Jessica (A)

Jessica and her husband left the city for a nice house in the suburbs ready for a big family. Getting pregnant initially was easy, but what followed was anything but.  An ectopic pregnancy, surgery, secretly taken blood work and a diary of angry thoughts all came next and put her on a fertility roller coaster she didn't think would end.  

Transcript

(transcripts are for purposes of searching and are approximations at best)

I'm Steven Mavros, this is Waiting for Babies, where we take a deeper look into the very human side of the world of infertility. Being in the fertility field provides you with a unique view into people's relationships. I feel like when my patients are struggling with infertility they're not only going down a road they didn't expect and didn't necessarily want but they're learning things about themselves and about their partners and their friends and their families, they're finding out what they're made of and how much they're willing to go through to get this. One thing that they've been desiring for a long time I feel like today's story brings a lot of that inner discovery to the fold. Today's story comes from an old patient of mine named Jessica and she's rare because she came to me very early in the process. A lot of times as an acupuncturist I'm the alternative so people will go try and get pregnant on their own and it doesn't seem to work and then they seek out help from a physician and they do some treatments for a little while and if that doesn't seem to work then when they look for their alternative they find me.

So Jessica was unique in that she actually came to me very much in the beginning a little bit because of her medical history and a little bit because she wanted to get ahead of the game.

So this story is going to be a little bit different because it starts right off with a twist right in the beginning because it starts off with a pregnancy.

We had decided that we would lived in a one bedroom apartment in the city and had thought about maybe trying to have a baby before we bought a house but decided that we wanted to be settled and that we with friends first and then have the baby. And my periods have been so irregular. Before he got on the pill years and years before that then I came off the pill and maybe was it day 40 of my cycle and truly even though we were trying to have a

baby it did not occur to me really that I could be pregnant. And I was falling asleep at 8 p.m. and I was eating three dinners. And I think maybe you should take a pregnancy test like maybe in a few days.

So I did.

And there was periods like there is actually a longer than just day 28 I'm going to take a pregnancy test.

So he got a few more weeks than that because it never occurred to me that even though we trying to have a baby of about you are very. And so I figured this was amazingly easy. This is incredible.

So that led to a pregnancy and a routine appointment that just happened to correspond with being a few days after the pregnancy test was like hey by the way I'm pregnant.

And she said well we'll do a follow up in the office.

And she said Actually you're not but maybe there's something here.

The strip is a little bit off. So sent me for bloodwork and at that point realized that the numbers were not where they should be. I thought maybe it was just a miscarriage but when they started going up and down it was clearly an ectopic pregnancy so it was referred to the fertility specialist right away had to go in the next day and they did confirm that it was an ectopic pregnancy and they did.

Do they do it. What did they do.

Yes.

I'll just to confirm that and then I was sent straight to the E.R. for treatment.

It was early enough that surgery wasn't recommended or didn't need to be an option so easily treated with methotrexate.

So did they explain like what the topic was what that means. They did.

Yes.

Had you already looked it up or so I apparently am not a very good woman I should use my lose my card because I didn't know what that was but I think that I just feel like women should know about. I don't know all of it but didn't know it but my husband was a physician so he had explained it when we got the bloodwork back and it seemed like it wasn't going well and the doctor had first used the words ectopic and he might have asked the same question you just do you know that is what I always said no. And he was the one who explained that before he got to the office I had a general idea of what to expect. OK.

Just so no one here feels like they're also going to lose their woman card. Let me explain an ectopic pregnancy. So normally after an egg and sperm come together for fertilization that embryo floats around the uterus and finds a nice cushy place to burrow in for the next nine months an ectopic pregnancy is when that embryo settles somewhere outside the uterus usually in the fallopian tube and becomes a tubal pregnancy. Now this can be very scary and medically rather dangerous because the uterus is really the only organ designed to hold onto something that will grow larger and larger over the next 40 weeks a tubal pregnancy which is the vast majority of topics can lead

to a rupturing of the tube which not only impacts future fertility but the intense internal bleeding can actually be fatal. For women who don't go through fertility treatments many come to find they're having an ectopic but the presence of intense abdominal pain as generally they're not being monitored in those beginning weeks pregnancy for those going through fertility treatments. There are physicians that are monitoring their pregnancy levels will see something fluctuate in the wrong way and that might give them an inkling that an ectopic is happening. Additionally an early ultrasound where they look to see a small gestational sac will tell them whether or not the pregnancy is happening where it's supposed to be in the uterus or if it's somewhere else.

Once they realize someone is having an ectopic pregnancy if it's early enough and the tube hasn't ruptured they can end the pregnancy with a medication called methotrexate a drug originally used as a form of chemotherapy. This is administered via injection usually at a hospital in a series of doses until the pregnancy levels start decreasing continuously. Now if this doesn't work or the tube is ruptured the next step the surgery to remove the tube and the growing embryo getting back to Jessica.

