimulate my ovaries into making a lot of follicles, which is the vessel for holding the eggs. The injections weren’t too bad, as long as you don’t hate needles. I just remind myself to take it one day at a time, and to set A LOT of reminder alarms.
Treatment really only lasts from the beginning of your cycle until you are about to ovulate - about 2 weeks. Then they stop you from ovulating with a new injection, and tell you to take one to make you ovulate when they want you to. They want to make sure that all the follicles are the right size before they go in.
I must admit that sometimes I felt like a science experiment. Or a pin cushion. I'm lucky that I don't have a fear of needles because I can only imagine how much harder it would make this process. I guess what helped get me through is knowing that I am trying everything possible to get a baby. There is no stone unturned at this point. I can honestly say that I tried everything within my power, and if God doesn't give us a baby, then it's His will not grow our family.
Retrieval day comes; we travel three hours to Toronto, wait awhile, and I get pumped full of meds so that I don't feel a thing and, additionally, don't remember what happens. They tell me that the needle is passed through the top of the vagina under ultrasound guidance to get to the ovary and follicles. The fluid in the follicles is aspirated through the needle and the eggs detach from the follicle wall and are sucked out of the ovary. I had thirty eggs harvested in total when they were done. We wait as the eggs are fertilized. Fourten make it through that first process. And then they are grown to be five day old blastocysts. We had four who made it that far.
So once everything was said and done we had four fertilized eggs to work with. Not a high number, but certainly not a bad number either. We were happy to have gotten through the worst part of the process. Since they stimulated my body so much with drugs the doctor advised us to take a cycle off and let my body rest to make sure that certain levels in my body dropped to a more normal range. Disappointing, yes, but very understandable. I wanted to have the best chance possible and not waste anything we had just worked so hard to harvest.
September rolls around after what seems like forever and we get ready for transfer number one. Almost no drugs this time, except progesterone, which helps the uterine wall grow fluffy and, hopefully, accepting of the transferred egg. We went the suppository route with this drug to see how I would handle it.
It was not pleasant I will tell you that.
Transfer day comes, five days after I ovulate, which was to work with my body’s natural cycle and the blastocysts being five days old. I travel to the clinic in Toronto again, and transfer occurs. It literally is a 5 minute process. The most excruciating part was having to have a full bladder this time. Afterwards? Nothing. We wait two weeks and then get a blood test done. That’s it. It’s crazy to think that after all that work, you wait two weeks to find out. I admit that I couldn’t wait to test and tested a few days early.
I tried to keep my hopes up but something was telling me that this hadn’t worked. Blood test day rolls around and my suspicions are confirmed. I am sad, but not devastated like I thought I’d be. I think it was helping that we could try again right away, and that I knew I still had 3 blastocysts left. I think what I struggled with the most was understanding that what had happened was technically a miscarriage. It was a fertilized egg that never stayed. It may have only been 2-3 weeks old but it was alive, and I lost it. I would never put my pain on the same scale as someone who lost a baby at 8 weeks or 8 months, but I did experience a loss just the same. It is interesting to think about.
Transfer #2 takes place in October. This time went smoother as we knew what to expect. I decided to call this baby BB8 as the little blob in the petri dish under the microscope looked like it had a growth on it which I was considering good luck. We wait the 2 weeks. Well I almost do. Come on, it’s so hard to wait! This time I made it to 4 days before instead of 5 days before like last time. And to my unbelieving eyes I see it.
A POSITIVE!!! I didn’t think I could remember what one of those looked like!!! I quickly grabbed a second test of a different brand to see if there was a different result. Still positive!! Bill and I are over the moon! I rush to the London clinic to get a blood confirmation, and it’s real! Oh that was a glorious day! Two days later I go in for a second blood test to make sure the numbers are still going up. They are, and they look beautiful.
I’m still on cloud nine. I can’t believe it. I’m in shock. This seems like a dream. Fifty two months later, over four years! As I went to London that day for confirmation, I just listened to worship music all the way there and all the way home. I don’t want to just cry out to my God when things are low, I want to cry out to him when my heart is overflowing with joy. I know it’s only by His hand, His plan, His word, that this has come to be. He is so good and has heard the cry of his servant. Amen and amen.
Click here for Part 1 and Part 2
As a Biblical conservative, a cultural Liberal, a husband, a dad, and a pastor, I want to see the church act differently in the world. My big passion in ministry is to see how believers can bring the Gospel into the world around them while pursuing the lost art of winsomeness. It is what fuels me and drives me to write. Engaging culture with the truth of the Gospel in a way that is winsome, wise, and as Colossians 4:6 directs us: “seasoned with salt.” It’s my hope that what I say here helps you not only in your own faith, but helps you share it more effectively and fruitfully.
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