Friday, December 21, 2007

9 Years Ago Today...

I hope that this post provides a little bit of fertility inspiration to someone out there reading...

My family is more than a little out of the ordinary. I was born when my parents were barely 21 years old (oops!), and they divorced when I was just a toddler. I always wanted a sibling, and my mom always another child, too, but as I grew up, she remained single.

Fast forward to my college years, as my parents actually got remarried... to each other. See, I told you that it is an unusual situation. My mom, by now in her early 40s, began to try to get pregnant. Months went by, each without success. She did have one "chemical pregnancy" during this period, but it was over before she knew it had begun. She went through basic fertility testing and was found to have a normal exam, a normal FSH (6-ish, I believe) and a normal HSG. My dad (who had another child from a second marriage along the way), also checked out fine. Anyway, somehow my mom also discovered Toni Weschler's "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" book and began to chart her basal body temperature. She also used OPKs to predict ovulation each month, and from these two methods knew that her ovulation was normal. My mom was basically told that she was facing difficulties because she was over 40, and that not much could be done for this.

My mom even joined an early version of a fertility message board... it was called "Fourtility" (cute name) and was an email LIST-SERV (remember those?) for couples in their 40s who were trying to conceive. There was a mix of women dealing with primary and secondary infertility, and there were women from around the US and even from other countries. Many were doing IUIs, IVF, etc. There were some happy endings, but a lot of sad stories, disappointments, and losses sprinkled in. (As a brief aside, I remember reading these messages and thinking "I hope to GOD I never have to go through any of that!!" Ever since reading all of that, I became afraid of infertility, and here I am. Wah. But wait, this post is not about me!)

The happy ending is that at age 44 1/2, after over 2 years of trying, my mom finally found herself pregnant. I was a know-it-all first year med student by that point, so I told them not to get their hopes up. I didn't tell my friends, because I didn't believe it would last. After one med school lecture on normal reproductive physiology, I went up to the lecturer afterwards and shared the story. I said, she's about 12 weeks along... what are the odds that this will work? He told me that 12 weeks sounded pretty good, and that she had a good shot.

I didn't allow myself to get truly excited until I heard the beautiful words, "46 XX,"... a chromosomally normal baby girl based on amniocentesis results. The pregnancy went smoothly for my mom, other than pretty severe morning sickness and a fall down a few stairs resulting in a dislocated elbow at around month 7. Finally, on December 21, 1998, just 1 day before her due date, my little sister J was born to my mom (by then age 45 and 3 months)! Yes, J and I are 23 years and 11 months apart in age. And I'm thrilled that she's here!

Happy 9th Birthday, J!

J and my mom in November 2003.


J as my flower girl, October 2006.

9 comments:

Cindy Nguyen said...

oh this post brought tears to my eyes! Merry Merry Christmas Sarah!!!That is a great story.

Meghan said...

What a great story. Happy birthday to your sister, have a wonderful holiday!

sarah23 said...

Thank you both! Sorry that I have been relatively absent from the comments lately. I have been super busy, and now I'm going out of town until next week. I'll check back with you all next weekend.

alison said...

Aww, that's a sweet Christmas story! Merry Christmas to you, and happy birthday to J! :o)

Lauren said...

What a wonderful story!

Hilary (The Trying Game) said...

what a great story!

Kathy V said...

I came via the creme. That is such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Terri said...

Thanks for sharing, what a great story. I am 42, will be 43 in March. My oldest is 23, then another 21, then skip a few years and my younger two are 7 & 3. I had a MC at the beginning of November this year. Now I find myself really wanting to try again. So, for the first time, I'm using OPK's and anything and everything I can. This story gives me hope :)

Terri said...

Thanks for sharing, what a great story. I am 42, will be 43 in March. My oldest is 23, then another 21, then skip a few years and my younger two are 7 & 3. I had a MC at the beginning of November this year. Now I find myself really wanting to try again. So, for the first time, I'm using OPK's and anything and everything I can. This story gives me hope :)