Hers was early enough that they could use methotrexate. Not like many people. She had a big fear of needles especially the ones that were a little bit bigger than acupuncture. So the nurses were kind enough to wait for her husband to show up before administering the methotrexate.

So you do the math or she felt fine felt or felt pretty awful the hormonal rollercoaster we have ever balled so much in my life in few days after that. I found that the checks eight to not be a very fun medication and the dose that it was given and it really messed with my stomach. And so I ended up curled up in a ball for a few days. Again that was the only side effect. I suppose it could have been much worse.

But first of all I wasn't throwing up I wasn't that's great. I just was in pain but also physically and emotionally. There is a lot of stuff happening in Iraq.

So I went to I went to. A party in my neighborhood who had just moved to a new house. Maybe 20 days before to get a pregnancy test and so met some neighbors and moved in then had this happen. My husband was very encouraging and said it probably good for you to get out of the house and you should go and meet these neighbors and have a nice ladies night out. And I laughed and I was walking home and I slipped on ice and I fell and ended up calling my husband to have him come pick me up a block away because they just couldn't get there and I could not stop crying for an hour.

And he truly was like What did you do at the party.

This is our new neighborhood way that I started to cry. He didn't know what to expect. He was like people are going to be freaks me when I'm with you.

I was like I'll bet you that you just absolutely no control over being able to stop crying. And so that eventually passed.

And I remember getting the call maybe six or eight weeks after I had been in the E.R. because I had to go back every Friday to measure HCG to make sure it was going down appropriately. So I finally got the Friday call that you're down to zero you're officially done healed cured. You move on to the next step which will be not for three months because it's not the check that you can do anything. Have a Baby Give your body some time to heal.

But after the Methotrexate had ended the ectopic pregnancy she got a call back from the fertility clinic and got some news that now questioned her ability to get pregnant again.

They had done some blood work in the way it was explained to me. It isn't entirely reassuring. We were checking your blood for something and I it ran other tests on it.

First of all something along those lines.

I don't know.

Anyway so surprise we found all of these other indicators for hormone levels that are red flags at this point your levels are low enough or high enough that they're yellow flags so that could be some cause for concern moving forward. And it was higher for SH and I don't think Amy to the into that it has at that point was just the high seats. Oh how old were you with this.

So Tony 11:31 he had said it's a good sign you got pregnant this quickly as the tears rolling down my face that I'm crazy. Don't cry. It's too good not to be OK.

You're young. Doesn't necessarily matter. I care. At that point I had had other sh tests done. And some of them might have been lower. But what I was told was once you have a high FSH in that is the one that defines you essentially. So even if you have other low ones. It's still bad news for you. So that was there but again it wasn't red flag high it was a. So I tried for the summer to get pregnant in maybe three or four months and that didn't work but because of the higher each I've been told that we would be fast tracked on the fertility treatment side given the low probability of low ovarian reserve.

Let me take a quick pause just to talk about FSH and what a high level means. So FSH is follicle stimulating hormone. It's a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that has a few functions but in a woman helps with follicular development also known as helping the eggs grow. Now if you check this level in the beginning of a woman's cycle and she is of childbearing age there should be the equivalent of a drop of the FSH to present just enough to coax the eggs within the ovary to grow and start maturing so eventually ovulation can happen. There should be enough eggs around there just a little bit of FSH age can get one of them to grow and to obviously. So following this theory if you check the age

and suddenly it's high the inference is that there aren't that many eggs left and it's taking more and more hormone for an egg to start the process toward population. Now fertility doctors have a fancy term for when the procedure is high it is called diminished ovarian reserve. Now it's fine to have a high off age if you're in your mid to late 40s and you're done conceiving and are on the road to mount a pause but it's not so fine when you're in your mid-30s and still trying to conceive. Now I'd like you to keep in mind that having a higher age does not mean you can't conceive and thus needs to be taken in context with someone's age or other hormone levels like their age, AMH their LH and their estrogen levels at the

time they take the test. Needless to say for Jessica it was a little scary. So she was very willing to move forward with the treatments that her doctor recommended. So they started with some basic interventions using an oral medication called clomiphene or clomid and doing a few IUIs which we discussed in the last episode.

So in the fall we switched to clomid for two months which I love I felt so great on that which most people read.

What was so amazing in there is Chinese medicine and for tell you book that I have it I'll find it and show it to you. And it talks about the difference. I have no idea what the word is but just different. Body types and how there's a certain type that responds really well to clomid and do your test to find out which one you are. And sure enough I am the one the doctors up with responding to me but I felt like I had so much energy I felt my hands. I really liked it. So I was like this will solve all my problems because clearly there's deficient in something. This is solving something for brains better. So I'm feeling so much better. So clearly we going to get pregnant and

then that didn't happen. And so as I'm sure you know from hearing other stories with each month and with each step higher on the ladder the devastation really not to devastation but the scientists. Each month when it doesn't work out it gets a little bit more and continues to increase.

