Monday, July 30, 2007

Because you asked…an FAQ of sorts

I decided to do a post addressing the many questions and comments we have received throughout this process. Although I am a very open person with my close friends and associates, we have been taken aback by some of the questions and comments we have gotten from people. It is AMAZING how comfortable and opinionated semi-strangers get as soon as we mention that there are 3 in the oven (I fault for mentioning it to them in the first place - lesson learned). Although getting these questions from people we don’t know very well can be off-putting for us, I understand that many of our friends and associates are curious as well (except for the ones with whom I’ve been very open and who’ve been privy to many of the details of our long journey to get here) and I guess I would be too. It IS an unusual and amazing thing! We are somewhat of a novelty. So I’m just laying it all out on the table for everyone.

You may sense some obvious sarcasm, but I had to have a little fun with this! :)

Warning – possibly TMI (too much info) for you. If you don’t want to read very personal info, then don’t keep reading.
But, you know you want to.
Here we go… (*takes deep breath):

1. Did you do In-vitro (IVF)? Did you implant 3 embryos? How many did you implant?
We did not do in-vitro. Thus, we did not implant any embryos anywhere.

2. Did you take fertility pills?
I did take the pills for several rounds a couple of years ago and they did nothing (meaning, I did not ovulate and there were no changes/improvements in my overall hormone levels) but make me sick.

3. Is it a natural pregnancy?
It IS a natural pregnancy if you consider that I am a human carrying several human fetuses in my uterus and that it is real and natural. Maybe not normal, but certainly natural. Could you have possibly meant something else? If by “natural” you meant “without medical intervention”, then No.

4. Did you have to “do it” in a doctor’s office?

Ummm…What? Huh? REALLY? Ummmm, NO (and yes I did get that question).

5. Why didn’t you just do it naturally?
I have several friends who have dealt with or are dealing with fertility issues and I know they must love this one. It has been one of my personal favorites. Next to, “why don’t you guys have any kids? Don’t you want kids? How old are you? You better get started…You know your eggs are getting old…” OK, then.
All I can say is I guess we preferred to go through years of pills, injections, invasive examinations, uncomfortable conversations with many doctors, giving lots of blood, tears, disappointments, side effects from drugs, spending loads of money and incredibly insensitive questions from people – rather than just doing it the old fashioned way. We are REBELS!
Obviously I am kidding, but I don’t have an answer to that ridiculous question. Sorry.

6. Maybe next time you’ll just try doing it naturally.
Okie-dokie. Right. Gotcha. I’m not even going to touch that one. See previous blurb.

7. Maybe God didn’t want you to have a baby.
Ooooooh, another doozy! I actually do have an answer to that one.
As most of you know, I am a Christian (a “bible-thumper” as some of you ‘respectfully’ refer to us as) and I do believe in God. However, I don’t believe God would put the desire in our hearts to be parents if we were not going to somehow fulfill that desire – whether through having biological children or adopted children. We would feel equally blessed and privileged to have either opportunity. We wanted to fully pursue one possible option before moving on to the next (adoption) since both can be so emotionally draining and many adoption agencies make you sign a contract stating that you are completely DONE with pursuing fertility options.

8. You just need to relax.
Noted. Thanks. I’d love to. Wanna join me?

I'll let my doctor know that she had it totally wrong all along.

9. Why did you need help? What is wrong with you? What is wrong with him? Who had the ‘problem’?
Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with him. But thanks for asking!
In a nutshell - A few years ago when I decided to (open Pandora’s box) stop taking birth control, I had a backlash of symptoms which indicated a hormonal imbalance and I discovered I that had Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This explained a lot of the issues that I had been having (and ignoring, unfortunately) for many years. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I did not ovulate and that my ovaries were enlarged and hardened with thousands of cysts inside. The doctor said it was probable that I had never ovulated, which helped to explain the irregular periods (which I was on the pill to regulate). Basically, my only options to deal with PCOS symptoms were either go on birth control OR take fertility drugs. Since we knew we wanted to start “trying”, the fertility drugs were the only option. Thus began the hormone pills (which made me feel very nauseous like I do now with morning sickness), and then fertility pills and more hormones and more hormones and more hormones and eventually injections which I gave myself in the stomach every day during each round. There were breaks and a doctor change over the years but overall it felt like we had been doing this forever. But, we had 2 goals:
#1 feeling better by correcting my symptoms including the hormonal imbalance and the anovulation.
#2 getting (and staying) pregnant.
2 very big goals, I know. We had a timeline and a plan so that we weren’t ending up doing this forever. Believe me, many times I wanted to just go back on the pill and feel better and forget everything. But I couldn’t give up yet, because we hadn’t exhausted all of our possibilities.

So to clarify, if you want to know WHO had the problem, I guess it was me (woo hoo!) with the ovulatory dysfunction. Brian got tested and trust me when I say he passed with flying colors. Evidently, his swim team are gold medal winners, if you know what I mean. And those are the doctor’s words, not mine.

