It all started in April of 2005 when my husband, Jayson, and I decided that we were ready to try for child #3. With our first two, Riley (now 6 ½) and Kaiya (nearly 4), getting pregnant was very easy and happened on pretty much the first try.
Four months, and several pregnancy tests later it was apparent that something was wrong. A trip to my obstetrician revealed that I was not ovulating on my own. Over the course of the next year, we went through several cycles of two different ovulation-inducing drugs with no success. At this point, my OB sent me on to a fertility specialist.
The fertility specialist, recommended that we try Gonal-F, an injectable hormone that stimulates the follicles to produce eggs. Every night I gave myself the prescribed dose through a shot in the leg. (The shots freaked Jayson out much more than me---he couldn’t even watch, much less give me the shots.) Every other day, the doctor would do an ultrasound to monitor the growth of the follicles. Although I produced several follicles, the doctor said that only two, maybe three were mature enough to release an egg. At that point, I got a shot of HCG, which caused the follicles to release. This was followed by two days of IUI’s (intra-uterine insemination).
The day after ovulation, I had another ultrasound, which showed that three follicles had released. Slightly less than two weeks later, on December 31st (technically it might have actually been Dec 30th, since I was anxious and got up sometime in the middle of the night to take the test) a home pregnancy test gave a “+” sign. The next day, the doctor’s blood test also showed that I was pregnant with an HCG level of 486. (Normal HCG for that stage was about 100---so mine was high, but not extremely high). Needless to say we were excited to finally be pregnant after nearly two years of trying. We were also excited and anxious to find out if there was more than one baby in there, since the doctor had told us that there was a 20% chance of twins and 5% chance of triplets. Unfortunately we had to wait three more weeks (until I was 7 weeks pregnant) for our first ultrasound.
Finally, January 23rd, the day of the ultrasound, arrived. For three weeks we had been excited about the potential for twins, and little worried about the idea of triplets—though the possibility of either of these seemed unlikely. As the doctor began the ultrasound, we first saw one sac with a little beating heart inside, then two. Then the doctor moved the probe again and we saw a third baby. I started to get nervous, because idea of triplets was quite daunting. The doctor moved the probe again and two more sacs appeared on the screen. At this point, I figured he had just gone back to looking at the first two. (The idea that there could be more than three never crossed my mind, since I thought that just three eggs had been released.) Jayson, who had been watching the doctor’s face instead of the monitor, knew immediately that something was wrong. A moment later, the doctor announced that there were five babies in there.
The word “shocked” only begins to describe what I felt at that moment. I felt almost numb as the doctor tried to explain how this could have happened. The doctor immediately began explaining the risks of trying to carry five babies and strongly recommended that we selectively abort three of the fetuses, to give the remaining two a better chance.
We left the office in a state of disbelief. Things like this only happened to people on Oprah---they didn’t happen to real people. I tried to drive Jayson back to work, but made it only as far as a McDonald’s parking lot, where we sat for a long time trying to let everything sink in. The only thing that was clear at that moment, was that the road ahead of us would be very challenging.