Now everyone has different ways they cope with the struggle of infertility for Jesica. She had found three unique methods to help her cope. The first was knowledge.

Yes. Did it. Probably way too much reading which is never a good idea. Right. And the books are what material we're using all of the above.

So we go to the bookstore and try to figure out which book I wanted to read by reading them all in the books and then coming home and crying because I was convinced that I would never ever have a baby and that whatever I had was a thousand times worse than what the doctor had explained as being.

And that probably wrecked my emotional state even more than other things.

The second thing she used to cope with something she'd done for much of her life which was writing in a journal.

So I used my journals not as a diary. Here's what she did today. I wrote walking down the street with her and it was very much a.

These are all of the things that I'm sad about or angry about are these are the people that piss me off today or I want to punch the pregnant woman I saw when I was walking down the street because I can see something that's awful I hate her.

I could see that to most people so writing in the book. Nobody ever see it. Comes in handy. And it's something that I've done since I was in third grade. I mean I've always had a turn on. I was there for that purpose. This is when you I mean this is who I'm angry I it sound like a really mean person in.

And then I write and I'm like oh I feel better. That was such a stupid thing to be mad at them for. Of course we're still friends. But wait for it. I never liked that part because then I feel better. So if anyone ever read my diary to see the part where I say I hate everyone which is awful because that's not true.

And finally her third and favorite coping strategy was adding a little something to make her laugh.

We adopted a puppy along the way because that seems like a thing to do. And so. Probably stereotypically the puppy was maybe this was maybe after the second month of clomid.

So it was feeling great. Take the pressure off.

You know it didn't take the pressure off but I realized when we got the puppy he was such a fabulous addition to our household. And it was so huge and so much fun when he was playing with the ball and he the first night we got him he fell asleep standing sitting up.

I think he was so stressed about this house and he didn't want to fall asleep so we just watched him and he just stood and hit the floor things like that. I was laughing so hard and I realized oh I haven't laughed in a while.

This is oh. And truly it was not much of a shock to me to say this is what it feels like to laugh I forgot that I have a laugh so he was really really good in that perspective just to lighten things up and to have just so she had her books her journaling and her puppy.

But her initial treatments of clomid and why weren't working after the initial ectopic. Her ultrasounds had shown something didn't look great in her tubes and she had a test that showed there might be fluid building up in one of her tubes. This is referred to as a hydrosalpinx. Now the next step in her treatment was to move on to IVF. And in theory the beauty of IVF essentially takes the fallopian tubes out of the equation because you're kind of going around them you're taking the egg right out of the ovary fertilizing it in a dish and putting it back directly into the uterus kind of skirting the fallopian tube. However recent evidence suggests that the fluid built up in the tubes from a hydrosalpinx could be adversely affecting the environment of the uterus and making it less welcoming to a pregnancy. So before embarking down the road of IVF she and her doctor decided to have surgery to get the tube and its offending fluid removed.

This turned out to be a little bit tougher than she thought it would be and because it's just all things decided to have surgery to have my right to be removed. So did that right before Christmas late. So I again thought that it was pretty intense. I thought it was a pretty major surgery. I've since talked to other women who have done it I missed seven days of work. I have friends come over to stay with me while my husband was at work to make sure I was OK.

I waddled around do a shower for three days and then I talked to other friends like ya it was really hurt that night and then at work the next day I was a little sore. You might do the same surgery that can be possible.

So that was my experience with that surgery. But I know other women who did it who had the same surgery and didn't feel that way. I think that I am just a very sensitive person and it takes me longer to recover from a lot of things and things affect me more strongly than other people. And at this point in my life I recognize that that's just me. I'm OK with that. I'm prepared for that. So for me it was hard but I thought that it would be harder even though it was as hard as it was so they went forward with IVF.

I think most people don't realize about IVF. It's just how involved it is and how much it can take over your entire world just keyed into this one thing that kept driving her crazy in terms of the phone.

And I think that people who. Haven't gone through IVF. I think that it's just the medical appointments and it's not it's the phone calls and it's the. Insurance industry ordering of the meds and it's the reordering of the meds. And then the meds get shipped to the wrong address and then or they don't leave them but they are on ice and so they can only last for a certain amount of time and they need to track them down and it can take up a full day easily even though it's not in the doctor's office so the amount of time you can get is something that was really unexpected. And it's. Something that I don't think. My husband

realized not because he didn't care but because he. Just wasn't there. And if someone had told me Oh it takes out a lot of time I guess you're supposed to do you make some phone calls I get it. But until you realize how long you're on hold for and how many phone calls they are recalling in insurance company about something to find out if a medication is covered in someone and he said he need to talk to this other department here's their number I'll transfer you the whole way the whole way to on hold. Finally got through to somebody and said it's a great question. The. Department you want to speak to is this and she gave me the number it was the first number hit called no.

