A Place At The Table

In vitro fertilization wasn’t for me. Until it was.

August 2012

On May 19, Dr. Minjarez left me a voicemail: “The results are back and we’ve got six healthy embryos! I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.” A few weeks later, we went over the findings in person: Of the six healthy embryos, two were considered “AA,” or excellent quality. Of the three abnormal embryos, one had two extra chromosomes; another had Turner Syndrome (a mutation that occurs in one of every 2,500 girls); and one wouldn’t reveal its genetic code. The aberrations were as haunting as ever—and confirmation that we made the right decision to pursue both IVF and preimplantation genetic screening.

Five months after our first appointment with Dr. Minjarez—and more than two years since our first miscarriage—we began to plan our embryo transfer, and hopefully a corresponding pregnancy. Outside of choosing to implant one or two embryos (we decided on one), we had no say in which one would be selected. Dr. Minjarez would make that decision. A date was set: July 29, 2010.

Another $600 worth of drugs arrived via FedEx. I was on a first-name basis with our deliveryman after the monthly, and sometimes weekly, deliveries. I opened the box and had to sit down: vials of Lupron mixed with syringes, estrogen patches (that would leave sticky outlines on my abdomen for months), and progesterone inserts. I told myself it couldn’t be as bad as the ramp up to the trigger shot. It just couldn’t be.

In the meantime, Heath began a master’s degree program at the University of Colorado, and I went on vacation. I played with Ella. I injected myself with Lupron. I wore a tank top over my bathing suit so no one could see the estrogen patches. Heath and I tried not to fixate on the date, July 29. The journey, as arduous as it had been, was far from over. Everything had to go perfectly for me to not only get pregnant, but also to keep the pregnancy.