This is IVF... Filling my home with joy and laughter. - Monica Bivas

This is IVF… Filling my home with joy and laughter.

Sep 22, 2021 | This is IVF...

Words by  Jane Ankrah | @akua.ankrah 

My husband and I waited after 2 years of getting married to start a family. After 2 years, I started actively seeing an ob-gyn yearly. In our 8th year of marriage, I was diagnosed with fibroids and had laparoscopic surgery. I continued to visit my ob-gyn annually and there was still no diagnosis as to why we were not pregnant.

In our 12th year of marriage, after being tired of having the diagnosis and my ob-gyn couldn’t give me a better diagnosis, I went on to see an endocrinologist. Who, within an hour of consultation, told me I had fibroid. I was shocked that my ob-gyn whom, I had seen 3 months before, had not noticed that I had fibroid. He then sent me on for an MRI, which I was able to do within a week of seeing him, and he called back to let me know I was saddled with fibroid, and they are so densely packed, a sperm could never swim through. My husband was also diagnosed with MFI. Due to my husband’s diagnosis, we realized too that our only option to conceive was to use donor sperm. I was really upset with myself that we relied purely on our obgyn’s opinion for years.

Within a week of getting the call from the endocrinologist, I was meeting with the ob-gyn surgeon to have my fibroids removed. They removed 7lbs of fibroids. I went back to the endocrinologist 3 months after and they saw fibroids growing again in my Inner cavity. Two months following that, I had another fibroid surgery. I had 2 IUI’s done, 2 and 3 months following my surgery. The IUI’s failed, and then we moved onto IVF the following month.

Before starting my Ivf, I was told another fibroid was growing back up In the inner cavity again. After finishing my cycle, the transfer had to be put on hold as the fibroid had grown and needed to be taken out. Within a time-space of 11 months I had, had 3 fibroid surgeries.

A couple of weeks after my surgery, I started preparing for my transfer, and the transfer was done within a few weeks after the last surgery.

I carried the pregnancy, but it was rough. In my 7th month of pregnancy, I was put on bed rest. I was scheduled for a c-sectioned delivery in my 37th week of pregnancy. After my delivery, the doctors noticed that my placenta was not ejecting after my baby was taken out. As a result of that, I was hemorrhaging to death. The only solution at that point was to do a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding. I was then told about it while lying on the delivery table and was right away put to sleep for the hysterectomy procedure to be done.

My 1.5 hour surgery (c section delivery) turned into a 4-hour surgery. I woke up in recovery 4 hours later and burst into tears, holding my belly and crying over my lost womb. A few mins later, I looked down on my right and saw the pints of blood sitting there. I asked the medical staff what that was and they said they had it just in case I needed more blood since they had already given me some. So my daughter and I were in the hospital for 6 days.

The medical condition I had was placenta increta. There is not a lot of information out there on it. In most articles, I have seen, they tend to lump up placenta accreta, increta and percreta in one. The occurrence rate in women for any of these is 1 in 2,500 of which 15% is the occurrences ends in placenta increta.

My trauma:

I am very grateful to God to be alive. I do not take it for granted that the end result could have been different considering the statistics that indicate that black women are 3 times more likely to die from birth.

After the surgery, I had to process the fact that I was not given time or the option to ponder on my womb being taken away.
I also grieved over not having an option to decide whether to have a hysterectomy or not.

I was sad that I would never be able to carry a child again. For weeks, I wondered how my embryos would be brought into life? I asked why this happened to me and what had I done to deserve this? I also endured pains of swollen feet, which still continued until after 3 months of giving birth.

I had to seek professional counseling as I was experiencing severe postpartum depression. After that, I just went with the motions of taking care of my daughter, but could not bond with her the way I wanted until four to six months after her birth.

Surrogacy

After the delivery of my daughter, we decided that we wanted to give her a sibling. Also, since we had embryos In storage, surrogacy was our only option if we wanted to use the embryos we had in storage. We were lucky to find a surrogate fairly quickly on our own. We agreed with the surrogate to start the journey in 2020. In may 2020, we did an embryo transfer and it was successful. Today (14 to 16 years later), we have 2 daughters using alternative paths to parenthood ( IUI, IVF, donor sperm and surrogacy). While all these options do not cure you of infertility, it certainly helps make you a parent.

While it took us long to get fertility treatment, I think by the time we agreed to move beyond the obgyn’s office, we had decided that we would explore all options available to us, hence the reason we easily and quickly transitioned from IVF to surrogacy within a short period.

To the TTC community, I would like to say there are many paths to parenthood; choose what’s best for you and that of your unborn child who when born, will grow up one day to learn and hopefully understand their path. But, do not deny them of their truth. Donor conception, Is a hard decision to come to for many, we, however, do not regret this decision and each day we feel very lucky and happy to have our girls here with us. We feel very honored to be their parents and will forever be grateful to them for helping make us parents.

My journey fueled my passion for offering support to others in different ways or forms, including starting my own surrogacy.

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