So it's just those kinds of things that. I add to an already stressful situation. And make it really difficult.

Was there ever a time your husband took a phone call made a phone call like was he. How was he as part of the process. His work schedule is really really close. And I understand that. And so that was out of his hands. But it meant that he couldn't go to a lot of appointments with me but they were Saturday appointments where I still went by myself because it was his. He could sleep late. He had a very stressful work week and I didn't think that dragged him out of bed for something that I could do on my own. In theory was the best use of his time. It would be better for his health and more being if he could get more sleep. And there were a few appointments that he

came to with me and he was so anxious that it made me more anxious.

Aventures I don't tell you this is OK on the nights on Saturdays where you were like not just sleep was he like OK.

Oh yeah. Oh yea.

They were also telling me I was every Saturday and there were times where he would come out to practice after and it would be lovely. But there were mornings where I don't think either of us could justify why both of us should be miserable and get up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

So they go through IVF dealing with all the many injections appointments many many phone calls. And initially it looks like things are going well.

So when we did our first round of IVF they weren't even sure if we would end up with any eggs. And I was on a very very high dose of Follistim trying to remember that. But doctors were thrilled with how successful it was so we got a very nice collection of eggs and we had a very nice collection of embryos and were able to choose from a few of them for which ones we wanted to put back for a D3 transfer. And I just thought these are all great signs in clearly clearly clearly this and that is that the time and come we've done all these treatments and this is in India for us

and my pregnancy test was on a Friday and I went to work because it's very close to where I got my Vijaya anyway.

So I was already there why not.

And my husband went to work and I had I was so convinced I was going to be positive I had actually planned how he's going to share the positive news with him. I got the phone call and had little baby socks that he put in a car and walked down to his office for the summer for her pregnant. And again I have amazing friends who are so supportive and they spent most of the afternoon on g chat with me because there was no way I could do any work. It was just as soon as you know Noon has come those blood results are back in the office they are being reviewed somebody probably already knows what the result is. It is impossible to think about anything else

especially for the first round when you don't know what time they call and how it works and instead Jim back to that had you not tested at home. No so because I was afraid of a false positive I was afraid of the wrong result and I figured I don't have the emotional strength to get my hopes up and then find out that that wasn't accurate and also because I had done a home pregnancy test before that didn't lead to it.

So I was kind of done with that thought Yeah yeah it really are.

And even it was positive it didn't mean that it was going to be successful so I figured why bother. So no I never did for any of my rounds of IVF never peed on a stick at home and even had my doctor ask when I showed up.

So did you and did you. I don't do that.

I don't I don't really cheat on other things.

Nothing nothing at all in life.

So after getting ready with her baby socks in hand she finally got the call.

It was not positive. And I have never crumbled so quickly in my life and so sitting in my office at work and just. I don't know what the nurse on the other line said but I think was like Are you sure if this is their mistake. Interesting. I don't know how to tell you. It's not positive. You aren't pregnant. Like what. What's the next step and say you can call the office on Monday and schedule an appointment for a follow up and that's all I remember from that conversation and hung up the phone and called my husband sobbing and I think he was also expecting it to be positive and so managed to text to some friends who

live who lived who worked in offices close by. And again amazing friends make all the difference which is part of the reason why it's great to tell people if you don't tell people they can't support you. But they were in it with me and she was like I'm leaving my office now I'll be there in 10 minutes. Tell me tell me where to go. And I had emailed my boss who knew what was going on. Super super support support. But I told her I think I'm going to have to head home early now. And she came down the hall and knocked on the door and I was in tears and she's like OK I know what this means. You don't have to say anything. Clearly this isn't because you have a happy announcement right now. You are here at this

hour and I don't think I've ever come so close to hyperventilating or truly just not being able to function. Absolutely hysterical. It was the worst news I'd ever gotten which looking back on it now is makes me a very lucky person that I haven't had something at that level or more that was so devastating. But my coworkers drove me home out to the suburbs and dropped me off and as I was in the house awhile before my husband came home and he was to get a lot of meteors out. But it was a

Friday afternoon and it was cold and it was Hasn't home.

He came home and he was sad. He was handling it better than I was. And then the next day was Saturday and I didn't not get off the couch and I don't remember which show I watched all of for the day if it was down to an RV or lost or something. I'm watched every single episode and then from another show I watch everything. What is it about. And by Monday I went back to work. So I was functioning. And I think it didn't take that long and if I hadn't burned my journals I mean Bill to tell you if this is accurate or not but it was already on to thinking about the next round.