10. So what is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (AKA Stein-Leventhal Syndrome) is the name given to a metabolic condition in which a woman will have polycystic ovaries, along with a certain pattern of other symptoms that reflect imbalances in reproductive and other hormones.
Symptoms will vary with each individual. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
-multiple cysts on the ovaries
-multiple hormone imbalances including some of the following hormones:
· Androgens (testosterone)
· Cortisol
· Estrogens
· FSH (follicle stimulating hormone)
· Insulin
· LH (luteinizing hormone)
· progesterone
· Prolactin
· Thyroid hormones

11. I have a friend who tried and then stopped trying and adopted and then they got pregnant. You should just stop trying and adopt. Then you’ll get pregnant!
I know the famous stories and I even know a couple of folks with similar stories (adopting and then POOF getting pregnant). My first OB/GYN was actually one of those people. Her story is amazing and I am so happy for her. I am also glad for your friend. I really am, it is wonderful. I have found much hope in these stories.
I also know that we have a plan and that we have not excluded adoption, which is/was our next step.
But you didn’t know that. So thanks anyway for the unsolicited advice.

12. Triplets? Are you crazy? Why would you want 3? Don’t you know how hard that will be? You don’t know what you’re getting into. You’re never going to be able to (insert any fun adult activity here) again. You’re gonna be broke forever. {and so on and so on and so on}
Thanks for all the the support and positivity!

But, really...we are very aware that our life is drastically changing. This has actually already begun. I am trying my best to focus on the possibilities and the positive side of all of this – and NOT to freak out and focus on all the negatives because there is a lot to be anxious about if I let myself go there. Tough times will come whether I decide to obsess over them, or not – so why bother? Yes, I know that I am going to need LOTS of help and I already appreciate all the help I am going to get. Thank you.
Trust me when I say we tried to avoid having more than one, due to the potential risks involved. We cancelled one of the procedures, lowered dosages on the injections, abstained from you-know-what, etc. But, when we saw that ultrasound screen showing 3 little heartbeats, I was SHOCKED and HORRIFIED at first, I have to be honest. I could not believe it and I was scared out of my mind. I almost cried - tears of sheer terror. Obviously, I got myself together and Brian pulled his heart out of his throat and we embraced all of it. Now, we couldn’t imagine it any other way! We are glad there are 3 - We love them all. I wouldn’t change any of it. And yes, since you ask, I guess we ARE crazy. But you already knew that, babies or not. Yes, I know it will be challenging but this is our life now and we accept it with open arms. These are our children. :)

13. You know, when there are multiples, a lot of times at least one of them doesn’t make it.
Brian actually got this one from someone, and I couldn’t believe it.
Tactfully executed, dude. And to answer, we are aware that triplet pregnancies carry more risk than singleton or twin pregnancies. I can’t say we don’t worry. This is categorized as a 'high risk' pregnancy. We have already had many doctors’ appointments and tests and there are many more to come. We have had many discussions with our doctor and many with just the two of us. We have educated ourselves as best we can. Our doctors seem positive and confident. This isn't 10-15 years ago. Even in the last 5 years, Maternal-Fetal medicine and Perinatal medicine have made huge advances (since the incidences of multiple births have skyrocketed due to advanced fertility treatments). We feel that with our doctors we are doing everything we can to ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible in our situation.

14. Have you considered reducing down to 1 or 2? Have you considered aborting at least one of them?
I’ve gotten many versions of this one from a surprising number of people. It’s hard for me to understand why it is ok to ask this one. I certainly would not go to someone who is clearly happy to be pregnant and ask if they are considering having an abortion, even if I were thinking it in my head. Of course, it is fine for you to wonder...but I just can’t imagine actually asking. I understand that Brian and I are “different” since there are so many babies inside of me and that some people have judged us and looked down on us for deciding to keep all of them. But selective reduction is a subject that we did not take lightly. Before beginning any treatments, we did lots of research and had many conversations making sure we were prepared for the risks. We knew the topic would come up again if we became pregnant with multiples. Although we had already reached a firm decision about how we felt about reduction in general, I did lots of research again once I found out we were having triplets. I could not find compelling enough evidence for us that the risks of carrying a triplet pregnancy were much higher than the risks associated with multi-fetal reduction. I am not saying that everyone should feel the way we do. I am just saying that we are very comfortable with our decision.

15. See, I knew you would get pregnant as soon as you stopped working. All you needed to do was quit your job and it would just “happen”.

While I absolutely do believe the truth in this one (getting rid of stress), I actually did get pregnant while I was still working, earlier in the year. Unfortunately we lost that one.
And we did really need the income. I wasn’t just working for fun, trust me on this. And as it turns out, leaving my job wasn’t the only thing I needed to do. I also needed to inject thousands of dollars worth of hormones into my lower abdomen every night and go to the doctor every 2 days for blood tests and ultrasounds to watch my ovaries for hyper-stimulation. But, yes, you’re absolutely right...that’s ALL I needed to do.

16. Are you gonna keep all 3?
Heavens no! I figure we can sell at least one of them on E-Bay to recover the cost of the treatments. Let me know if you’re interested. Highest bidder wins pick of the litter.

So that should do it. That was all I could think ok. I hope you laughed and didn't freak out if you have ever asked one of these questions. If you're one of the one's we were thinking of while putting this together, you probably don't have access to this blog. So don't worry! HA HA!

We love you all-