Getting a negative result on the first round of IVF I feel is particularly devastating because it's the first time you go through this superintends process and you just assume that with all that effort all this technology and all this help that things will work out in the barn you get that negative it really throws you a. It also makes you question everything from previous decisions you've made. The medications that you took even the doctor that you've been working.

But we ended up getting a second and third opinion a fourth opinion which I felt very guilty about because I thought so highly of my reproductive under monologist and. I thought the world of him and he had been really great. So finally felt OK with doing that that with a few other doctors and ended up after all of that staying with my doc.

Do you feel like you got good information like it. It made you feel going back to the first was a good option.

Some of the concepts are better than others.

Some of them I was really not impressed with which had the impact of making me feel really great about my doctor I already felt great about so that part was fine. And then some of the other ones we said if we're not going back to the same place this would be our second choice we really like the doctor. We had good conversations with him and even brought some things back to talk to my doctors and say what do you think about this is what somebody else recommended and did your doctor know that you were getting a second. Yes.

Because I don't see at all now that this is what we're doing.

Please don't take it personally. Did you take it personally. No not always like you should do that.

So they pushed forward and went ahead with their second round.

So the second one was also very similar to the first I think we have similar number of. A similar number of embryos did a D-3 transfer again and for that time my husband took vacation from work.

So we were together the day that I got the phone call. So we we were there in an interview and we were Panic's together and the phone rang and we got to the doctor's office.

So it's like I was in surgery.

And then at this point I know the nurse in the office so well and so she called to say good morning.

So I was like What do you mean you can use is a good news you're pregnant. Congratulations that works.

So. This is amazing. The blood test all looked great. So I remember getting there. It was actually at the high end her one of them and we had put two embryos back so there was some question there. Hi HEG. Maybe both of them implanted. We don't know and went for the ultrasound and I went by myself because my husband had to work and they had said that your numbers look great. We'll see you for the routine ultrasound. Everything looks good. Nothing changes you feel any differently. It isn't that I had any cause for concern and so I went for the ultrasound.

So like your numbers are just the congratulations they did for you.

So I started doing the ultrasound and then I went to the doctor came in he said see what we might see today and that will probably be either one or two even. Is it possible that your heart beat at that point in six weeks. Namely that whatever it was.

So do the ultrasound and there's just silence on his and just absolute silence that goes on and on and finally said You have to say something or say please say something. And he said I'm not seeing what I hoped to be seeing.

And still at that point they kind of obviously started to cry and.

I can't remember. What he said next. He said I see something but it's not what I want to be saying. So I think it may be ectopic and I'm going to send you to the E.R. to get a better ultrasound.

So like I've been through this before I came back to the E.R. the simiar for any type of pregnancy the same thing.

And I had forgot my phone at home that day. What are the chances I'm going to have a cell phone. He's my husband so he's able to use the phone in the doctor's office and he poor guy was expecting twins or who knows what it would be. And instead he gets me bawling at 10 a.m. on a Friday morning and saying it's done it's for not having a baby it's not going to work. And so he was able to have a colleague cover all of his patients that day and just cover for him and he just left working him to the E.R.. To be with me which was awesome. So that was very very helpful.

And that wasn't as devastating as the first round it didn't work out because we had had two weeks of being really excited and very well. Talk a little bit about I don't know if we talked about names but just to refer to the baby or the baby and I go I'm hungry.

We're all hungry now.

So we have those two weeks of really being able to play with that and have that and truly happy because we didn't know anything else at that point. And also just the knowledge that it worked to that even when I got news percentages that weren't 90 percent of what we say that they were going to be the 90 percent possibility for me that. It still works. And if it could work this time maybe it could work again. And so I still had a lot of hope even though it didn't work. So I only had one fallopian tube after that point because the other one had been surgically removed already from the hydro cell pings before we did

IVF. So choose to treat with Mother Trixy again because I definitely definitely was not going to give up my only fallopian tube. I wasn't ready at that point.

The only problem was this time. We were much further along. So my HEG numbers were much much higher. So it's going to take longer to come down and I was below the cutoff because there is a cut off at which point you can't do it anymore. So I was getting close to that but wasn't there. So we still do.

So did the Methotrexate went to a bar after Actually it looks like they can drink now and randomiser. So my husband's friends met us out in the last. Time he wasn't the first think it was probably for the follow up a say a few days later I saw my hospital band on and we went to the bar and his friends met us from NPR. And so I had a glass of wine and then had a second glass of wine and I went to the. Bathroom and I'm here know I was in the bathroom and my husband's friends. Should you be drinking that much. That's.

Kind of. You say Oh sorry I forgot to tell you when and why it didn't work out. All of those things.

I I'm just. Like I'm so sorry. But she was on her way to be a horrible mother.

So that's true.

I get her to do the time they had the first dose the next one is every year how many the leader went back for that. And then it was this had to do the weekly monitoring and get the same reaction the like did you react the same way. Yes. It's miserable.

And then. Everything was coming down. And got the call on Friday that had actually gone back up.

Which is horrible that's not what you want because it means it's still growing somehow. So talk to me Doctor. Five o'clock on a Thursday afternoon. And at that point it was do we do more rapid Trixy. You were kind of reaching the lender for how much methotrexate we want to give somebody or you could do surgery and that was a really I knew since I now say we need to schedule the O.R. for tomorrow morning and my scheduler is leaving you need to decide what you want to do. So we decided we're going to give it one more try. From the Trixi and went back to the E.R. The next day and got me through around the Tranxene for that

topic pregnancy and then we let her make the next day to go to Canada.

And I was the worst vacation of my life. I don't recommend that people get the care that.

She got. I don't get mother to say it's not because you were called to be.

Yes.

And then we had to wait another three months because of the taxi. So that pushed us back.

So you know I was tweeting about movies all day and then it resolves on its own.

How many weeks or a month later. Back to zero. We did three months and then were able to start again after the first topping.

Did someone tell you that topics were the more likely were that a higher likelihood.

That's a great question. So I very specifically asked my doctor is like how is this possible doing looking at anatomy like so one is this way. What is it. What are the chances. One was a I hate the word natural consumption but one was that way and then the other one was for IVF and he's a you have the worst luck in the world. That is really what it comes down to you get to play the lottery because of the odds of this happening. You know anything can happen which also helps. I was in a very weird frame of mind at that point of odds and percentages and is it going to work is it not going to work even if it's low. It could still work out

like you could have one in a million odds and things can happen this is great news for me because I'm really good about my jobs moving forward because you know this will never happen.

It can still a so they done two rounds of IVF and just to had some encouragement to move forward knowing that at least her body knew how to get pregnant at her high office age wasn't holding her back. And seemingly had plenty of eggs that she could work with. Everyone processes these losses and events differently at this point Jessica was in it all the way. She was on what I call the IVF rollercoaster and was ready to hold on for dear life till it finally gave her the result she was looking for and thus was very willing to move forward. Her husband seemed to be a little more on the fence as to what the next step should be.

Did you at any point pause and say do we really want to keep doing this like was there ever a moment where we were like maybe we need to not keep going.

So maybe there is a moment like that and I say maybe because I'm guessing that my husband felt that way and I don't think I ever picked up on that. So we might have had conversations where he thought he was saying that and I didn't hear that at all. And we talked a little bit about adoption and how he wanted to spend our money and we're going to have to pay for the next cycle and we skipped that and I had reached out to friends who had adopted and got a lot of information and was doing a lot of research in terms of looking at specific websites and what

the application forms were and ready to go down that route. That's what we chose to do and he did not want to do that. So a lot of that research on my own says he didn't want to do that. I assume that that meant that the next step would be another round of IVF. So we talked about it. And I think I continue to have appointments with my doctor to check it out. I mean he took few months off and then had another appointment and so got the OK from him to move forward with IVF.

And based on somewhat I say that was I think for a start it was going to be a pretty quick decision for me to order the meds and start. And so I think I might be remembering this incorrectly but I am pretty sure I had a doctor's appointment.

I came home and said to my husband like I'm going to the masseuse for good to go we got the all clear and his response was is overwhelming as I had thought it would be I think I was more excited at that point which should have been a red flag but I attributed it to his nervous. This is probably our last chance. This is stressful. If it doesn't work I want to give him a space that won't press that. So we didn't talk a lot about it.

And so I started the third round and it was it was going well and I think using acupuncture for that one actually it was going really well.

And he came home one night and we've done couples counseling at that point I don't remember but came home one night and he said we need to talk. I don't think I want to have a baby. So what are you talking about. Can't you see you don't have a baby. This is our dream. We want to have a baby. And he said it about the way we all say don't think that we should be married anymore. I think we should get divorced so we're going to get divorced and he's like we aren't going to do an embryo transfer like I am not going to participate in this meeting for him.

And so at that point I was like OK we're straße we need to do couples counseling we'll get through all of this.

So I was thinking we would still fertilize the eggs because frozen embryos have a better slightly better rate of success than just the frozen eggs. You were the doctor you know. So it was maybe five days away from reaching that point three days early for retrieval.

Was it before or after you had injected yourself for the ninth day. Oh it was before. Yeah. And at that point I was doing my own nightly injections because was so he had been doing most of that except then was sleeping through the morning once in a while slightly passes as if I'm not going to wake you up I'll do it myself and if I give it to you I'll have to give yourself an injection after you guys were having this conversation probably me myself because I wasn't really in the middle for a few days away from you.

But I might have been able to do those myself because those are just some new ones.

So I think that the person is probably the most shops of anyone that I told would be my reproductive technologist the next day when he is just out and counting the follicles and the like so we need to talk about alternatives to D-3 transfer said D5 transfers. No no not that kind of Mulhearn it out maybe freezing rates. And he was like OK we can talk about that but why is it. Well my husband does have a baby. Oh my God. He doesn't want to be married either. So stop talking let me finish the ultrasound and then we will and then we'll discuss.

So again they were amazingly supportive and his office scrambled to get me the details of. How that would change the price of what the procedure would be and. How things would be different.

I was the one who asked what about a freezing that would be a great day you should do that. So that's what we do.

You guys were I mean like the basic question is did you see it coming.

So that's a very fair question. That's a great question. In hindsight yes definitely at the time I don't know if I was just blind to what was there and they didn't want to see it or if I was so focused on dealing with having a baby and all the issues that came from that that I truly didn't see.

So I don't or I don't know that was a reason why he was acting where the communication was because of this like large factor that's in the early. And of course looking back on it there were other factors.

This isn't what broke up our marriage. I think that we are much much better at not being married and we're probably I don't know what he's doing now but I hope that he is much happier as well I hope that he's as happy as I am and not being married to him was good for our future. And I think I can guess he probably feels the same way but it wasn't just this that broke it up I think it help speed it up and people say Oh see everything happens for a reason. It's a good thing you have a baby. And I used to be one of those people that said everything happens for a reason.

I talked earlier about wanting to punch people in the face in person but now when people say my I'm going to have to hold back because I really want to do this and I'm not just going to say things don't happen for a reason that's not how you justify a horrible pain in people's lives.

I think we're very resilient human beings are human beings are very resilient. And so when bad things happen we look for a way to rebound. And in doing so we see silver linings and then people can take that to mean you know see this is what was meant to be all along look at how happy you are but it's not that bad because it is an outcome of it which are two very different things.

So I'm glad I was able to learn that lesson with the doctor the first person you told about you guys getting is I think are the second. Did you hold that back from friends for a little while just to make sure it was for you. Yes. It was a pretty quick process. That was the end of February middle to end of February that he first said the words I think we should get divorced and then we had a few couples counseling appointments. They were making progress and he was a

we are making progress. Nothing that is going to be said here is going to change my minds. If you want to go because it helps you process it I will keep going. Know if you want to keep spending the money for that purpose then we can keep going but nothing's changing. All right. Well that seems like a waste of time.

So I already have my own therapist. We go together.

And by the by late March we had filed for divorce.

So who filed paperwork. I did actually. Did you win. Yes. Because I wasn't the one who initially requested it. If. It wasn't so much the filing. It was weird it was to see my name as the plaintiff that was here. So I'm not. Seeing him as a defendant like I was going after him which was untrue. But in that way I also was very clear my head. I don't want to be married to someone who doesn't want to be married to me. So. Anything that we had been so sad for so

long.

That it. Just seem like okay this can't be any worse.

So Jessica went through a retrieval and was able to freeze her eggs and still has them now if she ever needed them. After that as you'd expect her life began to change in the way anyone's would going through a divorce. And as anyone who has been through it already. I love that beginning time after getting divorced can be intense and tumultuous and make people do things they never thought they would. Jessica sold her house in the suburbs and was preparing to move back to the city. She never thought she'd move back to. In between she had an idea for escape and piled up her vacation time and spent the month in Spain and reconnected with a part of herself.

She hadn't seen in a long time so I love being married and I came back from the scene of questions like 12 hours a nice transition is a good way to start my new life and to have that month away and to meet people and I did our Spanish classes set up with the school and met a lot of amazing people through there and surprisingly but probably not surprisingly there were a lot of women there really.

So I just got divorced. I just recovered her long term boyfriend stories while we go to the discotheque.

So it's time to just for the first time in 10 years. I'm going to order a train. This will be great and I'm not going to care about anything. What was it like to be single.

It's going to in. Yeah yeah it was kind of exciting.

How exciting is it would be for other people watching the movie like a long way to go to get back to the normal social scale.

But but for me it was very exciting and very fun had a good time.

So it's been what six years five years and it's basically the start in terms of the almost six years. Yes. Where are you with your husband now. Thirty six years. Yes. You have eggs in the back. Correct. So to speak I. Is the thought get married again have kids again have you. Is that something you're avoiding thinking about are you on it.

What's your so I'm not necessarily opposed to getting married again.

I wouldn't rush into it. Certainly.

And it's not something I'm looking for. I'm open to it but not seeking it out. And I'm very very happy with how things are right now and I really like my life and something like I'm a sucker.

You think your marriage has a boring life but very very happy with how things are.

And then in terms of having a baby I think it was for survival purposes I had to find reasons to. Justify that not having a baby was OK. So I spent a lot of time looking for all of the reasons that life without a baby is good.

And I did that.

As a temporary fix except I convince myself so well that I truly believe all these reasons now about why it's better to not have a baby than to have one. And so now I get baby announcements like oh that's too bad for you. I'm sorry you're really missing out.

I'm going to go to sleep for ten hours and nobody is going interrupt me and my friends who have babies I'm sure would.

Probably say that since I am alone and you don't have a baby and you don't get to witness all these things but to each their own. And there are different ways to be happy in life. And for right now this is what's working for me and I used to be very much a planner. Probably goes along with the not cheating. And. I had everything planned out I got married and we bought a house and then we were going to have a baby and we are going to live happily ever after. And even the best laid plans can still go up in smoke.

So what's the point of planning so I don't know maybe I'll have a be maybe I won't but it's not going to be tomorrow.

So beyond that I couldn't tell you. I know I'm not. I know I'm not interested in having a baby on my own. And I know I'm not interested in having a baby tomorrow. And I know I'm not looking for somebody for the purpose of having a baby with them. So aside from those things whatever happens I'm kind of OK with me. And it's really fun and exciting.

So I've been in this field for a while and this was a unique story even for me. That's one that's always stood out.

So few have ended either way you're just as a problem. Yes.

Like literally like again to other people around you for free for all that everyone else in the world besides me Will course really.

The fact that it happened which is a fertility doctor see Blake be like oh you guys are definitely getting divorced.

Oh no he didn't say that. I just think that he was very surprised at this and at what point. Did you not see this as something along those lines you think was this clear to him.

But I guess if I'm honest with myself about this so I will bring everything full circle. I said that I'm not the poster child for infertility because my first round of IVF didn't work. My second round of IVF was ectopic and my third round of IVF ended in divorce.

So I don't think anybody wants the other poster child for Tiriel our dad were out running around.

Those. Steps.

Waiting for Babies is produced by me Steven Mavros us with help during interviews by Laura Mullin. If you want to find out more about the stories and what we're up to check out our Web site at waiting for babies dot com. And if you really like what you hear and feel so inclined go to our site and click donate and consider giving us even just five or ten dollars to help us keep working on. This is a passion project for me and every little donation allows me to take a little bit of time away from the practice and spend more time telling these amazing tales. Also on our site if you have a story you want to tell and are willing to add your story to this conversation. There's a form on the website awaiting for babies dot com slash contact. This is Steven Mavros. See you next time.

We got another bonus for you at the end here. Throughout the interview you may have heard Jessica talk about how she burned her journals and we were so curious about how that happened. So of course before we let her get away we asked what it was like was it a bonfire on the beach a trash can in the living room with the fire alarm going off.

What was the pyre like when you finally decide to burn. What did you do with the ritual.

So it was spread out over a couple of instances because he made a point of reading all of them before he burned them.

And my fear because I only write mean things to me was that I was going to die insane and somebody was going to find them in my storage unit and be a horrible person and I would have no opportunity to address people with that memory of me everybody.

So I was genuinely afraid of that. So I started reading them. I had gone to my parents house and they have an outdoor firepit and keep in mind I was a mess by the time I arrived there I had just sold my house had just gotten divorced. I was physically and mentally exhausted and I read through a bunch of them and then it's like I'm going outside and you won't see anything so like ripping them up and I'm just throwing them in the firepit and it's windy and flaming are in the air and my head must have looked out the window and thought she has lost my mind whatever she has just been through has set her over the

edge. I can't even imagine what they think you should get their perspective on that. Finish them all. We bring up free speech and take them away. And then in my first apartment when I moved back into the city I did have a working fireplace so I bought all of them and then I burned them in the fireplace in slightly more of a ceremonious way and that I wasn't completely looking like it was me.

Was the reply for the privacy of my home on a Saturday morning.

It was like I was having a fire in the fireplace and it just happened to be burning people inside. So I actually felt really good burning them and I was like other people who are horrified that I destroyed those records. But it was just it was bad things. It was bad. It was everything it was so negative and I didn't want that. Aside from worrying about dying and having other people find them but just didn't want that in my apartment. That part is done and I learned lessons from that.

I've embodied those lessons and taking them with me and I don't need that in down anymore and I might regret that in 20 years but so far I've been very very excited about that decision.

This audio features the song "Lullaby for a Broken Circuit" and "Interlude 4" by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, "Readers, Do You Read" by Chris Zabriskie, "Running Waters" by Jason Shaw, "She Lost Her Wings (Instrumental Version)" and "Tick Tock (Instrumental Version)" by Josh Woodward, all available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

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